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São Paulo City Trip - Embu das Artes

Local artisans sell their work at the popular tourist destination of Embu das Artes

SAO PAULO DAY 3: Embu das Artes and the Moema District


The Brazilian industrial revolution replaced much of old São Paulo with high rises and shopping malls, but much has been done to preserve Embu, a suburb — and Brazilian artist's haven — about nineteen miles southwest of Sampaul. The name comes from that of a snake in a legend about the founding of the city. Before heading out (preferably by car), grab (or pack) a quick breakfast from 210 Diner outside the Praça Charles Miller.

Today, Embu das Artes, as it is called, is a central tourist area composed of a square and three parallel cobblestone-paved streets surrounding a Jesuit church. But be warned, the visit just may suck your wallet dry, as it will undoubtedly fly open for the abundance of handicrafts, wood carvings, paintings and furniture created by local artisans. You can even watch them at work in the square.

Dolls are Calling Customers to Browse Inside the Many Shops of Embu

For lunch, O Garimpo serves some of the best Brazilian specialties in town, like feijoada, sausages, pig's feet and ears, and fondues — all accompanied by side dishes of rice and black beans, collard greens, hearts of palm and hot peppers. In the bar area, live jazz and bossa nova are played by the best local bands.

If you've got any money left — and a love of shoes — when you return to São Paulo, take a spin in the Moema District, where every other store seems to sell shoes. Prices are very attractive, especially at Shoestock, a supermarket devoted to pumps only. Shopping here with the local ladies who line up to buy the latest fashions is more fun than shopping at the neighboring, modern, marble mall.

In these relatively quiet streets, there's also an abundance of restaurants and bars open into the wee hours. Live music and DJs accompany diners at São Bento, as do cocktails like Caipirinha de Cachaça (lime juice with Cachaça, a variety of rum), the Brazilian national drink. The area demonstrates its strong Italian influence as well, perhaps nowhere better than in the twenty varieties of brick-oven pizza at Braz. For some raucous nightlife, walk a dozen blocks southeast to Bourbon Street, for a jazzy, Caribbean-style night of dancing.


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