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CH Local: São Paulo

Our tips and tricks on where to shop, eat and sleep in Brazil's largest city

by Phuong-Cac Nguyen in Travel on 08 July 2011

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Our newest installment for the Cool Hunting Local section, the São Paolo guide features ten of the best "jumping-off" points for those visiting the tropical city. Here is a taste of the insider tips we feel will help you prepare for a memorable tour of this colorful and culturally rich destination spot.

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Benedito Calixto

For an authentic shopping experience, we recommend the famous artisanal market, Benedito Calixto. While São Paulo is famous for its outdoor markets, or feiras, the Benedito Calixto is among the most popular. Although shopping is the main focus here, socializing comes in close second. Friends catch up over jam-packed aisles of vintage clothing, sunglasses and vinyl, antique tchotchkes, and costume jewelry. Stop by the outdoor food court tents later for a beer or coconut juice to wash down the feira favorite, pastel, a fried pastry stuffed with various fillings, from cheese to ground beef. Taking advantage of the local young demographic, the organization behind Benedito Calixto hosts cultural programs, ranging from live chorinho music in the food court to capoeira demonstrations in the courtyard of its east side building (no. 112). The surrounding bars and boutiques have flourished as a result of the influx of people. For more shopping, a covered market on the west side of the plaza features indie designers slinging items like purses, dresses and handmade soap made with exotic fruit.

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Lorena 1989 and Surface to Air

A cutting-edge boutique that serves up delicious food in addition to fashion, Surface to Air turned the location of its boutique into a quietly beautiful restaurant, where good-looking fashion types trade gossip and news on their latest projects. Set in a long room with whitewashed walls reminiscent of a rustic, medieval-era castle, Lorena 1989, features a wall of dripping candles in the back, rope lights wrapped around beams and natural light that streaming through a glass ceiling. These elements provide the perfect setting for a menu of modern takes on international comfort food like risotto and filet mignon milanesa, also served on the front patio near the bar. Next to the restaurant is the Surface to Air boutique, ground zero for cutting-edge clothes, accessories and shoes by such Brazilian indie and São Paulo Fashion Week designers as Neon, Juliana Jabour and D'Arouche.

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Hotel Fasano

Set in the heart of the chic Jardins neighborhood, Hotel Fasano is a luxury hotel designed by Isay Weinfeld and Marcio Kogan is just a stone's throw from São Paulo's hottest spots. While the hotel harkens the elegant style of 1930s architecture, the design has an updated feel that is pleasant and warm. Fireplaces and leather arm chairs invite guests to relax and enjoy the retro ambience. This experience is carried into the private rooms conceived by Philippe Starck, which feature beautifully finished hardwood floors and custom mirrors by Starck himself. While only guests have access to the high-design fitness center on the hotel's top floor (with such amenities as an indoor pool, spa baths and saunas, and sophisticated exercise equipment), others gain access to the Fasano experience by visiting its renown restaurants and bars. There, patrons can feast on both Italian cuisine and the spaces' elegant interiors.

Make sure to check out our Local section for the rest of our São Paulo recommendations.

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