The city is laid out in a grid street pattern, designed by a French architect, Aldolphe Herbster. The center is laid out in blocks and forms the core of the commercial and financial activity. It is filled with markets, squares, large buildings and cathedrals. In the west of the centre are the beaches, Praia de Iracema and Praia de Meireles which have become chic enclaves with noveau restaurants and hip clubs. These beaches are linked by the road, Avenida Presidente Kennedy.   On the way to the eastern beaches, in Murcuripe, there are both favelas, the slums where many poor of Fortaleza live in shanty-shacks as well as a port.   El Centro de Turismo is on Rua Senador Pompeu in an old prison complex. Within the center is also the Museu de Arte e Cultura Popular, which is arguably the best in the city.   The Mercado Central is where all the best shopping can be done. In this market, dealers show handicrafts, electronic goods, hammocks, clothes and other souvenirs. Near the market lies Centro Dragao do Mar de Arte e Cultura, which is a very modern building which has a host of cinemas and museums, and even a planetarium. In addition, opposite the Mercado Central is the 19 th Century Fortaleza de Nossa Senhora da Assuncao, after which the city was named.   Also two blocks for the Centro de Turism is the old municipal boulevard and Praca dos Martires, which is a popular park.

On Beira-mar Avenue, kiosks and restaurants offer regional seafood, Sushi, Brazilian dishes and many more varieties of food; there are also many bars which provide anything from beer to cocktails. At the handcraft fair (the feirinha), many stands show embroidery and leather work, as well as jewelry and regional food or artisinal cachaça. Of the urban beaches in Fortaleza, Praia do Futuro is the most frequented and is characterized by restaurants along the beach, each one with its own musical style and decoration.