If you’re planning a trip to São Paulo, and fear you’ll be missing out on your daily jogging, fear no more! Parque do Ibirapuera is one of the biggest urban parks in the city and perfect for leisure, jogging, walking, as well as a lively cultural scene jam-packed with monuments, museums and a concert hall.
Considering the size of the park, it is comparable by many to the Central Park in New York, Golden Gate in San Francisco, or Ueno Park in Tokyo. Along with Chapultepec Park in Mexico City and Simón Bolívar Park in Bogota, Ibirapuera is one of the largest city parks Latin America boasts.
Located in the subprefecture of Vila Mariana, Ibirapuera Park used to be a floodplain once.
With a resonant name -‘ibirapuera’ means ‘rotten tree’ in Tupi-Guarani language- the park was named after the indigenous village that was in the region. In 1906, the municipality took over control over the area. At that time the area was swampy, and to prevent the swamp from expanding and ‘invading’ the land, trees were massively planted in the 1920s.
Following the design of other large city parks, Ibirapuera was the very first metropolitan park in São Paulo. The park was inaugurated on 21 August 1954, the date of the 400th anniversary of the city, and sprinkled with buildings designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer and landscaping by agronomist Otávio Agusto de Teixeira Mendes. Covering an area of 158 hectares or 1.58km2, the park is open from the first hours of the morning, 5am until midnight. No entry ticket required, free admission since 1954!
Although the initial pavilion-based design of the park was controversial, with some wanting an exclusively green park rather than one including buildings every here and there, Ibirapuera is now holding a prominent position among the top ten urban parks in the world, according to the Guardian. Attracting 130,000 visitors yearly, it is the most visited park in Brazil, hosting important events like the São Paulo Fashion Week and numerous congresses and trade shows.