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Plaza de Armas picture in Lima
Domingo Leiva / Getty Images

Details

  • Sightseeing, Neighborhood/Area Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.8
Overall
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    5.0
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

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Known as the birthplace of Lima, the Plaza de Armas (also known as Plaza Mayor) functioned as the heart of the Spanish colony dating back to 1535. Travelers say it's a must-see for every first-time visitor to Lima.

Located in the historic center of Lima, this main square is full of photo ops. Although none of the original structures stand, the current architecture is still photo-worthy. You won't be able to miss the bright yellow Municipal Palace, as well as the bronze fountain that dates back to the early 1650s.

The Plaza de Armas is also home to the baroque-style, block-long Government Palace where you can watch the changing of the guard daily at noon. It also features the Archbishop's Palace, which is adorned with Moorish-style balconies. You can tour some of the buildings with organized tour groups for an additional fee.

After exploring the buildings, take a stroll down Jirón de la Unión, a pedestrian street lined with shops and restaurants that links the square to the Parque Juana Alarco de Dammert where you'll find the Museo de Arte de Lima. You can reach the Plaza de Armas by hopping off at the Desamparados rail station or the Jirón de la Unión bus station. It is free to visit 24/7. 

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#1 Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor) Known as the birthplace of Lima, the Plaza de Armas (also known as Plaza Mayor) functioned as the heart of the Spanish colony dating back to 1535. Travelers say it ... Read more » Domingo Leiva / Getty Images

#2 Museo Larco Named after the collector and father of Peruvian archaeology, Rafael Larco Hoyle, the Museo Larco boasts the world's largest private collection of pre-Columbian art. Housed in an 18th-century mansion ... Read more » Chloe Francois / Getty Images

#3 Huaca Pucllana This active archaeological site sits in the middle of the Miraflores neighborhood. The clay and adobe structure, which once functioned as a ceremonial site during the pre-Columbian era, dates back ... Read more » saiko3p / Getty Images

antorti / Getty Images

#5 Museo de Arte de Lima Lima's art museum – also known as MALI – is home to more than 1,200 pieces of Peruvian art spanning 3,000 years, from the pre-Columbian times to the contemporary ... Read more » VasenkaPhotography / Flickr

#6 Museo Nacional de Arqueologia, Antropologia e Historia del Peru The Museo Nacional de Arqueología, Antropología e Historia del Perú (the National Museum of Archaeology, Anthropology and History of Peru, or MNAAHP) is the largest and most extensive in Peru ... Read more » Kathy / flickr

#7 Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco Inaugurated in 1672, this baroque-style church named in honor of Saint Francis of Assisi is best known for the network of catacombs located underneath the chapel. The catacombs contain an ... Read more » Artie Photography (Artie Ng) / Getty Images

#8 MATE Museo Mario Testino For a break from the many history museums in the city, make a visit to the MATE Museo Mario Testino. This small museum in the Barranco district is named after ... Read more » Philippe Guglielmetti / Flickr

jirivondrous / Getty Images

Plaza de Armas picture in Lima
Museo Larco picture in Lima
Huaca Pucllana picture in Lima
Malécon picture in Lima
Museo de Arte de Lima picture in Lima
Anthrologphy museum picture in Lima
Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco picture in Lima
MATE Museo Mario Testino picture in Lima
Circuito Magico del Agua picture in Lima
Plaza de Armas picture in Lima
Museo Larco picture in Lima
Huaca Pucllana picture in Lima
Malécon picture in Lima
Museo de Arte de Lima picture in Lima
Anthrologphy museum picture in Lima
Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco picture in Lima
MATE Museo Mario Testino picture in Lima
Circuito Magico del Agua picture in Lima

The Plaza de Armas is the main square in the Historic Center of Lima. Domingo Leiva / Getty Images

You'll find the largest private collection of pre-Columbian artifacts at the Museo Larco Chloe Francois / Getty Images

Huaca Pucllana is an active archaeological site in the middle of the Miraflores neighborhood.  saiko3p / Getty Images

The 6-mile stretch of pedestrian parks that make up the Malecón are the perfect place to stroll, people-watch and snap photos of the coastline.  antorti / Getty Images

Known as MALI, the Museo de Arte de Lima is home to more than 1,200 pieces of Peruvian art.  VasenkaPhotography / Flickr

Kathy / flickr

Located on the Plaza de Armas, the Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco is one of the city's most popular attractions.  Artie Photography (Artie Ng) / Getty Images

One of Peru's most acclaimed photographers, Mario Testino, showcases his most famous works at the MATE museum in Lima.  Philippe Guglielmetti / Flickr

At night, the fountains within Parque de la Reserva (Reserve Park) turn into a dancing show of lights and music known as the Circuito Magico del Agua (Magic Water Circuit).  jirivondrous / Getty Images

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