Although Rio de Janeiro is the more popular Brazilian destination for tourists, São Paulo has a nonstop nightlife that even Rio can’t keep up with. São Paulo, with about 11 million people, is Brazil’s largest city and one of the top 10 largest metropolitan areas in the world. A common misconception about São Paulo is that this metropolis is only about work. On the contrary, it has one of the busiest nightlife scenes in the world—and you can find something to get into all week long with plenty of options for every taste.
Most locals, referred to as Paulistanos, won’t even set foot inside a club until midnight or later, and in some areas, traffic jams are a common occurrence late at night. Since São Paulo is a business district, Paulistanos tend to dress up when going out. Avoid wearing jeans and tennis shoes unless you don’t plan on making it past the doors at most of the clubs.
São Paulo nightlife occurs in several districts that offer a variety of entertainment every day of the week. They all have their own unique style – take a cab to Vila Olimpia or Itaim Bibi for all the up and coming clubs. Venture off to Vila Madalena to find some bohemian hot spots or find your way to the underground scene at Augusta Street.
No matter your flavor, you are sure to find it in São Paulo. Its lively gay and lesbian party scene is one of the largest in Latin America. Districts such as Jardins and the area around Rua Frei Caneca contain many gay-friendly restaurants, bars, clubs and saunas. Probably the most popular of these is The Week, one of the biggest clubs in Brazil, set in São Paulo’s Lapa district. This well-known nightclub is famous for its intense Saturday-night parties and monthly pool parties in São Paulo.
Some tips to remember while partying in São Paulo:
- The drinking age is 18 and up – but alcohol is consumed more moderately in Brazil than in other countries, so don’t get sloppy drunk.
- São Paulo is not strict with time; so don’t be offended if you make plans with a Paulistano who shows up late.
- Smoking is forbidden in enclosed public spaces, including bars and clubs.
- Brazil is known for their liberal nightlife scene, but the local women are well aware of the stereotypes that label them as promiscuous. They will not be receptive to your approach if they suspect ill-intentions.
If you can handle partying all night long, then this is the place for you. São Paulo has nightclubs for days with capacities in the thousands and offers something for everyone. Since most clubs don’t even close until 8 a.m., you are sure to find entertainment to your liking as you roam São Paulo’s streets at night. The locals are friendly and love to party, so as long as you remember the basic guidelines and exhibit good manners, you will fit in and have an amazing experience in this energetic Brazilian city.