CELS Global Brazil 2024

About São Paulo

Exploring São Paulo: A Cultural Odyssey Through Gastronomy, Nightlife, and Beyond

São Paulo, a dynamic metropolis, welcomes scholars to the Conference on Empirical Legal Studies with an invitation to explore its cultural richness. Known for its towering architecture and vibrant street art, the city also harbors historical and intellectual vibrancy. The conference provides a unique opportunity for academics to integrate cultural exploration into their visit, from serene parks like Ibirapuera to the artistically adorned Vila Madalena

Pinheiros River

Getting Around

Arriving in São Paulo is facilitated by its major airports, Guarulhos International and Congonhas, our local airport, providing numerous transport options to the city. The city’s extensive network of buses, metro, and trains ensures accessibility to key attractions – the CELS venue itself is located near Paulista Avenue, from a walking distance of Paraíso subway station and plenty of transport options. For those venturing outside the city, various transportation options allow for exploration, though mindful planning is necessary to navigate São Paulo’s bustling traffic.

Visitors are advised to carry both cash and credit for versatile transactions, as there are still some few small businesses in São Paulo that prefer cash payments. In this case, you should carry a small amount of “reais”, the Brazilian currency, as dollars, euros and other currencies are not easily accepted outside exchange houses. Remember the customary tipping culture in restaurants, with around 10% of the total bill considered a standard gratuity. Service charges are typically included in most establishments, so be sure to check your bill before adding an extra tip.


In São Paulo, food lovers can enjoy a range of unique dining experiences. Start your day like a local by having a “média e pão na chapa” at a neighborhood bakery. This simple breakfast of coffee with milk and toasted French bread with butter is a daily tradition for many residents, and a way to immerse yourself in the city’s everyday life.

Pizza is another highlight in São Paulo, which ranks as the world’s second-largest pizza city after New York. Whether you crave traditional flavors like Margherita or want to try inventive pizzas with Brazilian ingredients, the city’s pizzerias cater to all tastes.

The recent trend of Japanese izakayas adds a contemporary twist to an already rich tradition of Japanese and Asian cuisines in the city. These informal pubs, serving everything from sushi to grilled skewers, are part of a broader Asian culinary scene that includes established neighborhoods like Liberdade. This district, along with others, offers a deep dive into authentic Japanese, Chinese, and Korean dining experiences.

São Paulo’s culinary scene extends further into an array of international and regional Brazilian cuisines. Besides Liberdade, in neighborhoods Bom Retiro district you can explore the flavors of Korea, along with a mix of Jewish and Greek culinary traditions. High-end dining can be found in upscale areas like Jardins and Pinheiros, where restaurants serve sophisticated Brazilian and international cuisines. From street food to Michelin-starred establishments, São Paulo offers a dynamic dining landscape that caters to all tastes and preferences.

Eataly São Paulo
Municipal Theatre
Municipal Theatre


As the sun sets, São Paulo comes alive with a vibrant array of nightlife options. The city buzzes with different musical styles, from the historic rhythms of samba in the city center to the unique blend of samba-rock and the beats of Brazilian funk. This rich musical diversity attracts a wide audience, eager to experience São Paulo’s energetic evening atmosphere.

Samba holds a special place in the heart of São Paulo’s nightlife, especially in areas where samba schools and informal samba gatherings thrive. Here, locals and visitors alike can dive into the preparations for Carnival, witnessing the passion and dedication that go into the elaborate dance routines and costumes. This immersive experience provides a direct connection to Brazil’s African heritage and its influence on Brazilian culture.

Apart from samba, São Paulo is also a hub for samba-rock, a genre that mixes rock and roll with traditional samba, reflecting the city’s multicultural vibe. Born in the 1960s, samba-rock has become a defining sound of the city, celebrated and danced to in many local venues. Additionally, forró, a lively dance from Brazil’s Northeast, is widely enjoyed in bars and clubs across neighborhoods like Vila Madalena and Pinheiros, offering a warm, inclusive atmosphere where everyone can dance and enjoy the night.


Exploring São Paulo is an adventure through a city that combines its historical roots with modern style. Visitors walking through its busy streets and neighborhoods encounter a variety of architectural styles, cultural landmarks, and lesser-known spots. A key highlight is the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), known for its striking design by Lina Bo Bardi and its impressive collection of Brazilian and international art.

Another must-visit location is the Municipal Market, or Mercadão. This market offers a vibrant array of foods, from exotic fruits to gourmet snacks, all under one roof with beautiful stained glass windows enhancing the experience. You must, however, plan the visit to the market carefully, as it is in old downtown. For those looking to relax, Ibirapuera Park provides a green escape in the middle of the urban landscape. Designed by Roberto Burle Marx, the park features sprawling lawns, peaceful lakes, and artistic installations.

As the day ends, the city’s neighborhoods such as Vila Madalena and Jardins showcase their unique charm and energy. Vila Madalena is known for its artistic murals and galleries, while Jardins offers luxury shopping and dining. São Paulo’s sightseeing opportunities, from Paulista Avenue’s galleries to the historic city center and the cozy cafes of Pinheiros, invite visitors on a journey that mixes discovery with enjoyment.


Exploring the Surroundings

Beyond São Paulo, daytrips unveil serene beaches, quaint mountain towns, and rich historical sites. Santos and Guarujá beaches, Campos do Jordão’s European ambiance, and the artisanal heritage of Embu das Artes invite exploration. These excursions highlight the state of São Paulo’s diverse landscapes and cultural offerings, enriching the overall visitor experience.

São Paulo stands as a beacon for culinary diversity, vibrant nightlife, and cultural exploration. Attendees of the Conference on Empirical Legal Studies and other visitors are offered a comprehensive journey through São Paulo’s multifaceted attractions, prompting an enriching exploration of this bustling Brazilian metropolis and its surroundings.