Catedral Metropolitana Ortodoxa, Vila Mariana.
South Central is a region of São Paulo. It is the wealthiest region of the city in terms of average income per capita, although poorer areas also exist, especially in the extreme south of the region.
The region contains residencial, commercial and a few industrial areas. Its residencial areas are highly verticalized, and nowadays contain some of the most expensive places to live in the city. The region's main landmark and attraction is Parque do Ibirapuera, one of the largest and most important areas of green, leisure and culture of the city. The region also contains the gigantic Morumbi Shopping-Shopping Market Place commercial center, an indoor commercial center with more than 600 shops and dozens of restaurants, one of the favorite places of high income consumers in the city.
The South Central region is composed of 7 districts, grouped in 3 subprefectures:
- Vila Mariana subprefecture: Vila Mariana, Moema, Saúde
- Santo Amara subprefecture: Campo Belo, Santo Amaro, Campo Grande
- Jabaquare subprefecture: Jabaquara.
Note: Avenida Paulista is partly on the South Central. For places in this avenue and up to 4 blocks from it, check the Sao Paulo/Paulista section.
Pavilhão Japonês, Parque do Ibirapuera. The South Central region contains a large and active Japanese community.
Although the South Central looks more or less homogeneous when compared to its contrast-filled neighbors, it may be separated in two areas in terms of history. The north and east part of the district (Vila Mariana, Moema, Saúde e Jabaquara) emerged with the growth of São Paulo in south direction, and are strongly residencial with middle to high class neighborhoods, with high level of verticalization. These districts contain a large number of descendants of Japanese immigrants, who typically have moved from other parts of the city after their social ascension. Annually, the region hosts the Festival do Japão, the largest event of the Japanese community of São Paulo.
The southwest part of the district (Santo Amaro, Campo Belo and Campo Grande) were until 1935 part of the municipality of Santo Amaro, which also included what today is São Paulo's Far South region. Santo Amaro was the center of this municipality, and remains until the present the day as the "center more important than the center" for many people that live in the districts corresponding to the extinguished municpality. Today, Santo Amaro, Campo Belo and Campo Grande form an important business and industrial area for São Paulo, and that is where the Congonhas Airport is located. However, the continuous expansion of São Paulo in south direction has resulted in residencial launches to also "invade" these districts.
By Metro and train
These are the Metro and train stations located at each district:
- Vila Mariana: Paraíso, Ana Rosa, Vila Mariana, Santa Cruz, Chácara Klabin
- Saúde: Praça da Árvore, São Judas, Saúde
- Jabaquara: Conceição, Jabaquara
- Santo Amaro: Santo Amaro, Largo Treze, Socorro, Morumbi
- Campo Grande: Jurubatuba
The districts of Moema and Campo Belo are expected to be fully integrated into the Metro/train network around 2015.
Most parts of the region can be reached by car from Corredor Norte-Sul, originating from the Center, Av. dos Bandeirantes, originating from the West, and Av. Dr. Ricardo Jafet, originating from the Southeast. Depending on where you are and where do you want to go other ways may be more efficient.
For buses, check the SPTrans website for routes and itineraries (only in Portuguese).
The metro, train, bus and car are the natural way of getting around in the region. Outside Parque do Ibirapuera, the South Central is not great in terms of sightseeing and has not many interesting places to be explored on foot.
Visitors who want to see less cars and more people may explore the area of Largo 13 de Maio, the de facto "city center" of the extinguished municipality of Santo Amaro. For those who prefer more upscale places, one option is Avenida Ibirapuera and its surroundings, in Moema.
Cycleway Marginal Pinheiros (see São Paulo main section) is partly located in the South Central. There are also approximately 3.3 km of cicleways in Moema, located at Av. Pavão, Av. Rouxinol and Av. Iraí, that all cross Av. Ibirapuera. There are other 6.5 km of "cycle routes" in the same region, where cyclists have preference but not a dedicated lane.
A large portion of Ciclofaixa de Lazer (see São Paulo main article) is also in the South Central region and it is a great way to explore the region on two wheels.
