Are you looking for things to do in Lima? This vibrant and culturally rich city has something for everyone. From its top-notch restaurants and nightlife scene to its amazing historical sites, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Lima. In this blog post, we will talk about the top 10 attractions in Lima that you can’t miss!
1) The Historic Downtown of Lima (and it’s nearby attractions)
Filled with magnificent colonial plazas, churches, and palaces, the historic downtown of Lima has many of the landmarks you will want to visit during your time in Lima. Amongst the most popular attractions in this area are:
- The Plaza Mayor: Surrounded by the Cathedral of Lima, the Government Palace, the Municipal Palace, and the Archbishops Palace.
- San Francisco Catacombs & Monastery
- Plaza San Martín (and the Grand Hotel Bolivar to drink a Pisco Sour)
- Alameda Chabuca Granda (to try some delicious street food)
- Casa de la Literatura Peruana (stunning old train station turned into museum/free library)
- Basílica y Monasterio de Santo Domingo
- The magnificent Casa de Aliaga mansion
- Palacio Torre Tagle (Note: The once marquis Torre Tagle Palace is nowadays home to Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and even though entry is limited depending if they are hosting events, you may ask guards nicely to enter the ground floor and take some pictures).
2) Miraflores Area:
The chic, hip, and trendy beach town of Miraflores is the best and safest place to stay during your trip to Lima. It’s full of parks overviewing the pacific ocean, unique shops, and the best dinning restaurants in town. Here’s a list of the top attractions and top things to do in Miraflores:
- The Malecón de Miraflores: This broadwalk is right next to a stunning cliff formation (known as Costa Verde) which provides a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean (specially at sunset!). The broadwalk is in fact a network of public parks full of flowers and grass areas that run for several miles, all the way to the corporate district of San Isidro.
- Larcomar: Surely, malls are never a worthy attraction when traveling abroad, however, Larcomar shopping mall is full of highly rated restaurants (such as Mango’s, Tanta, Pardo’s Chicken, Popular, and many more), coffee shops, Peruvian clothing shops, and many more. However, what makes this place very special is the fact that it has been built right on top of the Costa Verde cliff, offering some of the best views you will ever get of the Pacific Ocean. We recommend coming here at sunset to enjoy reading a book while drinking a glass of Pisco Sour. Cheers!
- The Parque Kennedy: Also know as the “cat park”, this public park located right in the heart of Miraflores, has exactly that: dozens -if not hundreds- of cute cats living in the park (don’t worry, they are periodically vaccinated by the Municipality and several organizations take care of them daily). This park is also a great place to try some of the most beloved street dishes by Limeños: picarones (fried doughnuts), mazamorra morada (purple corn pudding, usually served with a side of rice pudding), and butifarras (turkey sandwiches served with thinly chopped onions and spices).
- The Indian Market: You can’t leave Peru without getting a cozy alpaca sweater first (or a bottle of Pisco to share with your loved ones back home). Peru is the #1 provider of alpaca textiles in the world so it doesn’t come as a surprise that you will be able to find the finest fibers here at very affordable prices. The artisan market “Mercado Indio” in Miraflores is in particular a great place to start with. It congregates hundreds (if not thousands) of artisans that sell every single thing you could think of, from textiles to ceramic vases, handmade rugs, precious metals, and more.
- Huaca Pucllana: A great adobe and clay pyramid built from seven staggered platforms. It served as an important ceremonial and administrative center for the advancement of the Lima Culture, a society which developed in the Peruvian Central Coast between the years of 200 AD and 700 AD.
- Fun and cultural activities:
– Take a Spanish class in Lima! Learning Spanish in Lima will be the best way to immerse yourself in the culture and get a more enriching and unforgettable experience during your trip to Peru.
– Take a bike tour to explore Miraflores and other close by attractions such as Barranco.
– Take a cooking class with either a company that offers cooking classes on a daily basis (such as “Skykitchen” and “Peruvian cooking class”), or you may sign up for one of our cooking classes as part of our cultural activities run by our ,Spanish School in Lima.
