Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Lima


By Felicity Long

Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a vibrant and bustling metropolis that offers a rich cultural experience and a wide range of activities for visitors. With its fascinating history, stunning architecture, and delicious cuisine, Lima has become a top-rated tourist destination in South America. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or an outdoor adventurer, there’s something for everyone in this dynamic city.

One of the must-see attractions in Lima is the historic center, also known as the Plaza de Armas. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to many beautiful colonial buildings, including the Government Palace and the Cathedral of Lima. Take a leisurely stroll around the plaza and soak in the atmosphere of this charming area. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Monastery of San Francisco, famous for its catacombs and stunning library.

For art enthusiasts, a visit to the Larco Museum is a must. This private collection houses thousands of pieces of pre-Columbian art, including ceramics, textiles, and gold and silver artifacts. The museum’s beautiful gardens and impressive collection make it one of the top tourist attractions in Lima. Be sure to stop by the gift shop to pick up a unique souvenir to take home.

If you’re a food lover, Lima won’t disappoint. The city has earned its reputation as the gastronomic capital of South America, and its diverse culinary scene offers everything from traditional Peruvian dishes to international fusion cuisine. Don’t miss the chance to try ceviche, a popular seafood dish, and visit the local markets to sample exotic fruits and traditional street food. For a truly unforgettable culinary experience, make a reservation at one of Lima’s many world-renowned restaurants.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Lima offers a variety of activities to suit every interest. Head to the Miraflores district and take a stroll along the Malecon, a scenic cliffside promenade with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. If you’re feeling adventurous, try paragliding or take a surfing lesson at one of Lima’s beautiful beaches. You can also explore the nearby desert oasis of Huacachina or take a boat tour to the wildlife-rich Ballestas Islands.

With its fascinating history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty, Lima has something to offer every traveler. Whether you’re interested in history and art, food and drink, or outdoor adventure, you’ll find plenty of top-rated tourist attractions and things to do in this captivating city.

Best Places to Visit in Lima

Lima, the capital city of Peru, is a vibrant and culturally rich destination with a fascinating history and a wealth of attractions to visit. Here are some of the best places to explore in Lima:

1. Miraflores: This upscale district is known for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Stroll along the beautiful Malecon boardwalk, visit the Larcomar shopping center, and enjoy the trendy restaurants and vibrant nightlife.

2. Historic Centre of Lima: Explore the heart of the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the Plaza Mayor, the Cathedral of Lima, and the Government Palace to admire the stunning architecture and learn about the city’s colonial past.

3. Barranco: Known as Lima’s bohemian district, Barranco is filled with colorful buildings, lively art galleries, and trendy bars. Take a walk across the iconic Puente de los Suspiros (Bridge of Sighs) and soak in the artistic atmosphere.

4. Huaca Pucllana: This ancient adobe pyramid is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. Explore the archaeological site and learn about the mysterious Lima culture that thrived in the region centuries ago.

5. San Francisco Monastery: Visit this stunning religious complex that dates back to the 17th century. Discover the catacombs beneath the monastery and marvel at the intricate architectural details.

6. Parque de la Reserva: Known for its stunning water fountain displays, this park is a great place to relax and unwind. Visit in the evening to witness the colorful light and water shows.

7. Museo Larco: This private museum houses an impressive collection of pre-Columbian art. Admire the ancient pottery, textiles, and gold and silver artifacts that showcase Peru’s rich history and culture.

8. Callao: Located just outside of Lima, Callao is a bustling port city with a rich maritime history. Explore the colonial fortress, Real Felipe, and visit the Naval Museum to learn about Peru’s naval traditions.

9. Pachacamac: This archaeological site is located just south of Lima and offers a fascinating glimpse into the ancient Inca civilization. Explore the ruins, including the Temple of the Sun, and learn about the religious practices of the Incas.

10. Chorrillos: This coastal district is known for its beautiful beaches and delicious seafood. Relax on the sandy shores and indulge in fresh ceviche at one of the local restaurants.

