Parque da Juventude

Av. Cruzeiro do Sul, 2500

One man's hell is another's playpen. Once the site of the notorious Carandiru prison where a massacre took place (and the subject of a 2003 film directed by Hector Babenco), for the most part demolished after human rights violations, Parque Juventude is now a verdant, hilly park with, appropriately enough, rough-around-the-edges park facilities. Signs of its former life still stand in the form of pavilions left over from darker days; head into the woods to find one of the remainders, with its concrete columns rising from the forest floor. A former prison wall looms up into the lofty trees and two large holes allow walkers to ahem, escape to the brighter fields beyond. Parts of the steel skeleton allow for a climb up two floors into the trees and give good views. By metro Carandiru you'll find a huge sand pit with a kid's area and a wood-planked bridge that crosses a sludgy green river. At the other end is a skate park, albeit half of it unusable, plus basketball, tennis, soccer and volleyball courts—even a table tennis table. A real must-see to be believed. Photo: Crispin Cairns


  • OTHER:
  • Security, bathroom facilities, food.

  • Bands play by Portao 2 on weekends; check the website.
  • Two functioning women's prisons still exist on the park's edges.
  • Catch the brass band rehearsals on Sundays.