At first glance, Belo Horizonte may not be on your list of destinations, but the capital of Minas Gerais owns a rich cultural itinerary that pleases art lovers. It doesn’t take much time to explore the city, in a weekend or long holiday it’s possible to know a lot of things, and the best of all, spending little, because most of the attractions are free.

Do you want to have a taste of what to find on the trip? Then check here what to do in Belo Horizonte to enjoy the best of the city!

What to do in Belo Horizonte in 2 or 3 days?

Belo Horizonte is a planned city so it’s easy and delicious to walk around it. Here you can check out the unmissable attractions of the Pampulha Architectural Complex and the Praça da Liberdade Cultural Circuit.

1. Pampulha Lagoon

Pampulha Lagoon

A mandatory stop in Belo Horizonte is Lagoa da Pampulha, one of the city’s postcards. Surrounded by nature, it is a good place to walk, run, cycle and have a picnic.

Besides that, it is there that the kick-off to get to know the history of the city. With 18 km of extension, the lagoon is surrounded by an architectural complex designed by Oscar Niemeyer that deserves to be visited with attention. The attractions are the São Francisco Church, the Kubitschek House, the Casa do Baile and the Pampulha Art Museum. Separate at least one day to visit each of these spaces and take a trip through time.

  • Address: Av. Otacílio Negrão de Lima.
  • Working hours: 24 hours.
  • Entrance fee: free.

2. Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Better known as Igrejinha da Pampulha, São Francisco de Assis Church is the postcard of Belo Horizonte. Oscar Niemeyer’s project was inaugurated in 1943 and is part of the Pampulha Architectural Complex, considered a World Heritage Site.

The church was considered very modern for the time. On the outside, the panels are by Paulo Werneck and Cândido Portinari, who also signs 14 Via Sacra panels on the inside. The gardens are by Burle Marx. The monument is that image that comes to mind when we talk about Belo Horizonte, so the visit is indispensable in the itinerary.

  • Address: Av. Otacílio Negrão de Lima, 3000 – Pampulha.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 9am to 5pm; Sundays, from 11am to 2pm. Every Sunday, at 10 a.m., mass is held in the church.
  • Entrance fee: free.

3. Kubitschek House

Kubitschek House

The house, which today houses a museum, was built in 1943 and also designed by Oscar Niemeyer at the request of the then mayor of Belo Horizonte, Juscelino Kubitschek, to be his weekend residence. The architectural project has as reference the characteristic “butterfly roof” and gardens of Burle Marx.

After Kubitschek moved in 1951, the property was sold to the family of his advisor and friend, Joubert Guerra, who decorated the house and are responsible for the collection of modernist furniture that make up the collection.

  • Address: Otacílio Negrão de Lima, 4188 – Pampulha.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 9am to 6pm.
  • Entrance fee: free.

4. Casa do Baile

Casa do Baile

The curves do not deny that the work, located on a small artificial island on the shores of Pampulha Lagoon, is the work of Oscar Niemeyer. Inaugurated in 1943, the space originally housed a dance hall and a restaurant frequented by the mining society.

Today, the House houses the Reference Center of Urbanism, Architecture and Design, which has the proposal of organizing, documenting and valuing both the built and symbolic spaces of the city, as well as objects that have become reference in the daily life of society. The place receives temporary exhibitions, publishes publications, develops seminars, meetings and other events.

  • Address: Av. Otacílio Negrão de Lima, 751.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 9am to 6pm.
  • Entrance fee: free.

5. Pampulha Art Museum

Pampulha Art Museum

The Pampulha Art Museum was Oscar Niemeyer’s first project for the Pampulha Architectural Set. It was built to be a casino in the early 1940s, during the administration of Mayor Juscelino Kubitschek. With the prohibition of the game in Brazil in 1946, it was without defined activity for ten years, serving as a space for parties and cultural activities.

Currently, MAP has more than 40,000 items in its collection, including painting, sculpture, books, etc. It is mostly made up of donations and exhibits important names of Brazilian art such as: Di Cavalcanti, Portinari, Tomie Ohtake, among other artists. The garden, designed by Burle Marx, also deserves to be admired.

