Elegant architecture, museums full of new twists, and wonderful exhibitions will delight art lovers
To start the day, choose one of special breakfast combos at the Café Pelé Arena (R. 15 de Novembro, 194, tel. 3101- 9096), like the sandwich on a roll with fruit, coffee and juice. While you’re eating, admire the photos of the King that adorn the walls, and understand why soccer and art have everything to do with each other.
From there, head to the Estação da Luz train station, taking in the beautiful buildings of Centro. Be sure to cast a glance up to see the construction details missed by too many passers-by . The same building that houses the Estação da Luz is also home to the Museu da Língua Portuguesa (Portuguese Language Museum, Pça. da Luz, unnumbered, tel. 3326-0775), one of the most popular attractions in the city. You can spend hours learning about the history of the language or playing in the Beco das Palavras, an interactive hall that allows visitors to create words and get to know their origins and meanings.
Just across the street is the Pinacoteca do Estado art museum (Pça. da Luz, unnumbered, tel. 3324-1000). The building designed by the architect Ramos de Azevedo (who was also responsible for the Mercado Municipal and the Teatro Municipal) was transformed into a museum with a 5,000-work collection – including 12 sculptures by French artist Auguste Rodin, installed in an atrium filled with natural light. Have lunch right there in the Café Pinacoteca, which offers a view of the city's oldest park, the Parque da Luz. Choose among the dishes named after famous artists.
Near the Pinacoteca is the Museu de Arte Sacra (Av. Tiradentes, 676, tel. 3326-1373), where you’ll find more than one thousand works on display – among them, the second-biggest collection of candelabrums in the world. On the way out, stop by the Vila dos Ingleses (R. Mauá), an area protected by its landmark status: the English-style houses that housed the laborers who built the train stations have been left intact.
Another option is to take the metro at Estação Tiradentes and head to Barra Funda and the Memorial da América Latina (Av. Auro Soares de Moura Andrade, 644, tel. 3823-4600). Designed by Oscar Niemeyer, the complex houses one of São Paulo’s icons: the hand statue, from which flows a trickle of blood in the shape of Latin America. Check their calendar to see if there are concerts or exhibitions scheduled.
If it’s a concert night at the Sala São Paulo (Pça. Júlio Prestes, unnumbered, 3223-3966), don’t miss out: it’s time to head back downtown. Housed in the Estação Júlio Prestes, the hall has become the most important temple of erudite music in the city for both its beauty and its impeccable acoustics.
For those who want to dine in the company of artwork, the choice is clear: the Vecchio Torino restaurant (R. Tavares Cabral, 119, tel. 3816-0592). As you’re tasting the boneless partridge with truffle risotto, you’re also appreciating original works from Alfredo Volpi and Lasar Segall, as well as a perfect replica of a Gustav Klimt.
If you still have the strength to take in one more dose of art, the Casa de Francisca (R. José Maria Lisboa, 190, tel. 3052-0547) puts on popular music shows on an intimate stage.