Things to do in São Paulo (this Christmas break)

For the majority of this Christmas break, I will be staying in São Paulo. We have five weeks of free time between December 19th and January 22nd, and if you’re going to stick around the summer sun as I will, you might be thinking: I’m going to run out of Netflix shows to watch–what will I do then?! Fear not! I didn’t want to get bored myself, so here is some research I have done. The list includes specific Christmas attractions in São Paulo and some general fun activities you can do any time.

Ibirapuera Park (The Christmas Tree): On a normal day, you can go to the park for a walk, run or bike, stop to play a basketball game or join a yoga class. The park is fun and active, and a great place to go with friends and family. Then, after you’ve sweat under the summer sun, end your trip with a fresh açaí bowl or coconut water. During Christmas, however, the park has a huge, 85 foot Christmas tree adorned with lights. Many trees in the park are also covered with lights as well as the fountain on the big lake. The weeks leading up to Christmas, the tree is open for viewing from 6-11pm on weekends, and on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, from 10 am to 4 pm.

Normandia Street: Located in Moema, you can walk up and down, looking through the stores or having a cup of coffee in a fake-snow-adorned café. There will be more local stalls and stores open from 10am-7pm, Friday to Sunday. There, you can find handcrafted goods and Brazilian street culture. The street will be blanketed in the festive spirit, so if you’re in need of some Christmas vibes, head over there.

Avenida Paulista: All I have to say here: there is a 15 meter inflatable Santa Claus. You can spend ages walking down this avenue, taking in the Christmas decorations, and enjoying the street life. There are also around 80 Christmas trees lining the avenue, so if you are looking for a good Snapchat streak photo, take one of all the trees lit and lined up!

MASP: As the museum of modern art in São Paulo, it is arguably one of the best in the city. It constantly holds intriguing exhibitions and is an inexpensive way to spend the afternoon. Over the break, there will be three exhibitions to see. The first, by Rubem Valentim called Construções Afro-Atlânticas,  portrays fundamental Brazilian arts and history from the 20th century by afro-Atlantic people. The next is by Sonia Gomes, a mineira living in São Paulo, called Ainda Assim Me Levanto, which is a sculpture collection made up of many different colours and materials and uses traditional and contemporary styles. Finally, there will also be Acervo em Transformação. Although this exhibition has already been at the museum since May, the works shown keeps rotating. It is a collection that focuses on figurative art and reflects the history of the museum’s first pieces.

Beco do Batman / Batman Alley: In the Vila Madalena neighbourhood, this is a must-see in São Paulo. And, it isn’t something you just see once. Essentially, this is an attraction of a variety of streets filled with graffiti. The artwork is done by locals and is as impressive as it is thought-provoking. Once you’ve finished taking in all the images, there are many quaint cafés within walking distance and boutiques to browse through.

Shopping Malls: For those who aren’t a fan of the outdoors, go to a mall. All of the malls are decorated in the holiday spirit, and it is a picturesque sight to behold. Besides, there’s enough air conditioning to hide from the summer humidity.

Cinema: If you really want to keep up that TV-movie-watching marathon, just go to the movies. Cinemark and Cinépolis have a selection that keeps changing, so you won’t run out of movies to watch. This holiday season there is a live-action version of the Nutcracker with American Ballet Theatre prima-ballerina Misty Copeland. Fun fact: she was the first African-American prima ballerina with that company. Another movie coming up is Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt and Lin Manuel Miranda. I don’t know about you, but the only thing I’m looking forward to is Miranda’s cockney accent! Lastly, On the Basis of Sex with Felicity Jones will be released around Christmas time, and it promises a legal drama that will rattle its audiences. There’s no time to waste, so go out and buy your tickets!

Sources: TripAdvisor, MASP, Cinemark, Hilton, Thisismyhappiness, Parqueibirapuera.