Blessed with over 2 million square meters of green space, São Paulo’s version of Central Park offers quite a bit to see and do. You can wander the paths beside pleasant lagoons or rent a bicycle and cycle the pathways. Every Sunday morning there’s a free outdoor concert in the park’s Praça da Paz. Sunday from 10am to 4pm you can take advantage of the Bosque de Leitura, a kind of free outdoor lending library that lets you borrow magazines or books (including many in English) to read in the park for the duration of day. In the corner near Gate 3 there’s the Museu de Arte Moderna (Museum of Modern Art; see listing, below). Just nearby there’s the excellent Museu Afro Brasil and the OCA Auditorium, a flying saucer-shaped building that often hosts traveling art exhibits.
Monument to Latin America
Designed by famed Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, the monument consists of a vast field of concrete dotted about the edges with perfectly geometrical concrete pavilions originally painted blinding white, but long-since streaked by the rain. The two pavilions of most interest to visitors unimpressed by architecture are the Art Gallery and the Hall of Creativity. The Art Gallery hosts changing fine-art exhibits, while the Hall of Creativity is a permanent home to a fun and fascinating display of folk art from across the length and breadth of Latin America. Back outside, in the center of all this hard-edged mathematical purity stands a giant concrete hand, its palm incised with a blood-red map of Latin America.
Parque da Monica
Young kids will love the Parque da Monica, an amusement park based on the popular Brazilian cartoon character Monica. It’s located at the Shopping Eldorado and easily accessible by bus. The park includes games, activities, rides, and shows geared towards kids in the 2-to-10 age range.
Brazil’s biggest roller coaster plus a huge variety of other rides and games are all at this large amusement park, about a 20-minute walk from the Barra Funda Metrô stop. Note that on weekends the place is packed, however, and the wait for the better rides can get long.
This large and impressive zoo has more than 3,000 species, most in large enclosures that resemble the animals’ native habitats. There are also lunch and picnic areas, and a petting zoo for smaller children. Located about 45 minutes southeast of the city.