Quality Hotel Afonso Pena
Av. Afonso Pena, 3761
Belo Horizonte, 30130-008
Phone: (55) 31 21118900
Fax: (55) 31 21118901
Belo Horizonte's Hippie Market started in 1971 with a small group of art students exhibiting their work on a public square during a complicated period in Brazilian history. The country was under military rule at the time and censorship was extreme, but the local government did not prevent the young 'hippie' artists from showing their work once a week. The group started growing and gaining popularity with locals and eventually moved to its current location. Artists and craftspeople stopped displaying their work on rugs on the pavement and set up stalls to start selling their products. Nowadays, the Hippie Market has over 2,000 stalls where you can find handmade accessories, clothes, shoes, toys, decorative items, furniture, etc.
Open since 1961, the Maletta is a huge and popular building that is steeped in the political history of the city and the country. Most of it is taken up by residential apartments, but the first two floors concentrate a wide range of shops and services to cater for a varied audience. There are bookshops, bars, restaurants, hairdressers, clothes shops, among others. Cantina do Lucas is one of the most traditional bars in town, and an old hangout for musicians, students and left-wing politicians. Shazam is a fantastic second-hand bookshop, officially listed as part of the city’s cultural heritage. Satisfeita, Yolanda? is your best bet for funky clothes for men and women.
The Central Market in Belo Horizonte opened in 1929 and was managed by the town council until 1964, when the mayor threatened to close it due to lack of public resources to keep it going. The stall keepers then decided to start a cooperative business and take it over from public administration, and it has survived as such to this day. An excellent place to get fresh produce and taste the local cuisine, it has arts and crafts stalls too. They offer guided tours that can be booked at the Tourist Information Point in the market. The best way to blend in is sitting at one of the food stalls savoring a cold beer and freshly cooked liver and onions.
Minas cheese comes in many different types, with standard, frescal, canastra, serro being the main ones. Firm in texture, pale in color, and mildly flavored, it is part of the staple diet of locals and visitors tend to fall in love with it. Most of the creameries producing Minas cheese are located in the Serra da Canastra region, 300 kilometers away from Belo Horizonte. However, you can easily buy it in BH at Queijaria de Minas in the Central Market, a shop that brings fresh cheese directly from the producers. They also have cured meats and other deli products to accompany your cheese. Queijaria de Minas has a delivery service and they will also take orders for cheese boards and sharing platters.
The Ouvidor Galleries opened their doors in 1964, just a few days before the military coup in Brazil. They have bravely resisted through time and survived the technological advances and are preserved as part of Belo Horizonte's history. The galleries were the first commercial establishment in town to have a set of escalators installed, making it a quirky tourist attraction in the 1960s. Nowadays the galleries host over 300 shops specializing in various items. You can find clothes, shoes, books and many services there, but perhaps the most popular are the arts & crafts and haberdashery shops.
Mercado das Borboletas is an ambitious project started in 2010 and is still in progress. The brainchild of a group of local artists, it is a multi-arts complex, market and entertainment venue in the busy Belo Horizonte city center. Mercado das Borboletas occupies a space on the 3rd floor of a previously derelict building and aims at providing a space for alternative, independent and grassroots artists of all types to showcase their work. They hold markets, exhibitions, performances concerts, club nights and other creative events of all sorts, always aiming to encourage sustainable practices. Check their website for their events listings every week.
Affectionately nicknamed by the locals as "Shopping Oi," this type of shopping center becoming more popular in the large metropolises of Latin America. Big cities usually have a problem with street vendors cramming its central streets, so a few years ago some Brazilian entrepreneurs had the idea of offering indoor spaces to these vendors, thus creating a specialized shopping area which is safer for both sellers and shoppers. Shopping Oi is a purpose-built structure within a listed building in Belo Horizonte's city center. The building dates from the early 20th century and previously housed three breweries. Open as a popular shopping center since 2001, it is now one the busiest shopping spots in town.
Brazil is considered a paradise for the mining of gemstones and precious metals, mostly gold and platinum. A great part of this mining happens in the state of Minas Gerais, whose name translates as 'general mines.' Irffi is a traditional company dedicated to stone-carving, producing beautiful decorative objects and exclusive accessories using locally-sourced Brazilian gemstones. You can visit Irffi's workshop and gallery of stones and minerals, and then buy the products or the rough gems in the shop. All products come with an authenticity certificate. Staff members are bilingual and happy to show you round the gallery and help you find the perfect gift or treat for yourself.
Despite being the oldest shopping mall in Minas Gerais, BH Shopping is also the most modern and largest in the state. It first opened in 1979 and it was the first enterprise of Multiplan, a group that now runs 13 shopping malls in Brazil. BH Shopping has over 400 stores, a food court, cinemas and a large arcade called HotZone. It also hosts exhibitions, workshops and other local events. You can find post offices, bank branches and personalized services at BH Shopping, such as stewards to help with your shopping and special assistance to people with disabilities.