The nearest beach may be a good 70km drive away, but there’s no need to let the city’s concrete corridors cast a shadow over your day. You can get yourself, sunblock and book in hand, to a park or pool in next to no time. We round up our favourite sun-soaked spaces for a relaxing São Paulo summer day.
Clube-Escola Lapa pool ('Pelezão')
Rua Belmont 957, Alto da Lapa (3834 0032)
This community centre has one of the best public pools in São Paulo. Actually, it has two large swimming pools, both well maintained and with access for disabled patrons. Brave swimmers can slip down the twisty waterslide.
Clube-Escola Pacaembu pool
Praça Charles Miller, Pacaembu (3664 4650)
Dedicated sunbathers lie out on the colourful bleachers surrounding this Olympic-sized pool, with occasional dips in the water to cool off. To use the pool, you must join the club, but it’s free. Just take your ID (RG or RNE), proof of SP residence and a 2x2-inch photo. The membership card is ready in four days, and when you go pick it up, you have to do a medical exam.
Pools at SESC
See sescsp.org.br for addresses, operating times and other information.
Several SESCs – a chain of non-profit community centres – have great pools catering to those looking to perfect their stroke or go for a casual swim. For the most fun in the sun, try SESC Itaquera’s 5,000 square-metre pool, with waterfalls, fountains and eight water slides. SESC Belenzinho also has an outdoor pool. To use the aquatic area at any SESC, you must be registered and have proof of a recent medical exam.
Parque da Aclimação
Rua Muniz de Souza 1119, Aclimação (3208 4042)
Swans, waterfowl and turtles are the local layabouts at the huge lake that forms the centrepiece of this park. Better for shade rather than sun, the park has a tree-lined track that circles the lake, drawing out joggers as well as families and locals out for a stroll.
Parque do Ibirapuera
Avenida Pedro Álvares Cabral, Ibirapuera (5574 5177)
The best known of the city’s parks is a maze of wide lawns that are perfect for stretching out on. While you won’t find any pools for a dip, you can get some respite from the rays with a stroll around the shady 1.5km running trail. Cool off on your way round at one of the mist machines (look for the big buttons on the sides of what look like information boards), or with a refreshing água de coco (coconut water, R$3-$6).
Avenida Professor Fonseca Rodrigues 2001, Alto de Pinheiros (3023 0316/ parquevillalobos.sp.gov.br)
With large swathes of unshaded grass dominating the vista, this hangout for fitness freaks is ideal for those who don’t want to have to chase the sun throughout the day. To get the sun on your bod, guys are allowed to take their shirts off and girls can wear bikini tops, though with shorts or a skirt on the bottom. Them’s the rules, folks.