Theatro Municipal de São Paulo#3 in Best Things To Do in São Paulo
Modeled after the elegant Palais Garnier in Paris, São Paulo's Theatro Municipal is a work of art. This grand theater was built between 1903 and 1911, and the design of its detailed facade incorporates Renaissance, Baroque, neoclassical and art nouveau styles. Inside, visitors are greeted with gilded balconies and rich red seats and curtains. The theater is a cultural icon, thought to have sparked the city's vivid interest in the arts (and specifically modern art) after it hosted the Week of Modern Art in 1922. Today, the Theatro Municipal hosts a variety of performances, including operas, plays, symphony orchestras and ballets. If you're unable to make a performance, free guided tours of the venue (in English) are also available.
Recent visitors raved about the building's beautiful architecture, with many recommending you try to get tickets to a show or go on the guided tour to see the theater's interior. Some do warn that the area surrounding the venue is a bit dicey, with homeless people sleeping on the street.
You'll find the Theatro Municipal just north of the city center and the Catedral da Sé. The nearest metro stops are República and Anhangabaú. The free guided tours, which last about 45 minutes to an hour, are available Wednesday to Friday at 11 a.m., 1, 3 and 5 p.m. and on Saturdays and holidays at 11 a.m., 2 and 3 p.m. The tours at 11 a.m. are in English and exclusively for foreigners. You can find information about performances, ticket prices and more on the theater's website.
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#1 Parque do Ibirapuera (Ibirapuera Park)
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.
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