City of São Paulo and Surroundings
São Paulo is among the world's most populous cities, and is Brazil’s vibrant financial center, with numerous cultural institutions and a rich architectural tradition. Its iconic buildings range from its neo-Gothic cathedral and the 1929 Martinelli skyscraper to modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer’s curvy Edifício Copan.
The Ibirapuera park is a major urban park comprised of a a large area for leisure, jogging and walking, as well a vivid cultural scene with museums and a music hall. Its importance to São Paulo is often comparable to that of Central Park to New York City, Golden Gate Park to San Francisco, or Ueno Park to Tokyo.
The Ipiranga museum of the University of São Paulo (commonly known as Museu do Ipiranga) is a Brazilian history museum located near where Emperor Pedro I proclaimed the Brazilian independence on the banks of Ipiranga river in the Southeast region of the city. While currently close for renovation, the museum is surrounded by a beautiful park worth spending a relaxing afternoon.
The Guarujá beach, located a mere 95 kilometers from the city of São Paulo, is bustling beach town that seems a world away from the gargantuan urbanity of the state capital. Among its charms, Guarujá counts 23 separate, stunning beaches, nice for swimming, sunning and surfing.
Ilhabela is an archipelago and city situated in the Atlantic Ocean four miles off the coast of São Paulo state in Brazil. The city is 205 km from the city of São Paulo and 340 km from the city of Rio de Janeiro. The largest island along Brazil's coast and, literally, a “beautiful island,” Ilhabela offers visitors almost 40 kilometers of pristine beaches and a tropical island's worth of hiking trails and waterfalls.
These are some suggestions of places you can visit during your day off. If you prefer to stay within city limits, you can easily split your day between visiting, for instance, the Paulista Avenue, which houses the São Paulo's Museum of Art (MASP), and the Ibirapuera or Ipiranga parks. If you decide to head down the coastline, you will need the entire day to enjoy your time at the beach. If you decide for Ilhabela, you will need to get up real early, as the trip may take up ~4 hours one way and includes a quick ferry trip (but the line may be long). Be prepared to pay tolls along the way.
For additional tips for spending your day in São Paulo and surroundings please consult the official São Paulo webpage, or the Virtual Tourist, Lonely Planet, and Trip Advisor Guides.