São Paulo is the business heart of Brazil and of South America. The economy of the state of São Paulo alone is larger than the economy of any other South American country, so when the business leaders of São Paulo talk, the region listens.
The city is the largest in South America, almost twice the size of Rio, and the fourth largest urban centre in the world. With a population of close to 11 million it is the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, while the metropolitan area’s population of over 21 million puts it on a par with New York and not far behind the entire population of Australia or the Nordic countries. It covers an area five times that of Paris or equal to Cuba.
Taking the size of São Paulo into account is very important for any visitor, because if you choose a hotel in the wrong part of town you can get stuck in the traffic for hours as you try to cross the city.
The Paulistas, as the residents of the city are known, work hard, but they also play hard. They are aware that their city does not have the beauty and charm of neighbouring Rio, but that does not stop them from using their leisure time to the best, especially at night.
The city’s nightlife caters for every taste and budget, as well as every age group and sexual persuasion. Bars and clubs abound. The city is popular with clubbers, yet also offers world-class opera and ballet. It is a key stop on most “world tours”, so on almost any given night it will be possible to see a show involving leading Brazilian and international acts and artists.
São Paulo is a city that prides itself on its gastronomic excellence, offering not only the best of Brazilian cuisine, especially the barbecue houses, but also a truly eclectic mix of restaurants serving dishes from the four corners of the globe. For many food critics, São Paulo now boasts the best selection of top restaurants in the world.
Not surprisingly São Paulo has the largest number of hotel rooms in Brazil, so visitors looking for a place to base themselves during the World Cup could to worse that to plan to stay in São Paulo as many of the business travellers that normally fill the city’s hotels during the week will be staying away during the World Cup.
The city itself will host six games in the new purpose built Arena de São Paulo, including the opening match between Brazil and Croatia on 12 June. The 66,000-seater stadium, which will be home to Corinthians after the tournament, will also host one of the semi-finals on 9 July.
Arena de São Paulo – Schedule:
Thursday, 12 June, 17.00 (Brazil x Croatia – Opening Game)
Thursday, 19 June, 16.00 (Uruguay x England)
Monday, 23 June, 13.00 (Netherlands x Chile)
Thursday, 26 June, 17.00 (Belgium x South Korea)
Tuesday, 1 July, 13.00 (round of 16)
Wednesday, 9 July, 17.00 (semi-final)