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São Paulo Tours Guide: How to Choose Yours (Updated 2020)

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Browsing around for some São Paulo tours, but don’t know which one to choose? I’ll help you with that!

São Paulo is a massive city filled with incredible venues, landmarks, and attractions. That’s why having a local guide to show you around is essential.

Otherwise, where would you start? There’s so much to see!

I was born and raised in São Paulo, and even today, I still find new exciting spots I wish I had found sooner. Can you imagine yourself who only have a few days in the city?

It’s a lot.

For that reason, I’ve written this complete article with the best tours in São Paulo. These tours cover the main areas in the city and, let’s say, topics of interest.

That’s right. Besides having a São Paulo tour from a historical perspective, I’ve also included a few tours and activities geared toward food, street art, and nightlife.

In other words, there is something for all tastes here. Enjoy it, and if you have any questions regarding these tours in São Paulo, leave a comment below.

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Why should you go on day tours in São Paulo, Brazil

São Paulo is a melting pot of different cultures. The city is where people of all kinds meet in Brazil. It’s a unique place to experience diversity.

From the bohemian Vila Madalena neighborhood filled with street art and unpretentious bars to high-end hotels in Jardins and underground venues at Augusta St, São Paulo is insane.

Not only insanely exciting, but the city is also massive, as I said before. And if you don’t know it well, it might be difficult to find off the beaten path places or even understand the history behind popular attractions.

That’s where a São Paulo tour can come in handy. You visit and learn about many spots in the city from a local point of view.

Where are those tours taking place

The tours I’ll talk about in this article are only in São Paulo City, not in the state. If you want to go on day tours from São Paulo, read my guide on it.

Who should take a São Paulo City tour

These tours in São Paulo are perfect for travelers who:

  • Have no time to research specific places to visit for themselves.
  • Have no understanding of the city and want to learn some history and culture from a local.
  • Have no time to see the whole city and have to be practical by focusing only on the main sites and landmarks.
  • Don’t feel comfortable or safe traveling the city by themselves and would rather have a local to show them around.
  • Enjoy meeting like-minded people from many countries around the world.
  • Prefer to have things taken care of: tours and itineraries are defined and aligned with the most essential things to see and learn about that place + transportation to all sites.

What type of tours in São Paulo are available

As a good old diverse city, there are tours in São Paulo for all interests and tastes.

  • Street art tour in Vila Madalena and Santana.
  • Cooking Class with a professional chef filled with delicious Brazilian food prepared by you.
  • Architecture tour of the many buildings and constructions throughout the city.
  • Nightlife tour in three peculiar neighborhoods.
  • General tour of the main São Paulo tourist attractions and landmarks.
  • Private tour tailored to your interests in the city.
Farol Santander building, former Altino Arantes, in São Paulo Downtown
Farol Santander building in Downtown

How long does the average São Paulo tour guide last

On average, most São Paulo tours last between three and four hours. You can see and experience a lot during this period.

What is included in these São Paulo tours

While every tour below goes to a different area or neighborhood in the city, and therefore have other needs, the majority consists of the following:

  • Pick-up and drop-off at a hotel near the center.
  • Coach, car, bus, or transportation costs to attractions.
  • Guided walking tour with a local expert.
  • English (and Spanish) speaking guide.

Things to consider when choosing your São Paulo sightseeing tour

  1. Decide what you want to see (or do): taste the best Brazilian food, photograph colorful murals, visit interesting buildings, drink at traditional bars, or a little of everything?
  2. Determine how much time you have left to go on a tour and what time would suit you best. Do you only have a morning, afternoon, or evening?
  3. Consider whether or not you want to learn about local history. Some tours include a thorough explanation of the locations and sites, while others are focused on food, street art, etc.
  4. Choose wisely the time you’re traveling to Brazil. If possible, try to plan your trip outside the summer in the northern hemisphere. That’s when most tourists visit Brazil. This way, attractions as well as the city won’t be so crowded or expensive. Still going during summer? Book your tour in advance as they might book out.

