Parks in São Paulo

Ibirapuera Park


Ibirapuera Park (Portuguese: Parque Ibirapuera) is a major urban park in São Paulo, Brazil. It has a large area for leisure, jogging and walking, as well a vivid cultural scene with museums and a music hall. Its importance to São Paulo is often comparable to that of Central Park to New York City, Golden Gate Park to San Francisco, or Ueno Park to Tokyo. Ibirapuera is one of Latin America's largest city parks, together with Chapultepec Park in Mexico City and Simón Bolívar Park in Bogota.


The park is located in the subprefecture of Vila Mariana, São Paulo. The area was a floodplain.


The name of the park means "rotted tree" in Tupi-Guarani, and it is named after an indigenous village that was in the area. In 1906 control of the area was transferred to the municipality. At the time the area was very swampy, and trees were planted in the area in the 1920s to counteract this.

Ibirapuera was the first metropolitan park in São Paulo, and was designed along the lines of other great parks in large cities, such as Central Park.

Inaugurated on 21 August 1954 for the 400th anniversary of the city, with buildings designed by famous architect Oscar Niemeyer and landscape by agronomist Otávio Agusto de Teixeira Mendes, Ibirapuera Park covers an area of 158 hectares (1.58 km2) Admission has been free since 1954, and it is open 5am until midnight.

The construction of pavilions in the park was controversial when the park was designed, with a group of people wanting an exclusively green park rather than one that included buildings.

Today, Ibirapuera Park was voted one of the top ten urban parks in the world by the Guardian. Ibirapuera Park is the most visited park in São Paulo, attracting more than 130,000 visitors during high season, and hosting popular events such as São Paulo Fashion Week, and several congresses and trade shows.

Structures and monuments

Monumento Pedro Álvares Cabral / Monument of Pedro Álvares Cabral

This sculpture was designed by the architect Agostinho Vidal da Rocha and sculpted by the artist Luiz Morrone, inaugurated on June 10, 1988. On this statue of Pedro Álvares Cabral—who is credited as the first European to "discover" Brazil—is stated that "Brazilians owe everything to Portugal." The bronze sculpture is nearly five meters high, and represents the beginning of the celebrations in Brazil honoring "500 years of discovery".

Obelisco do Ibirapuera / Ibirapuera Obelisk

The Ibirapuera Obelisk honors the victims of the Constitutionalist Revolution of 1932, and is the biggest monument in the city, standing at 72 meters. It was sculpted by Galileo Ugo Emendabili in 1947, with the aid of the engineer Ulrich Edler. The obelisk was inaugurated on July 9, 1955, and its construction officially ended in 1970.

Marquise do Parque Ibirapuera / Ibirapuera Park Veranda

The Ibirapuera Park Veranda ("marquee") is a large construction space that links cultural centers in the park, including the Museo Afro Brasil, Oca, Pavilhão das Culturas, Bienal, and Auditório. The veranda is artistically irregular in space, with a length of 620 meters but a width varying between 15 and 80 meters, owing to the 120 columns at aesthetically varying heights. It is located near gates 1 and 2, and is now used as an open place for people to relax, skate, and rollerblade.

Monumento às Bandeiras / Monument to the Bandeiras

This monument is a large-scale sculpture located at the entrance of Ibirapuera Park, honoring the 17th-century bandeiras, the settler expeditions into the interior of Brazil. These settlers were of diverse ethnicities: Portuguese, African-American, Mamelukes, and Native Americans. The sculpture depicts these settlers pulling a canoe, which was commonly used in river expeditions. It was commissioned by the government of São Paulo in 1921, and sculpted by Victor Brecheret. The monument was inaugurated in 1954, together with the Ibirapuera Park during the commemorations of the 500-year celebration of the city of São Paulo.

A caçadora / The Huntress

"The Huntress" is a sculpture created by Lélio Coluccini, depicting a stylized female figure sitting atop a deer. It was commissioned by the then mayor of São Paulo, Francisco Prestes Maia, in 1944. It is an allusion to the Greek goddess Artemis, who is described in the Iliad epic as "Artemis of the Wild World, Lady of the Beasts." The tale describes her as being a virginal but vengeful goddess, capable of extremely cruel acts. Legend tells that one day, the hunter Actaeon surprised her while she was naked, bathing in a river. In retaliation, she turned him into a deer, causing his hunting dogs not to recognize him and to bring about his death.

