Andre Motta is one of our best friends from Brazil. Some might say that he’s the reason why Fotostrasse went from a photo project about Berlin to a travel blog with a focus on photography and Berlin. He is the person that told us to go to Umeå in 2014 and helped us start our blog.
Every time we go to Brazil to visit our families and friends, Andre Motta and Dani Krugets always come up with new and cool things to do or incredible places to see. They are the localest São Paulo people that we know – even though Dani is actually from the south of Brazil: Porto Alegre. You’ll know a bit more about it once her interview is on the air.
Going Local in São Paulo with Andre Motta
We’ve kindly asked Andre to show us his São Paulo, a chaotic city with 23 million people and full of concrete, yet addictive.
São Paulo is a unique city that is not for everyone. And remember all the times you’ve heard the saying, “New York: if you make it there, you make it anywhere.” Well we call bullshit! If you make it in São Paulo, then that’s when you’re fully ready for the world!
Let’s see what Andre Motta has to recommend.
Go to the top of Martinelli Building
This building was the first skyscraper in Sao Paulo and has a fantastic story: by the time it was built in 1929, the majority of the people were afraid and didn’t trust superstructures.
depois de algumas tentativas frustradas, hoje rolou de subir no topo do edificio martinelli, o primeiro arranha-ceu de SP. construido em 1929, o sr. martinelli fez a sua casa aqui em cima pra mostrar que era seguro, ja que as pessoas tinham medo de predios altos! baita visita, ainda mais pq o banespao, logo ao lado, fechou de vez.
“depois de algumas tentativas frustradas, hoje rolou de subir no topo do edificio martinelli, o primeiro arranha-ceu de SP. construido em 1929, o sr….”
So, to prove that it was safe, Mr. Martinelli built his own house (actually a mansion!) on the top of it and lived there with his family for years! Now you can visit the house, located on the 30th floor.
While there, you can experience fantastic views of downtown Sao Paulo and learn a lot about the history of the city. Oh, and the best part: it’s free!
Make some bets at the Jockey Club
Have fun, drink beers, and win some money. Sounds amazing, right? It’s possible at the Jockey Club! You can place small bets starting from only R$ 2 and win big if it’s your lucky day.
Since it is located on the west side of the Pinheiros River, you have a fantastic view of the skyline and can also spot airplanes, since it’s a route for descending planes at the Congonhas Airport.
While watching the races you can eat, drink, and also leave your kids at the playground. The best tip to win is to keep an eye on the old guys’ bets. They know everything about the horses!
Have a meal at Liberdade
Did you know that Sao Paulo has the biggest Japanese community outside of Japan? Because of that, there is a huge Japanese neighbourhood called Liberdade – Freedom, in English. To be honest, nowadays it’s not only a Japanese neighborhood, but an all-encompassing Asian neighbourhood. It’s easy to find great Korean, Chinese and even Taiwanese places to eat.
Don’t be afraid of the small creepy doors with mafia-like Jap guys in front of them. Just make your way inside the restaurants and have a great meal. My favorite place is a Izakaya – a typical Japanese bar – called Kintaro. It is run by two Sumo fighters and they offer a mix of Japanese and Brazilian snacks and the coldest beer in town. Don’t miss it!
A word of warning: avoid Liberdade on the weekends because it’s always crowded and every place has long queues.
The last time we were in Brazil, we even visited the area with André and Dani and they showed us their favorite places.
Picnic at Cinemateca Brasil
Imagine a park dedicated to the art of cinema. That imagination becomes a reality at the Cinemateca Brasileira! The park offers a huge space for open-air exhibitions, a cool cafe and a nice area for picnics – they have tables too!
Gather your friends, brings drinks and snacks, and spend the best afternoon in Sao Paulo. It’s free and you can enjoy a great sunset there.
Cycle at Avenida Paulista
São Paulo is one the worst cities on Earth for you to own a car. It’s expensive and you will spend most of your day stuck in traffic jams. Over the last few years, we have witnessed an increase in the amount of bicyclists and bicycle culture in general. Even the most important avenue has a fantastic bike lane now.
If you don’t own a bike, you can rent one from one of the 10 stations along the Avenida Paulista and enjoy the 3km each way.
We hope you enjoyed reading about São Paulo. If this was enough for you to make up your mind and travel to the biggest city in South America, please drop us a message.
I’m from there and I can recommend the best neighborhoods to stay in and some other stuff to see. It is an amazing city that will blow your mind, everything – EVERYTHING – is 24/7! You can find Chinese food at 5am on a Tuesday; or go to the movies after midnight; or find a club to go at 10am. Opportunities are endless.
You’ll love it!
Going Local is a series of interviews that we are doing with people that live and enjoy the cities they live in. You can read more interviews filled with tips here! And if you want to be featured here, this link will tell you how.