My favorite São Paulo tours

Best São Paulo day tour: 4-hour private city tour

Pátio do Colégio, historic building in São Paulo Downtown
Pátio do Colégio, historic building in São Paulo Downtown

This tour in São Paulo is excellent for learning about local history while exploring Brazil’s largest city.

Salt&City takes you on one of the best sightseeing tours in São Paulo. This is a tailored private tour to experience whatever you want at your pace.

Based on that, your guide will create an exciting itinerary around the best São Paulo tourist attractions.

The guides are knowledgeable and enthusiastic, making the experience unique as you feel their passion for the city. I love that!

This tour can also be a combination of all tours below – architecture, street art, museums, bars, etc. You choose.

Great value for money and lots of exciting lessons!

Perfect for: tourists who prefer touring the city with an exclusive guide or at least in a tiny group.

Also, tourists who prefer to choose what to see rather than follow a predetermined route and want the safety of touring around with a local. (And learning about the local history, of course!)

This tour includes:

  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off.
  • English (and Spanish) speaking guide.
  • Transportation between attractions.
  • Entrance fees.

If you’re traveling with more than four people, they can also tour the city with a van instead of a car. It’s not a problem.

Click here to read more reviews

Best São Paulo tour for those short on time: 3-hour general city tour

View over Paulista Ave, the region with the best hotels in Sao Paulo
Most São Paulo tours pass by the Paulista Ave

The Meet São Paulo tour shows you the significant landmarks, monuments, and tourist attractions in the city.

Friendly and knowledgeable, the local guide will take your group tour to places like the Pacaembu Soccer Stadium, Paulista Ave, MASP, House of Roses, Japantown, St. Benedict Monastery, and more.

And the best part is that while you visit these sites, you learn about their significance to the city.

For me, if the guide isn’t great, it will ruin the whole tour, but fortunately, that doesn’t happen here. The local guide is well-prepared and clearly passionate about what he is telling you.

Perfect for: tourists who don’t have a lot of time in São Paulo and would like to visit the main spots with a local.

This tour includes:

  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off (within 8km from the city center).
  • Transportation between attractions.
  • Local English speaking guide.

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing for walking as you’ll see a lot in three hours.

Also, this tour operates in all weather conditions, so if you’re traveling with a rain jacket, have it in your daypack just in case it rains.

Click here to read more reviews

Best São Paulo tour for street art lovers: 3-hour street art tour

Batman Alley Graffitis in São Paulo, Brazil
Batman Alley filled with graffiti in Vila Madalena

São Paulo is fascinating. Among loads of gray buildings, locals found a way to express themselves and add some colors to daily life.

And on this great tour, Around SP will take you to the bohemian neighborhood of Vila Madalena, which is filled with beautiful murals.

Have you ever heard of Batman Alley (Portuguese: Beco do Batman)? It’s located at Vila Madalena!

Then you’ll be headed to another neighborhood filled with massive murals underneath metro train tracks.

All of this while learning about their artistic origins, folklore, and history.

This São Paulo street art tour is excellent and definitely worth your time!

Perfect for: tourists who want to see the artistic and underground side of São Paulo. Tourists who would love to photograph these colorful murals, but would rather have a local showing them around.

This tour includes:

  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off (within 8km from the city center).
  • Knowledgeable and English speaking local guide.
  • Transportation between murals and locations.

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and pack your camera. You won’t wanna miss these shots.

Click here to read more reviews

One of the best São Paulo activities to taste local flavors: 3.5-hour cooking class

Brazilian fish stew, moqueca
Brazilian fish stew, moqueca, is delicious with rice

I know you were expecting a São Paulo food tour around the city, but this activity is much better!

Here, besides learning how to cook traditional Brazilian dishes or snacks, you’ll get local recommendations about restaurants and eating venues from a chef. Who better to advise you on that?

