Must see attractions in Lima

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lima

    Museo Larco

    In an 18th-century viceroy’s mansion, this museum offers one of the largest, best-presented displays of ceramics in Lima. Founded by pre-Columbian collector Rafael Larco Hoyle in 1926, the collection includes more than 50,000 pots, with ceramic works from the Cupisnique, Chimú, Chancay, Nazca and Inca cultures. Highlights include the sublime Moche portrait vessels, presented in simple, dramatically lit cases, and a Wari weaving in one of the rear galleries that contains 398 threads to the linear inch – a record.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lima

    Iglesia de Santo Domingo

    One of Lima’s most historic religious sites, the Iglesia de Santo Domingo and its expansive convent are built on land granted to the Dominican friar Vicente de Valverde, who accompanied Pizarro throughout the conquest and was instrumental in persuading him to execute the captured Inca Atahualpa. Originally completed in the 16th century, this impressive pink church has been rebuilt and remodeled at various points since.

  • Sights in Lima

    Plaza de Armas

    Lima’s 140-sq-meter Plaza de Armas, also called the Plaza Mayor, was not only the heart of the 16th-century settlement established by Francisco Pizarro, it was a center of the Spaniards’ continent-wide empire. Though not one original building remains, at the center of the plaza is an impressive bronze fountain erected in 1650.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lima

    El Circuito Mágico del Agua

    This indulgent series of illuminated fountains is so over the top it can’t help but induce stupefaction among even the most hardened travel cynic. A dozen different fountains are capped, at the end, by a laser light show at the 120m-long Fuente de la Fantasía (Fantasy Fountain). The whole display is set to a medley of tunes comprising everything from Peruvian waltzes to ABBA. It has to be seen to be believed.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lima

    Fundación Museo Amano

    The well-designed Fundación Museo Amano features a fine private collection of ceramics, with a strong representation of wares from the Chimú and Nazca cultures. It also has a remarkable assortment of lace and other textiles produced by the coastal Chancay culture. There's an optional 1.5-hour guided tour in English, Portuguese or Spanish.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lima

    Museo de Arte de Lima

    Known locally as MALI, Lima’s principal fine-art museum is housed in a striking beaux-arts building that was renovated in 2015. Subjects range from pre-Columbian to contemporary art, and there are also guided visits to special exhibits. On Sunday entry is just S1. A satellite museum is under construction in Barranco.

  • Sights in Lima

    Museo Andrés del Castillo

    Housed in a pristine 19th-century mansion with Spanish tile floors, this worthwhile private museum showcases a vast collection of minerals, as well as breathtakingly displayed Nazca textiles and Chancay pottery, including some remarkable representations of Peruvian hairless dogs.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Lima

    Monumental Callao

    Superstar graffiti artists are helping to revive the rough neighborhood surrounding Casa Ronald, a 1920 architectural masterpiece. Now a center for creatives, Monumental Callao incorporates restaurants and artists’ studios, as well as galleries, with tenants intermittently donating their time to the surrounding community. Every weekend you can find rooftop parties with DJs or live salsa concerts, and even fashion shows using the colorful Spanish-style tiling as the catwalk.

  • Sights in Lima

    Impakto

    Located on the 1st floor of a towering and dark office building, this contemporary-art museum has a glass facade that reveals just enough of the stark white interior to pique your interest. Both national and international artists are continually exhibited here to provide diverse yet always fresh perspectives.

  • Sights in Lima

    Monasterio de San Francisco

    This bright-yellow Franciscan monastery and church is most famous for its bone-lined catacombs (containing an estimated 70,000 remains) and its remarkable library housing 25,000 antique texts, some of which pre-date the conquest. Admission includes a 30-minute guided tour in English or Spanish. Tours leave as groups gather.

  • Sights in Lima

    Palacio de Gobierno

    To the northeast of Plaza de Armas is the block-long Palacio de Gobierno, a grandiose baroque-style building from 1937 that serves as the residence of Peru’s president. Out front stands a handsomely uniformed presidential guard (think French Foreign Legion, c 1900) that changes every day at noon – a ceremonious affair that involves slow-motion goose-stepping and the sublime sounds of a brass band playing ‘El Cóndor Pasa’ as a military march.

  • Sights in Lima

    Iglesia de las Nazarenas

    One of Lima’s most storied churches was part of a 17th-century shantytown inhabited by former slaves. One of them painted an image of the Crucifixion on a wall here. It survived the devastating earthquake of 1655 and a church was built around it (the painting serves as the centerpiece of the main altar) in the 1700s. The church has been rebuilt many times since but the wall endures.

  • Sights in Lima

    Huaca Pucllana

    Located near the Óvalo Gutiérrez, this huaca is a restored adobe ceremonial center from the Lima culture that dates back to AD 400. In 2010 an important discovery of four Wari mummies, untouched by looting, was made. Though vigorous excavations continue, the site is accessible by regular guided tours in Spanish (for a tip). In addition to a tiny on-site museum, there’s a celebrated restaurant that offers incredible views of the illuminated ruins at night.

  • Sights in Lima

    Lugar de la Memoria

    An ambitious state project to preserve the memory of victims of violence during Peru's tumultuous period from 1980 to 2000. This new postmodernist museum features exhibits reflecting on events and commemorating victims, aiming to help Peruvians heal and embrace a strong stance on human rights. It's directed especially at younger generations that didn't experience the period, but will prove fascinating to history-obsessed non-nationals as well. Information is in Spanish only.

  • Sights in Lima

    Museo Central

    Housed in a graceful bank building, the Museo Central is a well-presented overview of several millennia of Peruvian art, from pre-Columbian gold and pottery to a selection of 19th- and 20th-century canvases. Don’t miss the watercolors by Pancho Fierro on the top floor, which provide an unparalleled view of dress and class in 19th-century Lima. Identification is required for admittance.

  • Sights in Lima

    Museo Pedro de Osma

    Housed in a lovely beaux-arts mansion surrounded by gardens, this undervisited museum has an exquisite collection of colonial furniture, silverwork and art, some of which dates back to the 1500s. Among the many fine pieces, standouts include a 2m-wide canvas that depicts a Corpus Christi procession in turn-of-the-17th-century Cuzco.

  • Sights in Lima

    Parque de la Muralla

    During the 17th century, the heart of Lima was ringed by a muralla (city wall), much of which was torn down in the 1870s as the city expanded. However, you can view a set of excavated remains at the Parque de la Muralla, where, in addition to the wall, a small on-site museum (with erratic hours) details the development of the city and holds a few objects.

  • Sights in Lima

    Espacio Fundacion Telefonica

    This cultural center focuses on the arts, particularly technology and digital formats. Though it's part of the largest Spanish multinational and housed on the ground level of the corporate building, Espacio is a non-profit that brings some of the most forward-thinking artists (national and international) to the forefront. Entry to exhibits, screenings, lectures and audio performances is free; frequent classes, ranging from animation to how to organize cultural events, have varying costs – see the website for what's coming up.

  • Sights in Lima

    Museo Mario Testino

    Though quite small, this is a wonderful museum dedicated to the work of world-renowned photographer Mario Testino, a native of Peru and a barranquino. The permanent exhibition includes iconic portraits of Princess Diana, Kate Moss and notable actors. There are also beautiful portraits of Andean highlanders in traditional dress.

  • Sights in Lima

    Museo de Arte Contemporaneo

    The permanent collection at MAC is a quick study but visiting exhibits, such as a David LaChapelle retrospective, are major draws. There's also a good on-site cafe and a sculpture park (free access) with shady lawns that provide a good city respite for families. Guided tours available in English.