What to do in Lima Peru: Enjoy Lima better by visiting places in the capital city of Peru. Lima is known by historians as the “City of Kings” and it was the most important city during the Spanish or colonial period for almost 300 years.
Nowadays, Lima is the most cosmopolitan city in Peru because it received many migrants from other cities in the interior of the country during the internal political conflict that began in the 1980s and ended in 1997. Check out below the must-do activities you should do when while being in Lima.
- a. In the historic center of Lima:
- 1. Book the FREE tour of Lima
- 2. Explore Lima’s Plaza de Armas — The main square
- 3. Don’t miss the Catacombs of San Francisco
- 4. Explore the Cathedral of Lima
- 5. Visit the Santo Domingo’s church
- 6. Visit the House of the Peruvian Literature
- 7. Visit the Museo de Sitio Bodega y Quadra
- 8. Visit The Cultural Centre of Garcilaso de la Vega Cultural
- 9. Visit the Church of Santa Rosa de Lima
- 10. Visit the house of José Carlos Mariátegui
- 11. Visit the Plaza San Martin
- 12. Explore the Casa Grau Naval Museum
- 13. Visit Lima’s Chinatown
- 14. Don’t miss the Magic Circuit of Water
- 15. Visit the Central Market of Lima
- 16. Visit the Presbítero Maestro Cemetery
- 17. Explore the Andres Castillo Mineral Museum
- b. In Miraflores neighborhood
- c. In Callao neighborhood
- d. In Barranco neighborhood
- d. In other neighborhood of Lima
a. In the historic center of Lima:
1. Book the FREE tour of Lima
Discover the historic center of Lima on foot with the champions on a FREE walks, BOOK your FREE tour of Lima, see more than a thousand comments on our TripAdvisor and hundreds of photos on Google e Instagram.
Nota para peruanos: Los free tours están disponibles solamente para turismo receptivo. Los peruanos ver disponibilidad por WhatsApp +51 958745640.
2. Explore Lima’s Plaza de Armas — The main square
This Plaza was estabilished on January 18, 1535 when Francisco Pizarro desiganted the location of the government palace and the Cathedral of Lima; there were many public events that were organized at this place as well as many acts of faith where the accused were condemned or forgiven.
One of the most important attractions is the water fountain which was built during the goverment of Viceroy Francisco de Toledo on cctober 21, 1578.
This plaza also witnessed the proclamation of independence by José de San Martín on the 28th of July, 1821.
The Plaza de Armas is located in the historic center of Lima, 30 km away from Jorge Chavez airport, it takes about 40 minutes by taxi the Lima airport, from Miraflores or even from Barranco neighborhood; the access is completely free although sometimes it is closed due to strikes and festivities.
3. Don’t miss the Catacombs of San Francisco
Pope Clement X ordered the construction of this church in 1657, which is why there is a papal coat of arms on the main door. The convent became a museum in 1968, the main attractions are the cloister, the catacombs, the chapter house, the profundis room and the refectory.
This church also has an art gallery where the life and work of San Francisco de Asís are shown and don´t miss visiting the library which is considered one of the most beautiful ones in the world with around 25,000 volumes of books, most of those books were printed during the Viceroyalty of Peru and there are also some books from the Republican and contemporary times.
This church also has an art gallery which shows the life and work of St. Francis of Assisi and don’t miss to visit the library which is considered one of the most beautiful in the world with about 25,000 book volumes from the viceroyalty to the republican era.
It is located in the historic center of Lima in the jiron Ancash 364, 150 meters from the Plaza de Armas of Lima, 10 minutes on foot; the price is 15 Soles per person and the opening hours are from Monday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 8:30 pm.
4. Explore the Cathedral of Lima
It was built in 1535 over an Inca temple dedicated to the Sun, but a large part of the cathedral was destroyed during the 1609 earthquake; after that earthquake, the reconstruction of the cathedral was made by replacing the stone columns with wooden columns to make it much more resistant and flexible against earthquakes.
Visit the only wooden cathedral in Peru although at first glance it seems that everything is built of stone.
The Cathedral is located in the Plaza Mayor of Lima in the eastern part, the entrance fee is 10 Soles per person, it is open every day from 9:00 am to 8:30 pm.
5. Visit the Santo Domingo’s church
This church is built in 1535, the same year when the city of Lima is refounded, the main cloister of this church is fully decorated with tiles dating back to 1604.
