10 things to do in Porto Alegre, Brazil
Capital of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre combines modern architecture with an active cultural life and an agenda that engages the inhabitants in several activities through which they enjoy life in the city. Visitors to Porto Alegre are invited to join in. Want to go?
There are many reasons to visit this museum that opened in 2008, not least because it is in an award-winning building by the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira. With its strategically placed windows offering views over Lake Guaíba, the space is home to works by the expressionist painter Iberê Camargo and other expressionist artists, both new and well-known. The building is over a number of floors, in each of which there are various exhibitions.
Porto Alegre has many museums and cultural locations with full agendas. As well as the Iberê Camargo Museum, you can also visit the PUCRS Science and Technology Museum, the Júlio de Castilhos Museum (which has the boots of the “giant” Francisco Ângelo Guerreiro), the Rio Grande do Sul Museum of Art, the Santander Cultural, the Casa de Cultura Mário Quintana, the Hipólito José da Costa Media Museum, the Military Command Museum and the Gasworks Cultural Centre on the banks of Lake Guaíba. And there is much more!
Also known as Parque Farroupilha, this park offers 40 hectares of green space right in the heart of the city. At weekends it is busier than usual: Saturday mornings it hosts the Ecological Fair, while on Sundays you will find the Brique da Redenção, with its stalls selling antiques, handicrafts and artworks. There are also areas designed especially for children, complete with rides.
During your stroll through the old city centre why not visit the Santa Cruz Building on Rua 7 de Setembro, which was built during the 1950s and 1960s. This offers the best panoramic views over the entire city. At 107 metres tall, it provides a complete view of the city, where you can appreciate how large Porto Alegre is.
This is one of the most important monuments in the capital of Rio Grande do Sul. The first mass in the Porto Alegre Metropolitan Museum was held in 1922, and over the years it has been remodelled and extended. The stained glass and mosaics are the highlight: the brilliant material used in the façade contains Murano crystal and has around 10,000 shades.
Lake Guaíba dominates the city and is there at every turn. You can get to know it better by taking a boat trip on the lake - on the Cisne Branco - and enjoy a different view of the city while discovering a very interesting location.
Caminhos Rurais is a group of businesses and activities that help you get to know Porto Alegre’s rural world. Far from the busy city, it is possible to visit the green fields, see farm animals, explore nature, try local biological cuisine, etc. Caminhos Rurais offers many enjoyable trips through which you can discover Porto Alegre’s greener side.
Discover the city’s history by wandering through the old centre. Start at the Mercado Público (Public Market), which first opened in 1869, then stroll through the streets and discover such places as the Talavera de la Reina Fountain, donated by the Spanish. If you are feeling peckish, then head to the Chalé na Praça, apparently dismantled and brought over from Europe before opening here in 1885. It is a very special place.
This is the focus of much of the city’s entertainment. Home to a number of museums, Praça da Alfândega also has many shops, a shopping centre and stalls selling handicrafts and regional produce. The square is also where the annual book fair is held. Keep an eye out for the African footprint, which is part of a project by the Museu do Percurso do Negro em Porto Alegre and the famous statues of Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Mário Quintina. The perfect place to sit and take a photograph with them.