One of the world’s biggest metropolises, São Paulo looms large over South America. While the city lacks the natural beauty of Rio, Sampa – as it’s affectionately called by locals – has much going for it. This is, after all, the cultural capital of Brazil, with a dizzying array of attractions including first-rate museums, nightly concerts, experimental theater and dance. The nightclubs, bars and restaurants are among the best on the continent. Paulistanos (inhabitants of the city) believe in working hard and playing harder, and despite constantly complaining about street violence, clogged highways and pollution, most wouldn’t dream of living anywhere else.Though founded in 1554 by Jesuits, São Paulo remained a colonial backwater for much of its history. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that it began to emerge from the shadows, and the 20th century brought an explosion of immigrants from all over the world to work on the railroads, in the factories and in the fields. By the 1950s São Paulo took the lead as the country’s industrial and commercial center. The result of the flood of immigrants is clear: the city of 17 million (metropolitan) is Brazil’s most culturally diverse destination. For the wanderer, a stroll through Sampa’s neighborhoods is a window into the shops and restaurants of the world.
Show in Lonely Planet