These are just a few of the best places to visit in Lima. Whether you’re interested in history, art, food, or outdoor activities, Lima has something for everyone to enjoy.

The Historic Centre of Lima

The historic centre of Lima, also known as the “City of the Kings,” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts. With its well-preserved colonial architecture and rich cultural heritage, the historic centre offers a glimpse into Lima’s fascinating past.

One of the main attractions in the historic centre is Plaza Mayor, the main square where the city was founded in 1535. Here, visitors can admire the grandeur of the Lima Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, and the Government Palace. The square is also home to the City Hall, which showcases Lima’s importance as the capital of Peru.

A stroll along the pedestrian-only Jiron de la Union is a must-do when exploring the historic centre. This bustling street is lined with historic buildings, colonial-era balconies, and vibrant shops. It offers a taste of Lima’s vibrant street life and is perfect for people-watching and shopping for souvenirs.

The historic centre is also home to numerous churches and monasteries that showcase Lima’s religious heritage. The Church and Convent of San Francisco is one of the most famous religious sites in the city, known for its catacombs that hold the remains of an estimated 25,000 people. The Basilica and Convent of Santo Domingo is another religious site worth visiting, with its stunning art and architecture.

To learn more about Lima’s history and culture, a visit to the Museum of the Nation is highly recommended. The museum provides an in-depth look at Peru’s pre-Columbian history, colonial period, and modern cultural expressions. It houses a vast collection of artifacts, including textiles, ceramics, and archaeological remains.

For those looking to immerse themselves in Lima’s vibrant culinary scene, the historic centre offers an array of options. From traditional Peruvian dishes to international cuisines, visitors can indulge in a gastronomic adventure. The historic centre is particularly known for its seafood dishes, such as ceviche and tiradito.

Exploring the historic centre of Lima is like stepping back in time. Its well-preserved architecture, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine make it a top-rated destination for both history buffs and food enthusiasts. Whether you’re strolling down its historic streets or visiting its impressive cultural sites, the historic centre of Lima is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Miraflores District

Located southwest of downtown Lima, the Miraflores District is one of the most popular areas for tourists to visit. With its beautiful coastline, vibrant shopping centers, and lively nightlife, Miraflores offers a little something for everyone.

One of the main attractions in Miraflores is the Miraflores Boardwalk, also known as the Malecon. This scenic path along the cliffs provides stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and is a great place for a leisurely stroll or bike ride. You can also find various parks and gardens along the Malecon, perfect for a picnic or relaxing afternoon.

For those interested in history and culture, Miraflores has several must-visit sites. The Huaca Pucllana is a pre-Columbian archaeological site that dates back to the 5th century AD. Visitors can take guided tours of the site and learn about the Lima culture that once inhabited the area. The Larco Museum is another top attraction, showcasing a vast collection of ancient Peruvian artifacts, including pottery, textiles, and metalwork.

In addition to its cultural attractions, Miraflores is also known for its world-class shopping and dining options. Larcomar, a modern shopping mall built into the cliffs overlooking the ocean, offers a unique shopping experience with stunning panoramic views. The district is also home to numerous high-end restaurants and trendy cafes, serving up delicious Peruvian cuisine and international fare.

Miraflores is also a popular destination for surfers, with several beaches offering great waves for all skill levels. Waikiki Beach and Redondo Beach are two of the most popular spots, where you can rent gear or take surfing lessons. If you prefer a more laid-back beach experience, you can relax on the sandy shores and enjoy the beautiful sunsets.

Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, shopping, or cultural experiences, Miraflores has something to offer every visitor. Its unique combination of natural beauty, history, and modern amenities make it a must-visit destination in Lima.

Barranco District

The Barranco District is a vibrant and bohemian neighborhood located in the southern part of Lima, Peru. Known for its artistic atmosphere, colorful streets, and stunning ocean views, Barranco has become a popular destination for tourists and locals alike.

One of the main attractions in Barranco is the Puente de los Suspiros, or Bridge of Sighs, which is a wooden bridge that dates back to the 19th century. Legend has it that if you can walk across the bridge without taking a breath, your wish will come true. Whether you believe in the legend or not, the bridge offers a picturesque spot for taking photos and enjoying the views of the surrounding area.

