Get to know Brazil's World Cup host city Sao Paulo

Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo, Brazil (Filipe Frazao/shutterstock.com)

Ibirapuera Park in Sao Paulo, Brazil (Filipe Frazao/shutterstock.com)

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, Last Updated: 2:13 PM ET

For one month, Brazil will be putting its best cleated foot forward as the world turns its attention to the bustling, colorful country for the duration of the FIFA World Cup. For the uninitiated, it's also a prime opportunity to become acquainted with the richly diverse economic powerhouse.

As Sao Paulo gets set to host the opening World Cup match between Brazil and Croatia June 12, here's a brief guide to the mega metropolis.

Location: Southeastern region

Did you know?: Sao Paulo is the most populous city, not only in Brazil, but also in South America and the Southern Hemisphere with a population that numbers 11,253,500. Lonely Planet calls the city, quite simply, "a monster."

Interesting fact: Sao Paulo is also a hotbed of multiculturalism, as it's home to the biggest Italian population outside Italy, the largest number of Japanese residents outside Japan, the biggest Portuguese population outside Portugal, the largest number of Spaniards outside of Spain and the biggest Lebanese population outside Lebanon.

Overall, the city is home to 100 different ethnicities.

Football fun fact: Sao Paulo is considered the birthplace of Brazilian soccer, as it was here that Briton Charles Miller introduced the locals to the game in 1894.

Nickname: Terra Da Garoa, or Land of Drizzle, after its renowned instable weather and rainfall.

Average annual temperature: 19C

What to see and do:  

Museum Afro Brasil

If you want to gain a deeper understanding of the Brazilian people and the county that it is today, the Museum Afro Brasil is a must for its collection of Afro-Brazilian and indigenous artefacts which tell the story of the country's rich evolution.

Museum of Futebol and Pacaembu Stadium

Yes, that's right, the city has its own soccer museum, a pastime that's less sport, more religion in Sao Paulo. From historic footage of Brazilian football through the years, the permanent exhibit traces both the highs and the lows of the sport in Brazil, including a country's heartache at a landmark defeat against Uruguay in 1950.

D.O.M.

When it comes to dining, one of the hottest addresses in Sao Paulo is chef Alex Atala's restaurant D.O.M., which is currently ranked seventh on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list. Known for embracing and elevating local, indigenous ingredients like Amazonian ants to a gastronomic level, the chef has gained a worldwide following.

Ibirapuera Park

Sao Paulo's answer to Central Park in New York, the sprawling green space is home to museums, a planetarium and a pavilion and offers leisure users access to running trails, bike lanes, a lake, a playground and a picnic area.


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