At first sight, the city of São Paulo seems very gray -- grayer than any other Brazilian city. But first looks can be very deceiving... A group of street artists has taken it upon themselves to fill the streets with color. Especially in the Vila Madalena neighborhood the walls are covered in graffiti.
Overall, São Paulo is a very tall city, scattered with skyscrapers reaching high. Being composed entirely of very low and small houses makes the Vila Madalena neighborhood stand out to its surroundings. The only exception is the Instituto Tomie Ohtake.
Vila Madalena is the most bohemian neighborhood in the city. During the day, these streets — filled with art galleries and trendy second hand shops — are very quiet. But at night, when they fill with thousands of people enjoying a drink in one of its many bars, it gets rather noisy.
What makes Vila Madalena truly special to me, is its street art. Graffiti can be found all throughout the city, but nowhere is it so highly concentrated as here. The walls are almost completely covered by some of the most spectacular works of art I have ever seen, especially around the Rua Harmonia.
Beco do Batman and Beco do Aprendiz are two small alleys, so extensively covered in street art, that they seem like a public art gallery. Obviously, a visit is free, and it will give you a taste of the works by almost all street artists that operate in the city. As lovely as its is during the day, at night it is safest to avoid this neighborhood.