AS THE LARGEST METROPOLIS in South America and one of the largest cities in the world, it’s only natural São Paulo offers a diverse array of experiences for travelers. And that goes for LGBTQ travelers as well, thanks to the extensive variety of businesses, events and nightlife that cater to this market segment.
“São Paulo has a very good cultural life, from excellent parks to museums, galleries and theaters, and festivals year-round,” said Clovis Casemiro, Brazil coordinator, International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, of which the São Paulo Convention and Visitors Bureau is a member. “For the gay and lesbian tourist, we offer around 100 gay-friendly places to go, from restaurants to bars, discos, saunas and shops.”
Most LGBTQ activity focuses around two specific neighborhoods: the area around Arouche and República, and the blocks around Paulista Avenue and Frei Caneca Street. Casemiro noted Arouche offers a good neighborhood for bar hopping — the younger crowd often heads to a dance club called Freedom, while “bear” parties provide a lively vibe at Cantho, and ABC Bailão spins classic dance music.
Indeed, it could take several weeks to discover all the nightlife the city has to offer. “São Paulo is home to the best discos in Brazil,” said Casemiro. “The largest and most famous is The Week, where the best DJs and parties are always on. Flexx Club and Bubu Lounge are for the young generation, and on Sunday night go to Blue Space, which has the best drag shows in town.”
Of course, no article about LGBTQ São Paulo would be complete without mentioning the annual gay pride parade, the largest such event on the planet, attracting more than 2 million revelers every May. The celebration actually lasts the entire month, with parties, dance and theater performances, cultural fairs, concerts and other entertainment. Local travel companies like Tibitur Turismo help travelers connect with experiences like this and can also provide details about attractions like the Museu da Diversidade Sexual (Museum of Sexual Diversity), which focuses on the struggle for LGBTQ human rights, and the city’s best hotels — including super-stylish boutique properties like the Emiliano São Paulo, Hotel Unique and Hotel Fasano.
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