I've never been to Sao Paulo and I'm a little overwhelmed by all the hotel options. I'd like to stay in a hotel that is central and gives me good sense of what Sao Paulo is like. I'd love to know where locals tell their friends to stay when they visit, and why those areas and hotels are special. thanks!
I would suggest 3 neighborhoods. Bela Vista near to Av. Paulista or Moema or Vila Madalena. The advantage at Bela Vista is that there is near to metro station, is safe and have lots of things to do. And it is "a new center". In a 5 miles radius you have all main places to know in the city. Yet, Moema and Vila Madalena are best places to eat and go to a bar.
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Definitely somewhere close to Paulista Ave! Downtown (where historical places are) will be close enough, you'll have all sorts of service practically 24/7 and be able to move easily everywhere else. Restaurants in this area are a bit expensive but most of them are worth it (let's say 90% of best ones are located nearby). Paulista surroundings reflect how the city changed from colonial times to its rise as the most important financial center and are also great to observe its cultural diversity and architecture. Last tip: main tourist attractions are served by subway lines so make sure you choose a hotel that is close to a station of lines green or blue.
I had never really spent any time in Sao Paulo until my husband and I went there for a week on our last trip to Brazil, last November. It can be mind-boggling when you are looking for a place to stay to figure out what's right for you. If you stay near downtown, there are some conveniences, but it tends to be noisy and the hotels more expensive. Sao Paulo has a fantastic, easy to use metro system, and you can get almost anywhere you want to go using the metro. That said, we stayed in an apartment which we found through Airbnb in Vila MarianaVila Mariana. We enjoyed it, because it was not too noisy but the metro, malls (which often contain banks, etc.), and restaurants are all within an easy walking distance. Also, one of the largest parks of Sao Paulo, Ibirapuera Park, is there and there are several art museums right in the park or adjacent to it. Be prepared to walk a lot! One thing about Vila Mariana, and this may be true in other areas, I don't know, but the sidewalks are very uneven, you are constantly going up or down because the sidewalk wasn't built at the same level as the driveways. Be sure to watch your step!
This is difficult, It depends on what do you want in your trip; in general, good tip is to stay close to downtown and as closest as possible to a metro station.
Pinheiros and Vila Madalena are probably the most charming neighbourhoods of Sao Paulo. Jardins is a good option if you want to have it a bit more upscale - anywhere between Avenida Paulista and Rua Oscar Freire.
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The area around Paulista Ave is good to stay in. It's an upscale part of the city that has a lot of choice when it comes to eating out and going for a drink at night and it's also a good shopping area.
In such a massive city it's really important not to be way out in the suburbs unless you have a specific reason to be there.