Gardens and landscapes

Lago Ibirapuera / Lake Ibirapuera

Lake Ibirapuera is described as the "soul" of the park, dividing the cultural centers, sculptures, and monuments from the gardens and area of leisure. There are walkways surrounding the park that lead to all attractions, where it is common to see locals (Paulistanos) jogging or walking with their families. There is also a spectacular central fountain in the lake that functions 365 days a year, from 12:00 – 2:00pm and 8:00 – 10:00pm, Monday to Friday, and 8:30 – 9:30pm on Saturday and Sunday. The lake also features a cast-iron footbridge, one of the most picturesque and most photographed spots in the park.

Panorama of the lake in Ibirapuera Park.

Praça do Porquinho / Plaza of the Little Pig

This grassy plaza is an open space near Gate 6, that functions as a place for athletics. The famous sculpture of the pig was designed by Ricardo Cipicchia in the 1950s, and depicts two small children trying to catch a muddy pig; this was a common game for children in the interior, rural parts of São Paulo, and an important part of Brazilian folklore.

Praça da Paz / Plaza of Peace

This grassy plaza is located in the center of the park, originally designed as an open-air space for the tents and pavilions celebrating the 400-year anniversary of the city of São Paulo. Now the plaza functions as a hotspot of biodiversity, hosting tree and plant species from five different continents, such as African palm oil, European poplar, April flowers from India, and melaleuca flowers from Australia, as well as endemic Brazilian species such as Brazil wood. This coexistence and celebration of different nations inspired the name of the plaza to be "Plaza of Peace."

Parque dos Cachorros / Dog Park

This dog park is frequently visited by Paulistanos as it is an open, animal-friendly, grassy area in the middle of a densely-populated city. There are special allocated areas where dogs may roam free, play, and interact with other dogs without wearing leashes.

Viverio Manequinho Lopes / Manequinho Lopes Plant Nursery

The Manequinho Lopes plant nursery is a historical nursery open to public visitation, within Ibirapuera Park. The nursery is responsible for producing a multitude of plant seedlings that will later be distributed and planted in green areas throughout the city. Nursery workers also conduct natural research and experimentation to improve the production of plants to sustainably disseminate green areas to the city, as well as providing technical assistance to public agencies in creating landscape projects throughout the city. The plant nursery also funds garden structures (greenhouses, screens, etc.) throughout the entire park and hosts over 200 different species of plants.

Praça Burle Marx / Plaza Burle Marx

This plaza is an extension of the design of landscape artist Burle Marx's creation of the Nursery Manequinho Lopes. Now it is separated by several greenhouses, but it functions as a quiet space near gate 7, the Forest of Reading, and the old historical sawmill. It is common to see city residents utilizing the quiet space for reading, meditation, stretching, or yoga.

Picture Gallery
Bridge above the park's lake São Paulo Museum of Modern Art A street in Ibirapuera Park Aerial photography of the park Monument to the Bandeiras (Monumento às Bandeiras) View from the lake in Ibirapuera Park View from the lake in Ibirapuera Park

Cultural and educational

Museo Afro Brasil / Afro-Brazilian Museum

The Afro-Brazilian Museum is dedicated to representing the African perspective in the formation of identity and culture on Brazilian history, art, and society. The museum is housed by the Manoel da Nóbrega Pavilion, which was designed by Oscar Niemeyer in 1959. Its 6,000+ pieces range from paintings, sculptures, photos, documents, and archives, collected beginning in the 15th century, continuing to present day. Topics covered include religion, labor, and art relating to the African diaspora, slavery, and integration within Brazilian society. It is located near gate 10 and is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00am – 5:00pm.

Pavilhão das Culturas Brasileiras / Brazilian Cultures Pavilion

The Brazilian Cultures Pavilion was created to express the multitude of cultures shared by the Brazilian people. It was commissioned by the Department of Historic Heritage of the city's Secretariat of Culture of São Paulo. The purpose of this project was to create an exhibition space and a center for research to showcase Brazilian diversity, especially the cultural heritage of the population's less privileged groups.