This is a hands-on activity for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians in a renowned Brazilian cooking school.

The friendly chef, Marina, will guide you on how to cook some of our delicious dishes and help you improve your cooking skills. To finish the class, you’ll eat what you prepared. How does that sound?

Well, imagine yourself back home preparing something Brazilian for your friends and family? Better yet, you can tell them your learned how to make it in Brazil.

This is a unique experience to have in São Paulo.

Perfect for: tourists who would love to have a taste of the local dishes and bring some of that knowledge home. Tourists who love cooking.

This activity includes:

  • Brazilian food tasting.
  • Ingredients and beverages.
  • A booklet with recipes.
  • Professional chef.

For this tour, you don’t have to bring a thing, just good humor and a nearly empty stomach.

Click here to read more reviews

Best São Paulo historical city tour: 3-hour architecture tour

The Museum of Art of São Paulo, MASP, is one of São Paulo points of interest
The Museum of Art of São Paulo, MASP, is one of major São Paulo points of interest

From Portuguese colonial buildings to art nouveau and modern structures, São Paulo has a wide range of architectural styles, which goes much further than the ones mentioned above.

And having such a mix in its urban fabric, this list of São Paulo tours wouldn’t be complete without a little trip around the city to see these iconic constructions.

The experienced guide takes you to plenty of interesting places and buildings scattered around town.

The exact places you’ll visit will depend on the day you go because some of the buildings are governmental and don’t open every day.

But don’t worry, the local guide will take you somewhere else instead.

I highly recommend this tour!

Perfect for: architecture buffs or tourists interested in the local mix of architectural styles and history.

This tour includes:

  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off (within 8km from the city center).
  • English (and Spanish) speaking local guide.
  • Transportation between locations.

Don’t forget your camera to snap a shot of the places you visit. Oh, and wearing comfortable shoes is also advisable.

Click here to read more reviews

Best tour in São Paulo for beer and music lovers: 4-hour night tour

Skyline nightview of São Paulo
What about drinks with a view?

São Paulo nightlife is famous in Brazil. And while samba runs in our veins, this diverse city offers other music styles for all tastes.

In this tour, the local guide will take you to three bars in different neighborhoods – each one completely different from the other.

The tour starts at the bohemian Vila Madalena neighborhood, which is a popular nightlife spot.

After you have walked around, got acquainted with the area, and had a caipirinha (national cocktail), the guide will take you to Brahma Bar in the city center.

This bar is a famous place to listen to Brazilian popular music and samba over a few beers.

The next and last stop will be at the high-end poolside bar Skye at the Unique Hotel. The skyline view from here is jaw-dropping.

Besides driving you around, the private guide will help you with any language barriers as you order drinks and mingle with locals.

It’s the perfect tour in São Paulo to enjoy some of the most exciting bars.

Perfect for: tourists who want to enjoy São Paulo nightlife in distinctive and traditional spots in the city. Tourists who want to listen to Brazilian music over a few beers and have some drinks with a skyline view.

Also, for tourists who want to visit the iconic Brahma Bar accompanied by a local as the surroundings might be dangerous if you don’t know where to go.

This tour includes:

  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off (within 8km from the city center).
  • English (and Spanish) speaking local guide.
  • Transportation between locations.
  • Flexibility to customize your itinerary.

Good to know: the drinking age in Brazil is 18 years old. So if you’re traveling with someone younger, that person might not attend the tour.

Click here to read more reviews

São Paulo travel resources

I hope the tours above can help you learn more about this unique place to visit in Brazil that São Paulo is.

Besides this guide, I also have some other articles to help you plan your trip to São Paulo, my hometown.

Check this post, if you’re looking for a few more things to do in the city. Also, if you have some days left, why not go on a day trip from São Paulo?

For transportation, read my taxi guide, which also has tips on how to avoid scams.

If this is your first time in the country, don’t miss my Brazil travel guide, my trip planning checklist, and this massive list of awesome things to do in the country.

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