Parque do Ibirapuera during sunset
The Oca, Parque do Ibirapuera
- Parque do Ibirapuera (Ibirapuera park), (entrance by avenues República do Líbano and Pedro Álvares Cabral), . With 1.5 million square meters, this is the most frequented leisure area in São Paulo. It has paths for walking and jogging, bikeways, woods, lakes, sport courts and areas for relaxation that attract city residents of all ages. Bicycles can be rented also. It receives up to 150 thousand visitors on weekends. There are other important attractions at Ibirapuera, such as the Museu de Arte Moderna, Museu Afro-Brasileiro, Pavilhão da Bienal, the Pavilhão ds Oca and the Pavilhão Japonês. It also has frequent free music presentations by national and international artists. Ibirapuera was inaugurated in 1954, during the celebrations for the city’s fourth centennial. Oscar Niemeyer, renowned Brazilian architect, designed several of the buildings. Watch joggers, dog-walkers and all kinds of street vendors, and sit down on a patch of grass and listen to the birds singing. One of the few places in São Paulo where you can do just that. If you feel like it you can even enjoy a Caipirinha from one of the cardbord-box bars you will find close to the entrances. Also buy the sweet and tasty coconut/nougat-sweets that are sold by many vendors in the park. Nearest Metro is "Vila Mariana" and then a short taxi ride, a bus or a 20 minutes walk down the Rua Sena Madureira. You also can walk for around 20 minutes through Brigadeiro Luiz Antonio Avenue, from "Brigadeiro" Station (Green Line), in Avenida Paulista. You also can take a bus from the station, until the park. free. edit
- Museu de Arte Moderna (Museum of Modern Art, MAM), Parque do Ibirapuera, portão 3 - s/nº, . With excellent exhibits, a varied schedule of independent movies and a boutique restaurant. edit
- Oca (Pavilhão Gov. Lucas Nogueira Garcez), Parque do Ibirapuera, . An exposition center that looks like a flying saucer, designed by the premium architect Oscar Niemeyer. Exhibits outstanding temporary shows, such as Picasso, Painted Bodies, and Warriors from China. edit
- Museu Afro-Brasileiro (African-Brazilian Museum), Parque do Ibirapuera, . Tells the story of Africans in Brazil and their influence on our culture. The collection includes emotionally moving objects and documents. edit
- Pavilhão Japonês, Parque do Ibirapuera - portão 10, Moema, . wed, sat, sun and holidays, 10:00-12:00 and 13:00-17:00. Based on the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto, was built in 1954 to represent the friendship between Brazil and Japan. R$ 6. edit
- Obelisco de São Paulo (Obelisco Mausoléu aos Heróis de 32), In front of Parque do Ibirapuera. The 72-meter high mausoleum contains the remnants of 4 students and 713 combatants who perished during Revolução Constitucionalista de 32, a 1932 uprising of São Paulo against the dictatorship federal government. edit
- Monumento às Bandeiras, Praça Armando Salles de Oliveira, Moema (in front of Parque do Ibirapuera). A monument sculpted by Victor Brecheret, representing the early explorers of São Paulo state, the bandeirantes, and the multiple ethnical groups that composed the people of the state. edit
- Catedral Metropolitana Ortodoxa (Metropolitan Ortodox Cathedral), Rua Vergueiro, 1515 - Paraíso (Near Paraíso station), . The equivalent of Igreja da Sé for the Orthodox Antioch Church is one of the few remarkable examples of Bizantine architecture in Brazil. edit
- Borba Gato statue, Avenida Santo Amaro 5700, Santo Amaro. Statue of São Paulo's most famous explorer (bandeirante), Manuel de Borba Gato. edit
- Igreja Matriz de Santo Amaro (Catedral de Santo Amaro), Largo 13 de Maio, Santo Amaro (Near Largo 13 station). Santo Amaro was once a city separate from São Paulo, and Igreja Matriz was its central church; it is currently a cathedral. The small wooden image of Saint Amaro in the church dates from 1560, although the church is from 1907. edit
- Museu Lasar Segall, Rua Berta, 111 - Vila Mariana (Between Vila Mariana and Santa Cruz stations), . wed-mon, 11-19. Museum dedicated to Brazilian-Lithuanian modernist artist Lasar Sagall. Also hosts exhibits and art courses. edit
- São Paulo Golf Club, Praça Dom Francisco de Souza, 540 - Santo Amaro/Campo Grande (Near Socorro station and Ponte Socorro), ☎ 11 5525-9255, . tue-sun. São Paulo's golf club, founded by British immigrants. R$ 220 to R$ 475 depending on day. edit
- Mundo de Xuxa, Avenida das Nações Unidas, 22.540, Campo Grande (At Shopping SP Market), ☎ 11 5541-2530, . The largest indoors theme park of Latin America, with 15.4 thousand square meters and owned by Brazilian celebrity (and richest woman) Xuxa Meneghel. Its decoration and attractions are mainly focused at children, although most can be enjoyed together with adults. edit
Theaters and Concert halls
A list of performances being carried in the city (as well as a full list of theatres) can be found in various websites, including: , , ; it is better to choose the theatre by the performance you want to see.