This church has a library with more than 27,000 books in various languages such as English, French, German, Quechua, Aymara, etc. — Its art gallery has 36 canvases that narrate the life of Santo Domingo de Guzmán.
You can also visit two very important chapels: The chapel of San Martin de Porres (patron saint of Peru) where he healed the sick and the chapel of Santa Rosa (patron saint of Peru) in Lima where the saint made her prayers.
It is located in the Lima neighbourhood on Jiron Camana 170, one block away from the main square of Lima, 5 minutes walk, the entrance fee is 10 Soles per person and the opeing hours are from Monday to Saturday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
6. Visit the House of the Peruvian Literature
Explore this impressive republican building dating from the early 20th century, it was designed by Rafael Marquina (the first Peruvian architect); tt is located at Jirón Ancash 207 in the historic center of Lima, next to the presidential palace and the price is free. The opening hours are from 8 am until 5 pm.
7. Visit the Museo de Sitio Bodega y Quadra
This museum is an archaeological site that dates back to the Inca times and you will be able to see remains of walls from the first century after the arrival of the Spaniards in the Rimac Valley in 1535.
It is located at Jirón Áncash 213 in the historic center of Lima, next to the house of literature and the cost of admission is 5 Soles per person.
8. Visit The Cultural Centre of Garcilaso de la Vega Cultural
Don´t miss this magnificent place called the Garcilaso de la Vega Cultural Center where you will see several exhibitions of art, such as paintings and sculptures dating back to the Republican era of Peru.
It is located at Jirón Ucayali 391 in the historic center of Lima, the cost of admission is free.
9. Visit the Church of Santa Rosa de Lima
Explore this beautiful colonial-era church built to honor the first female saint of the American continent known as Santa Rosa de Lima because she was born in the city of Lima at the beginning of the 17th century.
It is located at Tacna Avenue 100 in the historic center of Lima, the entrance fee is free.
10. Visit the house of José Carlos Mariátegui
The house of Mr. Mariátegui is an institution of a historical nature that seeks to preserve the legacy of the most the most famous Peruvian thinker from left wing political parties from the 20th century.
It is located on Avenida Washington 1946, close to the historic center of Lima, the cost of admission is free.
11. Visit the Plaza San Martin
This piece of art was inaugurated on July 27, 1921 by President Agusto B. Leguia, the monument was designed and made marble by Manuel Piqueras Cotolí. Around this Square you can also see several buildings of neoclassical architecture with a Parisian style.
An anecdote tells that at the inauguration the fabric that was to uncover the monument got stuck and a child climbed up and untied the fabric; however, it took the child almost three hours to get down from the monument with the help of the firemen.
This square is located on the 9th block of Nicolás de Piérola Avenue in the historic center of Lima, 11 minutes walk from the Plaza Mayor of Lima, the access is free.
This property was declared a cultural heritage of Peru in 1972 due to its historical and architectural value for being the place where the Admiral and Peruvian hero known as Miguel Grau lived for 12 years. The architectural style of this house is republican with cedar wood balconies.
Upon entering, a sculpture by Miguel Grau is shown, on the first floor there are three exhibition rooms that display the history of Miguel Grau who was the greatest hero of the Pacific War against Chile — 1879-1883.
On the second floor, there are maritime paintings and the replica of Grau as a deputy in 1876, as well as some furniture and letters.
It is located in the Jiron Huancavelica 172 in the enclosure of Lima, three blocks away from the main square of Lima, 5 minutes walk and the entrance fee is 3 Soles per person.
13. Visit Lima’s Chinatown
The neighbourhood was founded in 1854 and the Chinese gate that welcomes you today was built to celebrate the 159th anniversary of the arrival of the Chinese in Peru; the lions that you see at the entrance are a symbol of protection.
It consists of a pedestrian street called capon because in that place they castrated the pigs and surely you know that pigs are very essential in Chinese cuisine.
Here you will be able to taste oriental food, Chinese medicine and the Chinese-Peruvian fusion in its gastronomy-Chifa.
On the floor, you will see majolica mosaics that were donated by different Peruvian entities as a tribute to this community and in each one are the symbols of the Chinese horoscope.
It is located between the jiron Paruro and jiron Ucayali in the historic center of Lima, 2 km approx. from the main square of Lima, you can use as reference the central market of Lima, it will take you about 15 minutes walk and the access is completely free.
