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Things To Do In Lima, Peru


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Myrah Shears



Welcome to Lima, the vibrant and culturally-rich capital city of Peru. Nestled on the western coast of South America, Lima is a captivating destination that seamlessly blends history, art, gastronomy, and outdoor adventures. With its ancient Inca ruins, colonial architecture, world-class museums, and renowned culinary scene, there is something for everyone in this bustling metropolis.


Lima’s rich history dates back thousands of years to the pre-Columbian era, and evidence of its ancient civilizations can be seen in the archaeological sites scattered throughout the city. The historic center, known as the Historic Center of Lima, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to colonial-era buildings, beautiful squares, and fascinating museums.


Art enthusiasts will be delighted by Lima’s vibrant art scene. The city is dotted with numerous galleries and museums showcasing a wide range of art forms, from contemporary to traditional. The Larco Museum and the Museum of Art of Lima are must-visit destinations for art lovers.


No visit to Lima would be complete without indulging in its renowned culinary experiences. As the gastronomic capital of Latin America, Lima offers a plethora of dining options ranging from street food stalls to Michelin-starred restaurants. Be sure to try Peru’s national dish, ceviche, and explore the diverse flavors and ingredients of Peruvian cuisine.


Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities to connect with nature in Lima. The city is flanked by the Pacific Ocean, providing stunning coastal views and the chance to indulge in water sports such as surfing and paragliding. Additionally, Lima is surrounded by beautiful parks and gardens, perfect for hiking, picnicking, or simply enjoying the outdoors.


For those looking to immerse themselves in the local culture, exploring Lima’s diverse neighborhoods is a must. From the bohemian charm of Barranco to the colonial architecture of Miraflores, each neighborhood has its own unique character and charm.


One cannot miss the vibrant local markets scattered throughout Lima. These markets offer an authentic glimpse into the daily lives of Limeños and are the perfect place to sample local delicacies, shop for souvenirs, and immerse oneself in the vibrant atmosphere.


When the sun sets, Lima comes alive with a buzzing nightlife scene. From trendy rooftop bars to lively nightclubs, there is no shortage of options for those looking to dance the night away or enjoy a relaxing drink with friends.


Finally, for those looking to explore beyond the city limits, Lima serves as an excellent base for day trips. From the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu to the breathtaking landscapes of the Sacred Valley, there are endless possibilities for adventure just a short journey from the capital.


With its rich history, vibrant culture, and countless attractions, Lima offers a truly unforgettable experience for visitors. So come and immerse yourself in the magic of Lima, a city that will undoubtedly captivate your heart and leave you longing for more.


Historic Sites

Lima is steeped in history, and exploring its historic sites is a fascinating journey through time. The Historic Center of Lima, also known as the “City of Kings,” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.


One of the must-visit sites in Lima is the Plaza de Armas, the main square located in the heart of the historic center. Here, you’ll find the magnificent Lima Cathedral, which dates back to the 16th century and features stunning architectural details and beautiful chapels.


Another significant historical site is the Monastery of San Francisco. This stunning complex showcases exquisite baroque architecture and houses an impressive library with thousands of ancient texts. The highlight of the monastery is the catacombs, an eerie underground network of tunnels that served as a burial site during colonial times.


For a glimpse into Peru’s ancient past, a visit to Huaca Pucllana is a must. This ancient adobe pyramid dates back to the pre-Inca era and offers a unique insight into the Lima culture that thrived long before the arrival of Spanish conquistadors.


The Presidential Palace, also known as the Government Palace, is another architectural gem worth exploring. Located on the Plaza de Armas, it serves as the official residence of the President of Peru and is open for guided tours that showcase its opulent rooms and historical artifacts.


For a taste of Lima’s colonial heritage, head to the charming neighborhood of Barranco. Its narrow streets are lined with colorful colonial mansions and historic buildings. Barranco is also home to the famous Bridge of Sighs, a romantic spot with a fascinating story behind it.


Exploring the historic sites of Lima gives visitors a deeper understanding of Peru’s rich cultural heritage. With each step, you’ll uncover fascinating stories and marvel at the impressive architecture that has withstood the test of time.


Art and Museums

Lima boasts a thriving art scene with a wide range of museums and galleries that showcase both contemporary and traditional art forms. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or simply appreciate the beauty of fine craftsmanship, Lima has something to offer.


The Larco Museum is a must-visit destination for art and history lovers. Housed in an 18th-century colonial mansion, this museum houses a vast collection of pre-Columbian art and artifacts. From intricately designed pottery to ancient textiles, the exhibits provide a unique glimpse into Peru’s rich cultural past.


For those interested in modern and contemporary art, the Museum of Art of Lima is a must-see. Located in the bustling district of Barranco, this museum features a diverse range of exhibits, including paintings, sculptures, and installations by both local and international artists.


