11 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Lima

Jul 22, 2021

In the same way that the motherland is the nation's pride, the country's capital, Lima, is its heart. With much to see and do, Peru's lively capital city is also a fun place to travel around. It's a vibrant city of ancient neighborhoods, beautiful churches and colonial buildings, colorful markets, and vibrant nightlife.

Situated near the Pacific Ocean, Lima offers a climate that is conducive to year-round visits. Almost half the country's population, as well as many of the best spots to visit, are within easy reach of this exciting South American city. Lima's fascinating culture, rich history, and wonderful cuisine will make you return time and time again. And its well-preserved colonial architecture and stunning natural beauty are on view in every neighborhood.

Our comprehensive guide to the best places to visit in Lima includes listings of top tourist attractions, sightseeing recommendations, museums, shopping, food, and much more.

Plaza de Armas

Photo of Plaza Mayor, Lima
Plaza Mayor, Lima: en.wikipedia.org

The Plaza de Armas is Peru's main square and the heart of its capital Lima. It is a vast space bordered by imposing modern buildings that line the riverside. To the west stands the imposing City Hall building and the neo-classical Capitol building. The marble plaza features several large, ornamental fountains, including the sculpture-festooned Temple of the Sun fountain, which sits at its center. The Plaza de Armas is not only the heart of the city, but also one of the largest square in the world with a total area of 3.5 square miles. It is used for the popular Carnival parade in February. The inauguration of Peru's first president in 1821, general Jos茅 de San Mart铆n, took place in the Plaza de Armas.

Museo Larco

Photo of Larco Museum
Larco Museum: en.wikipedia.org

The Museum of Antiquities Larco is the only museum in Peru that specializes in pre-Columbian art and culture, with a spectacular collection of some 2,500 pieces. Although the museum does not always have the objects on display, it frequently runs special exhibits on various topics relating to the country's pre-Hispanic and colonial cultures. Many of the museum's artifacts are exhibited on the ground floor. A selection of statues, sculptures, and other archeological findings are also housed in the basement. Other exhibitions are found on the top floor. A guided tour is available, highlighting the most significant pieces in the collection.

Catacombs of Lima

In ancient times Lima was a major trading port, located in a fertile valley bounded on the north and east by the Andes mountains. As a center of maritime commerce, the surrounding valleys were rich with art and archaeological finds, which were distributed throughout Lima. Today the cathedral and nearby monuments are surrounded by shantytowns and a polluted river. This visit shows visitors a panoramic view of Lima's colonial and traditional architecture. Also includes details on the different types of catacombs in Peru.

Museo de Arte de Lima

Photo of Lima Art Museum
Lima Art Museum: en.wikipedia.org

Home to one of the world's finest collections of religious art, the Museo de Arte de Lima is a sprawling museum located in an elegant 19th-century neoclassical building. The museum houses several internationally renowned pieces by native-Peruvian artist Fernando de Szyszlo, who was inspired by his travels to Europe and the American west in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Museo de la Naci贸n

Photo of Museo de la Naci贸n
Museo de la Naci贸n: en.wikipedia.org

Museo de la Naci贸n is a fascinating history museum housed in a strikingly beautiful renovated building dating back to the 19th century. Housed on the former site of the Royal Palace, a beautiful structure designed in classic colonial style, this is a superb collection of art, sculpture, ceramics, and a reconstructed exhibition of street life. Adjacent to the old palace is the palace-turned-theatre, the Teatro de la Naci贸n, and behind it, a wide grassy plot. The Museo de la Naci贸n is close to the University of San Marcos, several blocks east of the Mercado San Juan de Dios, where one can get a delicious variety of Peruvian dishes at reasonable prices.


Photo of Miraflores District, Lima
Miraflores District, Lima: en.wikipedia.org

Lima is the vibrant capital city of Peru and the country's main port. It is set in a spectacular mountain setting near the Andes and has magnificent colonial and gold-rush era architecture. Its cultural life is extremely varied: baroque palaces, traditional streets with vividly painted pastel fa莽ades, and a vibrant nightlife scene. And since Lima is also the third-largest city in South America, there is also plenty to see in the surrounding region. Things to do include visiting the Museo de la Naci贸n, which features a collection of pre-Hispanic ceramics and a fine display of colonial architecture, or take a trip to the Andes to hike or raft through the cloud forests of Parque Nacional Cusco.