14. Don’t miss the Magic Circuit of Water
Visiting this set of the water fountains is an awesome experience, it has thirteen fountains with different characteristics, and the most striking one is the Main Fountain because the waterjet reaches a height of up to 80 meters.
The other striking water fountain is known as the Fantasy Fountain, the water-show of this spot is at 7 pm, 8 pm and 9 pm and it has a synchronized choreography with colored lights, waterjets, music and history of Peru, the show lasts about 15 minutes.
It is located on the via Expresa Luis Fernan Bedoya Reyes avenue, 5 km from the main square of Lima, 30 minutes walk, the entrance fee is 5 Soles per person, the schedule is Monday through Sunday from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm.
15. Visit the Central Market of Lima
This market is also known as Gran Mariscal Ramón Castilla because it was built during the administration of President Ramón Castilla who expropriated the convent of La Concepción to estabilish this market in the middle of the 19th century.
In 1913, after the typhoid and bubonic plague, the market was puled down in order to build a newer one with more ventilation systems.
In 1964, this market was destroyed because of fire; in 1967, the mayor ofr Lima city known as Luis Bedoya and the president of Peru, Mr. Belaunde Terry promoted the construccion of a new building, which is the one we see nowadays, it has 3 levels, 930 stalls and 50 shops of clothes and fabrics.
It is located in jiron Ucayali 615 in the historic center of Lima, 15 minutes walk from the Plaza de Armas of Lima, the access is free, the opening hours are from 7:00 am to 19:00 pm, every day.
16. Visit the Presbítero Maestro Cemetery
It was founded on May 31, 1808 by Viceroy Fernando Abascal and has 20 hectares, 766 mausoleums and 320 sculptures.
The places that stand out the most are the Crypt of the Heroes that houses 197 heroes from the Pacific War with Chile in 1789, the crypt of José Santos Chocano—Peruvian poet who asked to be buried standing up.
The most visited tomb belongs to Ricardito-child because it is considered miraculous, as well as the tomb of the witches who are in the suicide pavilion—in this pavilion there are also murderers such as Lom Tom, Enrique Thompson, Alejandrino and María—who were cousins who fell in love and committed suicide because they couldn’t get married.
It is located on the jiron Ancash in Barrios Altos, 6 km way from the Plaza de Armas of Lima, 16 minutes by taxi from the Plaza de Armas of Lima, the opening hours are from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, the cost of access is 8 Soles per person, the night tour is from 7:00 pm to 10:00—the cost of the night guided tour is 22 Soles per person.
17. Explore the Andres Castillo Mineral Museum
This museum contains ceramics, textiles and crystallized minerals which is considered the largest in Latin America with a total of 3500 pieces.
The exhibition consists of crystallized minerals from different regions of Peru’s mines. In this museum, you can see the Scheelite-the largest crystal in the world and the exhibition of Chancay ceramics and textiles called clothing in ancient Peru.
The exhibition consists of crystallized minerals from different regions of Peru’s mines. In this museum you will be able to see the Scheelite—the largest crystal in the world and the exhibition of ceramics and textiles from the Chancay pre-inca civilization.
It is located in jiron de la Union 1030 in the historic center of Lima, half an hour walk from the main square of Lima, the opening hours are Wednesday to Monday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, the price is 10 Soles per person.
b. In Miraflores neighborhood
18. Visit the Kennedy Park
Explore this neighborhood located in the heart of Miraflores, it is decorated with many green areas where you will find lots of artisans and painters who exhibit their works daily from Monday to Saturday; there are also groups of musicians and recreational games for children—especially on Saturdays.
If you are looking for restaurants located at this park, we recommend you visit the Rafael restaurant. The access to the park is free and it is 100% safe.
19. Visit the Love Park – Parque del Amor
If you want to take a short walk, visit El Parque del Amor—The Love park where you will find the very famous statue known as “El Beso”, it is located 5 minutes away from Parque Kennedy in Miraflores on foot. The place has an impressive view of the Pacific Ocean, the entrance fee is free.
20. Visit the Skate park in Miraflores
If you have kids, you can take them to this park known as The Skate Park located on the boardwalk of Marina 6 in Miraflores. It has a total area of 2,600 square meters and is divided into an area dedicated to the sport of Skating, Inline Skating and extreme mountain biking (BMX), the access is free.
21. Visit the Huaca Pucllana Pyramid
It was a ceremonial and administrative center that belonged to the Lima culture, built approximately in 450 AD.
