The 35 Best Things to do in Lima, Peru (2024)

I lived in Lima, Peru for two years. I began by visiting as a tourist, and then, I fell in love with Peru (and especially Lima) so much that I decided to stay there for a bit. There are simply so many things to do in Lima. During that time, I explored both the famous “must-see” tourist attractions and indulged in local culture. Though I don’t live there anymore, Lima, Peru will always hold a special place in my heart. 

This list is full of the things that I absolutely love the most about this great city and would tell anyone that’s visiting for the first time to enjoy. Lima is a vast city, and the things listed on this list can be a bit spread out around the city. Because of this, I’ve broken this down by area in Lima as well as by category to try to make it easier to navigate.

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    The Best Things to do in the Barranco District of Lima

    Sunset in Lima, Peru. Picture of the beach with the sunset happening and cliffs nearby.

    Barranco is, hands down, my favorite region in Lima, Peru. It’s a very cool, artsy area with a lot of amazing art, shops, bars, restaurants, and cafes worth checking out. A lot of the best things to do in Lima are in this district. It’s also right along a really beautiful and somewhat quiet portion of the Lima coastline, which is an added bonus.

    Below are a handful of my favorite things to do in Barranco, Lima.

    • Walk around the Barranco District and Enjoy!: This district has a distinct bohemian vibe. Just simply walking around and taking it in is a must-do.

    • Cross the Bridge of Sighs: Walk along the iconic Bridge of Sighs in Barranco and make a wish as you do, as the wishes made while walking across it are said to come true.

    • Get a Burrito at the Burrito Bar: There’s a whole food section in this list, but this burrito deserves to stand on its own. When in Barranco, don’t miss the Burrito Bar. It’s the best burrito I’ve ever tried, and I still crave it years after living in Lima.

    • Have some tea, work, and do some shopping at Dedalo: Dedalo is one of the coolest places I’ve seen. It serves a dual purpose as a great gift shop AND a cafe. Here, you can do some shopping and then have some coffees, teas, or light bites in the adorable garden patio.

    • Check out the Beach in Barranco: The Lima beaches tend to be rocky, but the sand on the beach in Barranco is white and smooth.This is a lovely spot to go and catch the sunset when you’re hoping to be a bit more isolated than you would be in popular Miraflores. The beach is easy to find in Barranco; just walk a few minutes towards the coast and you’ll see it.

    • View the Street Art: There’s some awesome street art all over Barranco. Bring your camera; you’ll want to take a lot of pictures with it.

    • Walk around in the Plaza del Armas: This is the center of Barranco and is usually bustling with pop-up performances and more! At a minimum, it’s a really nice park in the center of bustling Lima.

    The Best Things to do in the Miraflores District of Lima

    Sunset in Lima, Peru. Picture of the beach with the sunset happening and cliffs nearby.

    Miraflores is the area that most tourists opt to stay in when visiting Lima, Peru. It’s hailed as one of the best areas to stay in when visiting Lima, because it’s so centrally located to most of the things that one would want to do when visiting Lima. It’s also very safe and walkable. 

    Below is a list of a few of the best things to do in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru.

    • Walk along the Miraflores Coast: There is a footpath along the Miraflores coast that will take you throughout the distance of the district, along the beach. It’s a beautiful walk along the Pacific Ocean, with great views. As you stroll, you’ll come across food stands selling items such as crepes, observe paragliders, and find opportunities to participate in activities like slacking or yoga.

    • Check Out Huaca Pucllana: Explore the ancient adobe pyramid of Huaca Pucllana, a remarkable pre-Inca archaeological site right in the heart of the city. The best time to visit Huaca Pucllana is at night when the lights of the pyramids turn on, creating a vast and magical atmosphere.

    • Go Paragliding in Miraflores: Experience an adrenaline rush by going paragliding over the stunning cliffs of Miraflores. If you’re not into that adventure, you can also sit in one of the grassy areas near the cliffs and watch as other paragliders take off.

    • Check out the Cats in Parque Kennedy: This park is situated in the center of Miraflores and stands out for its uniqueness and peculiarity, as it is home to hundreds of cats. They are mostly friendly and will allow you to pet them if you wish. Inside the park, you will also discover food vendors, including a picarone vendor – Picarones are a doughy, sweet treat … and an absolute must-try in Peru.

    • Go Shopping at Larcomar: This open-air mall overlooks the ocean and is a perfect destination for quality shopping featuring renowned brands, as well as enjoying spectacular ocean views. A must-visit within the mall is Mangos, a restaurant offering a buffet-style, all-you-can-eat brunch experience.

    • Parque del Amor: Explore the romantic Parque del Amor in Miraflores, home to the famous “Kiss” sculpture that you may have seen in your photos or research of Lima, Peru.

    The Best Things to do in the Historic Center of Lima

    Historic Center in Lima Peru

    The Historic center is a short drive away from the tourist hot spot of Miraflores. This area of Lima, Peru is famous for the spanish colonial architecture and government buildings. I like it because it’s like no other area in Lima, as the architecture is quite grand. This area is worth spending a few hours in during your trip to Lima, Peru. 

