São Paulo attractions for the elderly tourists

Ibirapuera Park. Photo: Caio Silveira/SPTuris.

Age cannot be a restriction to embark on an exciting trip. Besides choosing routes according to physical capabilities and budgets, the elderly tourist must take some precautions to enjoy everything the city has to offer. Senior-friendly destinations provide convenience, discounts and accessibility, which does not mean dull or boring activities. Discover the best in gastronomy, culture and entertainment São Paulo has to offer to people with more than 60 years.

Enjoying outdoors

Ibirapuera Park is a must if you wish to take a walk in the green areas of São Paulo. It is the most frequented park in São Paulo and has the largest number of attractions. Whoever walks in the park can choose to go to the Museum of Modern Art (MAM), to the Bienal Pavilion, to Oca, to the Japanese Pavilion and to the Plant Nursery. Moreover, there are many areas for physical activities, bike tracks, 13 sport courts, and playgrounds. Dogs are allowed in the park.

Besides Ibirapuera Park, the city has dozen other parks such as Villa-Lobos, on the West Zone of São Paulo, and Parque do Povo, on the South Zone.

Maria Luisa and Oscar Americano Foundation is ideal for a pleasant walk through the woods amid plants and trees of various species. There you can visit a collection of paintings from the 17th century, furniture, silverware, porcelain, tapestries and sacred art from the 18th century, and also enjoy the charming tearoom that serves bread, petit fours, cakes, pies, small sandwiches and jellies. The Foundation is located at Av. Morumbi and the admission ticket costs R$10 (to enjoy full tea you must pay R$ 55). The place does not accept credit or debit cards.

Cultural programs

Opened to the public on September 12, 1911, the Theatro Municipal de São Paulo is the stage of great and classic operas and ballets. Ticket prices vary and you can find them at popular prices. The theater hosts performances of the Municipal Symphony Orchestra and of the Orquestra Experimental de Repertório, Balé da Cidade, Quarteto de Cordas, Coral Lírico and Coral Paulistano.

The Latin America Memorial was created to spread Latin American manifestations of creativity and knowledge, always with the aim of integrating cultural, political, economic and social relations. It is divided in environments such as the Praça Cívica, an open space where you will find one of the major symbols of the Memorial, the sculpture “A Grande Mão” [The Big Hand], representing the blood spilled by Latin American people in their fight for freedom; Salão de Atos Tiradentes, with six panels that tell the saga of Latin American colonization; Auditório Simon Bolívar; the Latin American Library, with the largest collection on Latin American culture, with almost 30 thousand volumes; and Pavilhão da Criatividade Popular Darcy Ribeiro, where there is a scale model with almost a thousand miniatures and the main touristic attractions in Latin America, and a permanent exhibition of Latin American folk art.

With the aim of raising the Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo (Osesp) to an international quality standard, the great hall of Estação Júlio Prestes became Sala São Paulo. It has one of the best acoustics in the world thanks to its movable ceiling, which adapts the acoustics to the music that will be performed.

On the second floor, a gallery exhibits a 106-meter screen with simultaneous projections about the daily use of Portuguese; there are totems that explain the influence of other peoples and languages in the formation of the Portuguese language, a timeline that shows the history of the language and Beco das Palavras, with an electronic educational game about the origin and meaning of words. And finally the first floor has an area for temporary exhibitions.

For those who enjoy musical concerts, every Friday Casa dos Trovadores brings performances of a group of musicians that continue the Brazilian serenade tradition, performing dressed in costumes inspired in the 1920s. Free admission.

São Bento Monastery. Photo: José Cordeiro/ SPTuris.

A religious tour

São Bento monastery is one of the religious landmarks to visit in São Paulo. With approximately 40 monks living in the monastery, its most famous attractions are the masses with Gregorian chants accompanied by the music of a big pipe organ and the gift shop, which sells bread, cakes, candies, cookies and jellies made by the monks using secular recipes, kept for centuries in the abbey’s archives.

The major religious symbol in the city is the Sé Cathedral. The neo-Gothic-style cathedral took more than 40 years to be built. The first version of the church was built in 1591, when the Indian chief Tibiriçá chose the spot where the first temple of the city would be constructed using rammed earth. Today, the cathedral holds masses and weddings and it is a must-see attraction for anyone interested in religion.

Going shopping

São Paulo is the main destination of shopping tourism in the country. There are luxurious alternatives with the major international brands, or even shopping malls selling products at popular prices.

One of the most charming city addresses, Rua Oscar Freire is considered the eighth most luxurious street in the world. With almost 900 meters and more than 200 exclusive stores of national and international brands, it is located at the heart of Jardim Paulista. The street and its surroundings have a unique decoration, wide sidewalks and benches scattered all over the street.