The pyramid has 7 platforms made with millions of adobitos-mud bricks that were placed vertically and joined with mud. After the year 450 it was occupied by the Waris, Ichtmas and Incas in 1470 AD.
It is located on General Borgoño street block 8 in Miraflores, the visiting hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, it is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. The entrance fee is 15 Soles per person.
22. Don’t miss Larcomar shopping center
It is a shopping center located at the end of Jose Larco Avenue and was inaugurated on November 27, 1998, here you will find green areas, sculptures and a nice view of the sea; in the mall there is also a cinema, clothing stores and food and has parking for vehicles.
From here, you can see the district of Chorrillos and the Morro Solar (Planetarium). It is located on the Malecon de la Reserva 610 in Miraflores, 25-minutes walk from Kennedy Park. The visiting hours are Monday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm and the admission is free.
23. Explore Miraflores Lighthouse
Its construction was commissioned at the beginning of the century to the company Chance Brother, initially it was installed in the port of Ilo in southern Peru, but in 1973 it was moved to Miraflores. It is 22 meters high, has 5 levels and weighs 60 tons.
Originally intended as a coastal warning to navigators, it is now a symbolic and ornamental lighthouse.
It is located on the Malecon Cisneros in Miraflores, 25 minutes walk from Kennedy Park, is open from 9am to 4pm and the access is free.
c. In Callao neighborhood
24 . Visit the Fortress of Real Felipe
The fortress was built in 1747 and was the largest military work of Spain in Peru, the fortress has 2 towers, the king and the queen; the king has 3 levels, a labyrinth-like bunker and a drawbridge being its only access; the queen’s keep is equipped with ammunition, provisions and a water well, it also has a dungeon where the prisoners were kept standing.
The other attraction is the governor’s house that was the lodging place of the military chief, as well as objects of different military epochs from the Inca period to the republican one are shown. The objective of the museum is to safeguard and enhance the value of the military historical heritage.
It is located in the Independence Square in Callao, it will take you about 1 hour by taxi from Miraflores and 35 minutes by taxi from the main square of Lima. The visiting hours are from Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, the entrance fee is 15 Soles per person.
25. Visit Callao Monumental
The monumental Callao is an area characterized by its colours, music, boat rides, graffiti painted walls, seafood—gastronomy and fishing activities where they rent you hooks for fishing.
There are many art galleries among them the most prominent is the Fugaz Gallery where exhibitions of urban art and photography are exhibited.
It is located in the historic center of Callao, half an hour by taxi from the main square of Lima, visiting hours are Monday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm and the access is free.
26. Visit El Parque Tematico
See the aeroplanes and helicopters of the Air Force of Peru, this innovative museum is quite new organized by the Marine forces of Peru, we believe if you have kids, this may the correct place to make them happy. Consider that this place is in Callao, not that close to Lima city centre nether to Callao. Pay 1 USD entrance fee.
It is located on Faucett Avenue in Callao, the cost of admission is 5 Soles per person.
d. In Barranco neighborhood
27. Walk thru the Bridge of Sighs
It was built in 1876 by the first mayor of Barranco Enrique Monterroso, it was created by the need to join the Ayacucho street with the church La Ermita, since then this bridge is a symbol of beauty and love for its landscape.
It is known by tradition that when you walk across this bridge you should hold your breath and make a wish. As a curious fact, the Magneto band recorded a video clip of their song 40 grados at the bridge. Magneto is a famous band in Latinoamérica.
It is located in jirón Batallón Ayacucho 271 in Barranco, is open every day and the access is free.
28. Walk down the Baja de los Baños
Formerly it was a natural ravine that the fishermen used to go down the mountain and as time passed by some rustic houses were built and inhabited by fishermen.
La Bajada de los Baños are characterized by their grafitti wall—urban art, you will also find artisans and street vendors.
As you walk down the track, you will see the view of the sea, at the end you will find a viewpoint and if you continue along the path you can reach the Costa Verde beach.
The descent of the baths starts on Grau Avenue in Barranco, used as the bridge of sighs, is open every day and access is free.
29. Visit the Electricity Museum
This museum will give you an introduction on how electricity is generated in Peru?, What are the main hydroelectric plants in Peru?, What are the first hydroelectric plants in Peru?, etc.
You will see some templates about the functioning of public lighting in Peru and at the same time in a very didactic way you will be shown the evolution of public lighting in the city of Lima.