Another notable museum in Lima is the Pedro de Osma Museum, located in the picturesque neighborhood of Barranco. It showcases an extensive collection of colonial art, including religious paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from the Viceroyalty of Peru.


Art lovers shouldn’t miss a visit to the Mario Testino Museum. This museum is dedicated to the work of world-renowned Peruvian fashion photographer Mario Testino. It showcases a wide range of his iconic photographs, capturing the essence of fashion, celebrity, and Peruvian culture.


For a unique artistic experience, the Magic Water Circuit is a must-visit attraction. Located within the Parque de la Reserva, it features a series of illuminated fountains that come alive with mesmerizing water displays. This interactive experience combines water, light, and music to create a captivating spectacle.


Art is not limited to the museum walls in Lima. The city’s streets serve as a canvas for vibrant street art, showcasing the talent and creativity of local artists. Exploring neighborhoods like Barranco and Miraflores will reveal colorful murals and graffiti that add an artistic flair to the city’s urban landscape.


Whether you’re captivated by ancient artifacts or contemporary masterpieces, Lima’s art and museum scene offers a rich and diverse experience. Immerse yourself in the world of Peruvian art and explore the cultural heritage that is embedded in the fabric of this vibrant city.


Culinary Experiences

Peru is often hailed as one of the world’s top culinary destinations, and Lima, as its capital, is at the forefront of this gastronomic revolution. From traditional Peruvian dishes to fusion cuisine, Lima offers a tantalizing array of flavors and culinary experiences.


A must-try dish in Lima is ceviche, a refreshing and flavorful dish made with fresh raw fish marinated in lime juice and served with onions, peppers, and cilantro. Head to a local cevicheria to savor this iconic Peruvian delicacy and experience the perfect balance of acidity and freshness.


Peru’s diverse culinary heritage is showcased in Lima’s numerous food markets. Mercado Central and Surquillo Market are bustling hubs where locals and tourists alike can sample a variety of local specialties. Taste exotic fruits, try traditional dishes like anticuchos (grilled skewered meat), and indulge in a wide selection of street food.


No visit to Lima is complete without a taste of the world-renowned Peruvian roast chicken. Head to a pollo a la brasa restaurant, where succulent chicken is marinated in a special blend of spices and roasted to perfection. Pair it with a side of crispy yuca fries and aji sauce for a truly mouthwatering experience.


Lima is also home to numerous fine dining establishments that have earned international recognition. Visit Central, Maido, or Astrid y Gastón, which are among the top 50 restaurants in the world, according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Indulge in innovative and creative tasting menus that highlight Peruvian ingredients and culinary techniques.


For a hands-on experience, consider taking a cooking class in Lima. Learn how to prepare traditional Peruvian dishes like causa, lomo saltado, or pisco sour, guided by expert chefs who will introduce you to the techniques and ingredients that make Peruvian cuisine so unique.


Lima is also a hub for the burgeoning craft beer scene in Peru. Visit one of the city’s craft breweries, such as Barranco Beer Company or Cervecería Barbarian, and taste a variety of locally brewed beers that showcase the creativity and craftsmanship of Peruvian brewers.


Lastly, end your culinary journey with a visit to a traditional Lima dessert shop. Try classic sweets like picarones (a type of fried doughnut), suspiro a la limeña (a creamy caramel dessert), or alfajores (buttery cookies filled with dulce de leche).


Lima’s culinary experiences are as diverse as its cultural heritage, with something to suit every palate. From street food to fine dining, immerse yourself in the flavors of Peru and discover the culinary delights that await you in the culinary capital of Latin America.


Outdoor Activities

Lima offers a wide range of outdoor activities, thanks to its stunning natural landscapes and proximity to the Pacific Ocean. Whether you prefer adrenaline-fueled adventures or peaceful nature escapes, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the great outdoors of Lima.


If you’re a water sports enthusiast, Lima’s coastline is perfect for surfing. Head to popular surf spots like Costa Verde or Punta Hermosa, where you can catch waves suitable for all levels, from beginners to expert surfers. Lessons and equipment rental are readily available for those looking to learn or improve their skills.


For a different kind of water adventure, try paragliding along the cliffs of Miraflores. Experience the thrill of soaring above the coast and take in panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the cityscape. It’s an unforgettable experience that combines adrenaline with breathtaking scenery.


One of Lima’s natural gems is the Pantanos de Villa Wildlife Refuge, located just south of the city. This ecologically diverse wetland reserve is home to a wide variety of bird species, including flamingos, herons, and ducks. Explore its trails and observation points for an opportunity to observe the region’s rich biodiversity up close.


For those seeking tranquility, the Lima Golf Club offers a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. This prestigious golf course features lush green fairways, beautiful landscapes, and stunning views of the surrounding cityscape. Enjoy a round of golf or simply relax in the serene environment.


