Plaza de Armas (Plaza Mayor)#1 in Best Things To Do in Lima
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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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#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, the museum fascinates visitors, who say the historic treasures housed within provide insight into the many indigenous cultures that once thrived in Peru. The collection includes more than 50,000 ceramic pots, as well as an extensive collection of gold and jewelry, including ceremonial headdresses.
The museum also features a well-known collection of erotic pottery that dates back thousands of year. (For families bringing little ones, this exhibit is secluded from the rest of the museum and is located across the garden.)
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