São Paulo is a big city full of things to do with kids but, unfortunately, many of them are expensive. Luckily, there are many free things to do too! Here’s a list of our favorites and some recommendations from friends! If you bring water and pack a snack, you won’t have to spend a thing!
They’re few, but they exist. On this visit (late 2016 to early 2017) we visited Parque Villa Lobos, Parque da Água Branca and Parque do Carmo. There’s also Parque do Ibirapuera.
Parque da Água Branca has Mugeo (Geology Museum), a lot of birds, some exercise areas, a library and a small and paid for theme park. Parque Villa-Lobos is huge, there are many food trucks, bike rentals, and on Sundays, there are many activities for free (like health checkups). Parque do Carmo is huge and we didn’t wander around, just let the kids do whatever they wanted. It’s got loads of food stalls and a big pond.
Parks are always great, even though my kids take a long while to warm up before they start enjoying it.
PAULISTA AVENUE ON SUNDAYS
Avenida Paulista is closed to cars on Sundays, from 10 am to 4 pm (it varies according to what’s happening in the city, though). It becomes a great place to cycle, skate, rollerblade, walk, run, dance, or whatever you want. We saw people doing Zumba, playing and singing, dancing, painting, selling their crafts and, well, all kinds of stuff. We loved the vibe, the freedom, the diversity. Watch your kids because it’s crowded. Take water and something to eat and you won’t have to spend a dime!
FARMERS MARKET (FEIRAS)
This is where people go to buy their weekly supply of fresh produce but it’s a great place to wander, nonetheless. You don’t really have to pay to try a few different fruits and there are so many exotic fruits and veggies!
Of course, these are for free, but it’s always worth putting them to the list. Avoid long weekends and holidays, and it’ll be worth it! São Paulo’s northern coast is said to have the best beaches but a beach is always better than no beach, in my opinion!
This is the Asian town in São Paulo. There’s everything Asian there, from food to clothing, books (manga included) to electronics. It’s charming and it’s worth the walk. On Sundays, there’s a street fair selling handicraft that’s pretty cool. If you’re into nerdy stuff, this is also where you’ll find them.
MERCADO MUNICIPAL (City Market)
Great to wander around tasting exotic fruits and veggies, have a super fresh fruit juice and just be there. The market itself is beautiful and there are many buildings in the surrounding area that are incredible, so if you’re into architecture this is one good place to be. My kids didn’t want to try anything but they did and it was fun.
We haven’t visited them, but all our friends talk highly about them. They’re clubs with activities, movies, playgrounds, pools and loads of activities. They’re all over São Paulo and what each branch is different but I have never heard a bad thing about any of them. The entrance is free and so are most of the activities.
The museums always have free entry days, you just need to check when this is, as it varies enormously. Catavento is a great museum for kids, highly interactive and very interesting!
As you can see, there’s a lot to see and do in São Paulo with kids! Choose your activities, plan ahead if using public transportation and have a great time!
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