The world-famous São Paulo, Brazil is home to twenty million people (can you even imagine that?)! This huge Brazilian city is actually the largest in the entire Southern Hemisphere, hosting 96 neighborhoods, so you can imagine it can be overwhelming trying to find accommodation in São Paulo.
Luckily for you, you are in the right place! I already did the job for you and created this extensive guide with the best areas and hotels where to stay in Sao Paulo, including the neighborhoods to be avoided!
Centro is the best neighborhood to stay in Sao Paulo for most people but there are plenty of other great options like Pinheiros, Paulista Avenue, Downtown Augusta, Liberdade & República. Whether you’re looking for culture, crazy nightlife, delicious food, or vibrant art, you’ll find literally anything for your interests and budget in this sprawling metropolis!
So let’s start this journey through Sao Paulo’s best neighborhood and best hotels… and make sure you book them as soon as you can (I would say at least some months in advance)… places sell out incredibly fast here!
- If you are in a hurry
- 1. Centro – where to stay in Sao Paulo for the first time
- 2. Pinheiros & Vila Madalena – most lively area in São Paulo
- 3. Paulista Avenue & Jardins – where to stay for luxury
- 4. Downtown Augusta & Bela Vista – where to stay in Sao Paulo for nightlife
- 5. Liberdade – the coolest area to stay in Sao Paulo
- 6. República – most beautiful architecture in Sao Paulo
- BONUS: Where NOT to say in Sao Paulo – areas to avoid
- Frequently asked questions about hotels in Sao Paulo
If you are in a hurry
If you don’t want to wait and want to book right now, check out this list with the best of the best hotels in the heart of the city center:
George V Alto De Pinheiros
Best luxury hotel
Art déco em prédio histórico
An Airbnb with amazing reviews
Ibis Styles SP Centro
Best value for money
Best affordable accommodation in the center
To help you visualize where are all the different areas are, here are all the places to stay I will be talking about on a map:
most lively area
the coolest area
1. Centro – where to stay in Sao Paulo for the first time
If it’s your first time in São Paulo and you don’t know where to start, start from the beating heart of the city: the Centro Area! The bustling Centro will delight your senses with its baroque, neoclassical, and modern buildings, and huge variety of people!
The Centro Histórico (historic city center) is the city’s old-world neighborhood, where you’ll find literally everything from culture to shopping and art.
This giant area, nestled between modern skyscrapers and commercial billboards, brims with architecture and history, showcased in the many galleries and museums.
To dive into the city’s artistic scene, there is The Galeria do Rock and PlayArte Maraba celebrating the city’s love of music and film!
If you’re a shopping lover you should check out the main shopping malls like the Shopping Light and New Mall, famous for the cool mix of international brands and indie boutiques. If instead, you’re looking for new clothing for your outdoor adventures, you’ll love Galeria Boulevard do Centro and Pátio Metrô São Bento!
You got the point… The Centro Histórico is where to stay in Sao Paulo for any kind of traveler!
for business travelers as it offers a business center and is just 10km (6 miles) from Sao Paulo Congonhas Airport.
B&B Hotels São Paulo Luz – Centro
Find comfort and tranquility in Sao Paulo’s busy city in this good value for money hotel. Here you’ll find rooms with air conditioning, free WiFi, and access to an amazing continental breakfast to start your day in the best way! B&B Hotels São Paulo Luz – Centro is also a very good option
Other accommodation options in Centro
Sleep in spacious rooms with air conditioning and access to a fitness center, right in the heart of Sao Paulo!
Fully equipped apartment, perfect for exploring Sao Paulo, having easy access to all the rest of the city
Things to do in Centro
- Visit the stunning São Paulo Cathedral
- Check out Edifício Martinelli, Latin America’s first skyscraper
- Gaze at the impressive central square of Praça da Sé!
- Take a helicopter flight over São Paulo
- Go to the Municipal Theater for amazing operas and concerts
- Visit the Shopping Light and New Mall shopping malls
- Have a refreshing cocktail at the 41st Floor Bar and Restaurant
- Catch shows at the Galeria do Rock, PlayArte Marab & the Municipal Theatre
2. Pinheiros & Vila Madalena – most lively area in São Paulo
Who is going to Sao Paulo to experience its crazy life? Well, if you’re one of those, Pinheiros and Vila Madalena are the right places for your stay in Sao Paulo, being the liveliest and most touristic areas in the city!