Credicard Hall, Santo Amaro
- Auditório Ibirapuera, Parque do Ibirapuera - portão 2, Moema, . a building that was already foreseen in the original project of Oscar Niemeyer in 1954. Conceived for musical presentations, its 20 meter back door, when opened, allows it to cater for about 20 thousand people. edit
- Cinemateca Brasileira, Largo Senador Raul Cardoso, 207 - Vila Mariana, . Movie theater that showcases cult movies. Also has an extensive archive of all productions of Brazilian cinema. edit
- Credicard Hall, Av. das Nações Unidas, 17955 - Santo Amaro (Near Ponte João Dias), . One of the largest concert halls of Latin America, acommodates up to 7,000 people. Exhibitions of famous Brazilian and international artists. edit
- HSBC Brasil (Tom Brasil), R. Bragança Paulista, 1281 - Santo Amaro, . Another concert hall in Santo Amaro for large scale events. Accomodates up to 4,500 people. edit
- SESC Vila Mariana, Rua Pelotas, 141, Vila Mariana, . Plays many concerts of Brazilian musicians. Many of them are free edit
- Festival do Japão (Japan Festival), Centro de Exposição Imigrantes, . The largest event of the Japanese community in São Paulo. This three-day event, that happens in july, includes a shop gallery, presentations of both traditional and japanese culture, an immense fair of typical food, and a japanese descendant Miss contest. Attracts around 180,000 visitors. edit
- Bienal de Arte, Pavilhão da Bienal, Parque do Ibirapuera - portão 3, Moema, . Annual art exhibition with both Brazilian and international artists. Typically happens in the end of the year. edit
- São Paulo Fashion Week (SPFW), at Parque do Ibirapuera, . SPFW is the largest fashion event in Latin America and one of the five largest Fashion Weeks in the World. It happens two times per year, in the summer and in the winter. Attracts around 1 million visitors. edit
- Federal University of São Paulo (UNIFESP, Escola Paulista de Medicina), Rua Botucatu, 740 - Vila Clementino (Near Santa Cruz station), . UNIFESP is the most prestigious federal university of the state of São Paulo. The São Paulo campus is focused on medical and biomedical sciences, being one of Brazil's most respected and traditional schools in that field. The first hospital-school in the country, Hospital São Paulo, is located here. edit
- ESPM (Escola Superior de Propaganda e Marketing). This private institution is reputedly one of Brazil's top schools in advertising, marketing and business administration. It has two campuses in São Paulo: edit
- Campus Prof. Francisco Gracioso, Rua Dr. Álvaro Alvim, 123 - Vila Mariana (Near Vila Mariana station), ☎ 11 5085-4500. edit
- Campus Rodolfo Lima Martensen, Rua Joaquim Távora, 1240 - Vila Mariana (Near Vila Mariana and Ana Rosa stations), ☎ 11 5081-8200. edit
One cannot be in the South Central region and be far from a large shopping center. The diversity of the shopping scene is also fascinating, from the affluent and indoor Morumbi Shopping-Market Place, to the popular and outdoor Largo 13 de Maio area, both in the district of Santo Amaro.
Morumbi Shopping and Shopping Market Place (behind) form a huge commercial center with 647 shops.
