In Belo Horizonte:
1) In the Circuito da Praça da Liberdade:
- Museu das Minas e do Metal (Museum of Metal and Mining) – Home to a permanent exhibition on the mineral riches (precious and semiprecious stones and metals) of Minas Gerais;
- Memorial de Minas Gerais (Historic Memorial of Minas Gerais) – Site of a permanent exhibition about the history and customs of Minas Gerais;
- Espaço do Conhecimento/UFMG (UFMG Space of Knowledge) – Home to a permanent exhibition and temporary exhibits that reflect research being carried out at the university, with a planetarium on the top floor;
- Museu Mineiro (Minas Gerais Museum) – The Museum owns a significant and striking collection of 18th-century baroque art;
- Luiz de Bessa Public State Library – This modernist building designed by Oscar Niemeyer holds the state public library, with a highlight being its important collection of rare works and old printings;
- Arquivo Público Mineiro (Minas Gerais Public Archive) – Site for the official historical documentation of the state of Minas Gerais, including a remarkable map collection;
2) Close by:
- Museu de Artes e Ofícios – The city’s old train station, one of the first to be built at the time, and holds a spectacular private collection on the history of arts and crafts in Brazil up to the 19th century. It may be found downtown, at the Praça da Estação, an area undergoing revitalization since the installation of the Museum. Accessible on foot, by bus, or by taxi;
- Museu Histórico Abílio Barreto (Abílio Barreto Historical Museum) – Home to a permanent collection and temporary exhibitions relating to the history of the city of Belo Horizonte. The centerpiece is the only remaining house from the 18th century, prior to the construction of the state capital, which now holds the museum’s permanent collection. The adjoining building, built in a contemporary style, holds temporary exhibitions and boasts an excellent a la carte restaurant. It is situated in the Cidade Jardim neighborhood on Avenida Prudente Morais. The Cidade Jardim neighborhood, where Sílvio de Vasconcelos and other modernist architects created many imposing, modernism-inspired houses, is well worth a visit.
3) Going shopping:
Praça da Savassi (Savassi Square) is 8 min walking from Praça da Liberdade Square, a hub for shopping and services in Belo Horizonte, with a considerable number of restaurants, shops, and other businesses. A major mall, the Shopping Pátio Savassi (600m – 10 min walking), has a number of top-line stores and restaurants.
The city is also known across the country as the “Brazilian bar capital,” with more bars per capita than any other large city in the nation, with a particular concentration in the Savassi neighborhood.
Other large and sophisticated malls are Diamond Mall (7 min by car) and BH shopping (15 to 20 min by car)
4) Other city landmarks to be visited:
- Conjunto Moderno da Pampulha /Pampulha Modern Architectural Complex
The Pampulha Architectural Complex was commissioned by Juscelino Kubitschek – then the mayor of Belo Horizonte, later the president of Brazil – and was inaugurated in 1943.
The project at Pampulha brought together the biggest names in Brazilian modernism, with structures designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, paintings by Portinari, sculptures by Alfredo Ceschiatti, and gardens by Roberto Burle Marx, and is considered the test run for the construction of Brasília, the nation’s capital, in which all the same men took part. The major constructions are laid out around the Pampulha Lagoon.
Pampulha since 2016 became UNESCO World Heritage.
Highlights include the museum of modern art (which was originally built as a casino); the church, which is one of the most picturesque sights in the city; and the Casa do Baile (Dance Hall), all designed by Niemeyer. Tourists may also visit the Mineirão football stadium, which also includes a museum of the sport; and the zoological garden, which includes an aquarium featuring the fishes of the rivers of Minas Gerais and a Japanese garden. There is a line connecting the Praça da Liberdade to Pampulha and on Saturday there will be a tour to visit all sites.
- Serra do Curral Scenic View
Belo Horizonte is surrounded by the Serra do Curral, which serves as a natural border and historical reference. From the scenic viewpoint, tourists may observe the marvelous landscape of the city spread out before them and immediately understand the meaning of its name: Beautiful Horizon. Watching the winter sunset from this point is simply spectacular. Nearby there are the Mangabeiras’ Park and Garden where you can walk in the tropical rain forest and climb to a view point above Serra do Curral. Good for trekking, some points can be reached by minibus.
Nearby the city:
- Inhotim Contemporary Art Museum – Located 59 km from Belo Horizonte, about an hour and ten minutes from Belo Horizonte, in the municipality of Brumadinho. Inhotim holds a spectacular collection of contemporary art (a complete visit takes 2 days), set out in pavilions across a large park and botanical garden. Today, the site is truly stunning, a can’t-miss point on the itinerary. Private transportation is required. See http://www.inhotim.org.br for more information.
- Sabará city – Located in the larger municipality of Belo Horizonte, 23 km from downtown, it is the most close colonial city. The Church of Our Lady of Ó, Our Lady of Conception, the Golden Museum and the Opera house are the main sites to visit.