With the best restaurants, bars, and crazy nightclubs, these two neighboring areas (just west of the Centro) offer guaranteed fun every day of the week, 24/7! But when I say fun, I mean all kinds of it: from nightlife to live music, to football matches, art, and shopping.
If you’re into this kind of city life, I suggest you check out two other South American metropolia: Rio de Janeiro and Santiago de Chile, just as fun and interesting as Sao Paulo!
Vila Madalena is a bohemian neighborhood due to its affordable rents and the proximity to the University of São Paulo, the area has attracted artists and students since the late 1970s. In Vila Madalena you’ll find vibrant street art, funky bars, charming cafés, and restaurants, as well as unique shops and cool art galleries!
Pinheiros is as artistry as Vila Madalena, but it offers more shopping options, whether at the Crafts Market of Benedito Calixto Square or at Alameda Gabriel Monteiro da Silva, where you can find decor and design items.
Both Pinheiros and Vila Madalena offer accommodation for all styles, from budget to luxury… let’s check them out:
Situated in the exclusive Alto de Pinheiros district, this 4 stars hotel offers many leisure facilities like a swimming pool with a sauna and a fitness area. Guests absolutely love the friendly staff and the delicious breakfast, but one of the best things about the accommodation is it’s located less than a mile from the Faria Lima metro station, perfect for exploring Sao Paulo city. This is also a very good option for business travelers!
Other accommodation in Pinheiros & Vila Madalena
Find great value for price in this hotel in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo, with easy access to the metro station!
Check out the best hostel in Sao Paulo, with a great location within walking distance of Fradique metro station
Fully equipped house just a short walk to Faria Lima metro station, even offering a rooftop swimming pool!
Things to do in Pinheiros & Vila Madalena
- Browse the Crafts Market of Benedito Calixto for Brazilian food and clothing
- Try at least one of the 40 Brazilian beers at São Paulo Tap House
- Check out São Paulo main attractions on a tour
- See the best Brazilian street art in Sao Paulo at Batman Alley (Vila Madalena)
- Check out Tomie Ohtake Institute for international art and design
- Walk around the immense Villa-Lobos Park
- Try the best Brazilian tapas at São Conrado Bar
3. Paulista Avenue & Jardins – where to stay for luxury
Paulista Avenue, located southwest of Centro, is Sao Paulo’s most iconic street, and the cultural and financial center of the city. Avenida Paulista stands out for its tall buildings and vibrant atmosphere which flows into its surrounding areas.
To the west, you will find the Jardins area, an expensive neighborhood and the city’s most well-known luxury shopping district, centering around Oscar Freire street. Here you will find some of the top name shops like Gucci, Chanel, Dior, and Diesel. This is one of the most sophisticated streets in the whole world featuring the tranquil Ibirapuera Park and some of the city’s major attractions!
In fact, here you’ll find The Museum of Art of São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (MASP) hosting a world-renowned collection of art in Latin America, and the Trianon Park just to name a few.
If after soaking up all this culture you just want to spend some leisure time, the surrounding area brims with amazing gourmet restaurants, coffee shops, bistros, hotels, cinemas, and vibrant nightlife options.
You will love the area also for its safety and its great public transport connections (the area hosts several metro stations), bringing you quickly to any other part of the city!
Offering stunning views of São Paulo and Ibirapuera Park, this hotel is the perfect option for a luxurious stay in São Paulo. Here you’ll enjoy 5-star accommodation and a central location in the most convenient area of the city. A big plus is its Skye Restaurant & Bar, where you can listen to lounge music and admire the city views while sipping the best drinks and having delicious dinners!
Other accommodation in Paulista Avenue & Jardins
Check out this hotel conveniently located less than a mile from Paulista Avenue, offering free wifi!
Have a safe stay in São Paulo in this budget hotel with lovely staff and a great location in Paulista Avenue!
Renovated and quiet apartment located only 5 minutes walk from Avenida Paulista and Ibirapuera Park
Things to do in Paulista Avenue & Jardins
- Do some luxury shopping in Oscar Freire street
- Visit the interesting Modern Art Museum of São Paulo – MASP
- Be amazed by the nature of Trianon Park
- Have a picnic with the family at Ibirapuera Park
- Attend the amazing exhibitions of Itaú Cultural institution
- Visit the museum and cultural center Casa das Rosas
- Attend the MASP antiques fair for arts, antiques, and crafts
4. Downtown Augusta & Bela Vista – where to stay in Sao Paulo for nightlife
To the east of Paulista Avenue you will find Downtown Augusta & Bela Vista, centered around a stretch of Rua Augusta, another famous street in Sao Paulo.