It also has interactive rooms where you can use the electricity-generating bicycle.
It is located at 105 Pedro Osma Avenue in Barranco, the visiting hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and the access is free.
30. Explore the Pedro de Osma Museum
This museum exhibits collections of colonial art such as furniture, painting and sculpture, among them the baroque style of Cusco, which can be exposed and put in value thanks to the art collector Pedro de Osma.
One of the rooms exhibits the Mannerism, an artistic-pictorial style brought from Italy and whose exponents in Peru are Angelino Medoro, Bernardo Bitti, Fray Pedro Bedon, Mateo Perez de Alesio and Luis de Riaño.
The art works of Cusco are characterized by the use of gold leaf and the mestizo and indigenous intervention regarting the color, landscape, fauna and flora of the Peruvian Andes.
It is located on 421 Pedro Osma Avenue in Barranco, the visiting hours are from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and the price is 20 Soles per person.
d. In other neighborhood of Lima
31. Visit the El Olivar park in San Isidro
It is the main ecological lung of San Isidro; here there are about 1600 olive trees, 200 plants of other species and it has two artificial lagoons, in both lagoons, you will appreciate fish and turtles; next to these lagoons is the municipal palace where artistic and cultural activities are carried out on weekends.
This place is home to some mammals and birds from the Peruvian coast, and it is recommended to observe them from a prudent distance, respecting their natural habitat.
It is important to know that in this place you cannot picnic in order not to leave waste and prevent rodents.
It is located between Paz Soldan Avenue and Republica Avenue in Barranco and is open from Monday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm and access is free.
32. Explore the Gold Museum of Peru and Weapons of the world
It is a private collection belonging to Mr. Miguel Mujica and has two main collections:
Weapons Collection: It exhibits more than 20,000 pieces of weapons from around the world, the highlights are two swords of Francisco Pizarro, Egyptian knives, weapons of the Czars of Russia and Napoleon Bonaparte, in total has 8 exhibition halls.
Collection of pre-Hispanic objects: The most outstanding object is the gold Tumi and the masks of the Lambayeque culture; this collection has more than 7,000 pieces.
There are also mummies in a perfect state of preservation.
It is located in the jirón Alonso de Molina 1100 in the district of Santiago de Surco, the hours of operation are Monday thru Sunday from 10:00 amuntil 6:00 pm, the entrance fee is 42 Soles per person.
33. Visit the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru
This museum dates back to 1822, it was founded by Don José de San Martin; initially it was called El Palacio de la Magdalena and served as a resting place for the Viceroys in colonial times, then Don José de San Martin changed the name of this palace to La Quinta de los Libertadores – resting place of the liberators of South America.
It has a collection of ceramics, lithic material, textiles, written documents, ethnographic material and a lot of colonial furniture.
In this museum, you will find La Estela de Raimondi – stone monolith of the Chavin culture, the iconic painting of the proclamation of the independence of Juan Lepiani, the nailed head of the Chavin culture and the tomb of Julio Cesar Tello whose wish was be buried in this museum.
It is located in the Bolivar Square in the district of Pueblo Libre, the hours of operation are Monday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, and the entrance fee is 10 Soles per person.
34. Visit the José Larco Museum
This museum has two exhibitions: The Permanent and The Erotic Gallery.
The Permanent Gallery: Here are displayed galleries of hundreds of pieces of pre-Hispanic pottery in perfect condition and textiles woven with alpaca wool-which in some cases were coloured with natural dyes.
The Erotic Gallery: Here are shown ceramic representations of the daily and sexual life of the ancient Peruvians, such as childbirth, breastfeeding and masturbation; these pieces are related to the origin of life in the Moche world.
It is located at 1515 Simon Bolivar Avenue in the district of Pueblo Libre, the opening hours are from Monday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, the entrance fee is 35 Soles per person.
35. Visit the Natural History Museum
This museum belongs to the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos and it was founded on February 28th, 1918.
It has collections of zoology, botany and ecology of Peru and keeps samples of the studies of Antonio Raimondi as minerals, rocks and organisms such as plants.
The most attractive part is the paleontological collection of dinosaurs and Pleistocene fauna more than 10,000 years old.
It has an auditorium used for university assemblies and a library specializing in Peruvian and universal literature.
It is located at 1256 General Antonio Alvarez de Arenales Avenue in the district of Jesus Maria, the hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm and weekends from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, the entrance fee is 5 Soles per person.