Campinas means "grass fields" in Portuguese and refers to its characteristic landscape, which originally comprised large stretches of dense subtropical forests (mato grosso or "thick woods" in Portuguese), mainly along the many rivers, interspersed with gently rolling hills covered by low-lying vegetation.
The city was founded on July 14, 1774, by Barreto Leme, initially as a simple outpost on the way to Minas Gerais and Goiás serving the "Bandeirantes" who were in search of precious minerals and Indian slaves. In the first half of the 19th century, Campinas became a growing population center, with many coffee, cotton and sugarcane farms. The construction of a railway linking the city to São Paulo and Santos' seaport, in 1867, was very important for its growth. In the second half of the 19th century, with the abolition of slavery, farming and industrialization attracted many foreign immigrants to replace the lost manpower, mainly from Italy.
Coffee became an important export and the city became wealthy. In consequence, a large service sector was established to serve the growing population, and in the first decades of the 20th century, Campinas could already boast of an opera house, theaters, banks, movie theaters, radio stations, a philharmonic orchestra, two newspapers, a good public education system, hospitals, and the most important Brazilian research center in agricultural sciences. Finally, the construction of the first Brazilian highway in 1938, between Campinas and São Paulo, the Anhanguera Highway, was a turning point in the integration of Campinas into the rest of the state.
Campinas was the birthplace of opera composer Carlos Gomes (1836—1896) and of the President of the Republic Campos Salles (1841—1913), both of whom have small museums here in their honor today.
About 25 min by car from Campinas along highway SP-75. Newcomer airline Azul  has its hub here. There are four options to go to the city center from there (and there are similar options to go to São Paulo too):
Local bus, . Every 30 min, from 6:10 to 00:08. The cheapest option is the public transport, Line No. 1.93, that has a 30 minutes time delay and costs R$3,00. This line stops at some main streets of Campinas and at the central bus station, from which you can get buses to other points of the city and to other local bus stations.R$3,00, to be paid on board. edit
Caprioli Shuttle Bus, ☎ +55 19 3234 1000, . Every hour. The shuttle bus operated by Caprioli Turismo is a cheap option and good if you have luggage. It stops at Largo do Pará Square (city center) and at the central bus station, where you can get a bus to other Brazilian cities or local buses.One way R$8,00. edit
Taxi, ☎ +55 19 3725 5881. Taxis prices in Campinas aren't constant, but the journey should be something close to R$40,00, better to ask the driver how much the journey will cost before getting inside.edit
Rent a car. There are two car rentals at the airport and the prices for economy class cars are close to R$70,00 a day.edit
The airports of Guarulhos and Congonhas are both about an hour and 40 minutes away by car or bus. Cab trips are somewhat pricey but there are two shuttle bus options: AirportBusServices that connects to São Paulo bus stations or Caprioli Shuttle Bus that has direct buses to Campinas. Caprioli costs about R$32,00 and will leave you at Largo do Pará Square, one block from Hotel Ibis, or at the Campinas bus station called Terminal Multimodal Ramos de Azevedo (Rodoviária), from there you can get buses or taxis to other points of the city.
Terminal Multimodal Ramos de Azevedo, . Bus tickets can even be reserved and purchased by Internet for the main bus companies. You would need to check on the bus station which company serves to a certain destination in particular.
Actually it is not possible to arrive in Campinas via steam locomotive. There are a touristic line that works on weekends. The "Maria Fumaça"  starts 25km away in the city of Jaguariúna and arrives in Campinas at Anhumas Station, in the neighborhood of Fazenda Anhumas.
Campinas is well served by urban bus services . Although it is not easy to find where are the bus stops and which bus to catch, people on the street will be glad to help if they can understand you. There are several main bus terminals, where you can transfer from one line into another. Some urban buses even go to neighbor cities as Jaguariúna and Paulínia.
If driving a car, be aware that some avenues have been converted to one-way streets to form a ring around downtown. Sometimes it can be tricky to find your way back and be careful not to get into the wrong way on one of those avenues.
After 22:00 until 06:00, some traffic lights are turned off and just blink yellow. Don't be scared, this is not effect of a Martian invasion. For safety reasons, you are not supposed to be stopped at red lights late at night.
Be aware, however, that during normal hours red lights and speed are enforced by cameras everywhere in the city, so stick to the speed limits and don't cross red lights.