Escola Municipal de Astrofísica Professor Aristóteles Orsini (EMA) / Professor Aristotle Orsini's School of Astrophysics

EMA is a public institution dedicated to offering free/subsidized courses on astronomy to the general public. The school was founded in 1961, by Aristóteles Orsini, after being inspired by the planetarium of Ibirapuera, which had been inaugurated shortly before, in 1957. The planetarium features an 18-meter concave dome equipped with an advanced Zeiss StarMaster projector that projects the solar system to show how the sky above São Paulo appears from dusk to dawn. There are activities for both children and adults.

Fundação Bienal São Paulo / São Paulo Biennial Foundation

The Biennial Pavilion, also known as the Ciccillo Matarazzo Pavilion, is considered to be an icon of both cosmopolitan culture and modern architecture. It was designed by Oscar Niemeyer and Hélio Uchôa, and is known for hosting a biennial art exposition (São Paulo Art Biennial [Bienal]). Past expositions have included works by such famous artists as Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock.

Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo – MAM / São Paulo Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo was built in 1948, modeled after the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. It is one of the first museums of modern art in Latin America. MAM contains more than 4,000 works of contemporary Brazilian art, including paintings, sculptures, audio recordings, photographs, and videos. It features the work of established artists such as Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Mario Zanini, Alfredo Volpi, among others.

Museu de Arte Contemporânea – MAC USP / Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art, University of São Paulo, was inaugurated in 1963 and is one of the largest art museums in Brazil. It was established when Francisco Matarazzo Sobrinho donated all his holdings to the University of São Paulo. It now houses what is considered one of the most comprehensive collections of 20th century Western Art in Latin America, including over 8,000 works.

Bosque da Leitura no Ibirapuera / The Forest of Literature

The Forest of Literature is part of a larger program, the Forests of Literature, run by the Municipal System of São Paulo Libraries, that aims to offer new, green environments for readings through parks and environmentally-friendly areas of the city. This area is open every Saturday and Sunday, from 10:00am – 4:00pm.

Oca do Ibirapuera / Oca Pavilion

Oca is run by the Museum of the City in conjunction with the Municipal Secretary of Culture. This dome-shaped structure was designed by Oscar Niemeyer, and houses the Museum of Aeronautics and the Museum of Folklore.

Auditório do Ibirapuera / Ibirapuera Auditorium

Although the Ibirapuera Auditorium was designed by Oscar Niemeyer in the early 1950s, it was only constructed in 2005. The space is used for a variety of cultural activities, especially musicals. Its objective is to showcase and support new musical talents. It has been used for several famous spectacles, such as the 2008 Latin Grammy Awards and the final fashion show of America's Next Top Model, Cycle 12.

External links

Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

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Tips & Hints
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Andra Zapartan
15 June 2015
Active people all over the place - biking, running, rollerblading, playing football. ???????? great spots for picnics, nice lake views, beautiful swans and some pretty interesting museums. Enjoy! ☀️
John Kaweske
24 May 2018
Wonderful park. Great place for a tourist to take a break in Sao Paulo. Safe place.
Olle Eriksson
29 October 2015
Great and huge park for all sorts of sportsy activities and even picnics. Fantastic if you want to get away from the bustle of the city.
Asaad ????????
17 November 2018
One of the nicest and largest parks in South America. Take a stroll or rent one of their bikes for a great cycling around the park. Avoid weekends - it gets too crowded for biking. Refreshing place.
Aliana Rateanu
18 February 2014
Brazilians are running or biking all over this place! There is a nice AfroBrasil Museum close to one of the entrances. You can see beautiful black swans at one of the lakes. Perfect for a picnic/date
AFAR Media
25 September 2014
Come for a stroll, jog, picnic, open air concert or bike voyage on a Sunday. Various food vendors are strewn throughout with agua de coco and snacks.
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Complexo Viário Ayrton Senna, 443 - Parque Ibirapuera, São Paulo - SP, Brazil

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