  • Address: Otacílio Negrão de Lima, 16585 – Pampulha.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 9am to 6pm.
  • Entrance fee: free.

6. Liberdade Square

Liberdade Square

With gardens inspired by the Palace of Versailles in France, Liberty Square has long housed the seat of mining power. It is one of the favorite spaces of the city residents for an outdoor time, such as walking, picnic, besides receiving cultural activities.

The place is also the starting point for the Liberty Square Cultural Circuit, where each building, which used to be used by the State Secretariats, was transformed into a cultural space open to visitation. The circuit is composed by 16 institutions and you can know them all in this site.

  • Address: Praça da Liberdade – Savassi.
  • Working hours: 24 hours
  • Entry fee: free.

7. Memorial Minas Gerais Vale

Memorial Minas Gerais Vale

The Minas Gerais Vale Memorial brings the traditions of Minas Gerais told in an original and interactive way. In it, real and virtual scenarios come together, transporting the visitor from the 18th to the 21st century.

The building that houses the Museum was the headquarters of the Minas Gerais State Treasury Department and its construction dates back to 1897, being this the place where the cornerstone of the city of Belo Horizonte was laid.

  • Address: Praça da Liberdade, 640 – corner of Gonçalves Dias Street.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., with a stay until 6 p.m.; Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with a stay until 4 p.m.
  • Entrance fee: free.

8. Museum of Mines and Metal

Museum of Mines and Metal

The Museum of Mines and Metal houses an important collection on mining and metallurgy, two important economic activities in Minas Gerais. The Museum uses technology to present the universe of metals, minerals and their components. There are 18 rooms with 44 attractions on the theme, 11 of them dedicated to the main mines in the state, which come to life and are presented by Dom Pedro II, his wife, Empress Teresa Cristina, Xica da Silva and other historical and fictional characters.

The Museum operates in the well-known Rosa Building, inaugurated in 1987 together with the capital of Minas Gerais and Praça da Liberdade, designed to be the Secretary of the Interior. Enjoy the visit and stop for a coffee, lunch or brunch at the local cafeteria.

  • Address: Praça da Liberdade, s/n – Prédio Rosa.
  • Opening hours: from Tuesday to Sunday, from 12h to 18h; every last Tuesday of the month, from 12h to 17h; Thursday, from 12h to 22h.
  • Entrance fee: free.

9. UFMG Knowledge Space

UFMG Knowledge Space

The UFMG Knowledge Space is a partnership between UFMG and the Government of Minas Gerais, which has a diversified program of exhibitions, courses, workshops and debates.

In the exhibition “Too Human”, the visitor embarks on a journey through the trajectory of humanity on planet Earth. At the Planetarium, films about astronomy and images of the universe captured by satellites and space probes are shown, besides observation sessions. At the Astronomical Terrace there is a telescope and retractable roof, which allows the observation of the sky, for this, just remove a password, which begins to be distributed at 5:30 pm. All visits are guided and guided by the Space astronomy team.

  • Address: Praça da Liberdade, s/n.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 5pm; Saturday from 10am to 9pm; Sunday from 10am to 5pm.
  • Entrance fees: exhibitions and astronomical terrace: free; planetarium: R$ 6 (full). R$ 3 (half entrance).

10. Cultural Center Banco do Brasil Belo Horizonte

Cultural Center Banco do Brasil Belo Horizonte

Inaugurated in 1930, the building that today houses the CCBB BH was the headquarters of the Secretary of the Interior of the State of Minas Gerais and, since 2013, is one of the most important spaces of culture in the capital of Minas Gerais, being among the ten most visited museums in Brazil according to the ranking of IBRAM – Brazilian Institute of Museums.

Besides attracting attention for its imposing structure, the space is the stage for exhibitions, musical and theatrical presentations.

  • Address: Praça da Liberdade, 450.
  • Hours of operation: from Wednesday to Monday, from 9am to 9pm. Closed on Tuesdays.
  • Entrance fee: free.