In addition to its historic sites, Barranco is also home to numerous art galleries, museums, and cultural centers. The Mario Testino Museum, for example, showcases the work of the renowned Peruvian photographer, while the Lucia de la Puente Gallery features contemporary and traditional Peruvian art. The district also hosts an annual art festival called Barranco Open Studios, where visitors can explore the studios of local artists and see their latest creations.

Barranco is also known for its lively nightlife scene. The district is filled with trendy bars, clubs, and live music venues where visitors can dance the night away to the sounds of salsa, rock, and electronic music. The Barranco Beer Company, with its rooftop terrace, is a popular spot for enjoying craft beers and taking in the views of the neighborhood.

For those interested in exploring the natural beauty of Barranco, there are several parks and green spaces to enjoy. The Bajada de los Baños, a set of stairs that lead down to the beach, offers a scenic route for taking a leisurely stroll along the coast. The Parque Municipal, with its well-manicured gardens and fountains, is another popular spot for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors.

Overall, the Barranco District is a unique and dynamic neighborhood that offers a wide range of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re drawn to its artistic heritage, lively nightlife, or natural beauty, Barranco is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Larco Museum

The Larco Museum, located in the Pueblo Libre district of Lima, is a must-visit attraction for history and archaeology enthusiasts. Established in 1926, it is housed in an 18th-century vice-royal mansion built on top of a pre-Columbian pyramid.

The museum is known for its extensive collection of pre-Columbian art, showcasing more than 45,000 archaeological pieces. It features artifacts from various ancient cultures in Peru, including the Moche, Chimu, and Inca civilizations. Visitors can explore the exhibits to learn about the rich and diverse history of Peru.

One of the highlights of the Larco Museum is its collection of pottery, which offers a unique glimpse into the ancient Peruvian culture’s views on relationships. The museum also has a beautiful garden filled with colorful flowers and plants, creating a serene and relaxing atmosphere.

Guided tours are available, allowing visitors to learn in-depth about the history and significance of the museum’s collection. The knowledgeable guides provide insights into the ancient cultures and their artwork, making the visit even more enriching.

The Larco Museum also features a restaurant, where visitors can enjoy traditional Peruvian cuisine in a charming setting surrounded by archaeological artifacts. The museum shop offers a wide range of souvenirs and handicrafts, allowing visitors to take home a piece of Peruvian culture.

Overall, the Larco Museum is a hidden gem in Lima, offering a fascinating journey through Peru’s ancient past. Whether you are interested in history, art, or simply want to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Peru, a visit to the Larco Museum is a must-do when in Lima.

Huaca Pucllana

Huaca Pucllana is an ancient archaeological site located in the Miraflores district of Lima. This pre-Inca pyramid dates back to around 500 AD and was built by the Lima culture. It served as a ceremonial and administrative center for the society that once inhabited the area.

The pyramid is made up of seven staggered platforms, with each platform built on top of the previous one. The visible portions of the site have been partially reconstructed to give visitors a glimpse into its original splendor.

At Huaca Pucllana, visitors can take guided tours to learn more about the history and significance of this ancient site. The on-site museum displays artifacts and exhibits that provide further insight into the Lima culture.

In addition to the historical aspects, Huaca Pucllana offers stunning views of the surrounding city and the Pacific Ocean. The pyramid is particularly beautiful to visit at sunset when the warm golden light illuminates its ancient walls.

Visiting Huaca Pucllana is a must for history buffs and anyone interested in exploring Lima’s rich cultural heritage. It provides a unique opportunity to step back in time and witness the legacy of an ancient civilization.

Opening Hours Admission Fee Location
Wednesday to Monday: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm Adults: S/ 15.00 General Borgoño cdra. 8 s/n, Miraflores, Lima
Tuesday: Closed Students and Seniors: S/ 7.50
Children under 12: Free

Peruvian Gastronomy

Peruvian cuisine is gaining international recognition for its rich flavors and diverse ingredients. From the coastal regions to the highlands and Amazon rainforest, Peru offers a wide variety of culinary traditions that reflect its cultural diversity and natural resources.

