Best Museums

Culture plays a fundamental role in society, because it elevates the critical sense, the knowledge and the perception of the world, broadening the horizons of thought. To help you understand the various aspects of a country as diverse as ours, we have selected the best museums in São Paulo, a city that overflows with options.

The Paulista Museum of USP, known as the Ipiranga Museum, is located in the São Paulo capital. It gathers in its gigantic collection an infinity of documents, photographs, paintings, objects and clothes related to Brazil since the time of Dom Pedro. However, like the Portuguese Language Museum, it is closed for restoration and renovation until 2022.

But don’t be sad that you don’t see them on the list, because there are still more than 100 museums and cultural institutions scattered across different regions. It takes at least five days to visit and delve into them, so it’s good to plan your next visit to the metropolis!

The best museums in São Paulo

State Pinacoteca

Those who arrive at Estação da Luz find themselves in one of the most beautiful buildings in the city right in front of them. It is there, on the side of Parque da Luz, that one of the most important museums in the capital also functions. Founded in 1905, the Pinacoteca is an incredible stroll, an obligatory stop, for those who like art and also want to understand better about our artists.

The collection, which is permanently exhibited, is a rare gem, with examples of great painters from Brazil (who also help us understand the various eras of the country), such as Almeida Júnior, Antonio Parreiras, Victor Brecheret, Tarsila do Amaral and Di Cavalcanti.

Afro Brazil Museum

In the enormous area that encompasses the Ibirapuera Park is the Afro Brazil Museum, dedicated to African narratives present in the heritage, identity and national culture. The space of memory, history and art Brazilian and Afro-Brazilian, gathers more than 6 thousand works.

The collection goes from the 18th century to the present day, passing through paintings, sculptures, engravings, photographs, documents and ethnological pieces by Brazilian and foreign authors. It is an important point of interest in the city to learn more about various topics such as work, religious beliefs, slavery, among others, valuing the role of afro-descendants for the formation of the country’s identity.

Museum of Modern Art

The MAM is located inside the Ibirapuera Park, near the Afrobrasil Museum. Its own structure already has two star signatures: Oscar Niemeyer, who designed the marquee, and Lina Bo Bardi, who remodeled the space to implant the museum. In the garden, Roberto Burle Marx’s sculptures are the ones that shine.

There’s always a show on display to show the public what modern art represents, whether here or elsewhere in the world. The collection includes 5,000 pieces by artists from the 1960s onwards, as well as a library with more than 60,000 titles.

Art Museum of São Paulo

What about MASP, which is simply one of the symbols of this Babylon? The iconic building designed by Lina Bo Bardi, founded by Assis Chateaubriand and directed by Pietro Maria Bardi, emerges in the middle of Paulista Avenue, calling the attention even of those who have seen it a thousand times. All the relevance it has is fair, because this is really one of the most important museums in Brazil.

The collection is rich in works by great names from all over the world, such as Vincent Van Gogh, Pierre August Renoir, Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet. A simple visit is like leaving art history classes, offering real contact with paintings that many people have only seen in books.

Museum of Image and Sound

About five years ago, MIS-SP became a museum-celebrity, attracting visitors who queue up at the door. That’s because the interactive shows took over the place, stealing the scene from the others. Every season the museum renews itself, adjusting part of the infrastructure to house immersive scenarios for the exhibitions, which escape the traditional pattern of art, plunging into subjects closer to pop culture. Over time there has been a display by Stanley Kubrick (photo), David Bowie, Tim Burton, Renato Russo and Castelo Rá Tim Bum.

Lasar Segall Museum

Small and very discreet, the Lasar Segall museum goes unnoticed by many Paulistanos. The former home of the artist of the same name, planned by architect Gregori Warchavchik, is today an exhibition space for his works and personal objects. It’s interesting to get to know his work and lifestyle, imagining how things worked there in another era. The address is also a cultural space, with cinema, library and courses in the areas of engraving, photography and literature.

Museum of Contemporary Art at USP

The huge building of 1963, right in front of Ibirapuera Park and with an incredible view to the city, used to be Detran. What a busting thing, huh? In 2016, the game turned and the USP Museum of Contemporary Art settled there, leaving the University City.

The collection is large and gathers sculptures, photographs, paintings and installations that dialogue with themes and reflections from the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. Since last year, it also has a café and a restaurant, which follow the gourmet line and has been stirring the place even more on weekends. But even good is super even the terrace to admire the sunset.

Catavento Museum

The Catavento Museum is a science museum that usually attracts children, although parents have as much fun as they do. It is a place for learning, with several thematic wings that pass through distant galaxies and planets, dinosaurs, ecology and interactive gadgets that explain physics and chemistry. There is also a beautiful butterfly garden, a TV studio where the little ones experience how a show on the screen works. A pleasant and playful walk!

Latin America Memorial

Glued to the Barra Funda subway, the Memorial of Latin America usually hosts many events and festivals. The architectural ensemble is signed by Oscar Niemeyer, while Darcy Ribeiro took care of the cultural project. The permanent collection of works of art is very cool, but not everyone who has ever set foot on the site knows it.

Artifacts, objects and sculptures of Latin American popular art are exhibited, celebrating their roots and culture. In the temporary exhibitions there is always a connection with the theme, revealing neighboring artists or even on the other side of the world, who for some reason are associated with Latin America.

Immigration Museum

One of the coolest things to do is to go to the Immigration Museum, in the Brás-Mooca region, by locomotive, which leaves the public at the door. That’s how the immigrants themselves arrived at the old inn where the museum is now, and this story is really unforgettable; after all, São Paulo is a mother, recognized for its multicultural traits. Besides the historical part, I highlight the disposition and the scenery that were assembled in the exhibition space. The garden of the place is also beautiful and now has a pleasant coffee.

Football Museum

Even if you are not a football fan, I highly recommend a trip to this museum, especially if you are in the company of children. Occupying a space at the Pacaembu Stadium, which is already very symbolic, the museum is an example of organization, technology and innovation. It gathers a lot of interesting information about the sport, surprising historical images and exciting videos. It’s also very interactive, making the public touch, feel and hear a lot of things, like the passionate screams of the fans in the stands. It’s quite an experience!