10 Free Things to Do in Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo for Budget Travellers

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    Sao Paulo sprawls far and wide, but has such a huge supply of things to see and do that travellers will often spend days just in one neighbourhood. The best way to soak in the city’s atmosphere is to roam the streets of its eccentric areas, such as the ever-vibrant Vila Madalena. Due to its burgeoning creative scene, art is plastered all across the city, in museums and on the streets, and can usually be seen for free. This list details some of the free attractions around the city that showcase Sao Paulo’s rich culture.


    Go on a free walking tour

    Taking you to 3 happening neighbourhoods

    The walking tour is a classic tourist activity, especially for first-timers to the city. The tour is ideal for anyone looking to learn about the city’s history in a quick and fun way. Taking place every day of the week, the tour alternates between 3 different routes. The tours around the historic centre start at 11.30am on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Those for Vila Madalena and Paulista Avenue are at 11am and 3.30pm respectively, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Join a big group of eager explorers and walk across these neighbourhoods listening to interesting facts about the city. Each tour has a different meeting point, so check the website for addresses.

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    צולם על ידי Mike Peel (CC BY-SA 4.0) נערך


    Museu Afro Brasil

    Learn about the history of slavery in Brazil

    Found inside Ibirapuera Park, Museu Afro Brasil is one of the city’s best museums and it’s free all year round. Set in a modern glass-paned building, the museum does a superb job of highlighting the crucial role of African populations in Brazil’s identity. Exhibitions are centred on telling the story of slavery in Brazil and include over 6,000 exhibits, including paintings, sculptures and photographs. The museum is hugely insightful about an often-overlooked part of Brazilian history and it’s definitely worth a visit.

    מיקום: Avenida Pedro Álvares Cabral, Portão 10, Parque Ibirapuera, Sao Paulo - SP, 04094-050, Brazil

    שעות פתיחה: Tuesday–Sunday from 10am to 5pm (closed on Mondays)

    טלפון: +55 11 3320 8900

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    צולם על ידי Eugenio Hansen, OFS (CC BY-SA 4.0) נערך


    The Latin America Memorial

    Immerse yourself in Latin American cultures

    The Latin America Memorial is found in the western neighbourhood of Barra Funda and was created as a cultural project by anthropologist Darcy Ribeiro. The cultural centre is most recognisable for the open hand sculpture set in the main square, which has a map of Latin America on its palm. This large outdoor space hosts a string of cultural and gastronomic events, which rotate almost weekly. The space exists as a monument to the culture, history and integration of Latin America as a community, with galleries, a library, an auditorium and art sculptures sprawling the grounds. Check the website for details about upcoming events.

    מיקום: Avenida Auro Soares de Moura Andrade, 664 - Barra Funda, Sao Paulo - SP, 01156-001, Brazil

    שעות פתיחה: Tuesday–Sunday from 9am to 6pm (closed on Mondays)

    טלפון: +55 11 3823 4600

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    צולם על ידי Gabrielt4e (CC BY-SA 3.0) נערך


    Ibirapuera Park

    Spend a few hours escaping the bustle

    Spread out across 158 hectares, Ibirapuera Park is Sao Paulo‘s much-loved urban oasis. As well as a great place to exercise, the park also has a vivid cultural scene, including museums, a music hall and many popular events. On a sunny day, come here with a picnic and relax among the colourful, towering trees or beside one of the lakes. Look out for stands selling cheap coconut water, if you need some refreshment, and check out the historic monuments dotted around the park, such as the Obelisk of Sao Paulo and the Monument to the Bandeiras.

    מיקום: Avenida Pedro Álvares Cabral, Vila Mariana, Sao Paulo - SP, 04002-010, Brazil

    שעות פתיחה: Daily from 5am to midnight

    טלפון: +55 11 5574 5045

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    Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo

    Enjoy Brazilian art for free on Saturdays

    Located in the city centre, Pinacoteca do Estado de Sao Paulo is the oldest museum in the city and is said to contain the best collection of Brazilian art in the world. The majestic atmosphere is palpable in its beautiful architecture and spectacular exhibitions, which mix classic and modern works. Visit on Saturdays for free admission, or pay just 6 reals on other days. Visit their café, set in the gorgeous Jardim da Luz, and order one of their tasty pão de queijo. Also worth visiting is the grandiose Luz train station, which is opposite the museum.