One of the most iconic dishes in Peru is ceviche, a refreshing seafood dish made with raw fish marinated in lime juice, onions, and spicy peppers. This dish perfectly exemplifies the fusion of indigenous flavors with influences from Spanish, African, and Asian cuisines.

A popular street food in Lima is anticuchos, skewers of marinated and grilled beef heart. The meat is usually served with a tangy sauce made from aji peppers, garlic, and vinegar. This dish showcases the Andean tradition of using every part of the animal and is a testament to the resourcefulness of Peruvian cooking.

Another must-try dish is lomo saltado, a stir-fry made with tender strips of beef, onions, tomatoes, and French fries. This unique combination of flavors is a result of the Chinese influence on Peruvian cuisine, brought by the large number of Chinese immigrants who came to Peru in the 19th and 20th centuries.

To satisfy your sweet tooth, don’t miss out on trying alfajores, a popular Peruvian dessert made of two buttery cookies filled with dulce de leche, and dusted with powdered sugar. These delicious treats are the perfect ending to a hearty Peruvian meal.

Peru is also famous for its wide variety of potatoes. In fact, Peru is home to more than 4,000 different types of potatoes, each with its own unique color, texture, and taste. The potato plays a central role in Peruvian cuisine and is used in many traditional dishes, such as causa, a layered potato dish filled with a variety of ingredients like chicken, avocado, and seafood.

Whether you’re a foodie or just looking to expand your culinary horizons, the vibrant and diverse Peruvian gastronomy is sure to leave you craving for more.

The Magic Water Circuit

The Magic Water Circuit, located in the heart of Lima, is one of the most popular and enchanting attractions in the city. It is a dazzling display of fountains that come to life with colorful lights, music, and water dances.

The Magic Water Circuit is set in the Parque de la Reserva, a beautiful public park that covers an area of 19 acres. This park is not only a green oasis in the midst of the bustling city, but it is also home to 13 stunning fountains that are part of the Magic Water Circuit.

One of the main highlights of the Magic Water Circuit is the massive “Magic Fountain,” which shoots water up to 80 meters into the air, making it one of the tallest fountains in the world. It is truly a sight to behold, especially at night when the fountain is illuminated with colorful lights.

Visitors to the Magic Water Circuit can also enjoy the Interactive Fountain, where they can play in the water and cool off on hot summer days. There is also the Tunnel of Surprises, which offers a magical experience as visitors walk through a tunnel filled with water curtains and colored lights.

In addition to the stunning fountains, the Magic Water Circuit also offers nightly water shows with music and lights. These shows are a spectacle of synchronized water, colorful lasers, and beautiful music that will make your visit to Lima truly unforgettable.

The Magic Water Circuit is a must-visit attraction for both locals and tourists alike. Whether you are looking for a romantic evening stroll, a fun family outing, or just a place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature, the Magic Water Circuit has something for everyone.

So, don’t miss the chance to experience the magic of the Magic Water Circuit during your visit to Lima. It is sure to leave you in awe and create lasting memories.

Pachacamac Archaeological Complex

The Pachacamac Archaeological Complex is an ancient Inca site located just outside Lima. It is one of the most important archaeological sites in Peru and offers visitors a unique glimpse into the rich history and culture of the Inca civilization.

The complex is centered around the Temple of Pachacamac, which was a sacred site for worship and pilgrimage. The temple complex consists of several buildings and plazas, including the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Moon, and the Acllawasi, or House of the Chosen Women.

Visitors to the complex can explore the various structures and learn about the religious ceremonies and rituals that took place here. The site also offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, including the nearby Pacific Ocean.

One of the highlights of a visit to the Pachacamac Archaeological Complex is the chance to see the preserved mummies that were discovered in the area. These mummies provide valuable insights into Inca burial practices and offer a glimpse into the lives of the ancient inhabitants of the region.