Nature lovers should plan a visit to El Malecón, a picturesque coastal walkway that stretches along the cliffs of Miraflores and offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Take a leisurely stroll, rent a bike, or enjoy a jog while soaking up the ocean breeze and admiring the stunning coastal scenery.


Head to the Miraflores LarcoMar, a popular shopping center perched on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. Here, you can not only shop for souvenirs and designer brands but also take in the stunning views from the rooftop terrace. Enjoy a meal or a drink while appreciating the beautiful sunset over the Pacific.


Lastly, explore the city’s parks and gardens, such as Parque Kennedy or Parque de la Exposición. These green spaces provide an escape from the bustling city and are perfect for picnicking, jogging, or simply enjoying the outdoors.


Lima’s outdoor activities cater to all interests and preferences, offering a chance to connect with nature, enjoy thrilling adventures, or simply unwind in serene surroundings. Explore the great outdoors of Lima and discover the beauty and diversity of Peru’s capital city.


Neighborhood Explorations

Lima is a city of vibrant neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. Exploring these neighborhoods allows you to immerse yourself in the local culture, discover hidden gems, and experience the city from a different perspective.


Miraflores is perhaps one of the most popular neighborhoods for visitors to Lima. Located on the cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Miraflores offers stunning coastal views, upscale shopping centers, and a bustling restaurant scene. Take a leisurely walk along the Malecón, visit the Larcomar shopping center, or enjoy a meal at one of the many renowned restaurants.


Barranco, known as Lima’s bohemian district, is a haven for art lovers and romantics. Its colorful colonial architecture, art galleries, and lively nightlife make it a must-visit neighborhood. Explore the streets adorned with colorful murals, visit the Pedro de Osma Museum, or enjoy an evening of live music and drinks in one of Barranco’s cozy bars.


The historic center of Lima, also known as the Cercado de Lima, is where the city’s history comes alive. The Plaza de Armas, with its grand buildings and beautiful architecture, is the heart of the historic center. Explore the narrow streets, visit the Government Palace, and marvel at the stunning colonial-era churches such as the Basilica Cathedral of Lima.


San Isidro is Lima’s financial district, but it is also home to beautiful gardens, elegant mansions, and upscale boutiques. Take a walk in El Olivar Park, a historic olive grove that dates back to the 16th century, or visit Huaca Huallamarca, an ancient adobe pyramid located amidst modern buildings.


For a glimpse into Lima’s multicultural heritage, visit Chinatown, also known as Barrio Chino. This vibrant neighborhood is filled with Chinese restaurants, shops, and cultural landmarks. Indulge in delicious Chinese cuisine, browse the eclectic shops, or visit the Chifa Museum to learn about the history and influence of Chinese immigrants in Peru.


Exploring Lima’s neighborhoods allows you to experience the city’s diversity firsthand. Each neighborhood has its own distinct atmosphere, offering a range of experiences from art and culture to shopping and culinary delights. Take the time to wander through the streets, engage with the locals, and discover the hidden gems that make Lima such a captivating destination.


Local Markets

One of the best ways to truly immerse yourself in the local culture of Lima is by visiting its vibrant markets. These bustling hubs offer a glimpse into the daily lives of Limeños (residents of Lima) and provide the perfect opportunity to sample local delicacies, shop for unique souvenirs, and soak up the energetic atmosphere.


Mercado Central is a must-visit market in Lima. Located in the heart of the city, this bustling market is a sensory delight with its colorful displays of fresh fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Explore the narrow aisles, interact with the friendly vendors, and try exotic fruits like lucuma or chirimoya, which are unique to Peru.


For a more authentic and local experience, head to Surquillo Market. This market is a favorite among locals and offers a wide range of fresh produce, meats, and local products. Stroll through the stalls, taste local street food such as tamales or empanadas, and stock up on spices, herbs, and Peruvian ingredients to recreate traditional dishes at home.


If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, visit the Mercado Inca in Miraflores. This artisan market is filled with stalls selling handmade crafts, textiles, and traditional artwork. Browse through the colorful array of alpaca scarves, pottery, and intricate jewelry, and take home a piece of Peruvian craftsmanship.


For an immersive culinary experience, head to the San Isidro Farmers’ Market. This market is a haven for food lovers, offering a wide variety of local products, including cheese, olives, bread, and organic produce. Pick up fresh ingredients for a picnic, sample delicious traditional snacks, or try local specialties like chicha morada, a refreshing drink made from purple corn.


In the district of Surco, you’ll find the Surco Handicraft Market. This market specializes in traditional Peruvian crafts, including woven textiles, carved wooden sculptures, and silver jewelry. Take your time to browse through the stalls, witness the craftsmanship firsthand, and support local artisans by purchasing their unique creations.


