By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Known as a bustling business metropolis during the week, São Paulo city relaxes during the weekend, with families enjoying the sun at Ibirapuera Park or strolling down Avenida Paulista, which now is closed on Sundays for cars. But if a shopping experience is on the agenda, why not check out some of the city’s open-air antiquity markets, where visitors often find bargains, good food and lively people.
One of the oldest and most famous open air market is the antiquities market found at the MASP museum located at Avenida Paulista 1578. The market is held in what is considered the largest open space beneath a building in South America, and operates on Sundays from 10AM to 5PM selling sculptures, vintage watches, household appliances, paintings and many other types of antiques.
The prices here are high, with some vintage watches going for as much as R$5,000 (US$1,330), but with a little patience and time, visitors are bound to find bargains. Visitors can also take the opportunity to visit the museum, considered to be one of the best in Latin America. The market sits on top of the Line 2 Trianon-MASP metro stop.
If one is looking for something bit more modern, the choice is the open market at Praça Benedito Calixto, in the neighborhood of Pinheiros. The market, open on Saturdays from 8AM to 7PM gathers nearly 300 vendors selling everything from rustic furniture, to vinyl records to vintage clothing to china.
Very near the artsy neighborhood of Vila Madalena, the market also sells modern décor and local designer jewelry. The square is a 20-minute walk from the Clinicas Metro Stop.
Feira da Liberdade sits right in the middle of São Paulo’s Japanese neighborhood and offers visitors both Japanese handicrafts and food. With more than 200 vendors, one can find jewelry, Japanese lamps, bonsai trees and other Asian products side-by-side tents selling yakisoba and tempura. The fair is held every Saturday and Sunday, from 9AM to 5PM at Praça da Liberdade in the Liberdade neighborhood. The metro stop Liberdade will take you straight to the middle of the square where the market is held.
For more than thirty years the Feira do Bixiga occupies Praça Dom Orione in the Italian neighborhood of Bixiga every Sunday from 8AM to 6PM with vendors selling everything from antique toys, to silverware to old magazines and comic books.
Participants of the market say they are more of an open-air museum where visitors can see a bit of São Paulo and Brazil’s history through old photographs and antique furniture. The square is a 17-minute walk from the Brigadeiro metro stop.
Possibly one of the most curious and non-touristy open markets is the one which occurs every Sunday, from 11AM to 7PM along Rua Pedro Vincente in the Caninde neighborhood, in the old center of São Paulo city. The Kantuta market brings to the city the culture, tastes and smells of Bolivia, with typical Bolivian food.
There, visitors will also find spices coming from several Andean countries, as well as a large collection of wind instruments, handicrafts and traditional Bolivian embroidered clothes for sale. Often visitors will also be able to enjoy typical Bolivian music and dance, with groups of immigrants who now call São Paulo their home performing traditional Andean dances. The Kantuta market is a 10-minute walk from the Armenia metro stop.