São Paulo  has undergone immense transformations since its foundation in 1554. However, hidden away in its original downtown core are a few interesting vestiges of the city’s colonial past, which are all the more striking for being hemmed in by a forest of skyscrapers.
Although you should always be on the alert for pickpocket types, wandering around Centro during the day is a fairly safe, if mildly chaotic, experience. At night, however, much of the area clears out, making taxis necessary.
The geographic, historic, and symbolic center of São Paulo is Praça da Sé. By day, this vast plaza is filled with thousands of Paulistanos hurrying to and from somewhere, along with camelôs (illegal sidewalk vendors) hawking cheap wares and small clusters of street kids.
It is here that many protests and demonstrations have been held—one of the most famous occurred in 1984 when 300,000 citizens demanded direct democratic elections following two decades of military rule.