Shopping in Sao Paulo
Retail therapy in São Paulo is chic and sophisticated with luxury designer goods more in evidence than handicrafts. The city has abundant and generally upscale shopping malls yet outdoor bric-a-brac markets appear during the weekends.
Deluxe international brands have confirmed Oscar Freire as one of the 10 most expensive shopping streets in the world and its opulence continues into Haddock Lobo and Bela Cintra streets. For an earthier experience less intimidating on one’s wallet, Rua 25 de Marco in Centro is a lively outdoors shopping area trading jewellery, fabrics, and handicrafts.
Two fun weekend markets include the handicrafts of Praça da Liberdade on Saturdays and Sundays and Praça Benedicto Calixto’s Saturday flea market in the Bohemian district of Vila Madalena. The latter has live samba music.
For fresh produce and snack stands, don't miss the vibrant indoor market of Mercado Municipal. This baroque-style building was constructed in the early 1930s and is illuminated by some fifty coloured stained-glass windows. It houses the freshest of São Paulo’s natural ingredients on the lower floor: from cheeses and meats to spices and chillies. Food stalls dole out mortadella sandwiches, cold beer and meat and cheese filled pastels (deep fried pie). It's open daily between 0600 and 1800 and may close earlier on Sundays.
Significant shopping malls include the long-established Iguatemi, Avenida Brig. Faria Lima 2232, and the more luxurious Cidade Jardim, Avenida Magalhães de Castro 12000, which includes diamond retailers Tiffany & Co. Both pale in significance compared to Daslu, Avenida Chedid Jafet 131, a haunt for nouveau riche and fashionistas enjoying designer Brazilian outlets such as Osklen. There’s also Morumbi Market Place, Avenida Dr. Chucri Zaidan 902, offering more than 600 shops and dozens of restaurants.
Typical hours for stores in São Paulo are Monday-Friday 0900-1800, Saturdays 0900-1300 and closed Sunday. Shopping Malls usually open every day 1000-2200 but times vary on Sundays.
You can buy just about anything you want in the city from traditional Amazonian arts and crafts to exclusive designer fashions by Brazilian and European designers. Other worthwhile souvenirs include Brazilian football gear, colourful Havaianas flip flops and cachaça, a distilled spirit made from sugarcane.
The standard rate of sales tax is 18%. There is no tax refund scheme in Brazil.