Ibirapuera Park Walking Tour, Sao Paulo

Ibirapuera Park Walking Tour (Self Guided), Sao Paulo

Located in the very heart of Sao Paulo, Ibirapuera Park is the city's most famous attraction. The park was designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer together with landscapist Roberto Burle Marx. It opened to the public on the 21st August, 1954. With a total space of 2 million square meters, the park features a beautiful landscape, filled with lakes, fountains, monuments, theaters, playgrounds, fitness areas, courts, museums and other attractions of architectural and cultural interest.

Being the most visited park in Sao Paulo, Ibirapuera gathers in high season over 130 thousand visitors. The park also hosts several shows and events during the year, including São Paulo Fashion Week. Congresses and trade shows are held here regularly. Each weekend, visitors can enjoy live music shows delivered by different bands who come to the park for outdoor concerts.

Take this self-guided walking tour to discover the most popular attractions of this magnificent place.
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Ibirapuera Park Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Ibirapuera Park Walking Tour
Guide Location: Brazil » Sao Paulo (See other walking tours in Sao Paulo)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 9
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.9 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: ChristineT
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Ibirapuera Park Footbridge
  • Pavilhao Japones (Japanese Garden)
  • Ibirapuera Planetarium
  • Museu Afro Brasil (Afro-Brazilian Museum)
  • Monumento as Bandeiras (Monument to the Bandeiras)
  • Obelisk of Sao Paulo
  • Ibirapuera Auditorium
  • OCA -Lucas Nogueira Garcez Pavilion
  • Modern Art Museum
Ibirapuera Park Footbridge

1) Ibirapuera Park Footbridge

This footbridge is the biggest of the bridges found in Ibirapuera Park. It is also one of the most picturesque and most photographed spots in the park. Made of cast iron, the bridge crosses over the Lake Ibirapuera, connecting two sides of the park. From there opens a great view of the faraway skyscrapers of Sao Paulo, which the visitors may enjoy amid the tranquility of the Ibirapuera park.
Pavilhao Japones (Japanese Garden)

2) Pavilhao Japones (Japanese Garden)

If you wish to relax after a hard day's work or a tough workout in the park, but, at the same time, would like to experience something exotic and different, the Pavilhão Japonês (Japanese Garden) is an ideal place for that. A symbol of friendship between Brazil and Japan, the garden is known as the "jewel of the Ibirapuera Park", and is spread over 7500 square meters, encompassing an abundance of plants (including bonsai trees), ponds and small lakes, filled with goldfish as well as Shoin-style buildings, and offering a glimpse into the Japanese culture.

The peculiarity of this park is in the fact that it was originally built in Japan, then taken apart, piece by piece, and reassembled in Sao Paulo in 1954, delivered as a gift for the fourth centenary of the city's foundation. The original Japanese materials - wood, volcanic rock, and Kyoto mud - of which the buildings and the garden have been made, facilitate a better cultural perception and entourage.

The garden's central building, created by Sutemi Horiguti, a professor at the University of Tokyo, is a replica of the Katsura Palace, the former summer residence of the Emperor in Kyoto, Japan, built between 1620 and 1624. It is divided into a hall and several adjoining rooms that house a display of samurai clothes, pottery, ceramics, costumes, and sculptures from several Japanese imperial dynasties. Upstairs is the Tea Room, known as chashitsu, used for traditional tea ceremonies.
Ibirapuera Planetarium

3) Ibirapuera Planetarium

Ibirapuera Park is a wonderful place, abundant with museums, theaters and other places of cultural interest. Of these, particularly notable is the Planetarium. Designed by a group of architects (Eduardo Corona, Roberto G. Tibau and Antônio Carlos Pitombo), the Planetarium was inaugurated in 1957, to become the first of its kind institution in South America. It reopened in September 2006, after seven years of restoration works.

The outline of the Planetarium resembles an alien spaceship, with a metal dome of 40ft in diameter, circled by a yellow wooden disk. In the course of the restoration, the firm Carl Zeiss installed in the showroom a large StarMaster projection screen. The showroom itself, seating 280, has also been designed by Zeiss. It allows the audience a much closer look at planets and stars. Visitors to the Planetarium are also invited to take part in different presentations organized regularly during weekends.

Why You Should Visit:
A nice (and very affordable) activity to do in town; the surroundings are great and the visit itself is rewarding.
Among other things, you can watch a presentation about the sky of São Paulo.
Overall, highly recommended for both adults and children.

The place can get very busy, so plan to arrive 1 hour before the show to pick up tickets at the front desk.
Another suggestion is to buy tickets online, as there are many sessions during the day, all at specific times.

Opening Hours:
Sunday: 1-5pm
Museu Afro Brasil (Afro-Brazilian Museum)

4) Museu Afro Brasil (Afro-Brazilian Museum)

Museu Afro-Brasil is a perfect place to enrich one's knowledge of the African-Brazilian community and history. Representing six major themes (Africa, Work and Slavery, Sacred and Profane, Afro-Brazilian Religions, History and Memory, and Art), the collections feature more than 3000 exhibits, which have been gathered over the course of 20 years, and comprise religious artifacts, pieces of art from Africa, books and various written sources on the history of Brazilian slavery. The museum outlines the important contribution made by black Brazilians into the national culture. It forms part of the Manoel da Nóbrega Pavilion, which spreads over an area of 11,000 square meters.

