A sprawling jungle of concrete and grinding traffic, São Paulo can be a daunting prospect on arrival. But scratch beneath her drab veneer and you’ll find a vibrant, vital, lively desti buzzing with street art and cutting-edge cuisine. Only got a day to wrestle this mammoth metropolis? Fret not. Follow LUXE and Etihad on a 12-hour gambol through Sampa’s best bits.
Lucky for you sleepyheads, São Paulo doesn’t kick off till late so start your day the leisurely Brazilian way with a sit-down coffee. The young guns at fun roasting factory Coffee Lab sure know their beans; secure a leafy verandah spot and pair with cheesy nibbles. Coffee Lab, Fradique Coutinho 1340, +55 11 3375 7400, coffeelab.com.br
Post-java jolt, wander downhill through hip hood Vila Madalena to take in all manner of indie boutiques, such as Prototype, which cleverly refashions vintage materials into stunning (albeit spendy) home statement pieces. Just across the street you’ll find iconic alleyway Beco do Batman, sporting urban scrawls from Speto to Crânio and leading up to avant-garde gallery Choque Cultural. Prototype, Harmonia 71, +55 11 3213 8900, prototypesp.com.br / Choque Cultural, Medeiros de Albuquerque 250, +55 11 0543 6060, choquecultural.com.br
Brave the 25min cab crawl to crumbly old Centro (Downtown), where the motherlode of all markets, Mercado Municipal is bursting at the seams with Brazil’s fruity riches. Stop at any busy stand for a pastel (stuffed pastry parcel), bolinho de bacalhau (salted cod ball), or for something more hefty, nip up to the heaving mezzanine for a jaw-bustin’ mortadella sandwich from Hocca Bar. Mercado Municipal, Cantareira 306, oportaldomercadao.com.br
A 15-min trot north of the mercado is seminal beating he-art Pinacoteca, the city’s oldest museum and cultural hub, home to Brazil’s most important artworks from C.19th painting and sculpture to the iconic Modernists. While away a few hours here, before wandering across the road to striking Brit-built train station Estação da Luz... Remind you of anything?! Pinacoteca, Praça da Luz 2, +55 11 3335 4990, pinacoteca.org.br
Time to flex that AmEx, so nip in a 20-min cab to lovely leafy Jardins and start your shop hop at choc box Maria Brigadeiro, to sample Brazil’s best-loved condensed-milk sweet and buy a few little frilly take-home pots for gifting. Cross busy Consolação and wander down Sampa’s smartest shopping street Oscar Freire, before diving into Adriana Barra to browse floaty womenswear, fabric and cushions emblazoned with wildly exotic prints. How very Brazilian! Maria Brigadeiro, Capote Valente 68, +55 11 3087 3687, mariabrigadeiro.com.br / Adriana Barra, Alameda Franca 1243, +55 11 2925 2300, adrianabarra.com.br
Gussy up glam and swish into your pre-booked garden table at hyped, perma-packed Maní for inventive, palate-popping renditions of trad Brazilian faves. Maní, Joaquim Antunes 210, +55 11 3085 4148, manimanioca.com.br
LUXE has partnered with Etihad Airways to produce a series of destination-inspired Business Class amenity kits, each complete with its very own LUXE City Guide. Collect all six next time you fly Etihad Airways.
- Published 24 November 2016.
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After spells spent in Mexico, Madrid, Lyon, São Paulo and Hong Kong, Chloe now lives in London with her husband and two muddy mongrels and is currently planning trips to Bruges, Paris, Alaska, SoCal, Romania and Reykjavik.