Continuing World Cup Month, we round up the 15 best stores in São Paulo.
If there’s any country worthy of hosting the football World Cup, it’s Brazil. The Brazilian national football team is the only team to have qualified for every single World Cup competition ever held. And if its football accolades weren’t enough to convince you, the country has a wealth of attractions elsewhere. From cityside beaches and jungles to nightlife and shopping, take it from us the vibe of Brazil is like none other on the planet.
The state of São Paulo has 645 municipalities and a population of approximately 40 million inhabitants. That’s a whole lot of people to entertain and be entertained by. Fortunately, the city has a wealth of culture and activities on offer for its residents and the flocks of tourists that are currently there for the World Cup. But we digress, what we’re really here to give you is the low-down on what we know best – where to buy dope shit.
Vila Madalena in the west of São Paulo used to be a student neighborhood driven by the arts and cheap rent, with the two playing a vital part to one another. It is now widely regarded as a gentrified upper class neighborhood – as is often the way. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, it holds a lot of cool stores, art galleries, bars and restaurants, combining its recent past with the consumers of the present. And all the dope street art makes it a pretty great place to wander around on foot.
Galeria do Rock
Av. São João, 439 República
Perhaps more of a tourist attraction than an actual store, Galeria do Rock is a 1960s-style mall that holds several second-hand record stores, T-shirt and tattoo shops, all of which are worth a visit for an out-of-towner. It’s located in what is regarded as São Paulo’s city center, so a walk around here will give any visitor a genuine representation of what the city feels like.
À La Garçonne
R. Oscar Freire, 2127
Located on one of the most affluent streets in São Paulo, À La Garçonne is owned by the husband of one of the most celebrated fashion designers in Brazil, Alexandre Herchcovitch. It’s a high-end second-hand store that not only offers mens and womenswear, but also accessories, home-ware and antique furniture. All housed within a shop that has a vibrant atmosphere, thanks in part to its interior decoration which combines 1920s-style fittings with ones from the ’50s onwards. The store has a variety of items from Brazil and further afield – in fact from around the world – which makes for a pretty good selection of items.
Rua Conselheiro Crispiniano
This street is a shopping mecca for photographers and camera enthusiasts alike. Rua Conselheiro Crispiniano is lined with shops for all of your photography needs. From accessories and repair shops to second-hand stores selling rare and second-hand cameras, it’s a must-visit for any professional or amateur photographer.
Rua Augusta 290
It goes without saying a decent sneaker store is a necessary feature on our Highsnobiety São Paulo Store Guide. And Visionaire is pretty comprehensive as far as sneaker stores go. It’s situated – unsurprisingly – in São Paulo’s hipster central, Galeria Ouro Fino. The store is one for true sneaker connoisseurs, featuring all the classic brands and more, including Nike, adidas, Converse, New Balance and more.
Rua Estados Unidos 2109
Micasa is an interior design store that stands out from the rest thanks to both its products and its architectural design. Sandwiched between two grey concrete blocks with a frosted glass front, the exterior alone is worth visiting for. The inside is just as impressive with bare concrete walls, a spacecraft hatch entrance and a retro ’60s airline ramp. By which point you’ve almost forgotten that you’re here to get your hands on some of the beautiful, locally-made interior design objects that are on offer.
Rua Artur de Azevedo 517
Part art gallery, part design store, part restaurant, part co-working space, Cartel 011 is positively exploding with ideas and creativity. Founded in 2009 with the intention of transforming the urban environment, the creative destination regularly hosts product launches and music sessions in-store. This multidisciplinary retail experience that Cartel 011 offers means that it’s just a cool place to hang out, connect with people and find out what’s up in the creative landscape. The one and only sneaker spot Kith NYC even dropped by this summer and hosted their very own pop-up. So be sure to check out what’s on while you’re in town.
Oscar Freire 990
Situated on São Paulo’s chicest shopping street, 2nd Floor caters to both men and women. It’s a Berlin-style concept store which focuses on the young and hip among us, offering a wardrobe’s worth of clothing in unusual patterns and cool cuts. Established in 2002, this boutique proudly showcases the work of Brazilian designers. Prices may not be cheap but the clothes are clever and worth it.
Rua Araçari 246
Opened in March 2000, Esencial was founded with the intentions of becoming the epitome of a concept store. Situated over two floors, Esencial incorporates womens ready-to-wear clothing, home-ware and fine jewelry all of which feature a combination of influences and inspirations from around the world. The stock is constantly updated by founder Maria Helena Cabral and her curious team of sales assistant-cum-curators, ensuring the offerings remain consistently new and exciting.
Rua Harmonia 71
Prototype is another store that refuses to be restricted by its definition as a retail space. On paper it’s primarily known as a furniture store, where it sells the designs of contemporary, up-and-coming Brazilian designers. The space is also frequently used to host parties, which has made it the perfect meeting and working hub for likeminded designers and musicians.
Rua Fradique Coutinho, 1340
When in South America sampling the local coffee delights is an activity that goes without saying. And in São Paulo you can experience some of the finest caffeine rushes in the city at Coffee Lab. This shop not only sells damn nice coffee but roasts it and bags it on site, too. They have a menu with sections for coffee tasting, coffee-infused food, freshly made coffee – which is made four different ways. Basically coffee in any way you could ever imagine.
Rua da Cantareira 306
Whether you need to buy groceries or not, São Paulo’s Mercado Municipal is a must-visit of the city. The beautiful Neo-Baroque-style building was constructed in 1928 and has remained the leading and largest market hall of the city since. It contains hundreds of stalls which sell goods ranging from traditional Brazilian snacks, spices, cheese and fish, craft Cachaça and a myriad of multicolored fruits and vegetables. The prices can be high but you pay for the convenience of having such a variety all under one roof – and of course the experience.
Rua Cayowaa 358
There’s a huge increase in the popularity of craft beers in São Paulo - as there seems to be everywhere at the moment. The best bar that specializes in exactly this is Capitão Barley. One of the best beer stores in the city, they stock a wide range from mainstream to craft beers, as well as beers on tap. The danger in buying your favorite beverage here is that you can drink in store. That and the food trucks and pop-ups that regularly frequent Capitão Barley means that sometimes it’s not so easy to leave.
Claudia Curti Bijoux
Rua Manuel Guedes, 271 - Itaim Bibi
Al. Jauaperi, 722 – Moema
Claudia Curti Bijoux is, as its name suggests, a bijoux store, stocking beautiful, handmade and Brazilian-designed trinkets. Trinkets are exactly what holiday shopping was made for, or perhaps the other way around. The store features a healthy selection of jewelry, all completely unique. As is the Itaim store, which has a certain New York vibe to it – if you’re craving some of that during your São Paulo trip. The brand has two stores in São Paulo, as well as an online store, so if you change you mind about something once you’re back at home, you can still order them through their site.
Rua Oscar Freire, 1116
Visit the impressive Havaianas flagship store in the bowels of the country that brought you the brand. It’s situated on the tree-lined Rua Oscar Freire, where the store counts Louis Vuitton, Dior, Versace, Nike and Armani as neighbors. The minimalist exterior hides a lively and bustling store beneath, with natural light and plenty of green vegetation which helps the customer lose track of time (and money) as they make their way around the shop. However, the store isn’t just intent on taking your money. It shows the first model of success the brand created in 1962, as well as explaining the decision behind the rice seeds that mark the soles.
See the rest of our World Cup Month features here.