Last but not least, the Mercado de Magia in Barranco is a hidden gem for book lovers. This quaint market specializes in second-hand books, offering a treasure trove of literary finds. Whether you’re searching for a rare edition or simply want to browse through the eclectic collection, this market is a haven for bookworms.


Visiting Lima’s local markets is not only a chance to shop and discover unique products but also an opportunity to engage with the local community and learn about their customs and traditions. Soak up the lively atmosphere, support local businesses, and take home a piece of Lima’s vibrant culture.


Nightlife and Entertainment

Lima’s nightlife scene is vibrant and diverse, offering endless options for entertainment and enjoyment after the sun goes down. Whether you’re looking to dance the night away, enjoy live music, or relax with a cocktail in hand, Lima has something for everyone.


Miraflores and Barranco are two of the most popular districts for nightlife in Lima. Both offer a wide range of bars, clubs, and live music venues that cater to different tastes and preferences. From trendy rooftop bars with stunning views to cozy pubs with live bands, you’ll find a diverse range of options to suit your mood.


For a taste of Peruvian culture and traditional music, don’t miss a night at a peña criolla. These small venues often feature live music performances with traditional instruments like the guitar, cajón, and quena. Experience the rhythms of Afro-Peruvian music and dance performances while enjoying a typical Peruvian meal.


Lima is also home to a thriving theater scene. The Teatro Municipal de Lima offers a diverse program of plays, operas, and ballet performances. Be sure to check their schedule and catch a show to experience the vibrant performing arts culture in Lima.


The city also hosts various cultural events and festivals throughout the year. One of the most famous is Mistura, a gastronomic festival that brings together top chefs, food vendors, and culinary enthusiasts from around the world. It’s a great opportunity to sample a wide range of Peruvian dishes and experience the lively atmosphere.


If you’re a fan of casinos and gambling, Lima has several options to choose from. Try your luck at one of the city’s casinos, such as the Casino Fiesta or the Atlantic City Casino, where you can find a variety of table games, slot machines, and entertainment shows.


For a more relaxed evening, head to the Miraflores Boardwalk. This scenic promenade offers stunning ocean views and is perfect for a leisurely stroll. You can also find various food stalls, street performers, and artists along the way, creating a lively atmosphere for an enjoyable evening out.


Lastly, don’t forget to explore Lima’s rooftop bars, which are popular for their stunning panoramic views and trendy ambiance. Sip on a delicious cocktail while taking in the city lights from above, and enjoy the vibrant nightlife that Lima has to offer.


Whether you’re looking for a night of dancing, live music, cultural performances, or a relaxed evening enjoying the city’s vibrant atmosphere, Lima’s nightlife has something for everyone. So put on your dancing shoes or grab a drink, and get ready to experience the city’s energetic and exciting entertainment scene.


Nearby Day Trips

While Lima has a wealth of attractions and activities to keep visitors entertained, it also serves as an excellent base for exploring the surrounding areas on day trips. From ancient ruins to breathtaking landscapes, there are plenty of options for those looking to venture beyond the city limits.


One of the most popular day trips from Lima is a visit to the ancient city of Caral. Located about three hours north of Lima, Caral is one of the oldest archaeological sites in the Americas, dating back over 5,000 years. Explore the impressive pyramids, plazas, and ceremonial structures that offer a fascinating glimpse into Peru’s ancient civilizations.


If you’re interested in exploring Peru’s colonial history, a day trip to the city of Cusco is a must. Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, visit the vibrant San Pedro Market, and explore the charming streets filled with colonial architecture and Inca stone walls.


The Sacred Valley is another popular day trip destination from Lima. Located near Cusco, this beautiful valley is dotted with ancient Inca ruins, picturesque towns, and stunning landscapes. Explore the ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, visit the traditional markets, and take in the awe-inspiring views of the Andes Mountains.


No trip to Peru is complete without a visit to the world-famous Machu Picchu. This ancient Inca citadel is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and can be reached from Lima via a short flight to Cusco and a train or hiking journey to the site. Marvel at the incredible architecture, mysterious stone structures, and breathtaking mountain vistas.


If you’re looking for natural beauty, consider a day trip to the Paracas National Reserve. Located south of Lima, this coastal reserve is home to diverse marine and bird life, including sea lions, dolphins, and a variety of bird species. Take a boat tour to the Ballestas Islands to see the wildlife up close and explore the unique desert landscapes.


For those seeking adventure, the Lomas de Lachay National Reserve is a great day trip option. Situated north of Lima, this reserve is known for its unique cloud forests and the diverse flora and fauna that thrive in this arid environment. Take a hike through the rugged landscapes and observe the unique plant species and bird life.


Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or adventure, Lima’s proximity to these incredible day trip destinations allows you to explore the diverse beauty of Peru. Embark on a journey beyond the city and create unforgettable memories while discovering the country’s rich cultural and natural heritage.