São Paulo City Guide from a Local’s Perspective

Sao Paulo City Skyline

In the following Q&A, The Moorings’ Vacation Planner Renato Seitenfus reflects on life in São Paulo, Brazil and shares insider secrets on some of the best things to do and see.

A São Paulo resident for six years, Renato’s in-depth knowledge of the area knows no bounds. And since becoming an expert in charter vacations more than five years ago, he has mastered the art of planning unforgettable charters in international waters. For charters departing from Paraty (pronounced par-ah-chee), Renato recommends extending your trip by a day or two so you can experience São Paulo on a Sunday, its most happening day.

Things to Do on a Weekend in São Paulo

For a Saturday to Saturday charter, Renato recommends extending your trip for one extra day toward the end of your vacation. Sundays in São Paulo are exciting.

Every Sunday they close the most important road in the city so street artists and food vendors can sell to the walkers by. When people are coming back from the charter on Saturday, it is a perfect day to visit the town. São Paulo is a 24-hour city. It truly is a “city that never sleeps” and has more people than New York City.

The city, the main stomping ground for so many journalists and artists, is full of fantastic art and history museums. The São Paulo Museum of Art located on Paulista Avenue is known for its unique shape.

Paulista Avenue in Sao Paulo

Things to Do on a Sunday in São Paulo

  1. Vila Madalena – the bohemian or "hip” side of town with all the bars and restaurants.
  2. Pinheiros Street – full of nice restaurants and bars
  3. Ibirapuera Park – this park is like Central Park in NYC. Rent bikes and see nice skyline views of the city. Don’t forget to check out the famous Bandeiras Monument. Found at the entrance to the park, the monument is a tribute to the area’s first explorers.
  4. Go to a theatre and see a Broadway musical in Portuguese. Right now, the Lion King is playing.
  5. Football museum – soccer and take in a soccer game on Sundays.
  6. Pinacoteca do Estado – a wonderful history museum full of art and book collections.
  7. Variety of bars and night clubs - São Paulo has some of the best night clubs in the world. I’ve never seen a club like it in America. Miami, NYC, and Los Angeles cannot touch São Paulo’s night club scene. Some bars don’t even open until 6 a.m.

What to Eat in São Paulo

Brazilian buffets are fantastic. There’s always tons of variety and nice barbeque with all you can eat meat. A local favorite of mine is Sertó Bar. For American cuisine, head to Sertó Bar and grab a burger or a local favorite and a one-of-a-kind cocktail or a strong cup of Brazilian coffee.

Serto Bar in Sao Paulo

The Italian influence is also very strong. Sao Paulo was built on the coffee and milk industry, so many well-known families are Italian. The pizza in Sao Paulo is better than the pizza in Italy. Much like the fight between Chicago and NYC pizza. The mortadella sandwich is a local favorite and an Italian influence.

Where to eat in Sao Paulo

  1. Sertó Bar – American-themed restaurant with delicious burgers and cocktails
  2. Mocotó - Artsy restaurant serving traditional Brazilian Dishes
  3. D.O.M - Contemporary restaurant serving an innovative twist on classic dishes
  4. TasteIT Restaurante – Fantastic stop for happy hour with outdoor seating
  5. Coco Bambu Anhembi – Serving late-night food and cocktails in a cozy atmosphere
  6. Tuju – Modern restaurant serving dishes made with local ingredients sourced from small producers
  7. Coco Bambu – JK – Upscale seafood restaurant with beautiful balcony seating

Pizza in Sao Paulo

Is there Uber in São Paulo?

Yes! Public transportation is wonderful and there’s a subway with signs in English and Portuguese, so it’s easy to get around. A lot of people speak English so there’s no way you’re going to get lost. Uber app works perfectly over there. I always use Uber because the app is in English and is easy to navigate just like we do at home.

Besides walking, Uber, buses, and subways are the most convenient forms of transportation. They drive on the same side of the road as the USA.

Growing Up in São Paulo

Safe. Everyone is walking on the streets at all hours of the day and night. I lived in São Paulo for six years. Generations hand down homes, so there are not just 30-somethings. Even 60-somethings can be found on a nightclub dance floor.

When was the last time you were there, and do you visit often?

December and I can’t wait to return!

Best Thing to Do in São Paulo

It’s best to tour the city on foot. You can experience the whole world and different cultures without ever leaving the city.

Things to Do in São Paulo

São Paulo is the biggest city in Brazil and is the fourth most populated city in the world. 21 million people reside in São Paulo. The people are from all over the world. São Paulo plays home to the biggest colony of Japanese outside of Japan. Liberdade Street is where you’ll see lots of Japanese influence. It’s like being in Japan; a true immersion in culture. Be sure to check out the Liberdade Street Market, which is held on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Paulista Avenue area is the best place to stay for those who want to stay close to the action. Sunday is an excellent day to stroll the avenue. Trip Advisor gives the experience 4-stars. Paulista Avenue is a small and narrow street with cars and people sharing lanes. The municipal market downtown area is a wonderful place to shop and where you’ll find the most exotic fruits. Famous for its codfish cakes, you simply must try when visiting the market!

How to Get to São Paulo

São Paulo/Guarulhos–Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport (GRU) is one hour away due to traffic. It’s best to show up at the airport four hours before your flight takes off.

Best Time to Go to São Paulo

The average temperature of 70-degrees all year long. Very much like Los Angeles.

What to Wear in São Paulo

If you’re going to the city, you want to blend into the city. People dress well in the city. To feel more comfortable bring with you clothing you wouldn’t wear on a yacht in Paraty.

The Moorings can arrange transfers from the marina in Paraty to São Paulo. You will travel through beautiful hills and mountains. There’s no need to secure your own rental car.

Embark on a journey of a lifetime to Brazil and see parts of the world only discoverable by boat in Paraty. Have your sights set on a Brazilian vacation?

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