São Paulo by neighborhood
São Paulo is divided into 5 main areas composed of different neighborhoods and each one of them has its own style, architecture and personality. Here is a brief description of the main areas and their neighborhoods:
Zona Sul: The South
It is the largest region of the city.
Granja Julieta, Alto de Boa Vista and Vila Mariana
They are the residential neighborhoods, characterized by their quietness. You will find either small houses or luxurious buildings with 24h security systems, pools and recreation areas. This is where you will find the most international schools.
Campo Belo and Moema are located near Congonhas Airport. They are very animated neighborhoods that provide all types of services: supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies and many different kinds of restuarants.
Zona Oeste - The West
The Western region is known to be the business center. Many companies decide to open their headquarters on or near Avenida Paulista or Avenida Faria Lima.
Pinheiros and Vila Madalena: when you first arrive in São Paulo, these are the most famous neighborhoods to live in. Pinheiros and Vila Madalena are the "hipster areas". You will find many bars to go out to at night but also many independent stores or artistic workshops. This area is mainly composed of charming individual houses with flower gardens. You can find anything here: Pinheiros is one of the oldest neighborhoods in São Paulo.
Pacaembu and Higienopolis are high class neighborhoods. You will find luxurious houses and buildings, eagerated malls and many green areas where you can exercise or where children can play. It is one of the safest neighborhoods in São Paulo and every building is individually guarded 24/7. You will find many excellent universities, gyms and schools. The old Pacaembu Stadium is located there which is now home to the Museum of Football. However the price per quare meter tends to be the highest of the city here.
Jardim Paulista: also known as Beverly Hills Paulista is the trendiest place of São Paulo, organized around Oscar Freire Street and its luxurious stores. It is a very animated neighborhood with the finest Brazilian and international restaurants and bars. Part of the famous Rua Augusta crosses Jardim Paulista.
Zona Leste - The East
It is the second largest region of São Paulo where you will find:
Mooca and Brás: a mixed zone hosting a large Italian community with many restaurants following the cantina style.
Zona Norte - The North
This region is borded by the Sierra da Cantareira, a large urban forest. You will find the neighborhoods: Santana, Cantareira and Freguesia do Ó.
Centro - The Center
The first European buildings were built in the Center and date back from the 20th century. Throughout the years, these buildings have become banks, hotels and business offices.
Walking the center and discovering the ancient architecture such as the Teatro Municipal, the Catedral de Sé or the Viaduto do Chá, is a must do. You cannot miss it.
Consolação and Bela Vista are the historical and popular zones, often inhabited by foreigners because of their alternative styles and lower prices. The neighbourhoods are well served by public transportation, however they are not known as the safest areas of São Paulo.