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Travelzoo Experience: A Rainy Day in São Paulo

One of the most coveted perks at Travelzoo is the Travelzoo Experience, in which Deal Experts and other employees take advantage of the same travel, entertainment and local deals we publish to our subscribers and report back on their experience.

While I was blessed with unseasonably warm days late last year in São Paulo (or so I was told), my last day in the city was an overcast and drizzly mess. Of course, I’d saved a visit to Parque Ibirapuera until this day and I was determined to go, rain-or-shine.

Even though the subway system was extensive, clean and relatively easy to figure out, there were no stops super close to the park. I wanted to make my way there via the Metro so I walked down to the Paulista/Consolação stop near my hotel, paid my $3 reais for a “unitário” -- the Portuguese word for a one-way, single-ride ticket -- and I was on my way. I walked about a half-mile from the closest stop on the map (after confirming its safety with friends who had lived in this city). As I approached the park, I could see the famed Obelisco de São Paulo which served as a nice reminder that I was going the right way.

There are several gates to enter the park, interwoven walking paths and even a lake. Admission is free and the opportunities are endless! I originally planned to hit up the MAM (Museu de Arte Moderna), one of several museums located in the park, but as the rain got heavier, I literally made a run for the closest museum I saw, Museu Afrobrasil, and what a lucky chance this was!

There was an awesome temporary exhibit about Marilyn Monroe -- the relationship between the famed film star and Afro-Brazilian art was lost on me and my elementary Portuguese language skills but the great thing about attending a museum in a country where you don’t speak the language is that art can still be enjoyed… even if you can’t understand much of the captions. My other favorite exhibit was “O que dizem as coisas” by Washington Silvera, a contemporary artist who has multimedia pieces connecting objects and thoughts and a collection title that loosely translates to “what things say.” Admission to this museum was also free; I only had to put my purse and water in a locker and I was on my way. I absolutely adored this museum and wandered around for a couple hours looking at the various displays.

Before I knew it, I had to head back to the hotel to grab my bag and catch a red-eye back to San Francisco. I wish I had dedicated more time to this park -- there is literally something for everyone from a planetarium to bicycles for rent, and even free concerts, a special night light and water show and a lending library on Sunday mornings providing reading material to be borrowed and enjoyed while relaxing on the grounds.

Considering I had spent much of my first days shopping on Rua Oscar Freire -- where the espresso and Champagne are both free-flowing and free in many of the stores -- it was nice to have another day where I spent no money and learned a bit about the region’s art and culture in the process. I’d consider this park a can’t-miss stop for visitors to Brazil!

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Deal Expert, New York
Monday, January 28, 2013
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Morgan Ashley Parker