Culture Out On the Streets of São Paulo!
Join the ride
The Virada Cultural programme begins in the early days of Summer in neighbouring cities, and reaches São Paulo in June. There are performances and events everywhere, in streets and parks, and auditoriums and cultural venues open their doors to the city’s crowds. During a whole weekend, paulistas can freely attend concerts, theatre and dance performances, take their family to a circus show or dance down the street to the sound of samba and choro bands.
As far as culture is concerned, São Paulo is truly stimulating and surprising. Some of its neighbourhoods have a feverish activity — a simple walk through the city may reveal an anonymous work of art painted on a wall, the sounds of a talented street musician, or an alternative theatre house inside a discreet building.
Exhibitions and theatres
A cultural tour can begin in a conventional and effective fashion: the city centre is teeming with museums and venues. Avenida Paulista, the main street, is home to Itaú Cultural (exhibitions, cultural promotion and events centre) and MASP — Museu de Arte de São Paulo, with a collection that includes works by Brazilian and international artists, from Antiquity to the contemporary era. In other venues, the functions of museum and gallery intertwine with those of library and education centre: São Paulo Cultural Centre and Pinacoteca.
“Sampa” is a non-stop show!
Quite naturally, Brazil’s biggest city is a great place for music lovers! The local music scene developed around the many auditoriums, open air stages, concert venues and live music clubs. SESC centres are particularly relevant in this dynamic, with programmes including performances by major national and international artists.
The Júlio Prestes train station also houses Sala São Paulo, the base of operations for the São Paulo State Symphony Orchestra. Fans of opera and classical music may also satisfy their needs at the Theatro São Pedro. Further south, at the great Ibirapuera Park, other sounds can be heard in the Ibirapuera Auditorium — designed by the great Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, this venue is home for events like Brasiljazzfest, the country’s main international jazz festival.
Finally, São Paulo is obviously a great place to listen and dance to MPB, chorinho and samba. All you need to do is explore the clubs and bars (“botecos”) that pop up in neighbourhoods like Campinas, Vila Madalena e Pinheiros.
Art comes alive on the streets
By this time, you’ve realised that in this place it is important to get out of the galleries, clubs and auditoriums and hit the streets, where you can easily get into the cultural dynamic that fuels events like the Virada. On sundays, Avenida Paulista is partially closed to car traffic and the sidewalks are filled with art and antique markets. It is also on these days that the “Minhocão” (the local popular name for the Presidente Costa e Silva overpass) becomes a pedestrian street and a stage for artistic interventions (the place is decorated with murals from local artists and you may find yourself watching an open air theatre performance).