Parque do Taquaral (Parque Portugal), Av. Dr. Heitor Penteado, no number. Excellent place for exercising, it is a favourite local spot for running, walking or ridding a bike. It is a very popular place among families and well recommended for kids. The park boasts a large population of ducks and a few capybaras. The only downside are the large numbers of feral cats, many of which are kept alive by the efforts of volunteers who come and feed them. It contains a number of attractions:edit
Lagoa do Taquaral. This lake is also known as Lagoa Isaura Teles Alves de Lima. On weekends and holidays it is possible to rent swan-shaped paddle boats and cruise around the lake.edit
Electric Tram. The park has 3 kilometers of track that carry four historic trams that served the city from 1912 to 1968.edit
Beethoven Amphitheater. This 2700-seat conch-shaped amphitheater is a replica of the one in New York City's Lincoln Park. It has recently (2013) been renovated and painted. Check the performance schedules posted at the main gates of the park.edit
Campinas Planetarium, ☎ (19) 3252-2598, . MON-FRI 8:30AM-12PM, 1PM-5:30PM; SUN 3:30PM-5PM. Look for the pyramid-shaped buildingedit
Largo do Café, Av. Dr. Heitor Penteado, no number (next to the Parque do Taquaral). This nice wooded park is a nice spot for birdspotting, a relaxed stroll, or a quiet read. It also contains the coffee museum:edit
Museu do Café, Av. Dr. Heitor Penteado, 2145. Here one can learn about the history of the city and São Paulo State, the products that were cultivated and how they impact the state's (and nation's) economy and politics, and especially about the people who made it possible: slaves, immigrants and their descendants.edit
Monsenhor Emílio José Salim Ecological Park (Parque Ecológico Monsenhor Emílio José Salim), Rodovia Heitor Penteado, km3 - Vila Brandina. This 247-acre park used to be part of an old coffee farm called "Mato Dentro". Landscaped by the renowned Brazilian landscape designer Burle Marx, it has the "Casa Grande" (Big House) museum, housed in what used the be the farm owners residence. You can see the disparities of the lifestyle of the farm owners and workers, as well as the local environment and ecology. You can also walk one of the many trails or take advantage of the sporting facilities, such as courts, fields and playgrounds. On Sundays there is an organic agriculture fair as well.edit
Bosque dos Jequitibás, Rua Cel. Quirino, 02 - Bosque, ☎ (19) 3231-8795. This park holds a small but "sad" zoo, a Natural History Museum, small aquarium, and a preserved ranch house. Admission to the park is free, and there is a joint R$2,00 fee to visit the Natural History Museum and aquarium. There are small rodents called agouti that live freely in the park, as well as a few sloths, so keep your eyes trained to the canopy! Thoough the zoo may make you feel a little bad for the animals, the park itself is gorgeous, with wide tree-lined paths, hundreds of benches, and lots of places to picnic.edit
Moisés Lucarelli Stadium. Ponte Preta's Stadium. If you go, wear black and white to not draw the wrong kind of attention!edit
Brinco de Ouro de Princesa Stadium, Jardim Paraíso. Guarani's stadium. The team's colors are green and white, though at the moment, they will take any fans they can get so don't worry about wearing the wrong color!edit
Metropolitan Catedral, Praça José Bonifácio, no number - Centro, ☎ (19) 3231 2085, . Inaugurated in 1883, after more than 70 years of construction. It is best to go here during the day, as the area gets a little dodgy after dusk.edit
Castle Tower (Torre do Castelo), Praça 23 de Outubro. A 27-meter castle-style water tower with an observation deck on top which provides fine views of much of the city. Only saturday and sunday 15-21 h.Free. edit
ESPCeX (Military High School), (close to Castelo). A nice sightseeing from outside but no visits allowed inside. It is possible to enter the nearby military area by car or can be a pleasant walking, where some tanks are exposed at the side of the road.edit
Unicamp. State University of Campinas is one of the best Universities in Brazil. The campus is big and has lots of activities. Worth visiting is the IMECC building. Nearby are some restaurants and bars.edit
PUC-Campinas. Private university which has a beautiful campus, one of the best universities in the state. Journalism course is specially its high standard.edit
Hopi Hari, Rodovia dos Bandeirantes, km 72, Vinhedo (about 15 minutes by road from Campinas). It is a very famous Amusement park. Check also Wet 'n' Wild water park that is just at side. There is a hotel and a small mall over the road on the same complex.edit
Observatório de Capricórnio. Located in Joaquim Egídio, near Campinas is a sky observatory open to visitors some days a week for lectures and stars observations.edit
