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Welcome to a world of travel, entertainment and culture, curated from a global collective of writers, photojournalists and artists. Each article of our award-winning magazine is sure to inspire, no matter which of our destinations you call home.
            Back to Open Skies

Travel to São Paulo



30 August 2017

Sandwiched between the elite district of Jardim Paulista and achingly hip Vila Madalena (a mecca for graffiti and murals), multi-cultural, bohemian and slightly grungy Pinheiros is finally stepping out from the shadow of its hilly neighbours.

This formerly working-class area has its own street-art shrines, town houses repurposed for galleries, shaded cacti courtyards and even co-working spaces which double up as launderettes serving cocktails. Rua dos Pinheiros – one of the city’s prime gastronomic destinations, is strewn with restaurants and bars that give nightlife-rich Vila Madalena a run for its money.

Misleadingly, Pinheiros (which translates as pines) is more grey than green nowadays. The dense forest of Brazilian subtropical pine trees that once carpeted its 8 km square footprint, bordered by Reboucas, Dr Arnaldo and Nações Unidas avenues, is long gone. But thankfully, nature still pervades – with ancient trees towering over Pinheiros’ low-rise housing (some of the city’s most desirable) and vertical gardens breathing new life into urban structures.

The last few years have seen investment flooding into the area, thanks to the district’s Faria Lima Station, built in 2013 as a welcome addition to what is South America’s only driverless subway line. But in the face of modernisation and inevitable gentrification, Pinheiros has not forgotten its roots. Turn-of-the-century botequim cafés still outnumber its millennial-filled cocktail bars, and many of its clubs play authentic Latin America music, not to mention Samba, which practically pulsates from the bottom of Cardeal Arcoverde road. Local chorinho (traditional bands), meanwhile, have made Benedito Calixto Square their second home. Every Saturday the animated square hosts a flea market where you can shop for vinyl, antiques and try local street food like tapioca cake or R$10 pots of acai, topped with granola and honey.

The square is intersected by the 3 km-long Teodoro Sampaio road, where you can find a throng of shops specialising in musical instruments and luthiers, which line the four-blocks extending from Alves Guimarães road to Clinicas Metro station.

And whilst Pinherios may not have Vila Mariana’s art cache, several cultural centres such as Tomie Ohtake and Sesc Pinheiros, together with a slew of second-hand bookstores and independent galleries, are bolstering its artistic credentials.

Vintage Finds + Vegan Footwear


Behind At La Garçonne’s ivy-clad, neon-signed façade could just be the city’s best collection of high-end vintage interiors – housed under the roof of a vast 500 square metre warehouse. American, neon vintage signs are propped up on Brazilian, modernist furniture crafted from rare Jacaranda wood, alongside one-off pieces such as an antique naval luminaire and table lamp fashioned from a copper agricultural poison sprayer. It’s no wonder owner and curator Fábio Souza, who conceived the brand in 2009, rents out his highly sought after European, Brazilian and American artifacts for use in lavish fashion editorials. And the catwalk collaborations don’t end there. Souza’s partner; Alexandre Herchcovitch, happens to be one of the country’s most celebrated fashion designers. You can check the native designer’s street-wear couture at the rear of the store, where vegan shoes and signature hand-painted vintage jackets are artfully displayed between (very sinkable) Italian Chesterfield sofas and objets d’art, that retail between R$45.00 and R$30,000.00.

R. Francisco Leitão, 134 Pinheiros, 05414-020 | 11 2364-3280 | alagarconne.com.br

In the Area (Seven-minute walk)


Shop sustainably at this gorgeous boutique, which sells statement vegan boots, sandals, slippers and Oxford shoes crafted from recycled plastic, rubber waste, and vintage clothes produced in Southern Brazil’s Porto Alegre.

R. Artur de Azevedo, 1295 Pinheiros, 05404-013 | 11-3892-6715

Stay + Smoothies


Bunking down in this restored 60s villa-turned-boutique-hotel will leave you feeling more like a Paulistano than a regular hotel guest. Located on a quiet, tree-lined residential street a stone’s throw from lively Benedito Calixto Square, patrons can eat breakfast out of the open-fronted garage, and make themselves at home in the vintage-themed living room, adorned with antique trunks and antique sewing machines. The 14 bedrooms are decidedly more spartan. The odd retro trinket and riotously coloured fruit print cushion (or two) softens the unfinished steel, exposed brick and concrete industrial walls. Art lovers will appreciate the original photography (which you can purchase) sourced from local gallery Compota Edições Limitadas. Owners and self-confessed travel junkies Fábio Queiroz and chef Demian Figueiredo, go the extra mile to familiarise their Paulistanos in the making with the local surroundings. Daily tips are scrawled onto a huge blackboard, whilst rental bikes are stacked up in the cacti-filled courtyard.

R. Lisboa, 493 Cerqueira César, 05413-000 | 11 3081-5030

In the Area (Ten-minute walk)


Who doesn’t like a toilet decorated with a hanging pineapple lamp? Its quirky interior and five-a-day smoothies (best slurped down in its glorious vertical garden) make Dona Vitamina a favourite neighbourhood café.

R. Mateus Grou, 152 Pinheiros, 05415-040 | 11 3063-0582

Food Market + Everything


There aren’t many places in São Paulo (or any city for that matter) where you can rent a luxury-label closet, sip on a G&T over a laundry cycle and dine on multi-cuisine food curated by daily-changing chefs – all under one roof. And there’s more. The creative, collaborative space – housed across four adjoining buildings, encompasses a funky, co-working annex and skill exchange at the ‘House of Learning’. The man behind it is former creative director-turned-entrepreneur Wolfgang Baccarat Menke, who’s tapping into the booming global sharing economy. Nicknamed “the Netflix of clothing”, fashionistas can upgrade their wardrobe with brands like Christian Dior and Zadig & Voltaire for as little as R$50 per month. The company is also helping nuture local, culinary talent by enabling up-and-coming chefs to have their own restaurant for 24-hours. French chefs Benoit Mathurin and Pierre Anquier sharpened their chef’s knives here, before opening their restaurant Rooftop Esther in Republic Square.

R. Dr. Virgílio de Carvalho Pinto, 47 Pinheiros, 05415-030 | 11 2366-4287

In the Area (Seventeen-minute walk)


Big-name chefs Alex Atala, Rodrigo Oliveira and Checho Gonzales have innovative stalls and table-less restaurants at this traditional market, where you can buy Amazonian mushrooms and taste traditional tapioca or fresh ceviche.

R. Pedro Cristi, 89 –Pinheiros, 05421-040 | 11 3518-9096