After Rio and São Paulo, Belo Horizonte is the largest city in Brazil. So there are a lot of fun things to do.
The city is known for its hospitable residents, countless restaurants and bars, architecture, and rather important for the men, its beautiful women. Recently, it was also one of the host cities for the World Championship of soccer in 2014.
1. Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto
To kick-off with soccer: attend a game at Clube Atlético Mineiro, which was crowned the best club in 2013 of South America (winner of the Copa Libertadores). Its home base is Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto, one of the largest soccer stadiums in Brazil, and more popularly known as Mineirão. Also, check out the local concert calendar for concerts. Wherever you end up going, the enthusiasm of the Brazilians will ensure that you will have an unforgettable day.
2. Feira de Arte e Artesanato
Every Sunday, the center of Belo Horizonte has a Feira de Arte e Artesanato (hippy market). You can wander around for hours on end. There are hundreds of stalls with clothes, art, and jewelry, where, of course, you can also “buy” the world-famous ‘Namoradeiras’ (girls in love) from Minas Gerais.
Savassi is probably the most fun district of Belo Horizonte. It is teeming with trendy shops, bars, and restaurants. On the cozy Praça da Savassi, Baiana do Acaraje serves dishes from the kitchen of Bahia. They do this in traditional costumes. Don’t be put off by this, because it’s certainly not a tourist trap. The restaurant is frequently visited by Brazilians and the food is delicious.
Lourdes is an elegant neighborhood. The somewhat more expensive boutiques and restaurants can be found in this district, such as Restaurante do Porto, one of the best fish restaurants of Belo Horizonte with the tastiest bolinhos de bacalhau.
Rent a bike and discover the lake of Pampulha, known for its magnificent buildings of Oscar Niemeyer. Yet there is still so much more to do. For example, you can visit the zoo, the botanical gardens, and the ecological park. Don’t be surprised if you encounter a family of tame capibaras (a large, semi-aquatic rodent) on the banks. They can be found walking around in large groups.
6. Mercado Central
Eat, drink, smell, and especially enjoy the enormous supply of local drinks and dishes in Mercado Central. An indoor market (14,000 m2) in the center of Belo Horizonte is very popular among its residents. During lunchtime, you have to push your way through to get a chope (draft beer) and a cochinha (Brazilian snack) in one of the many bars. Besides food and drinks, you will find dozens of stalls with Brazilian musical instruments, chewing tobacco, hammocks, and much more curiosa.
7. Parque Municipal
The Parque Municipal is next to the previously mentioned hippy market. An oversized park that is a true oasis of tranquility in the hectic center of Belo Horizonte. Public concerts are held here during the summer months. Also visit the Palacio das Artes, where you can view temporary and permanent exhibits. It is located next to the park and the admittance is free of charge.
8. Museu Histórico Abilio Barreto
Learn the history of Belo Horizonte and walk through one of Belo Horizonte’s oldest houses.
Address: Avenida Prudente de Morais 202 in Cidade Jardim
9. Praça Israel Pinheiro
Enjoy the panoramic views on Belo Horizonte. This is possible from several spots on the edge of the city. One of the most popular spots is the Praça Israel Pinheiro Square, commonly known as Praça do Papa.