The actual building, housing the museum, was created by Oscar Niemeyer, assisted by a team of architects, and opened in 1953, in time for the celebrations of São Paulo's 400th anniversary. The museum itself was established in 2004. Its collection includes some of the most fascinating statues and a definite must-see for a tourist's eye. One such exhibit is the statue of Zumbi, a former slave, who escaped to become the warrior leader of Quilombo dos Palmares. It stands 2.2 meters high, and was inaugurated on November 20, for the celebration of the "Black Awareness Day" in 2011.

Another notable piece is the Navio Negreiro (the Slave Ship) Room, which is indeed one of the most magnificent exhibits at the museum. The ship commemorates the enslaved Africans who made a journey across the Atlantic to Brazil, against their will. Book lovers definitely must visit the African-Brazilian Library, which is also part of the museum. Its collection includes more than 6000 titles, among which are books, theses, journals and articles about African-Brazilian history.

Why You Should Visit:
Great permanent exhibition (top floor) along with surprising temporary exhibits (on other floors). Interessantissimo and extremely unique, shining a spotlight on some of the art & culture of the native tribes in Africa, situations they have endured and treasured artifacts from many generations.

There is no information at all in English so if you don't speak Portuguese it gets a little overwhelming after a while which can detract from the experience. Best visited with a pre-booked guide or you could try using Google translate in the picture mode, or download the app and bring earphones.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm; free on Saturdays
Except for the following dates: December 24, 25, 31; January 1.
Monumento as Bandeiras (Monument to the Bandeiras)

5) Monumento as Bandeiras (Monument to the Bandeiras)

Monumento às Bandeiras – standing 12 meters high, 50 meters long and 15 meters wide – is one of the largest sculptures in the world and one of the most visited tourist landmarks in Sao Paulo. Located in Piazza Armando Salles de Oliveira at Ibirapuera Park, it was created by sculptor Victor Brecheret and installed on January 25, 1953. The monument was presented to the city of Sao Paulo on its 399th anniversary, and commemorates the Bandeirantes Paulistas expeditions, whose quests for gold in the 16th-18th centuries extended the boundaries of Sao Paulo.

The monument depicts an expedition, led by two horsemen, followed by a group of people of different ethnic backgrounds (Indians, Africans, Mestizos, and Portuguese), pulling a canoe that they used for traveling by river. It is said that Victor Brecheret had spent 30 years of his life creating this majestic piece of work.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Obelisk of Sao Paulo

6) Obelisk of Sao Paulo

Ibirapuera Park is a host to many historic and cultural monuments. One of them is the Obelisk of São Paulo. At 72 meters high, it is the tallest monument in the city. The obelisk was designed by the Italian-Brazilian sculptor, Galileo Ugo Emendabili, and was inaugurated on July 9, 1955, one year after the opening of Ibirapuera Park. Made of pure travertino marble, it is surrounded by four panels carrying images from Biblical passages and scenes of São Paulo's history. Obelisk of São Paulo is a symbol of the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932, and the final resting place for more than 700 combatants.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
Ibirapuera Auditorium

7) Ibirapuera Auditorium

Ibirapuera Park has a lot to offer music lovers, apart from the regularly held live band concerts. Ibirapuera Auditorium, the majestic concert hall within the park, was designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer in 1950, yet materialized in stone only 50 years later. It is one of the most popular tourist sites in Sao Paulo, hosting an array of musical events, spectacles, concerts, festivals (including “Batuka!” international drum fest) and fashion shows.

The Auditorium can easily transform into a cinema theater, hosting movie festivals and premieres. White and red colors are predominant in its exterior. The latter has a trapezoid shape, made of reinforced concrete. The interior consists of three main areas - the foyer, the stage and the stalls - all painted red, with great acoustics and a seating space for over 800 people. The underground level houses administrative offices, a music school, dining areas, dressing rooms and other facilities. Open air concerts and festivals are regular events at the venue.
Sight description based on Wikipedia.
OCA -Lucas Nogueira Garcez Pavilion

8) OCA -Lucas Nogueira Garcez Pavilion

OCA is an exhibition hall inside Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo. The palace is hard to miss for its enormous, 10,000 m2, white-painted dome. This magnificent structure was designed and constructed by Oscar Niemeyer in 1951, to commemorate the city's 400th anniversary. Originally known as Pavilhão Lucas Nogueira Garcez, the building was named after a traditional Native American residence, OCA.

OCA was formerly a museum of Aeronautics and Folklore, which then moved out and the building was refurbished. The exterior has been preserved pretty much in its original form, only repainted a sharper white color, whereas the interior has been thoroughly renovated and added with beautiful curves and ramps. Given the large amount of exhibits, a new air conditioning system had to be installed. Today, OCA is known to be the largest air-conditioned museum in the world. Occasionally, it houses touring exhibitions, e.g. of Indian or Chinese art.
Modern Art Museum

9) Modern Art Museum

If you want to feast your eyes on one of the grandest art collections in the southern hemisphere, the Modern Art Museum in Ibirapuera Park is the place to go. Founded way before the park itself, in 1948, by Francisco Matarazzo, the museum was inaugurated only in 1963. Located in the Bienal Pavilion, it is one of the first places dedicated to modern Brazilian art, featuring more than 8,000 artworks, including sculptures, paintings, and many others. Among those on display are creations by ldo Bonadei, Marc Chagall, José António da Silva, Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, Raoul Dufy, Anita Malfatti, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, Alfredo Volpi and Mario Zanini.

Why You Should Visit:
A nice place to check out since it is inside the Ibirapuera Park, so you can walk around, swing by and take in the artwork, and then have a nice meal at the MAM restaurant – a destination spot in the park with a bounteous/affordable lunch buffet and great views.
The museum's admission prices are extremely low and staff is extremely friendly. Free admission every Sunday!

Operation Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm
Sight description based on Wikipedia.

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