Archbishop's Palace

Photo of Archbishop's Palace of Lima
Archbishop's Palace of Lima: en.wikipedia.org

Constructed in the late 1800s by Luis Ponce de Le贸n y Gonzaga, the Archbishop's Palace (Palacio Arzobispal) is the first monumental example of neoclassical architecture in Latin America. Lima is the spiritual capital of Peru, and the home of a huge diocese. The first room to visit is the Church of the Immaculate Conception, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and housed in a simple, beautiful building that is the oldest in the diocese, dating back to the 17th century. Surrounded by iron gates and surrounded by the colors of the rainbow, the garden also features a lovely iron cross built during the 1850s. The late afternoon is a good time to visit, as the great steeples of the cathedral are glowing as the sun begins to set.

Teatro Nacional

Photo of Estadio Nacional del Per煤
Estadio Nacional del Per煤: en.wikipedia.org

Peru's national theater is renowned for its performance of the "Boleta" (ballad) school, which reaches its acme at this theater. The theater, built in 1892 by the Belgian architect, Victor Horta, is a massive wooden and iron structure, typical of the era. Located in the historic center of the capital city, it also boasts a superb terrace, overlooking the city's red-tiled rooftops and its colonial district. Performances at the theater are major events in the city's cultural calendar. Tickets can be obtained through Ticketek, but tickets can also be reserved in advance through the Internet.

Museo Nacional de Arqueologia

Photo of National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru
National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru: en.wikipedia.org

Lima has one of the world's richest collections of pre-Hispanic artifacts, which can be viewed in its new Museo Nacional de Arqueologia. Founded by order of the Supreme Pontiff Pius IX, the museum is located in a neoclassic building dating back to the early 1800s and boasts a collection that includes more than 8,000 objects, making it one of the world's largest archaeological museums. The collection contains a wide variety of objects, including ceramics, gold jewelry, textiles, and wooden objects. The majority of these are from the cities of Moche, the ancient Chim煤, the Inca, and other cultures of South America. Among the most valuable pieces in the collection are the fa茂ence plates and gold artifacts from the imperial Moche culture, which thrived between approximately 800 and 1000 AD. In addition, the building is home to a large archaeological garden with more than 5,000 items arranged in chronological order, including gold jewelry, pottery, ceramics, sculpture, and models. The museum is open every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Admission costs around US$2.50.

Basilica de la Merced

Photo of Basilica and Convent of Nuestra Se帽ora de la Merced
Basilica and Convent of Nuestra Se帽ora de la Merced: en.wikipedia.org

The Basilica de la Merced in the coastal district of Barranco, Lima, dates back to the 1700s and has been in existence for almost 300 years. Commissioned by the Duke of Alba for King Carlos III, it was rebuilt in 1885 after its damage sustained in the 1879 earthquake. The interior of the church is massive and mainly white, with some lovely Baroque altarpieces, while the eight altarpieces along the side chapels are by Francisco de Paula Alcazar. Lima is now one of South America's most cosmopolitan cities, making its fair share of markets, museums and great restaurants.

San Juan de Lurigancho

Photo of San Juan de Lurigancho
San Juan de Lurigancho: en.wikipedia.org

San Juan de Lurigancho is a neighborhood in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru, set on the slopes of Mount Cusco just below the site of the city's original Tahuantinsuyo capital. Located just two kilometers south of downtown Lima and above the Presidente Aguilar Highway, it was founded in the 16th century by the Spanish conquistador Juan de Ampudia. Things to do in San Juan de Lurigancho include cycling, which is a great way to get around the neighborhood and check out the neighborhood's markets. The area is known for its handicraft market and for the Casa de la Cultura, which organizes exhibitions and other cultural events. The neighborhood also has an annual Carpinteria fish festival in August.