Guided tours are available to help visitors navigate the complex and learn about its history and significance. The site is easily accessible from Lima, making it a popular day trip for tourists looking to explore the ancient ruins and learn about Peru’s rich cultural heritage.

In addition to the archaeological site, the Pachacamac complex also features a museum where visitors can see artifacts and exhibits related to the ancient civilization. The museum provides further context and understanding of the site’s significance and is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

Whether you are a history buff or simply interested in learning more about Peru’s pre-Columbian civilizations, a visit to the Pachacamac Archaeological Complex is sure to be a memorable experience. Don’t miss the chance to explore this ancient site and discover the fascinating history of the Inca civilization.

Park of the Reserve

The Park of the Reserve, also known as Parque de la Reserva, is a beautiful public park located in the heart of Lima, Peru. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city and offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages.

One of the main highlights of the park is the Magic Water Circuit, which is the largest fountain complex in the world according to the Guinness World Records. This impressive display consists of 13 interactive fountains that combine light, water, and music to create a magical experience. Visitors can enjoy synchronized water shows, laser light displays, and even walk through a tunnel of water.

Another popular attraction within the park is the Labyrinth of Mirrors, a unique and interactive maze made entirely of mirrors. This maze provides visitors with a fun and challenging experience as they navigate their way through its twists and turns.

In addition to the fountains and maze, the Park of the Reserve also features beautiful gardens and green spaces where visitors can relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. There are also several kiosks selling snacks and drinks, making it a great place for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.

The park is open year-round and is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. It is especially popular in the evenings when the fountains are illuminated and the water shows take place. Admission to the park is affordable, making it an accessible and enjoyable attraction for everyone.

Opening Hours Price
Monday – Sunday $4 per person

Overall, the Park of the Reserve is a must-visit attraction in Lima. Whether you’re interested in the stunning fountains, the challenging maze, or simply enjoying the park’s natural beauty, there is something for everyone to enjoy at this unique and enchanting park.

Parque Kennedy

Parque Kennedy, also known as Parque Central, is a popular park located in the heart of Miraflores, one of the most vibrant districts of Lima. Named after the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy, the park is a favorite spot for locals and tourists alike.

The park is known for its beautiful gardens, well-maintained pathways, and numerous benches where visitors can relax and enjoy the bustling atmosphere. It is a great place to escape from the noise of the city and take a leisurely stroll.

One of the main attractions of Parque Kennedy is the Miraflores Cathedral, located right next to the park. This stunning church, with its beautiful architecture and colorful stained glass windows, is a must-visit for anyone exploring the area.

Parque Kennedy is also famous for its resident cats. The park is home to a large population of stray cats that are well taken care of by local volunteers. Visitors can often find these friendly feline companions lounging in the sun or playing with each other, creating a unique and charming atmosphere in the park.

In addition to its natural beauty and feline residents, Parque Kennedy also hosts various cultural events and fairs throughout the year. These events showcase the rich cultural heritage of Peru and provide entertainment and enjoyment for both locals and tourists.

Opening Hours: 24 hours
Location: Miraflores, Lima, Peru
Entrance Fee: Free

Whether you’re a cat lover, a nature enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful place to relax, Parque Kennedy is a perfect destination. Don’t miss the chance to visit this iconic park and experience the vibrant culture of Lima.

San Francisco Monastery

The San Francisco Monastery, located in the heart of Lima’s historic center, is one of the city’s most important religious and architectural landmarks. Founded in 1673, the monastery is a masterpiece of colonial Baroque architecture and features stunning artwork and intricate carvings.

The monastery is home to a large collection of religious art, including paintings, sculptures, and artifacts that date back several centuries. One of the most famous attractions at the monastery is the catacombs, which were used as a burial site during the colonial period. Visitors can descend into the catacombs and explore the underground tunnels lined with human bones.

The monastery also has a beautiful courtyard, adorned with decorative tiles and colorful flowers. The courtyard provides a peaceful oasis in the middle of the bustling city and is a perfect spot to relax and soak in the atmosphere.

