São Paulo in

Two Days

Explore downtown São Paulo's cultural core, starting at Oscar Niemeyer's sinuous Edifício Copan and mapping out an easily walkable circular route that takes in some of the city's most architecturally and culturally significant attractions such as Theatro Municipal, Mosteiro São Bento, Estação da Luz and Pina_Luz. Set aside at least an hour to embrace the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the city's bustling Mercado Municipal; nicknamed 'Mercadão,' or 'Big Market'. Work your way back towards República and belly up to the counter at Estadão for the city's classic pernil sandwich. Scale Edifício Itália, taking a stupefying gander at the megalopolis around which you just meandered (holy crap!) then overdose on swine at A Casa do Porco.

On the second day, walk the length of the country's most important avenue, the 2.8km Av Paulista, popping in and out of its cultural offerings along the way. Museu de Arte de São Paulo, Japan House, SESC Paulista and Instituto Moreira Salles should be prioritized. Inside the latter, Rodrigo Oliveira's Balaio IMS is a great option for lunch. Walk off the calories in leafy Jardins, the city's toniest environs, home to South America's most luxurious street, Rua Oscar Freire. Dinner at Maní.

Four Days

On the third morning, explore Liberdade, home to the world's third largest Japanese diaspora. Stop by the interesting Museu Histórico da Imigração Japonesa and learn how this all came to be. Bring it all together by immersing yourself in the resulting food culture – slurp authentic ramen noodles at Lamen Kazu or splurge on a blowout sushi experience at Shin-Zushi a few kilometers away in Paraíso.

In the afternoon, head to Vila Madelena, São Paulo's cradle of bohemian cool. Browse unique design and clothing boutiques, antique shops, cutting-edge galleries and artsy emporiums. Alex Atala's Açougue Central is a great and affordable option to try both Brazil's incredible carne (beef) and its top chef. After dinner, take in the boteco-driven nightlife here or craft beers and cocktails in neighboring Pinheiros.

On the fourth day, head to the city's much beloved green space, Parque Ibirapuera, and explore its cluster of museums, especially Museu Afro-Brasil and Museu de Arte Contemporânea – both are fascinating. Pop up to Vista or a coffee or a cocktail and take in an astounding view of the park and city skyline beyond.

Late afternoon – especially Saturdays – don't miss Brazil's national dish at Feijoada da Lana.