São Paulo’s museums are as diverse and eclectic as the city’s cultural heritage, from world-class art galleries to one of Latin America’s top sporting museums. Here are a few of the best museums in the city to add to your itinerary.
Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP)
São Paulo’s most renowned art institution is also one of the city’s most striking architectural landmarks, the work of architect Lina Bo Bardi. Looming over Avenida Paulista on four red concrete pillars, the Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) showcases contemporary Brazilian masters such as Portinari alongside international superstars like Picasso.
Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo
Housed in a gorgeous neoclassical manse—formerly the city’s first art academy—the Pinacoteca do Estado dates back to back to the early 20th century. Its vast permanent collection focuses on modern and classical Brazilian paintings and sculptures.
Brazil’s passion for football takes center stage at the Football Museum (Museu do Futebol), housed in the Pacaembu Stadium, one of Brazil’s oldest football stadiums. Inside, highlights include an impressive World Cup exhibition detailing every tournament from 1930 to present day, a multimedia recreation of a Brazilian soccer match, and footage of some of Brazil’s most legendary sporting moments.
Located in the historic Palace of Industry in Dom Pedro II Park, the Catavento Cultural is a unique science museum designed to get kids excited about life and the universe. It’s filled with interactive exhibits, hands-on activities, and kinetic displays on subjects such as the solar system, the human body, and chemistry.
Instituto Tomie Ohtake
Standing sentry over the Pinheiros district, the two-toned glass skyscraper housing the Instituto Tomie Ohtake features impactful photography exhibitions and contemporary art installations.
The leafy Ibirapuera Park is home to a number of art museums, including the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) and the Museum of Modern Art (MAM)—both designed by Brazilian master architect Oscar Niemeyer—and the Afro-Brazilian Museum, which houses one of the world’s largest collections of Afro-Brazilian art and artifacts.