Visit Sousas and Joaquim Egidio. Driving the road connecting Sousas and Joaquim Edigio is another must do in Campinas. An optional drive to the Morro das Cabras where the Observatory is located is also recommended, but since the road up the to top is unpaved and you might not want to put your car in harsh conditions, it is an optional. Anyway, just following the paved road you can have amazing views, sights of old farm houses, and a feeling of how Campinas used to look. The area is full of activities: fishing, mountain biking, cycling, hiking trails are some options. If you feel tired of so much activity, you can sit, rest, eat and drink at one of the many restaurants in the region, some of them among the best of the city and attracting crowds from the State capital, Sao Paulo. You can also visit the old farms, the churches and the local stores. Or just sit in a bench in one of the squares and watch the time passing slowly. This tour can be as nostalgic or agitated as you wish. edit
Carduelis Birdwatching tours, (Has no office), ☎ +55-19-8100-8806., . Carlos Enrique conducts ornithological tours in Campinas or in and around Sao Paulo State.edit
Central Market (Mercadão), Av. Benjamim Constant, Praça Carlos Botelho - Centro, ☎ (19) 3232-3679. Nice place to find exotic food and to feel the charm that Campinas had in its past. It is downtown close to two main bus stations, which takes some of this beauty away but makes the local easily accessible. It is a great spot for people watching.edit
Downtown. The streets downtown are lined with shops and are perhaps the most convenient and best place to start your shopping.edit
Hippie Fair (Feira Hippie), Praça Imprensa Fluminense, no number - Cambuí (at Centro de Convivência), ☎ (19) 3232-4168, . Sa-Su 9AM-2PM. The art crafts fair now is officially called "Feira de Arte, Artesanato, Antiguidades, Esotéricos e Quitutes de Campinas" but with such a long name, all the locals still call it by its old and more charming name: Feira Hippie. The fair started in the 1970s and since then a lot has changed: its location, size, and products, and today actual hippie vendors are rare. This is a must-do in Campinas. It is possible to buy all kinds of arts and crafts: paintings, jewellery, clothes, house articles, shoes, bags, etc. The food section is an amazing trip through local and Brazilian cuisine: pasteis (fried dumplings), empanadas, and pies share space with regional food and as well as dishes brought by immigrants and fully adopted by the Brazilians, such as yakisoba and sushi. edit
Rua Treze de Maio. An old street shopping destination.edit
Like any decent-sized city in Brazil, there are a number of American-style shopping malls, typically including a food court, movie theater, and a variety of shops.
Campinas Shopping, intersection of the Anhanguera and Santos Dumont Highways, ☎ (19) 3727 2300, . M-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 12PM-10PM. edit
Galleria Shopping, Rodovia Dom Pedro I, km 131.5 - Jardim Nilópolis, ☎ (19) 3207 1333, . Few stores, focus on services, restaurant and cinema. The landscaping of this mall has plenty of vegetation, making it very pleasant.edit
Shopping Iguatemi, Av. Iguatemi, 777 - Vila Brandina, ☎ (19) 3131 4646, . Mon-Sat 10AM-10PM, Sun 12PM-10PM. Lots of stores, also great restaurants and cinemas.edit
Shopping Parque D. Pedro, Av. Guilherme Campos, 500 - Jardim Santa Genebra, ☎ (19) 3756-7500, . M-Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 12PM-10PM (Food Court stays open an hour later). A very popular mall, not only for Campinas's citizens but for the whole region- tour buses arriving with visitors from neighboring cities is not uncommon. You can find pretty much anything you need in the almost 400 stores, but come prepared to walk. There are around 40 options of places to eat, 15 movie screens, bowling alley, gym and night clubs. If you are not inclined to crowds, try to avoid visiting it during weekends and holidays. Kids love this mall, where they can play in the themed resting places. The area where the mall was constructed was part of the Santa Genebra forest and some of the centenary trees that were cut down or found dead during construction were preserved through chemical processes and are now exhibited inside the mall. It is routine to see people taking pictures with the dead trees as background since the artist who worked on them really did an amazing job.edit
While, like most of the state, Campinas has the fairly typical paulistano range of Italian, Japanese, Middle Eastern, and standard Brazilian food, it doesn't have anything much that might be called campineiro food. The two most notable things might be the local penchant for arugula salad (salada de rúcula) and the local lancherias' habit of serving their sandwiches cut into bite size pieces, dubbed the "angel-mouth cut" (corte boca-de-anjo). Among desserts, you should not miss the torta holandesa (Dutch pie) which, despite its name, was invented in Campinas.
