Ribeirão Preto is a city in North São Paulo, São Paulo state. Nicknamed "The Capital of Agrobusiness", it is the largest city of the entire northwestern half of the state, and a powerful economic center. Ribeirão Preto has a valuable cultural heritage, and it is a major regional center for shopping and nightlife.
The city was founded June 19, 1856, by farmers coming from the southeast of São Paulo State in search of good climate and soil for coffee growing. The city was laid by a stream called Black Creek, and was named after it. Eventually the farmers’ choice revealed itself as very adequate and the fertile soil of the Ribeirão Preto region allowed the highest crop productivity in Brazil. The rapid development of the coffee cultivation brought wealth and progress to the city, which by the 1880s had become the largest coffee producer in the world. Coffee, the “green gold” as it was called, was responsible for a kind of “gold rush” in the region, which attracted workers and adventurous people from several parts of the world. This movement was helped by the new Mogiana Railway, which linked Ribeirão Preto to São Paulo and to the port city of Santos, and by the abolition of slavery in Brazil, in 1888. The end of slavery created a strong demand for labor and the “coffee barons”, as the coffee farmers were called, stimulated European immigration - mostly from Italy but also from Portugal, Spain and Germany - to Ribeirão Preto. Later, after the stock market crash of 1929, several of these immigrants bought the farms from their indebted former employers. Ribeirão Preto underwent rapid growth during the 1980s and 90s due to a sugarcane boom, and now with a population of over 600,000 and a total metropolitan area of 1.4 million, it has become a lively and fun-loving city.
- Dr. Leite Lopes Airport (RAO IATA) is about 18km from downtown.
- Metropolitan Cathedral, Praça das Bandeiras - Centro, ☎ .
- [dead link] Pedro II Theater (Teatro Pedro II), Rua Álvares Cabral, 370 (Praça XV de Novembro), ☎ . Mon-Fri 9AM-11AM, 3PM-5PM. Built in the boom years of the 1920s, this opera house is the third largest in Brazil and is home to the Ribeirão Preto Symphony Orchestra, one of the oldest in the country.
- Seven Chapels (Sete Capelas).
- History of Coffee Museum (Museu Histórico do Café), Av. Prof. Zefferino Vaz, ☎ .
- History Museum (Museu Histórico).
- Museum of Images and Sound (Museu da Imagem e do Som).
- Botanical Garden Park.
- Curupira Park (officially Parque Luís Roberto Jábali).
- Fábio Barreto Municipal Forest. Contains a Japanese Garden.
- Luís Carlos Raya Park.
- Maurílio Biagi Park.
- Tom Jobim Park.
- Ribeirão Shopping, Av. Coronel Fernando Ferreira Leite, 1540, ☎ .
- Shopping Santa Úrsula, Praça Barão do Rio Branco - Centro, ☎ .
- Le Petit Bistrot, Rua Thomaz Nogueira Gaia, 1116 - Jardim Irajá, ☎ . Tues-Sat 7PM-2AM, Sat-Sun lunch 1PM-4PM.
An important moment for the city occurred in 1911 with the opening of its first factory, the Antarctica Brewery Company. It was Antarctica which built the Pedro II Theatre, and its new factory led to the opening of several beer houses in the city. One of them, named Pinguim (penguin in Portuguese, after the Antarctica logo), became particularly famous and made Ribeirão Preto nationally renowned for the quality of its draft beer (chope or chopp). Many people say that Pinguim has the best draft beer in Brazil, and it has become so important that it is now a symbol of the city; people say that coming to Ribeirão Preto and not visiting Pinguim is like going to Rome and not seeing the Pope. Many small "alambiques" exist in the region, each producing its own unique pinga, better known as cachaça. These pingas are often aged and are available in many flavors, while still maintaining their flair. Pinguim is not the only good beer house in town either — Ribeirão Preto has a hot climate, which leads people to go out in the evening to chat and enjoy cold draft beers in bars, so the city is teeming with bars, from the simple botequins or botecos that one can find on almost every corner, to the most sophisticated pub style bars, which rival their counterparts in São Paulo and Rio.
- Cervejarium, Av. Independência, 3242, ☎ . This bar is run by Cervejaria Colorado, one of the first microbreweries in Brazil. In addition to the four varieties produced by Colorado, they offer around 150 other brews from around the world, in addition to some decent bar food.
- Pinguim 1 and 2, Rua Gal Osório, 408 and 389 (Praça XV de Novembro), ☎ , . These two beer houses are the classic places to enjoy the local chope. Another two locations are also open at Santa Úrsula shopping center and Ribeirão Shopping.
- [formerly dead link] Cervejaria Colorado, Rua Minas, 394 (Campos Elíseos), ☎ . One of the best regarded microbreweries in Brazil. Visits must be scheduled on their website (Portuguese only).
- Hotel Ibis, Av. Braz Olaia Costa, 691 Torre A - Jdm. Califórnia, ☎ .
- Hotel Nacional Inn Village, Rua Dq. de Caxias, 1313, ☎ , fax: .
- Hotel Prince, Rua Augusto Severo, 154, ☎ , fax: .
- Oásis Plaza Hotel, Av. Maurílio Biagi, 2955, ☎ , fax: .
- Shelton Inn, Rua Cel Luiz da Cunha, 400, ☎ .