    • Walk around the Historic Center: The Historic Center is a UNESCO-listed historic site. Simply walking around it and taking in the atmosphere will be worth your time.
    • Explore the Mercado Central: You might not find this spot in many tourist manuals, but it’s an absolute favorite activity of mine when visiting the Historic Center. Here, you will find hundreds of vendors selling items such as clothing, food, household items, and more at heavily discounted prices. It’s an amazing thing to see and experience, and you may even end up leaving with some cheap discounted goods!
    • Visit the Government Palace: The Historic Center is where most government buildings are located in Lima, Peru. The Government Palace is one of the biggest things you can see in the area. While there, check out the Changing of the Guard ceremony, which takes place intermittently.
    • Stand in the Plaza Mayor: The Plaza Mayor is the main square at the center of the Historic Center. This is a great place to stand and take in your surroundings. It’s also great for photo ops.

    Food & Drink Items & Experiences to Try in Lima, Peru

    Two Pisco sours in front of the beach in Lima, Peru

    One of the best things to do in Lima is to eat and drink. Lima is world-renowned for having some of the best food and drinks. My absolute favorite cuisine is Peruvian, and beyond that, even the non-Peruvian cuisine is exquisite in Lima. 

    Below are some food and drink items and experiences that I recommend when visiting Lima, Peru.

    • Dine at a World-Class Restaurant: Lima is a training ground for some of the best chefs in the world, and some of the highest-ranking restaurants in the world can be found here. Enjoy a meal at one of Lima’s world-renowned fusion restaurants, such as Astrid y Gastón or Central, both of which have earned spots on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.
    • Have Some Peruvian Street Food: In Lima, you can have a fine meal at a world-class restaurant and also dine on some of the best food you’ve ever had in your life on the streets. Top street food recommendations include Piqarones and Anticuchos, but honestly, anything you try is likely to be outstanding.
    • Eat Ceviche: No trip to Lima, Peru, is complete without trying its signature dish: ceviche. It’s a refreshing seafood dish marinated in lime juice.
    • Indulge in Chifa (Peruvian Chinese Food): Believe it or not, Peru is famous for its Chinese food (called Chifa in Peru). This Peruvian/Chinese fusion is delicious.
    • Enjoy a Pisco Sour: Sip on Peru’s national cocktail, the Pisco Sour, at a local bar. Be careful though, these drinks are strong!
    • Have Churros and Hot Chocolate Together: Satisfy your sweet tooth with the local favorite: churros dipped in thick hot chocolate.

    Activities to Do in Miscellaneous Areas of Lima, Peru

    Image of Sunset, one of the best things to do in Lima, Peru

    Lima, Peru is a huge city. There are some tourist attractions that are located just outside of the main tourist stretch. Below are a few activities that are fun to do within driving distance of the Miraflores area. 

    • Visit the Larco Museum: Discover the fascinating history of Peru at the Larco Museum (or, Museo Larco in Spanish), home to a vast collection of Peruvian art and artifacts.
    • Enjoy Parque de la Reserva: Be mesmerized by the Magic Water Circuit at Parque de la Reserva, a series of fountains that come alive with lights and music at night.
    • Lima Art Museum (MALI): Appreciate the country’s rich artistic heritage at the Lima Art Museum, which features a diverse collection of Peruvian art.

    • Parque de las Leyendas: Visit Parque de las Leyendas, a zoo and archaeological complex where you can see a variety of Peruvian wildlife.

    • Catch a Sunset!: One of the best things to do in Lima is watch the sunset. Sunsets can be caught all over the coast of Lima. The sun sets very quickly in Lima but it becomes big, bright, and illuminated in a magical way before it does.

    Other Adventures to Embark on in Lima, Peru

    Palomino Islands in Lima, Peru

    There is so much to do in Lima, Peru. Below is a short list of some of the best activities that you can participate in within both the tourist center of the city as well as within driving distance. 

    • Take a Surf Lesson: One of the coolest things you can do in Lima, Peru, is take a surf lesson (or just hit the waves with a rental board if you already know how to surf). There’s a significant surf scene on the beaches, and many classes are offered. To take a class, simply walk up to one of the many schools located in the huts on the part of the beach in Miraflores.
    • Visit Punta Hermosa: Punta Hermosa is easily one of the most beautiful areas in Peru. It’s about a 1.5-hour drive from the tourist center of Miraflores but well worth the drive for its stunning sand beaches, which differ from the rocky beaches located on the coasts of Miraflores and Barranco.
    • Explore Chinatown: Go to Lima’s vibrant Chinatown and savor delicious dim sum and other Chinese dishes.
    • Day Trip to Caral: Embark on a day trip to Caral, the oldest archaeological site in the Americas, located just a few hours from Lima.
    • Take a Bike Tour: Discover Lima from a different perspective by taking a guided bike tour through the city’s various neighborhoods.

    Enjoy Your Trip!

    There are simply so many things to do in Lima, Peru. It’s such an incredible city with so much culture to immerse yourself in. Hopefully, this list was helpful in directing you towards some of the best things to do in Lima, Peru. And, check back here – as I often add to this list when I think of new things to enjoy in my favorite great, safe, convenient, and comfortable accommodations to sift through. 

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