Almanara, Av. Iguatemi, 777 (in Shopping Iguatemi, 3rd floor), ☎ (19) 3255 0477, . Specializing in Middle Eastern dishes, or the Brazilian equivalent thereof, with esfiha, couscous, baba ghanouj, tabouli, falafel, and other dishes.edit
Bar do Alemão, Av. Benjamin Constant, 1969, ☎ (19) 3254 3148. Restaurant that started in the nearby city of Itu, which is famous for the extra size of everything, the restaurant follows the pattern of the city where it was created. Be sure to ask for the "Parmegiana" the most famous dish in the house: deep fried breaded beef, taken to the oven covered with cheese and tomato sauce, served with rice and french fries.edit
Feijão com Tranqueira, Etr Joaquim Egídio Cabras, ☎ (19) 3298-6682. Restaurant elected several times as "The Best of the City" for typical Brazilian food, and a visit there evokes the whole experience of countryside Brazil. The house speciality, as the name sugests, is feijão com tranqueira: bean soup cooked with bacon, sausages, sun dried meat and other delicious things. In their backyard, there is a mini-farm, and kids love to see the animals, walk around the lake and play on the playground.edit
Kilimanjaro, . Varied menu with sandwiches, burgers, and light dishes as well as steaks and chicken dinners. They also have a selection of vegetarian options. Two locations in town.edit
Kilimanjaro Galleria, Rodovia Dom Pedro I, km 131.5 (in Galleria Shopping, 1st floor), ☎ (19) 3207 3332. edit
Kilimanjaro Iguatemi, Av. Iguatemi, 777 (in Shopping Iguatemi, 3rd floor), ☎ (19) 3295 0051. edit
Papai Salim, Av. Benjamin Constant, 1307, ☎ (19) 3235-3364. Middle Eastern food.edit
Pizzaria Braz, Av. Benjamin Constant, 1963, ☎ (19) 3251 4444, . edit
Red Angus, R. General Osório, 2310 - Cambuí, ☎ (19) 3253-0006, . As the name might suggest, this churrascaria is the place for beef as well as many other kinds of meat, plus salads, pastas, and desserts.edit
Rosário, Rua Gal Osório, 941, ☎ (19) 3232 8400, . Steaks including file mignon and even Kobe beef, chicken and turkey dishes, pastas, seafood, and fish served Brazilian-style. edit
Via Castello, Avenida Doutor Alberto Sarmento, 516 - Bairro Castelo, ☎ (19) 3284 3960 , . 6PM-. Good pizza cooked in a big wooden oven.edit
Mercure Hotel, Avenida Aquidaban 400 - Centro (next to Ibis), ☎ (19) 3733 7700, . edit
Royal Palm Plaza, Av. Royal Palm Plaza, 277 - Jardim Nova Califórnia, ☎ (19) 2117 8000, . edit
Sleep Inn Galleria, Av. Dr. Carlos Grimaldi, 1653 - Jardim Conceição (beside Galleria mall, near Dom Pedro road.), ☎ (19) 2137 2200, . edit
Village Residence Hotel, R. Dr. Salvador Penteado, 176 - Bairro Castelo, ☎ (19)3243 0844, . checkin: 12PM; checkout: 12PM. One of the cheapest hotel in Campinas. If you want to have a quiet place to stay this is the best place. It is simple but a decent place to stay.R$70. edit
As in any other large city in the world, pay attention to your surroundings and don't act like a tourist. Campinas is relatively safe during the day time, but at night, take a taxi a cab or drive yourself. Downtown Cambuí is relatively safe at night, but, again, pay attention and use your head.
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