    מיקום: Praça da Luz, 2 - Luz, Sao Paulo - SP, 01120-010, Brazil

    שעות פתיחה: Wednesday–Monday from 10am to 5.30pm (closed on Tuesdays)

    טלפון: +55 11 3324 1000

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    צולם על ידי The Photographer (CC BY-SA 4.0) נערך


    Aclimação Park

    Escape the city for a few hours

    Aclimação Park is the ideal place to get close to nature without travelling too far. This expansive park has seemingly endless expanses of green, where families and friends lounge on the grass with a picnic. If you’re looking for a place less busy than Ibirapuera Park, Aclimação Park is the answer. You can wander around one of its winding walking trails for hours without having to dodge cyclists (bicycles are prohibited in the park). The park also has a lake, which attracts a fascinating array of wild birds during their migration season. Check around the lake or at the bird tables around the park for parrots, woodpeckers, tropical kingbirds and many more.

    מיקום: Rua Muniz de Sousa, 1119 - Aclimação, Sao Paulo - SP, 01534-001, Brazil

    שעות פתיחה: Daily from 6am to 8pm

    טלפון: +55 11 3208 4042

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    צולם על ידי evandrosaroka (CC BY 2.0) נערך


    The Immigration Museum

    Learn about Brazilian diversity

    Located in the eclectic neighbourhood of Mooca, the Immigration Museum puts on excellent displays surrounding the memories and experiences of immigrants in Brazil. Set in a former processing facility, the museum boasts impressive interactive displays, short documentaries and artefacts used by immigrants. The museum also shows the collective dormitories immigrants used to live in, as well as the very bunkbeds they slept on. Visit on Saturday, when admission is free, and remember to wander around the grounds as well, as the building is particularly beautiful.

    מיקום: Rua Visconde de Parnaíba, 1316 - Mooca, Sao Paulo - SP, 03164-300, Brazil

    שעות פתיחה: Tuesday–Saturday from 9am to 5pm, Sunday from 10am to 5pm (closed on Mondays)

    טלפון: +55 11 2692 1866

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    צולם על ידי Mike Peel (CC BY-SA 4.0) נערך


    Wander around Vila Madalena

    A vibrant neighbourhood filled with art

    Vila Madalena is known far and wide as the bohemian neighbourhood of Sao Paulo. A day exploring this area will quickly confirm this reputation, as you come across alleyways sprawled with art and an endless supply of art galleries. This neighbourhood is an ideal setting for a relaxed day admiring art and eating in quaint, boho-chic cafés and bistros. Popular spots in the area for street art include Beco Do Batman and Beco Do Aprendiz. Look out for the wonderfully eccentric street names, which went against the trend of streets named after famous military or political people. Some examples include Rua Girassol (sunflower), Purpurina (glitter) and Harmonia (harmony).

    מיקום: Vila Madalena, Sao Paulo - SP, 03178-200, Brazil

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    Solar da Marquesa de Santos

    A pastel-coloured paradise

    Solar da Marquesa de Santos is a history museum focused on architectural styles through the ages, with one of the main attractions being the building itself. Situated in the centre of the city, the pastel-painted museum stands out as 18th-century building is adorned with many ornamental balconies. The building was a former residence of a Brazilian noblewoman and hosted many grand parties. Nearby you’ll also find Beco do Pinto, a picturesque alleyway linking Solar da Marquesa de Santos to Casa Número Um – another historic residence. Get ready to take a lot of pictures along this walk.

    מיקום: Rua Roberto Símonsen, 136 - Centro, Sao Paulo - SP, 01017-020, Brazil

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    צולם על ידי DéboraGLima (CC BY-SA 4.0) נערך


    Take in the view from Edifício Italia

    A terrace with 360-degree views of the city

    Edifício Italia is a 46-storey office building found in the República district and offers stunning views of the city. Atop the building is Terraço Itália, which serves food and drink for a hefty price. Spending money can be avoided easily as the terrace allows free admission from 4pm to 5pm from Monday to Friday. Enjoy the terrace’s enchanting panoramic view and take pictures to your heart’s content. If you miss the 1-hour window, admission is 30 reals, with a welcome drink included.

    מיקום: Condomínio Edifício Itália - República, Sao Paulo - SP, 01040-000, Brazil

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    Sophia Macpherson | הכותב

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