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Top 10 Things to Do and See in Sao Paulo, Brazil

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Home to more than 17 million people, Sao Paulo is the largest city in South America and Brazil's bustling economic and financial center. Waves of immigration brought a mix of cultures and cuisines reflected in the restaurants, many theatres, opera and dance companies. Nightlife is all night. Go in May, Brazil's late summer, and if the city smog and heat gets too much, head to the beach, the nearest is a couple of hours away. The city hosts trade shows, congress and symposiums.

1. Ibirapuera Park

Centrally located, this popular park has beautiful lakes and a Planetarium. Fountains, bicycle paths, the site of the Bienal, the Museu de Arte Moderne and the Pavilhão da Oca, which used to host many of the shows that come to São Paulo are only some of the attractions. See this aerial view of the park.

2. Nightlife

"There are a huge variety of clubs in Sao Paulo to choose from - with everything from Sao Paulo dance clubs, Sao Paulo jazz clubs, Sao Paulo disco nights and even Sao Paulo comedy clubs on offer." Love City is the best-established club in the city.

3. Shopping

"The city has some fantastic shops, partly because of the growing international success of São Paulo Fashion Week. The most glamorous are situated a block from the Hotel Fasano, on and near Rua Oscar Freire. Stock up on trendy jeans at shops such as M Officer, Ellus, Zoomp and Forum. "

4. Serra da Cantareira

Only 30 minutes from the city center, this is an historic region for the fresh water, stored in cântaros, or natural rock caverns, that refreshed early travelers and earned it protections as a Patrimony of Humanity, bestowed in 1993. The Parque Estadual da Cantareira preserves some of the Atlantic rainforest where you can walk the trails to Pedra Grande for a panoramic view of the city.

5. Parque Zoológico de São Paulo

Founded in 1957, the zoo is located in 204 acres (82 ha) of a state reserve of coastal rainforest with about 2,700 animals of 366 species. The reptiles and birds are particularly worth visiting.

6. Parque Zoologico de Sao Paulo

"Sao Paulo is where the art collectors live and the city is a world capital of art, its Biennale (held every even year) is the most important art event in Latin America and the Museum of Art of Sao Paulo has an extensive collection that includes work by several European masters." Conde Nast

7. Mercado Municipal

Built to handle the produce coming into the city, the market now sells everything you can think of, and its restaurants offer lively fare.

8. Carmo Planetarium

Reopened with new facilities and programs, the Planetário do Carmo has seating for 274 people, with chairs tilted at different angles, which will allow everyone to obtain a clear view of the dome.

9. Tour Avenida Paulista & Bixiga

"Money once poured into and out of the coffee barons' mansions that lined Avenida Paulista, making it, in a sense, the financial hub. And so it is today, though instead of mansions there are major banks. Like the barons before them, many of these financial institutions generously support the arts."

10. Teatro Municipal

"Inspired by the Paris Opéra, the Municipal Theater was built between 1903 and 1911 with art nouveau elements... The fully restored auditorium, resplendent with gold leaf, moss-green velvet, marble, and mirrors, is open only to those attending cultural events, but sometimes you can walk in for a quick look at the vestibule."

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