Visitors to the San Francisco Monastery can take guided tours to learn more about the history and significance of this cultural treasure. The guided tours provide fascinating insights into the life and work of the Franciscan monks who once inhabited the monastery.

A visit to the San Francisco Monastery is a must for anyone interested in the history, art, and architecture of Lima. The monastery offers a unique glimpse into the city’s colonial past and provides a serene escape from the busy streets of Lima.


  • Stunning colonial Baroque architecture
  • A vast collection of religious art
  • The famous catacombs
  • Beautiful courtyard
  • Guided tours

Note: Visitors are advised to check the monastery’s website for any COVID-19 restrictions or changes to opening hours before visiting.

Callao Historical Center

The Callao Historical Center, also known as the Port of Callao, is a vibrant and historic destination located just west of Lima. This cultural hub is home to a variety of attractions, including museums, art galleries, and architecturally significant buildings.

One of the highlights of the Callao Historical Center is the Fortaleza Real Felipe, a massive colonial-era fortress that served as a defense against pirate attacks in the 18th century. Visitors can explore the fortress and learn about its fascinating history, as well as enjoy panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding area.

Another must-see attraction in the Callao Historical Center is the Callao Naval Museum. This museum offers a unique insight into the maritime history of Peru, with exhibits showcasing naval artifacts, models of historic ships, and interactive displays. Visitors can learn about the country’s naval battles, famous explorers, and the importance of the sea to Peru’s culture and economy.

The Callao Historical Center is also home to a number of beautiful churches and colonial-era buildings. The Church of La Merced, with its striking yellow façade and intricate Baroque architecture, is a must-visit. Inside, visitors can admire the ornate altars and religious art, as well as learn about the church’s role in the history of Callao.

Attraction Opening Hours Admission
Fortaleza Real Felipe 9:00am – 6:00pm $5 for adults, $3 for children
Callao Naval Museum 10:00am – 5:00pm $2 for adults, $1 for children
Church of La Merced 8:00am – 7:00pm Free

For those interested in exploring the history and culture of Peru, a visit to the Callao Historical Center is a must. With its rich historical sites, fascinating museums, and beautiful architecture, this destination offers a unique glimpse into the country’s past and present.


What are some popular tourist attractions in Lima?

Some popular tourist attractions in Lima include the Historic Centre of Lima, Larco Museum, Miraflores District, Barranco District, and the Magic Water Circuit.

What can I see in the Historic Centre of Lima?

In the Historic Centre of Lima, you can see attractions such as the Plaza de Armas, Lima Cathedral, Government Palace, and the Church and Convent of San Francisco.

Are there any museums worth visiting in Lima?

Yes, there are several museums worth visiting in Lima. The Larco Museum is known for its collection of pre-Columbian art, while the Museo de la Nacion showcases Peru’s history and culture. The Museum of Contemporary Art is also worth a visit for art enthusiasts.

What are some popular districts to visit in Lima?

Some popular districts to visit in Lima are Miraflores and Barranco. Miraflores is known for its upscale shopping, gardens, and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. Barranco is a bohemian district with colorful streets, art galleries, and a vibrant nightlife.

What is the Magic Water Circuit in Lima?

The Magic Water Circuit in Lima is a park with a series of interactive fountains that combine water, lights, and music. It is a popular attraction for both locals and tourists, and there are evening shows where the fountains are lit up with colorful lights.

What are the top-rated tourist attractions in Lima?

Some of the top-rated tourist attractions in Lima include the historic center of Lima, the Larco Museum, the Circuito Mágico del Agua, and the Miraflores neighborhood.


20 Most Dangerous Tourist Attractions in the World

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Felicity Long

Felicity Long, a seasoned travel journalist with 15+ years of experience, specializes in exploring Europe, family travel, and skiing, as evident in her book "Great Escapes: New England" (The Countryman Press). She edits the Europe eNewsletter and contributes significantly to TravelAsker's destinations sections. Felicity has received esteemed awards, including the Cacique and Yo Leonardo Awards, in recognition of her outstanding international travel writing accomplishments.

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