WHAT TO DO IN LIMA (2024): EXPLORING 20 ACTIVITES IN MIRAFLORES, BARRANCO, AND DOWNTOWN

WHAT TO DO IN?

Are you ready to explore Lima like a local? Check out the "TOP 20: WHAT TO DO IN LIMA" activities to experience in the safe and diverse districts of Miraflores, Barranco, and Downtown. With insights from a local, you'll find famous and unknown attractions that promise an unforgettable journey through Peru's underrated capital city. From scenic coastal walks in Miraflores to street art in Barranco and historical Spanish architecture at Plaza de Armas, there's something for everyone in these beautiful neighborhoods, whether you're an adrenaline junkie, a surfing freak, or a culture enthusiast.

MIRAFLORES

Let’s begin with Miraflores, a district (in spanish called “Barrio”) that has a little bit of everything from archaeological sites, beaches, numerous restaurants to a park filled with cats, haha yes Lima can surprise you! If you want to know more about the Peruvian cuisine and our experience with the Peruvian cuisine check out our Lima Food Guide.

This what we recommend where to stay in Lima - Miraflores

What to do in Lima - Miraflores

1. La Huaca Pucllana Ruins

Explore an ancient ceremonial center in the heart of Miraflores. Learn more about Lima culture, spot alpacas, and enjoy a breathtaking view from the Huaca’s top. On sunny days you can even see the pacific from there. Guided tours in Spanish and English are available , so you can choose your favorite. For getting a tour you have to make a reservation in advance, you can do it at the Huaca Pucllana entrance or also on the following link.

Inside the ruins, there is also a lovely restaurant with an amazing view. Entrance fee is 4.00 USD. You won’t regret this memorable experience!

2. Kennedy Park

A paradise for cat lovers and if you are one  (just like us) then you definitely have to go there. The park itself is very beautiful and what makes it unique is the fact that here you will be able to share the park with many cats. Additionally, you can enjoy various small events like dancing or singing, surrounded by many restaurants.

3. Pizza Street

Located in front of Kennedy Park, comes this small street alive at night with lights and music. It’s the perfect spot for enjoying snacks and drinks and to get in contact with locals and other travelers who love to party!

4. Bajada Balta

The Bajada Balta path is leading to the beach, offering an instagrammable view like on a postcard.

5. Larcomar Shopping Center

Enjoy a cool shopping experience at Larcomar, conveniently located in front of the Marriott Hotel. This place has many restaurants offering diverse meals, coffees, desserts, and more, all of this with a magnificent view to the ocean. And, of course, don’t miss the chance to explore the many stores for a nice shopping experience. We loved also to eat a crepes or to have a happy hour drink at TGI Fridays.

6. Malecon of Miraflores

Here you will have a perfect view from the cliffs offering stunning panoramas of the Pacific Ocean. As you walk all the way along the Malecon you will find parks, sport fields, and other attractions like the Parque del Amor or the Chinese Park. If you like adventures there’s the option of paragliding ( starting from $75.00 to $90.00 U.S. dollars), which is a very popular activity in this area of Lima. The Malecon is also an ideal spot to catch a breathtaking sunset.

7. Parque Chino - Chinese Park

This park gives you the feeling of being in Asia. Opened during the Bicentennial of Peru’s independence, it celebrates 172 years of Chinese immigration and 50 years of diplomatic relations between Peru and China. It’s a nice place to come and very easy to combine with the Parque del Amor.

8. El Parque del Amor - The Park of Love

El Parque del Amor is for many a romantic spot featuring nice ocean views, beautiful mosaic walls, and the famous “El Beso” sculpture by Victor Delfín. It was for us an ideal place to relax some time.

BARRANCO

Another highly recommended district is the colourful and artistic neighborhood of Barranco.  Miraflores and Barranco are safe neighborhoods and have their own charm. We also liked the possibility to walk along the beautiful coastline from Barranco to Miraflores.

Barranco district in Lima

What to do in Lima - Barranco

9. Street Art

Art isn’t our primary interest, but we couldn’t resist the allure of the stunning street art in Barranco. We found ourselves stopping frequently to take photos and we couldn’t stop searching for more. They are everywhere around the district. 

10. Mafalda

The first time we saw Mafalda was during our walking tour of the San Telmo neighborhood in Buenos Aires. Mafalda is famous for her witty and insightful commentary on social and political issues, shown through the lens of an innocent yet precocious child. In 2023, this Argentinian comic character came to Lima, and we saw her again right on the Roque Saenz Peña boulevard, just across from the Barranco Malecon.  The lines are not that long here so you can get a perfect pic. This Mafalda is the eighth of its kind worldwide and the fourth outside of Argentina.

