Though Paulistas do love their cars, most Sao Paulo neighborhoods can still easily be explored on foot. Just be careful when crossing the street. São Paulo has the highest number of motorcycle couriers in the country, and motorcycles are responsible for the highest number of pedestrian deaths. Be particularly careful when crossing in between stopped cars; motorcycles often ride at high speeds between lanes.
The original city of São Paulo was founded in 1554 on a hilltop between two rivers, the Tamanduatei and the Anhangabaú. / b> The original site is now occupied by a partial reproduction of the old mission called the Courtyard of the College. Close by, the Cathedral of Sé (also called the Metropolitan Cathedral was completed only in 1954, though the square it occupies - the Praça da Sé - has had a church on it since the city's founding. Throughout the city center, streets veer off and intersect with each other in odd and intriguing ways.
Banespa Tower and the 1920s Martinelli Building. Two of the key pedestrian streets are Rua Direita b> and Rua São Bento, which leads northward to the São Bento Monastery.
The river itself was long ago filled and turned into a freeway, an act of ecological madness for which the city has paid ever since flooded roadways. Where the freeway enters downtown (opposite the monastery), it's been sunk beneath a huge civic plaza called the Anhangabaú Park. At either end, the park is crossed by two high viaducts, the pedestrian-only Santa Iphigenia Viaduct in the north and the Tea Viaduct in the south.
Going northward from here leads through the Light neighborhood to the high Victorian Luz Station and adjacent Luz Park. Nearby one also finds the State Pinocoteca and the Sacred Art Museum
Take a Break - While strolling the historic part of downtown , duck into the Courtyard of the College The Brewery (tel. 011 / 3105-6899; Tues-Sun 9 am-5pm), You have a lovely garden and terrace where you can rest your legs over a coffee and slice of cake.
Higienópolis (Healthy City) owes its name to a blatant bit of developer marketing. At the beginning of the 20th century wealthier Paulistas were starting to move out of Center to get away from the mosquito-infested swamps around the banks of the Anhangabaú River. Green and leafy Higienópolis was one of the most sought-after destinations. Even today some of the elegant mansions from 80 years ago still remain. It lies on a slight rise west of Downtown, centered around Rua Higienópolis and Avenida Angelica It is here you'll find the small but restaurant- and the Brazilian Art Museum (FAAP) , as well as one of the city's nicest malls, / p>
What was once a track along a ridgeline through virgin Atlantic rainforest has come quite a way in just over 100 years. Over one million people and 100,000 cars make their way along the Paulista Avenue on any given business day. Laid out back in 1891, the street was designed as a grand ceremonial boulevard, the place for Sao Paulo coffee barons and factory owners to build their magnificent villas. One of these grand mansions still remains, the House of Roses near the Brigadeiro Subway stop. Beginning in the '30s, however, the old mansions gave way to office buildings and then ever-higher commercial skyscrapers. Collectively, they make for an impressive statement of wealth and prestige, though individually the architecture is pretty mediocre. There are two well worthwhile attractions near the north end of the Avenue: the São Paulo Art Museum (MASP) and, just opposite, Siqueira Campos Park, Trianon Park For shoppers, the south end of the avenue is anchored by a large upscale mall, the Patio Paulista Mall>
Linked by a single large arterial, Avenida Brig. Faria Lima, Pinheiros and Itaim Bibi flank the Jardins to the north and south respectively. Pinheiros lies sandwiched between Jardim Paulista and the nightlife-rich Vila Madalena. Itaim Bibi flanks the southeast side of Ibirapuera park. Both are prime residential neighborhoods, with good hotels and dining options. Itaim Bibi is particularly blessed with restaurants. Avenida Brig. Faria Lima also has the Casa Brasileira Museum , and the upscale Mall Iguatemi mall.
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