People compare Sao Paulo to New York all the time and when it comes to the parks, I have to agree. Parque do Ibirapuera to Sao Paulo is what Hyde Park is to London or Central Park is to New York. Ibirapuera is one of Latin America’s largest city parks, with beautifully landscaped gardens, museums, exhibition spaces, planetary theater, japanese cultural space, picnic and sports area (basketball, skating, soccer, running, cycling, etc.). It is a great spot to get your morning work out in:)
The famous landscaper, Roberto Burle Marx took on the project of shaping the park, while renowned architect, Oscar Niemeyer, designed several pavilions and halls within the park, destined to house some of the city’s best cultural and art establishments. The result is an incredible collection of modern architecture amid beautifully landscaped gardens.
When we came upon the Auditório Ibirapuera (above, architect Oscar Niemeyer) I immediately felt a little homesick for New York. I have been going to the free New York Philharmonic in Central Park with my girl friends for years and what was happening in Ibirapuera was exactly that…minus a few bottles of wine and cheese (FYI there is nothing like this in Rio). I have to admit though I was dreaming of my girls nights in NY, it was a really nice thing to experience during the day. Besides these free open air concerts, the Auditorio is considered one of the best venues for concerts in São Paulo (Pink Floyd played the day after we left). Fun Fact: It is nicknamed ‘a língua’ (‘the tongue’) for the bright-red metal awning that sticks out rather lewdly from an otherwise bunkerlike concrete trapezoid.
Head past the Auditorio and across from the MAM you will see a huge spherical structure named Pavilhão Lucas Nogueira Garcez (above) which hosts temporary art shows and exhibitions. Another Oscar Niemeyer creation designed to resemble an “oca”, the traditional Native American dwelling, which earned it the nickname “Oca do Ibirapuera”. It is a massive structure- I feel so tiny sitting in the window! If you are in Sao Paulo and it’s a nice day, take a walk and explore the park!