Governador Valadares is widely regarded as the "America-town" of Brazil. The American influence in the area stretches back to the aftermath of the American Civil War, when a wave of Confederates immigrated to Brazil and settled in the Rio Doce Valley. By now, descendants of most of those families have dispersed to other areas of the country, and the city is more well-known for the opposite emigration trend; over twenty percent of the population has a relative working in the United States. The influx of dollars into the city is so great that it is sometimes referred to as "Governador Valadólares", and the slick high-rise condos and upscale shopping areas stand out here in what would otherwise be a sleepy agricultural and mining community.
- Atiaia Theater (Teatro Atiaia). A variety of cultural events are presented here, including plays, concerts, and seminars.
- City Museum (Museu da Cidade). Over 1200 pieces relating the history of the area.
- Mt. Ibituruna - This 4,034-foot mountain overlooks the city.
- Ilha dos Araújos. This 4.5 km scenic residential neighborhood along the river is heavily wooded and makes a pleasant place for a stroll or a bike ride.
- Municipal Market (Mercado Municipal). Built in 1940 and recently restored.
- Praça Serra Lima. One of the most traditional praças in town, with a fountain in the center and plenty of foot-traffic.
- Praça da Estação (Praça João Paulo Pinheiro). This plaza holds the first train to visit the city in the 1920s.
- Rio Doce. This wide, placid river cuts through town, bringing thick vegetation and flourishing birdlife.
- São Raimundo Bridge (Ponte do São Raimundo). The first bridge constructed in town offers fine views of a stretch of the Rio Doce with the city in the background.
- Sugar cane warehouse. A historic building once used for the processing of sugar cane is now being transformed into a cultural center.
- Hang-gliding or paragliding from Mt. Ibituruna, considered one of the world's top spots for such sports. The city hosts several national and international competitions each year.
- Praça dos Pioneiros. Every Thurs and Sun. Twice-weekly market with a wide variety of food products.