It occupies a total area of 103.9 km² (around 80 km² urban area) at circa 30 km from the State Capital, Porto Alegre. The climate is sub-tropical, with temperatures varying from 2°C minimum at Winter to more than 40°C maximum during summer time. Summers are fairly dry.
Established on July 25, 1824, by Germanimmigrants, São Leopoldo is considered the cradle of German culture in Brazil, that is to say, it is the first official city designed by the national Brazilian governor to start the German plan of immigration in the country. It had, in 2006, a population of approximately 210,000.
São Leopoldo is one of the 13 cities along the Rota Romântica ('Romantic Route'), a touristic scenic route that runs from the State Capital towards the Serra Gaúcha.
There are many other municipalities with this bilingual profile throughout the state and the German language is experiencing a strong revival: In 2012 the state chamber of deputies voted unanimously in favor of recognizing the Hunsrückisch Germanic dialect of Rio Grande do Sul an official historical Intangible cultural heritage to be preserved.