If you have opened this blog post asking, “Oh Andrew” What is this shit you are writing?” Well…I get it! The word ‘selfie’ has become somewhat synonymous with vain celebrities who feed off likes and filters, right? Taking about taking selfies in 2017 isn’t the coolest thing to be doing, I know.
But having said this, there is clearly a very strong demand for instantly sharable, visual imagery nowadays. And according to an article written by Forbes, you’re much likely to share pictures when traveling than at any other time. In fact, 71% of travelers with Instagram accounts will upload pictures onto this social media platform when traveling abroad.
And this made me wonder – where would a tourist go for the best Instagram pictures in São Paulo?
Had I been writing a blog post about Rio, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t need to make any suggestions. But as São Paulo is a different beast entirely, its selfie-potential isn’t so obvious to a first-time visitor. As Sarah Brown said in her interview for this site, “São Paulo isn’t the sort of city you can just turn up to and hope for the best; you need to arrive with a plan.” And if you’re like me, someone who likes to document your trips via pictures on social media, here are my top tips for the best places in the city to get those snaps.
I decided not to have a blog post made up entirely of my own selfies, so I have enlisted the help of some of my selfie-loving friends!
1) Terraço Itália – City View Selfie
In a city with as many skyscrapers as São Paulo, you should definitely go high to appreciate the views overlooking the city. The Martinelli building is perhaps the most obvious choice here, as it is free to visit…yet it seems to be eternally closed for renovations.
But fear not, you have another alternative!
My recommendation for a city view selfie would be the Terraço Itália. The restaurant is undeniably very expensive, but if you’re a tourist with a little cash to spend, I’d recommend the jazz bar above it. The breathtaking views over the city from here as the sun sets are certainly worth the entrance fee and price of a beer or two.
Selfie Safety: Once inside, you are very unlikely to have your phone robbed. Just be careful on the way in and out of this place, especially at night.
This 2.2 mile stretch of elevated highway has been described by some as a scar running through São Paulo. Many have called for it to be demolished and others would like to see it turned into a park (Similar to New York’s High Line). But right now it retains the same purpose it had when it first opened back in 1970 – as a means for cars to snake across the city. Outside of the hours it is used by drivers (6.30am-9.30pm during the week, 6.30am-3pm on a Saturday) you’re likely to see this stretch of road being reclaimed by dog walkers, skaters, runners and also those simply out for a stroll.
Selfie Safety: If you’re walking on the Minhocao on a Sunday, I have found this place to be relatively safe. Having said this, a few weeks ago my friend had his phone robbed – in broad daylight – as he was taking a selfie. The thief was on a bike and he snatched the phone out of my friend’s hand. So I’d recommend discretion with your photo taking, and also an eye out for those around you.
Inaugurated in 1933, the Municipal Market is – without a doubt – one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Many go to see the building for its Greek style columns and stained glass windows. However, this place is better known for one thing…its food!
You should to try the mortadela (bologne) sandwich and bacalhau (cod) pastels here, and then perhaps stop off at one of the many fruit stalls. The fruit vendors may well give you a sample of some of the exotic fruits on offer, in the hope that it will to encourage you to buy some of their produce.
If you want to take a selfie at the market, you have a number of options. You might choose to take a selfie alongside the stunning architecture, the delicious food, the colourful fruit stalls, spice stalls or even the wine stores.
Selfie Safety: If you’re taking the metro to this place be extra vigilant, the downtown area surrounding the market is pickpocket heaven!
This alley is basically an open air gallery, home to some of the most talented graffiti artists both from Brazil and abroad. Although there is no shortage of graffiti in the city of São Paulo, Beco do Batman is a centralised, must-visit location for those with an interest in this art form.
The work adorning the alley often changes, which means that there are always tourists flocking – cameras ready – to see this every-changing tourist attraction.
Selfie Safety: Vila Madalena is generally considered a safe-ish neighbourhood, but this alley has been known to attract pickpockets.
Back in 2015, Ibirapuera park was included in a list written by The Guardian as one of the top 10 urban parks in the world, and it’s easy to see why. This place is over 15 square miles of tranquility, an ideal place for some respite from the chaos that comes with being in the city.
It is a very popular spot for locals to exercise. In fact, when it comes to selfies, I’d argue that no selfie in the city says “I’m exercising” quite as well as one in Ibirapuera park!
This was a selfie I took in the run up to a half marathon that I ran earlier this year, as I rested on a bench among the sea of greenery that the park has to offer.
Selfie Safety: Ibirapuera isn’t generally considered dangerous during the day, but as with most places in the city, I’d advise an air of caution with your phones/cameras.
Downtown São Paulo is a really interesting place. Sure, it is old, run-down and generally not well maintained; yet is is undeniably charming and home to some captivating architecture.
With so many tourist attractions concentrated in this area, a visitor is likely to find themselves downtown at some point during a sightseeing trip to São Paulo. Here is a selfie my friend Lucas took whilst out on a bike ride down town, with the iconic Martinelli building in the background.
Selfie Safety: Downtown São Paulo is certainly no Disneyland, so be careful. Ensure your cameras/ phones are out of sight when walking around, and assess your surroundings when taking a selfie. I’d also strongly advise avoiding this area at night.
São Paulo’s Japanese district is another of the most popular regions of the city for tourists. Arguably the best time to visit is for the Sunday fair, where you will find an array of stalls selling reasonably priced food (Such as yakisoba, tempura and guioza), plus a selection of handcraft goods and clothing.
Interested in learning more about Japanese immigration into Brazil? Check out my interview with Moritz, the guy behind the documentary Konnichiwa Brazil.
Selfie Safety: This area can be sketchy at night. If you decide to hit the fair on a Sunday, be mindful of potential pickpockets.
Being enveloped by the towering skyscrapers on one of Brazil’s most iconic streets is quite an experience on any day of the week. But since 2015, Avenida Paulista became closed to traffic on Sundays from 9am-5pm; making this place a whole lot more interesting one day each week. Now, as you stroll down this avenue, you’re likely to see families, couples, dog walkers, skaters, runners and pedestrians all using this avenue.
You will also see people stopping to talk to friends, to buy ice cream and to watch the street performers (Which usually include Bruno the bucket player, the guy I interviewed for my very first Meet the Locals interview). Then there are the cyclists in the centre of the avenue making use of the bike lane.
If you find yourself in São Paulo over a weekend, Avenida Paulista between the hours of 9am-5pm on a Sunday should definitely feature in your plans – with some great selfie opportunities to be had!
Selfie Safety: I’ve not heard of anyone being robbed here on a Sunday – this avenue at this time is generally pretty safe. it is common to see people with professional-looking cameras around their necks, taking pictures of the many things happening each Sunday. During the week Paulista can be a little more dangerous, so again, exercise an air of caution with cameras.
Where would you recommend a tourist go to get a great picture of the city? Is there anywhere else you would have included in this list?