- Morumbi Shopping, Avenida Roque Petroni Júnior, 1089 - Santo Amaro (near Morumbi station), . Large and traditional shopping mall of São Paulo, focused on middle class and wealthy consumers. The food court contains 21 restaurants, besides the inumerous fast foods. About 480 shops. edit
- Shopping Market Place, Avenida Dr. Chucri Zaidan, 902 - Santo Amaro (near Morumbi station), . Just next to Shopping Morumbi, and connected to it by a walking pass. Nice cinema rooms and area for children includes a small rollercoaster. About 167 shops. edit
- Largo 13 de Maio, Santo Amaro (Near Largo 13 station). The area aroung Largo 13 de Maio, in Santo Amaro, is the largest commercial district outside Downtown, being effectively the "city center" of the Far South region of São Paulo. It contains a number of pedestrianized streets such as R. Cap. Tiago Luz, R. Sen. José Bonifácio and Largo 13 de Maio itself. edit
- Mais Shopping Largo 13, Rua Amador Bueno, 229 - Santo Amaro (linked to Largo 13 station), . Shopping mall with a more popular profile, just next to Largo 13 de Maio. It is an interesting mix between a modern shopping mall and popular galleries like those in the Center. About 386 shops. edit
- Shopping Ibirapuera, Avenida Ibirapuera, 3103 - Moema, . The second oldest shopping mall of São Paulo, located in a nice area of pubs and restaurants in Moema. About 435 shops. edit
- Shopping Metrô Santa Cruz, Rua Domingos de Morais, 2564 - Vila Mariana (linked to Santa Cruz station), . The first shopping mall in São Paulo to be physically linked to a Metro station, an idea that would be followed by at least 5 other malls. This causes Shopping Metrô Santa Cruz to have a far more diverse public than the most malls of the region. About 132 shops. edit
- Shopping Plaza Sul, Avenida Prof. Abraão de Morais, 1711 - Saúde, . Has a place for parents leave their kids when they go shopping. About 220 shops. edit
- Shopping SP Market, Av. das Nações Unidas, 22.540 - Campo Grande (near Jurubatuba station), . Large shopping mall in the extreme south of the region. About 330 shops. edit
- Shopping Interlagos, Avenida Interlagos, 2255 - Campo Grande, . Despite its name, it is located at the district of Campo Grande, not Interlagos. About 300 shops. edit
- Avenida Bem-te-vi, Moema (near Shopping Ibirapuera). Street with outlet shops, selling clothes, shoes and acessories. edit
In the South Central area, many bars are also known for serving good food, so be sure to check also the #Drink section.
If you are on budget, you should try popular snacks (salgados) including esfiha's, empadas and pastéis. Good places to eat those can be found in the district of Vila Mariana, in and near R. Domingos de Morais, including: Rancho da Empada, Yokoyama, Jaber, Árabe Alhabeb and Pastel Croc 30.
In Moema, plenty of restaurants are located around Av. Ibirapuera, between Av. Indianópolis and Av. dos Bandeirantes. Many restaurants can also be found in the underground floor of Morumbi Shopping.
- Osnir, Av. Jabaquara 538, Saúde (near Praca da arvore subway station), . Hamburger shop founded in 1969 edit
- Charles Pizza Grill, Avenida José Maria Whitaker, 1785, Saúde, . 18:30 to 00:00. Nice pizza and barbecue restaurants in "rodízio" style (you can eat as much as you want, and you are served on your table). Offers some unusual pizzas like bacalhau (cod), shrimp and and shitake R$ 37,90. edit
- Benedetta Bar & Polpetteria, R. Gaivota, 491 - Moema, ☎ +55 11 5056-0973. Specialized on polpetoni, and Italian dish made of minced meat. The place is open and has live MPB music. "R$. edit
- Matsuya, Rua Leandro Duprê, 848, Vila Mariana, ☎ +55 11 5594-1215, . Nicely priced Japanese restaurant with rodízio system (eat as much as you want). R$ 28 to R$ 35. edit
- Sushi-Kiyi, Rua Tutóia, 223, tel. 11 3887-9148.
- Leona Pizza Bar, Rua Constantino de Sousa 582, Campo Belo, tel. 11 5096-3000. Traditional paulista pizza. .
- Vicolo Nostro, Rua Jataítuba, 29, tel. 11 5561-5287. Beautiful and cozy pplace with very nice italian food. 