– Paraglide on the skies of Miraflores, the Costa Verde, and the Pacific Ocean.
3) Barranco Area:
Located next to Miraflores and also a coastal town, Barranco, the artistic and bohemian district of Lima is filled with colors, murals, art, and music everywhere. During weekends, nightclubs and bars are some of the hottest places in town to grab a drink and enjoy your night with friends (“Ayahuasca” in particular is an impressive colonial mansion that has been turned into a trendy and chic bar with Peruvian accents and colorfull decorations). Barranco is also the best place in Lima where to try some “anticuchos” and “picarones” (we recommend “Tio Mario’s“, located right next to the Bridge of Sighs). Both dishes are two of the most loved by Limeños and something you should definitely try during your trip to Lima. Amongst some of the best attractions in Barranco we recommend visiting are:
- The Bridge of Sighs & the Plaza of Barranco
- The Pedro de Osma Museum
- The MATE Museum
- The Museum of Moderm Art of Lima
- Also: We highly recommend the walk from/to Miraflores, as a way to appreciate the ocean view and check out the buildings and architecture of this area.
4) The Larco Museum
Located on the district of Pueblo Libre (about 20 minutes by taxi/Uber from Miraflores), this unique and quaint museum is housed in an 18th-century vice-royal building and showcases a well-thought timeline of galleries that provide a thorough overview of 5,000 years of Peruvian pre-Columbian history, art, and culture. After checking our their exhibitions, we recommend drinking a cup of tea/coffee or eating something at their outdoor restaurant, which has a beautiful and intimate garden with hanging plans and flowers, the perfect place where to finish your day.
Our Spanish School in Lima organizes as well frequent visits to this museum, so make sure to check our activities list once you started with your Spanish program in Lima or request it to our student services coordinators who will gladly take it in consideration to plan our weekly activities calendar.
5) “El Monumental” (El Callao District)
El Monumental is with no doubt the best off-the-beaten-path attraction Lima has to offer. It is today one of the most important references for art and social transformation in Peru.
Visit the emblematic heritage area of the port and its historical streets between El Real Felipe, Plaza Grau, Plaza Matriz, Plaza Gálvez, and The impressive “Casa Ronald” building through art, music, gastronomy, history, graffiti, and living culture. To book a tour or watch a video with the highlights of this area check the official link of “El Monumental“.
Note: This activity is also offered by our Spanish School in Lima
6) The Water Fountains Park (Parque Mágico del Agua)
Upon night falls their famous colorful fountains and Peruvian-themed shows come to live. Located about 30 minutes walking from Plaza San Martin this is a solid option to spend your night after exploring downtown Lima (entrance is only 4 PEN).
Note: Our Spanish School in Lima also organizes regular visits to this park as a way to complement your Spanish abroad in Peru program.
7) Museo de Arte de Lima
Locally knows as “MALI”, The Art Museum of Lima is housed inside the stunning “Palacio de la Exposición”. It holds almost 3,000 years of history, from pre-Columbian textiles and pottery, to mid-twentieth century painting. It’s located only 15 minutes away from Plaza San Martín or you can take the Metropolitano Bus (Lima’s official bus system) from Miraflores and get off at central station (Estación central).
8) Gran Teatro Nacional
Make sure to check the Great National Theater calendar to see if the show “Retablo” will be on during your time in Lima. This show is a breakout hit among locals and showcases traditional Peruvian dances performed by the Peruvian National Folkloric Ballet. The show is full of energy, colors, and fascinating traditions, a unique experience that will make you love Peru more with each step and leap.
Tickets are for sale online at Teleticket.com or at most supermarkets in the city (just look for tickets booths that say “Teleticket”). Tickets are really affordable, starting only at 15 soles, and for 75 soles for those seats located right next to the stage. We suggest planning ahead of time and buying your tickets online, as they usually sell out quickly.
Note: Our Spanish School in Lima regularly organizes this activity as part of our cultural activities. If you are planning on attending our Spanish program please let us know you are interested in attending this show and we will gladly save you a ticket!