A green island in the big gray city. Situated at Ibirapuera neighborhood on the south side of the city, Parque do Ibirapuera is the biggest park in São Paulo, it is to São Paulo as Central Park is to New York. It was created in 1956 for the 400th anniversary of the city, with buildings designed by famous architect Oscar Niemeyer and landscaped by Roberto Burle Marx.
It is where people go jogging, ride their bikes, skate board or just lay on the grass on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Aside from trees, you’ll find a whole lot of other things there like museums, monuments, convention centers…here’s a list:
MAM – Museu de Arte Moderna (“Modern Art Museum”) situated at the Marquise, a place where young people meet to skate and skateboard;
Oca – (which means “hut” in the local indigenous language, given its round shape) it harbors both the Museu da Aeronáutica (“Air Force Museum”) and the Museu do Folclore (“Folklore Museum”) as well as special art exhibitions;
Jardim das Esculturas – Sculpture’s Garden;
Auditório Ibirapuera – the latest construction also designed by Niemeyer. It is my favorite spot, looks great on photos;
Pavilhão da Bienal – a building that holds the International Biannual Arts exhibition, Animamundi, and a whole lot of other conventions.
Besides the ones listed here which are the most important, there’s also the Planetarium, Japanese Garden, Museu Afro Brazil, Praça da Paz – which, once in a while, holds free open-air concerts, jogging tracks, and sports courts. Be sure to cross the metal bridge with a view to the lake and the city on the back. The best time to visit it are weekday afternoons, as the park is usually crowded on Saturdays and Sundays and it’s difficult to find a spot to relax.
One last warning, here in Brazil we usually don’t sunbathe in the park wearing bikinis or topless as Europeans do. So keep your clothes on if you don’t want to become the major attraction at the park. ;)