Also known as Baixa Augusta, this is one of the best neighborhoods if you want to enjoy São Paulo’s exciting and dynamic nightlife (similar to the one you can find in Vila Madalena, but a little farther from the city center)!
Here you’ll find everything for a fun night out: from nightclubs where you can dance until late hours, to cool bars for amazing cocktails, and eclectic venues attracting the most varied public, from funk to rock.
Baixo Augusta is particularly vibrant and eclectic also because it is home to São Paulo’s LGBT community, and its presence is very big! Just to give you an idea, there are even plans to turn the street Rua Frei Caneca into an official ‘Gay Street’!
One of the best luxury hotels for your stay in Sao Paulo, located in the Downtown Augusta area. Here you can enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant or a cocktail in the bar, relax in the outdoor swimming pool and even work out at the fitness center. Guests particularly love its location with easy access to public transport, perfect to explore the city!
Other options in Downtown Augusta & Bela Vista
Enjoy great value for price located in Downtown Augusta, one of the best neighborhoods in the city!
Amazing budget hotel in Baixo Augusta, with excellent breakfast and very helpful staff
Comfortable flat well located close to Sao Paulo city center, Avenida Paulista and multiple metro stations
Things to do in Downtown Augusta & Bela Vista
- Check out the countless bars and restaurants of Rua Augusta
- Drink the best coffee in Sao Paulo at Bella Paulista
- Try the best street food at Calçadão Urbanoide, an outdoors food court!
- Check out the gallery at Teatro Augusta
- Visit the São Luiz Gonzaga Church
- Spend a lazy afternoon at Shopping Center 3
- Go to Beco 203 for rock music and drinks
- Attend some cool movies at Espaço Itaú theater
- Have the best cocktails and boteco (classic Brazilian finger food) at Z Carniceria
5. Liberdade – the coolest area to stay in Sao Paulo
Are you the type of person always looking for the most unique and out-of-the-ordinary areas when traveling in a new city? Then you should check out Liberdade, an area located just south of the historic city center.
This bustling district is home to the largest community of Japanese immigrants in the whole world (of course outside of Japan itself!).
When you arrive at the Liberdade’s entrance, you’ll be welcomed by a nine-meter-tall torii: a traditional Japanese gate to Shinto shrines… this says it all!
The area is getting more and more popular with São Paulo teenagers who are into Japanese culture, particularly manga (Japanese comics) or cosplay.
But the neighborhood actually has the influence of many East Asian cultures not only Japanese, hosting Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Taiwanese immigrants.
So if you can’t wait to absorb a multicultural vibe and try the most delicious Asian food, Liberdade is where you should stay in Sao Paulo!
Are you looking for a comfortable stay in São Paulo? Then check out this hotel offering a swimming pool, a sauna, and an on-site restaurant where you can enjoy regional and international specialties, as well as a selection of drinks! In the morning, the daily breakfast buffet offers a huge variety of sweet and savory food plus hot and cold beverages. The location is also great, just a 10-minute drive from the famous Paulista Avenue.
Other accommodation options Liberdade
Enjoy the best value for money in Sao Paulo in this hotel with a Japanese restaurant on site
The best hostel to stay in São Paulo, located really close to the city center in a safe neighborhood
Fully equipped loft with easy access to the supermarkets, pharmacies, bars, and restaurants of the area
Things to do in Liberdade
- Get the typical tourist picture at Liberdade torii
- Visit the History Museum of Japanese Immigration
- Try delicious Korean food at Restaurante Portal da Coreia
- Browse the buzzing Liberdade street market every weekend!
- Try the best ramen at Restaurante Lamen ASKA
- Do some people-watching in the chaotic Praça Liberdade
- Pick up the best Italian baked goods at Famiglia Franciulli
6. República – most beautiful architecture in Sao Paulo
With its central location within walking distance from the Centro, República can also be considered the second heart of São Paulo, offering many interesting tourist attractions, as well as bars and excellent restaurants.
The biggest strength of the area is definitely its incredible architecture, being a striking mix of incredibly ornate buildings.
One absolute must if you love architecture is Edifício Copan (The Copan Building), an S-shaped residential building, unique for its particular design and size! You can even see it from the inside, its ground floor is a modest shopping center open to the public.
The Edifício Copan is one of the most famous structures in the city (if not the entire country). In fact, the building has appeared in many music videos and the popular Netflix series Black Mirror, so is definitely worth your visit!
