São Paulo, Brazil is a huge, sprawling city, both rich and poor, both wonderful and dirty.
Because it’s such a large and important city in Brazil, it is cosmopolitan and has a lot to offer, like shopping, amazing food, interesting ethnic neighborhoods, and world-class entertainment. One highlight of the city is MASP, a fantastic museum in the center of the city, which can be combined with shopping at excellent markets on a Sunday.
MASP (Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo) has excellent temporary exhibits and a very impressive permanent collection, which is considered the best collection of Western art in Latin America and includes works by many European masters, including Botticelli, Titian, Raphael, Rembrandt, Picasso, Monet, Renoir, Van Gogh, Matisse, Chagall, and many more.
The building, constructed in 1968, is well known in the city and is landmark piece of modern Brazilian architecture. The museum stands on pillars under which is 74 meters of free space. A huge antiques market is held in that space on Sundays. It makes for great browsing, but beware that this is a serious antiques market, so prices are high and most goods are the real deal.
If you go to the museum on a Sunday, you must make time to shop the handicrafts market held directly across the street from the museum. It includes Brazilian crafts, clothing, and art, most of which is made by the artist who is selling it. You can also buy traditional street food from Northern Brazil, which is cooked to order by Bahianas (women from Bahia, a state in NE Brazil).
Trianon Park across the street from the museum is nice for a stroll. Sometimes musicians play traditional Brazilian music at the entrance. In the park you can see sculptures, tropical plants, and wildlife, maybe even monkeys, but keep a low profile because there can be some shady characters.
MASP is located on the big, modern, and important Avenida Paulista. It is open Tues. – Sun. 11-5. Parking can be found in small lots next to the museum or in parking garages on adjacent streets.
Written and contributed by Jenna Francisco