3 Off-The-Beaten-Path Locations In São Paulo For Curious Travelers

São Paulo cityscape
São Paulo cityscape
São Paulo is the financial center of Brazil and a cultural city with many monuments and museums. Here, visitors can head to the São Paulo Museum of Art and Museum of the Portuguese Language. However, for those travelers with a curious streak, the city offers many unique and fascinating sites to visit in this sprawling modern city. Here we look at a jungle in the heart of the city, an art-strewn alley and a celebration of body art.

1. Jardim Botânico de São Paulo

Jardim Botânico de São Paulo
Jardim Botânico de São Paulo
Founded in 1928 by botanist Frederico Carlos Hoehne, the Jardim Botânico de São Paulo sprawls through the center of the city. Meanwhile, the park gives an idea of what the area was like before the Portuguese arrived. Here, visitors can see many ponds, laden with waterlilies, including the famous giant water lily of the Amazon. On top of this, visitors can follow a stream right to its source in the jungle.

Glasshouses nestle in the heart of the gardens showcasing flora from the Brazilian biomes, the Cerrado and the Atlantic Forest. An orchidarium hosts colorful orchids, plus a small museum chronicling the history of the gardens.

However, the Jardim Botânico de São Paulo is not only about plants, as it is also an unusual place to watch the local wildlife. Here, visitors can spot the green-billed toucan, the blonde crested woodpecker and the maroon-bellied parakeet. Meanwhile, reptiles like freshwater turtles and the tegu lizard can be seen enjoying the waterlily ponds.

Green-billed toucan
Green-billed toucan
However, the garden also hosts a number of snakes and mammal species. Here, marmoset monkeys, howler monkeys, agoutis, armadillos and sloths can be seen, living wild in harmony with the city.

2. Beco do Batman art alley

Beco do Batman (Batman Alley)
Beco do Batman (Batman Alley)
An alley in one of São Paulo’s urban areas has become a haven for graffiti artists since a single “Batman” started the trend. This open-air street art gallery is set near Vila Madalena, where three alleys meet. Beco do Batman attracts street artists from all over Brazil and even international artists who want to leave their mark.

It all started in the 1980s when the first piece of street art was one of DC Comics superheroes, Batman. Following this, fine-arts students started a trend of painting cubist and psychedelic images on the walls. Eventually, Batman Alley was completely covered in bright spray-painted art, even spreading down onto the sidewalks.

Fast forward to now, and the alleys are still in a state of flux, with new paintings covering old ones, but always with the previous artist’s permission. These days, the site is a perfect, Instagrammable attraction. Readers can explore its location on Google Maps here.

3. Museu da Tatuagem de São Paulo

Museu da Tatuagem de São PauloLocated in a historic building in the city center of São Paulo, Museu da Tatuagem (Tattoo Museum) is vastly different from the other museums and galleries. In fact, the museum celebrates body art, including the history of tattoos in Brazil and the world.

Meanwhile, more than 500 photos, sculptures, paintings and tattoo-related artifacts are on display. The collection even includes DIY tattoo machines made in Russian and Brazilian prisons.

It was during the first São Paulo Tattoo Festival in 2004 that Elcio Sespede (AKA Polaco) founded the museum. Since then, besides being a museum, it is a renowned tattoo parlor, drawing inspiration from the surrounding streets. When you are finally ready to get that tattoo, or just wish to browse, the museum offers endless fascination to visitors.

Enjoy these and other attractions in the city of São Paulo on your next trip to Brazil.

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Anne Sewell

Freelance writer and travel writer who has lived in Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa, now living happily on the Costa del Sol in southern Spain.

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