One of the world's largest cities, with a population of more than 18 million, Sao Paulo hosts a biennial art exhibition, an annual Formula 1 motor race and has its own stock exchange, it being by far the largest business center in Brazil and South America. It has a reputation for being a staid place, but some Sao Paulo event venues are, frankly, amazing.
Sao Paulo's main international airport is Sao Paulo-Guarulhos Governador Andre Franco Montoro (GRU), which is the main airport for the entire country. Recently airlift has improved in Brazil, but still a lot of flights to other major cities, including Rio, in this huge country go through Sao Paulo, either to this airport or through its domestic Sao Paulo portal, Congonhas-Sao Paulo (CGH). North American flights to its international airport come from Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York and Toronto. Note: If arrival is very early in the morning, the taxi journey to the center of the city is not a lengthy one. At other times of the day, the 15-mile trek southwest from the airport can be an epic one, almost as long as the airport's name. Indeed, the elite get around by helicopter, of which this city has more than any other per capita.
The Sao Paulo Convention Center, also known as Anhembi Parque, is Latin America's largest convention complex. It has 400,000 square meters feet of space, including the Celso Furtado Auditorium for 2,500 persons, five exhibition halls, a sambadome and an outdoor arena for 35,000 that often hosts international artists.
As befits an international business center, hotel venues in Sao Paulo feature many world-class brands. Meetings-friendly properties include the 466-room Grand Hyatt Sao Paulo, which has 32,290 square feet of meeting space for up to 1,350 persons; the 440-room Renaissance Sao Paulo, with 15 meeting rooms; the 212-room Mercure Grand Hotel Parque do Ibirapuera; and the recently renovated, Art Deco, 195-room InterContinental Sao Paulo, which has nine meeting rooms and reception space for up to 450 persons. Another great choice, complete with bragging rights, is the boutique, 95-room Hotel Unique, with its unique wedge shape, leafy Ibirapuera neighborhood and stylish, rounded gathering spots.
Special event venues in Sao Paulo include the Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo, known by the acronym MASP, which has an auditorium, gallery space and meeting rooms; the very attractive Fundacao Cultural Ema Gordon Klabin, another art gallery, which has a 40,000-square-foot garden for events; Bank of Brazil Cultural Center; Centro Cultural Sao Paulo, a large, flat center with a theater, seminar room and other function spaces; and Galeria de Arte do SESI, where gallery space is available to groups.
Sao Paulo has no lack of restaurants, many of which combine Portuguese and Latin favors, with those from France, Italy and Japan also being prominent. Those able to look after groups include D.O.M. Restaurante, which has an international reputation and a private room for 24 persons; Brasil a Gosto, where the Brazilian state of Acre dominates the menu and the restaurant's design makes you think you are in a very stylish private residence; Antiquarius, which has a Portuguese menu, and Tordesilhas, which has more regional fare.