Rua 25 de março is the biggest open-air market in Latin America, with more than three thousand stores. The entire region surrounding the street has stores selling costume jewelry, toys, decorative objects and home accessories. Other popular options are Bras and Bom Retiro.

The city is also the capital of shopping malls. In São Paulo we have more than 50 shopping malls for all tastes and budgets. If you are nearby Avenida Paulista don’t miss Frei Caneca, Higienópolis and Pátio Paulista shopping malls. Another option in the West Zone is Bourbon shopping mall.

Antique fairs

For those who prefer antique fairs, São Paulo has good options such as the antique fair which takes place every Sunday in the open area of Masp. In Vila Madalena there is the traditional handcraft market of Benedito Calixto square, which is similar to a flea market. It has about 300 sellers of decorative objects and antiques, and you can find there vinyl records (LPs), vintage objects and high-level decorative objects. For a quick bite, you can eat traditional food and snacks in the food stalls scattered throughout the fair.

Relaxing at the spa

Whoever looks for options to slow down the pace may go to some of the city spas. In Buddha Spa, near Ibirapuera, you will have Ayurvedic massage, body scrubs, also baths and ofuro immersion baths. At Espaço Girassol, in Vila Madalena, the day spa includes aromatherapy, chromotherapy and anti-stress massages with essential oils. Located at Tivoli Mofarrej hotel, in Jardins, Spa Elements is a luxury spa that offers massages, special hydration and aromatic oil baths.

São Paulo and its amazing restaurants

São Paulo has the best restaurants in Latin America and in the world. More than 15 thousand restaurants offer the most varied types of cuisine, including options for people with high blood pressure and diabetes.

Municipal Market. Photo: Caio Silveira/SPTuris.

São Paulo Municipal market, better known as Mercadão, is located between Rua 25 de Março and São Bento metro station, and it is one of the most beautiful landmarks in the city. Famous for the codfish pastel and the Brazilian mortadela sandwich, which already turned into gastronomic references, it also has a wide variety of products, from fruit, vegetables, and poultry to some spices.

Many establishments serve snacks, but, according to the magazine Veja São Paulo, if you want to try the most traditional Brazilian mortadela sandwich, go to Bar do Mané, on Rua E. The sandwich has between 250 to 300 grams of mortadela and costs R$ 11.

When it comes to codfish pastel, Hocca Bar – also according to Veja São Paulo –, offers it in three units of the franchise scattered throughout Mercadão. The largest and most comfortable one is on the mezzanine and offers tables and chairs to the customers. Stuffed with 200 grams of fish, it costs R$ 14.

For the lovers of Italian haute cuisine and a beautiful panoramic view, Terraço Itália is the ideal place. Located at the corner of Avenida Ipiranga and São Luis, the building is a landmark in the city for being the second tallest skyscraper in São Paulo, and for its haute cuisine.

São Paulo has 3.2 thousand bakeries producing 10.4 million rolls a day, 7.2 thousand per minute. There are many options to enjoy more than just a coffee and a French roll.

Benjamin bakery, with many franchises in the city, is most famous for its croissants, especially ham croissants accompanied by coffee or juice. Located at Rua Haddock Lobo, Bella Paulista bakery has a wine cellar and a pizzeria. It offers a breakfast buffet with a variety of bread and cakes and it has a 24-hour delivery service.

PÃO (Organic Craft Bakery) is the first organic bakery in São Paulo and it offers the famous 70% cocoa Belgian chocolate cake and the green salad with edible flowers, prepared every day in the store.

An exotic option is Bakery Itiriki, in the Liberdade neighborhood, which offers over 500 options of Asian, Brazilian and European delights. Try a kare pan (curry bread stuffed with potato, carrot and chicken) accompanied by a pobá juice and a green tea cake for dessert.

At Cantina Famiglia Mancini starters are a special attraction. The menu includes a wide variety of cheese, olives, Neapolitan sardela, asparagus, anchovy, many types of carpaccio among others. You may enjoy pasta such as the Ravioli filled with ricotta, spinach and walnuts with tomato sauce, black olives and herbs. Among beef dishes, the most ordered is still the parmigiana steak. You can also help yourself with the hors d’ouvre drinking a beer or your favorite wine. All dishes serve two to three people.

Enjoying what Sesc offers

The branch of the Social Service of Commerce (Sesc) in São Paulo, offers hundreds of activities for senior citizens, most of them are free or at popular prices. There are concerts, plays, workshops, courses, tours, experiences and exhibits especially developed for this public. Enter the website and check the schedule.


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