11.Plaza de Armas de Barranco

This place is in the heart of Barranco and is a little Plaza. There’s a lovely church and a library surrounded by bars and restaurants. The plaza hosts small fairs almost every week so just let you surprise! You will find things from jewelry to Pisco. Sometimes, you can even find some events. We were lucky to see a Marinera dance contest, a beautiful traditional Peruvian dance. It was a fantastic experience, and Malte learnt more about my culture. Those unexpected moments really add a special touch to exploring a new place.

12.Surfing in Lima

Yes! You can try this out in Lima. Whether you are a beginner or a surfing pro, Barranco is the perfect spot for lessons. While Miraflores offers some options, Barranco hosts the majority of surfing schools for all skill levels. You can just head to the beach and ask for a class (priced at $30.00 U.S. dollars for private lesson and $22.00 U.S. dollars for group classes ). We didn’t try this out here because we had some more time in Peru so we did surfing in Mancora (a beach town in the north).

13. Bridge of the Sighs

Right across from Barranco Plaza on the right side, there’s a spot we absolutely love. It’s not just a beautiful bridge; it’s also magical. According to a Peruvian legend, all you have to do is hold your breath and go across. Guess what? You can make a wish, and it will come true! Plus, if you’re with someone you love, the love you share is said to last forever. So, take a deep breath, make that wish, and let the magic of this place work. It’s like a fairytale come true in Barranco! Yes, we did this already.

14. Ermita Church

Built in the 18th century, this charming chapel is located at the end of the Sighs Bridge. The church has the particularity that only the front part is looking good because sadly many years ago there was an earthquake in Lima, and it got some serious damage in the back side. However, you can still take a lovely photo from outside because the church itself is closed. We’re all hoping to see this beautiful church fully restored one day.

15. Mirador Catalina

Many people miss out on this hidden place because they’re not sure how to get there. Let us tell you the secret, there’s a hidden viewpoint right next to the Ermita Church. Just follow Ermita Street. here, you will spot a place full of locks. Keep going that way, and you will reach this amazing viewpoint. Yes! It can get a bit busy on the weekends, but hey there are a couple of restaurants there too. And guess what? Two of them even face the ocean! we recommend the Acantilado de Barranco Restaurant. Trust us, it’s worth it for a better view and some relaxation.

16. Bajada de Baños

nder the Sighs Bridge, there is a path that leads to the seashore. But before you get there, you will walk through this cool path surrounded by unique houses made of cane, wood, and mud. In the past, fishermen and merchants lived here. Now? You will find bars, artists, music, cafes, restaurants, and murals. The first time we went there, this place caught Malte’s attention so much due to its unique beauty. Taking this walk in Barranco is a must.

DOWNTOWN

One place you definitely shouldn’t miss out on is the impressive historic center of Lima. The city was an important Spanish colony, so you can still appreciate amazing architecture from the middle of the 16th century. However, Lima downtown is not only a place with colonial buildings; the other part of Lima, which is chaotic but at the same time very interesting, is located just across the historic center. There, you can immerse yourself in the real Peruvian culture with a big market, many stores, restaurants, even a Chinatown, and lots of locals everywhere.

Lima, Plaza de Armas

What to do in Lima - Downtown

17. Chinatown

Starting your Lima downtown tour here is a great idea, although, to be honest, it can be a bit shocking at first. Chinatown was bigger in the past; nowadays, it’s mainly one street with a typical Chinese arch and two big lions. It is surrounded by many Chifas (Chinese-Peruvian restaurants) and take-away food options. There are also many stores around. This spot is perfect for trying some snacks like Siu Mai (a type of dumpling) and other delicious treats. You can read more about the amazing food in Lima in our Lima food guide

18. Central Market

If you’re interested in immersing yourself  into a country’s culture, make sure to visit Lima’s Central Market, or Mercado Central in Spanish. It’s where many Peruvians go for their shopping needs, offering a wide variety of goods, including food. You can even find guinea pig there, although that might be a bit too much for some people. An interesting fact about this place is that Peruvians call the entire area Mercado Central; however, the specific market we are referring to is a common food market, and its real name is Gran Mariscal Ramon Castilla Market. Yes, it’s a long name!

19. San Francisco Church

The church is located in old Lima, more popularly known as the historic center of Lima. The church was built by the Franciscans in the 17th century, so as you can imagine, it has a lot of history. In fact, it was originally used as a cemetery. Nowadays, you can visit the church and catacombs with a guided tour. The price is 20 soles (approximately 5.50 dollars), and tours are available in both Spanish and English.

20. Plaza de Armas

Visiting the main plaza in Lima is a highlight you shouldn’t miss. Here, you’ll find the Cathedral, Government Palace, and Municipality, all featuring impressive and well-preserved architecture. The area has beautiful streets, and the large, car-free plaza is perfect for walking and taking photos. Don’t miss the “Lima” lettering for a great photo. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to explore.

These were our recommendations for Lima. Let us know in the comments if you’ve been to Lima before or share your tips with us. Feel free to check out our other articles as well!

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