Parque do Ibirapuera (Ibirapuera Park)#1 in Best Things To Do in São Paulo
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If you get tired of the concrete jungle, make your way to the Parque do Ibirapuera, which offers a spacious, green respite from São Paulo's towering skyscrapers. The land was selected to be a public park in the 1950s to celebrate the city's 400th anniversary and spans around 400 acres; many people liken it to New York's Central Park and London's Hyde Park because of its size and the amount of visitors it sees. Walking and biking paths snake through the lawns, and you can rent a bicycle from a number of vendors nearby. Music fills the air on Sunday mornings, when visitors can enjoy free concerts in the park's Praça da Paz. Many cultural institutions can be found in the park as well, including the Museu Afro Brasil, Museu de Arte Contemporânea and Museu de Arte Moderna.
Travelers frequently describe Ibirapuera Park as an "oasis" and say it is a relaxing place to spend the day walking through the park, utilizing the running trails or going for a bike ride. Some warn it can get particularly crowded on weekends and when it's sunny.
Situated about 4 miles south of the city center, the park is open daily from 5 a.m. to midnight. The nearest metro stops are Brigadeiro and Paraíso, though even from those stations it's a bit of a trek (around 2 miles). A few buses stop nearby and there is parking available at an on-site lot. There are a few food vendors throughout the park as well that sell everything from sandwiches to drinks to sweet treats.
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#2 Pinacoteca do Estado
This art museum is the oldest in São Paulo and houses an extensive collection of Brazilian art from the 19th century through today. Established in 1905, Pinacoteca do Estado (the Art Gallery of the State of São Paulo) showcases nearly 10,000 pieces of art ranging from paintings and sketches to the on-site sculpture garden (adjacent to Jardim da Luz). Made up of apricot-tinted bricks, the historic building is a picturesque work of art in its own right.
Locals and visitors alike love this museum, noting the facility offers an impressive roster of permanent exhibits and the rotating exhibits are always diverse and interesting. They also say it's worth taking time to admire the building's architecture. Many called it the best museum in the city. A few travelers suggest stopping by the on-site cafe, which overlooks the garden, to enjoy a cappuccino, snack or lunch.
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