- Khan el Khalili, R. Dr. José de Queirós Aranha, 320 - Vila Mariana, ☎ +55 11 5549-7989, . An Egyptian tea house, with characteristic decoration and even rooms where you can sit in pillows in the ground, perfect for parties. The food is not particularly remarkable, but the belly dance presentations are. R$ 50. edit
In Moema, focus on Lavandisca Avenue and its surroundings: there are several bars, both modern and traditional, as well as Italian cantinas. On the other side of the neighborhood, go to Anapurus Avenue. Good options are beer on tap at Bar do Giba on Moaci Avenue, or at Original, on Graúna Street, and pizza served at the nearby Braz restaurant. Moema is also famous for being home to most swinger clubs in the city.
In the district of Vila Mariana, good local bars are located at Rua Joaquim Távora, specially between crossing streets R. Rio Grande and R. Áurea.
- Bourbon Street Music Club, Rua Chanes, 127 - Indianópolis (Near Shopping Ibirapuera), ☎ +55 11 5095-6100, . An intimate bar with a repertoire of live jazz and blues. edit
- Girassol Karaokê Bar, Av. General Daltro Filho, 2 - Jabaquara (Near Jabaquara station), ☎ +55 11 5011-7099, . For those who love singing, Japanese-style karaoke rooms can be found here. Songs are available in Portuguese, Japanese and English. The yakisoba served here is worth tasting. edit
- Hotel Transamerica, Avenida das Nações Unidas, 18591, Santo Amaro, tel. 11 5693-4511. 
- Marriott Executive Apartments Sao Paulo, Rua Professor Filadelfo Azevedo 717, Vila Nova Conceicao, ☎ Reservations: 55 11 3058 3000, . Extended stay hotel. 1-2-3 bedroom fully furnished apartments, a full-service on-site Restaurant, meeting space, concierge services and other amenities. edit
- Beats Hostel Sao Paulo (Party Hostel), Al Ribeirão Preto, 258 Bela Vista - São Paulo - SP - CEP: 01331-000 (450meters from Brigadeiro or Trianon Masp metro stations (green line)), ☎ +55 11 2366 9909, . checkin: 13:30; checkout: 12:30. 2 blocks away from Avenida Paulista. Safe area. 40. (-23.563629,-46.649453) edit
- Oca Hostel, Rua Manoel de Paiva, 147, Vila Mariana (Close to Ana Rosa Metro Station), ☎ 55 11 2364 8466, . checkin: 12:00; checkout: 11:00. Hostel based in the Vila Mariana district of Sao Paulo. Has single and double rooms, and dormitories, to choose from. Very close to the Ana Rosa Metro station. R$30. edit
- Formule 1 Paraíso, Rua Vergueiro, 1571, ☎ +55 11 5085-5699 ([email protected], fax: +55 11 5085-5694), . checkin: 12.00; checkout: 12.00. Another Formule 1 hotel, with 300 rooms. Breakfast costs extra. Triple R$ 95. edit
- 3Dogs Hostel, Rua Coronel Artur Godói, 51 - Vila Mariana, ☎ +55 11 2359 8222 ([email protected]), . A chill hostel near the Ana Rosa metro. Free breakfast. edit
- Pestana São Paulo Rua Tutóia, 77, tel. 11 2187 5000.
- Matsubara Hotel Rua Cel. Oscar Porto, 836 - Paraíso, CEP: 04003-004, Tel: (11) 3561-5000 / Fax: (11) 3561-5001
- Oasis Collections, ☎ +55 11 3042 9086 ([email protected]), . A portfolio of 65+ handpicked homes and apartments that include concierge service and full guest support. Recently awarded Top Villa Provider by Condé Nast Traveler. edit
Vila Mariana, Campo Grande, and the surroundings of Parque do Ibirapuera are relatively safe, at least for São Paulo standards. However, Santo Amaro and Jabaquara are known for considerably high criminality, especially robberies. In particular, extra care is advised in the commercial center of Santo Amaro (around Largo 13 de Maio), although the area used to be much more dangerous in the past.
Campo Belo, Saúde, and the surroundings of Av. Ibirapuera have crime rates more or less in the average of the city, so use the general safety guidelines for the city of São Paulo.