NOTE: The only downside of the area is that it is not the safest in the city, due to homelessness and substance abuse problems, so I wouldn’t recommend this to families. However, if you use common sense and you don’t walk alone at night, you have nothing to worry about!
Find all you need for a luxurious stay in Sao Paulo! In this 4 star hotel, all the rooms are tastefully decorated and feature air conditioning, free wifi, and a private bathroom. Here you’ll also have access to a fitness center, a business center, and a delicious breakfast every morning! The area is super quiet and hosts a metro station with a great connection to the rest of the city.
Other accommodation options in República
Enjoy an excellent location, comfortable rooms, and security during your stay in Sao Paulo
Find great value for money in Sao Paulo, in this tranquil hotel with very good breakfast and free wifi
Enjoy the best views of São Paulo, with observation points for the Edifício Itália and the Hilton
Things to do in República
- Stare up at the Edifício Copan, one of the largest buildings in Brazil!
- Attend a cool event at Theatro Municipal De São Paulo
- Check out the huge Mário de Andrade Library
- Ride the elevator to the observation level of The Italian Building for great views!
|👑 Luxury price:||$150|
|💵 Mid Range:||$50|
|💰 Accommodation prices:||Low|
|📍 Best area:||Centro|
|👪 Best area for families:||Avenida Paulista|
|🛎️ Best luxury hotel:||George V Alto De Pinheiros|
|🧳 Best mid-range hotel:||Ibis Styles SP Centro|
|👛 Best budget hotel:||Nomah|
BONUS: Where NOT to say in Sao Paulo – areas to avoid
Since Brazil is often seen as one of the less safe countries in the world, I can imagine that you might have some concerns about your safety in Sao Paulo and may want to know which areas in the city are better to be avoided.
I am not gonna lie, even if it is still safer than other Brazilian cities like Rio, Sao Paulo is not an entirely safe city for tourists. But if you stay in one of the areas described in my blog post and avoid some other ones, you’ll be fine and able to visit this magnificent city without fear!
So, here are the neighborhoods to avoid in Sao Paulo, most of them located in the south:
- Capão Redondo
- Garden of Imbuias
- Green house
- Itaim Paulista
- Santo Park
- Clean camp
Other areas that you should avoid in Sao Paulo are the favelas, especially at night. Here you find an extensive list of them:
- Ocupação Boa Esperanca
- Taipas Park
- Vila Nova Jaguare
- Favela Do Radar
- Alba favela
- Buraco Quente
Frequently asked questions about hotels in Sao Paulo
📍Which is the best area where to stay in Sao Paulo, South America?
The best area to stay in São Paulo is Centro, the city center. Stay at Ibis Styles SP Centro or B&B Hotels São Paulo Luz – Centro, both offering great value for money!
🟢 Which are the safest places in São Paulo?
The safest places to stay in the São Paulo area Avenida Paulista, in the Augusta Jardins Home, the Pinheiros/Vila Madalena área (in Hilton Garden Inn), in or in the Centro, São Paulo city center.
🚫 Which are the areas to avoid in Sao Paulo?
The areas to avoid in São Paulo for lack of safety, especially for tourists, are Parelheiros, Jaraguá, Green house, Santo Park or the favelas like Paraisópolis & Ocupação Boa. Check out my full list above for more info.
👪 Where to stay in Sao Paulo for families?
The best neighborhoods to stay in São Paulo for families are Avenida Paulista & Jardins, also one of the most upscale neighborhoods in the city! Here you’ll find great accommodation like the Hotel Unique, and family-friendly attractions like the Ibirapuera Park.
Here we are at the end of this very extensive guide on where to stay in São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil, South America.
We covered everything from the best neighborhoods and hotels to the areas to avoid in the city, for a holiday without any safety concerns!
After all the options we’ve been through, I am sure you found the best place for your interest and budget! But if you’re still undecided, here are my 2 absolute favorites with central location and reviews:
- George V Alto De Pinheiros – 4 stars hotel with many leisure facilities like a swimming pool with a sauna, and a fitness area!
- Ibis Styles SP Centro – enjoy spacious rooms with air conditioning and access to a fitness center, right in the heart of Sao Paulo!
Just a reminder: book your hotel as soon as you can if you don’t wanna miss the spot as the best (and safest) hotels always go fast!
I hope you found this guide helpful and that I was able to bring you to Sao Paulo in Brazil for a few minutes! If you have any doubts or questions about the areas or hotels, please leave them in the comments… I’ll be super happy to answer you!
Have a great holiday!
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