A Couple's Guide to São Paulo

Sunset at Praça Pôr do Sol
Sunset at Praça Pôr do Sol | © Marlon Dias / Flickr
Euan Marshall

Unlike most parts of the world, Brazil does not celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14; instead, it commemorates Dia dos Namorados (Boyfriend’s/Girlfriend’s Day) every June 12. And while São Paulo may not be a typical choice for a romantic getaway, you’ll soon find there’s no shortage of breathtaking sights and unforgettable activities to make for a truly memorable couple’s stay in the big city.

Stay in a fancy hotel

One of the most important parts of any romantic getaway is the accommodation as it sets the atmosphere for the entire trip. São Paulo has a wealth of stylish, comfortable, and luxurious options, from the classic décor of the Maksoud Plaza to the modern chic of L’Hotel Porto Bay or the Grand Hyatt.
The standout choice, however, is the stunning Hotel Unique in the south of the city. Its breathtaking exterior is an excellent example of contemporary Brazilian architecture and was designed by Ruy Ohtake, son of the legendary abstract artist Tomie Ohtake. The interior is also meticulously planned with gorgeous rooms and corridors, making it one of the best hotels in South America and an excellent choice for any couple visiting São Paulo.

Hotel Unique

Spend a day in Ibirapuera Park

Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo’s answer to Central Park, is an island of beauty and tranquility in the middle of the bustling metropolis. Regarded as among the best urban parks in the world, Ibirapuera is the perfect setting for a romantic day in the sun, surrounded by the park’s impressive flora and fauna. A popular choice is to rent a pair of bicycles or a tandem (why not?) and spend a carefree afternoon cycling around the lakes. Alternatively, the park is so vast, couples can always find a secluded spot for a romantic picnic.

Ibirapuera Park

Watch the sunset at Praça Pôr do Sol

While São Paulo is best known for being somewhat of a concrete jungle with high-rise buildings as far as the eye can see as well as pollution typical of any big city, it somehow still manages to pull off some truly incredible sunsets. One of the best spots in the city to catch the sun going down is at Praça Pôr do Sol (Sunset Square), in the swanky neighborhood of Alto dos Pinheiros. Praça Pôr do Sol always attracts couples, young and old, to sit on the grass and watch the sun setting over the west of the city. Don’t forget a camera.

Sunset at Praça Pôr do Sol

Go to Terraço Itália

Atop the Edifício Itália (one of São Paulo’s tallest buildings), in the heart of the historic center is the Terraço Itália bar and restaurant, one of the most romantic spots in the entire city. Besides its incredible food and delicious cocktails, the real selling point of Terraço Itália is its unbeatable 360-degree view of the city. Reservations for their four-course Dia dos Namorados dinners are hotly sought after, so get there early. Alternatively, stick to the bar and order a couple of Martinis while gazing at the vast city below.

Go out for pizza

Having received a huge influx of Italian immigrants at the turn of the 20th century, São Paulo loves to eat food from the Old Country, especially pizza. São Paulo is regarded as having some of the best pizzerias in the world (Paulistanos will say they are the best in the world) with gorgeous interiors and even more amazing food, making pizza an excellent idea for date night. Veridiana, Speranza, and 1900 are great options around the city, but the standout is Bráz Pizzaria, which serves up a more traditional São Paulo-style pizza with a chewy crust and flavorful toppings.

Spend a night in a motel

That’s right, a motel. In Brazil, motels are unabashedly sex hotels. Couples spending nights together in motels are such a part of Brazilian culture that thousands of luxury motels have sprung up all over the country, especially in São Paulo. Motels in São Paulo range from the simple and the classy to the lavish and the downright bizarre. A good suggestion is Lush Motel, which has a varied selection of suites at competitive prices. The more extravagant Lush Spa Splash option has a heated indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, and sauna, and the Lush Cine 4D has a private 4D cinema.

Sing some karaoke

Thanks to the mixture of its large Japanese population (the largest outside of Japan itself) and Brazilians’ love of partying, São Paulo has become one of the karaoke capitals of the world. The best karaoke bar in the city is the unforgettable Chopperia Liberdade in the heart of São Paulo’s Asian district. Its tacky decor makes it look like a set from a Quentin Tarantino or David Lynch film while its unbelievable selection of songs means couples can always find the perfect duet.

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