I’ve been living in Brazil with my boyfriend, Nate, for 2-3 weeks at a time for the past 5 months or so now, and if there’s one thing I learned, it’s that the Instagram possibilities are endless. So when Mack suggested I round up the “most Instagrammable opportunities” in São Paulo, Brazil for an article, the challenge wasn’t coming up with a good list, but what I would choose to leave out.
Brazil isn’t widely known as a secure country, but like most places, there are both good and bad neighborhoods. Before our first visit, Nate did his research and determined that the area which best suited our interests was an upper-class region called Jardins, which is known to be one of the safest areas in São Paulo.
São Paulo is a wonderland for Instagram-lovers like me, with beautiful cafés and graffiti walls everywhere you look. There’s a photo opportunity for every taste, whether your element is fashion, art, food or scenery.
My ability to explore anywhere outside of Jardins is limited when I can’t find a friend to join me, but that’s hardly a bad thing when Oscar Freire Street, which I’ve learned is the 8th most luxurious street in the world, is right outside my door. I could easily write this whole post on Oscar Freire Street, but for the sake of exploring, I did try to branch out.
Oscar Freire is to São Paulo as 5th Ave. is to New York City. This is where you’ll find all the hottest stores and cafés, and some really beautiful street art. From what I’ve learned, the murals stay up for some time but are eventually replaced with something new.
Next, on Oscar Freire, we have the “#Girl Power” wall outside of a shoe store called Melissa. I know from one of my earlier visits to São Paulo that this wall also changes, and after doing a little research I found that they’ve done some pretty spectacular things with it over the years.
I’m a big fan of girl power (as we all should be,) so this was one of my favorites:
This also ended up being a great spot for a Boomerang if you’re looking to get really crazy, #FlyGirl.
Then we have a little side-street I stumbled upon connected to a store called Rosa Cha. Believe it or not, I’ve actually managed to miss this one every time I walked by for weeks. You would think someone with an eye for the insta would have noticed the robin-egg blue walls and cobblestones right away, but with everything else to see on Oscar Freire, I find it easy to get distracted.
Right across the street from our hotel is arguably my favorite café, Santo Grão. Believe it or not, finding a good iced coffee in Brazil has been nearly impossible, even with a Starbucks located on nearly every street corner. Not only does Santo Grão have a great iced coffee, but they have a wonderful and Instagram-worthy brunch as well. Another bonus, most of the staff speaks decent English, making you feel a little less like a gringo when attempting to order.
Finally, on Oscar Freire Street, we have the Hotel Emiliano. Notably one of the nicest, most accommodating hotels in Jardins (for a price of course). Due to our extended visit of 17 nights, my boyfriend and I were able to stay here for a very decent price and enjoyed all of the benefits.
While the hotel isn’t exceptionally large, there are plenty of spaces to lounge around between the lobby and bar area. Personally, I spent most of my time on the outside patio facing Oscar Freire street, the perfect spot to people watch while getting some work done. Also one of our go-to spots for a nightcap.
We also happily took advantage of everything the hotel had to offer, especially the spa area which is free for guests. The outdoor spa is equipped with a number of lounge chairs and two wooden hot tubs, which we visited daily.
In an attempt to venture outside my bubble of Jardins, I decided to check out a city about 15 minutes away known for its incredible street art. The first time I tried to go to Vila Madalena, I was advised against it as there was a big protest after someone painted over one of the murals. I would consider this an “edgier” part of town so I would never have gone alone, but it’s a great social spot to check out on the weekend.
We went to Vila Madalena on a rainy Saturday so I didn’t get as many pictures for Instagram as I would have liked (still regret not taking one on those stairs) but the guys ended up being good for a few candid shots.