Let’s start with Lima Peru. Some people recommend skipping Lima on your trip to Peru. Wrong! Lima is a gem of South America, called the City of Kings (Ciudad de Los Reyes). It’s surrounded by the Pacific Ocean with very moderate weather – almost no homes have heaters or air conditioners as it’s simply not necessary. It’s a city with so much to offer: it has, literally, some of the best restaurants in the world, art galleries, and playgrounds. I have been traveling to Peru since my kids were toddlers and I can tell you what are the 13 top things to do in Lima with kids and more.
1- Visit Barranco
Barranco is a district in Lima, well known for its Bohemian history. Famous for the Bridge of Sighs, or Puente de Los Suspiros where Chabuca Granda, a well-known composer, was inspired for her music. The tradition says when you cross the Bridge you need to hold your breath and make a wish. This is a beautiful Colonial bridge in the Bohemian style. Under the bridge, you can find a path that leads you to a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean where street artists sell jewelry and play music.
In Barranco, you can find great restaurants with traditional Peruvian food called “anticuchos”. But there is more in Barranco from art galleries, Contemporary Museums, to coffee shops, and bars. Its little main square is a good place for kids to run around. my kids really enjoyed walking down the path the leads us to the Pacific Ocean view.
2.- Walk around Lima’s Plaza de Armas
The Plaza de Armas or main square is located in the city center. Lima Peru has one of the most beautiful Plaza de Armas built by Spain in the Colonial Era. It is located in the heart of the beautiful colonial center and it is where the Palacio de Gobierno (Government Palace) and Cathedral of Lima are located. It was founded in 1535 and its building has a baroque style. If you have time to visit Lima Plaza Mayor de Lima, try to get there to see the changing of the palace guard, the show can last about half an hour, and usually happens around noon. You don’t need tickets for this just be on time to be on the front line! Find more about Plaza mayor de Lima here.
Also, you can see the Palacio Municipal or City Hall, Art Museum (inside the Cathedral) and beautiful water fountains. My kids loved to run and explore in Plaza de Armas, there is so much to see and plenty of room for kids to play. When you’re there in downtown, take a walk to Jiron de la Union, one of the favorite shopping spots for locals. You can see the colonial construction mixed among the wide variety of shops. It can be crowded so hold your kid’s hand.
3. See the Lima Catacombs at Monastery of San Francisco
Convento de San Francisco (Convent of St. Francis in English) is located a block from Plaza Mayor de Lima in Jiron Lampa and Ancash. It is a church and a convent. The church is a great example of Spanish Baroque style. Underneath the church and convent are located the San Francisco Catacombs that are basically an underground burial ground used from 1600 until 1808 when public cemeteries were opened. These Catacombs were built with bricks and mortar, and you can see many thousands of bones and skull lying down in circles. The design was carefully built to withstand earthquakes. It was forgotten about for years but was rediscovered in 1947 and open to the public from 1950. It’s believed that it has around 25,000 human remains.
The Monastery of San Francisco has one of the oldest libraries in the western hemisphere, with more than 25,000 antique texts. It is a reflection of the colonial times that live on in the Monastery. Absolutely stunning. In the convent, you find impressive Colonial artwork and its architectural design is exquisite. Find more information about Catacombs here.
4. Stop by Larcomar
Larcomar in Miraflores is a multilevel commercial shopping center which is very family friendly. This place is popular among locals and visitors alike for the Ocean views since it is built at a cliff on the Pacific Ocean. Who wouldn’t love to go shopping or dining with stunning ocean views, right?
In Larcomar you can find high ends stores with International brands, as well as food courts. There are a bowling Alley and fancy ice cream / gelato parlors. Among the best restaurants Mangos and Tanta – take a look at the menu and enjoy! Make sure you don’t miss the local popular roasted chicken at Pardos Chicken (you must try roasted chicken – pollo rostizado – in Peru – a delicacy!). Many friends who have tried it have loved it, and the Peruvian chili sauce if you like it spicy 😉
5. Ride bikes by Malecon Cisneros in Miraflores Peru
The last time we visited we stayed in Miraflores and visited the Malecon Cisneros in Miraflores. You can find bikes to rent and ride the six miles of scenic cliff pathway, lined with gardens along the way and the views are amazing. Along with this, you find different parks, restaurants, mini gyms, skateparks among other amenities. The Malecon is divided as Malecón Cisneros, Malecón de la Reserva, and Malecón 28 de Julio but all of them belong to Malecon Cisneros. The views from it are just amazing and believe me it’s always a good time with the family!
6.-Learn at Lima Art Museum
Better known as MALI is the Lima Art Museum. You can find different amazing expositions throughout the year. Last time we visited we found the Nazca Lines exposition which inspired us to visit them in person. Check our adventure there and what you need to know when traveling there with kids.
This museum was inaugurated in 1961 and is located in Paseo Colón 125, Parque de la Exposición. Kids up to 8 get in free. Peruvian Citizen Adults pay $5 and foreigners $10. open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 am to 7 pm. You can find more about the different expositions here.
7. Magic Water Circuit
Magic Water Circuit is a park full of fountains with lights. Every evening except Monday, people can enjoy an amazing laser show projected on the water and music. It is a perfect place for kids and adults, with more than enough space for kids. The light and laser show will keep everyone entertained – it’s a world-class experience. The Magic Water Circuit is located on Jr. Madre de Dios – Parque de la Reserva, Lima 15046, Peru. This is a great show the cost a bit more than $1! More about this Park here.
8.- Stop at Parque de las Leyendas
If you want to spend a few hours with kids, the oldest zoo in Lima is perfect. The Park of Legends is located in the Avenida Parque de las Leyendas 580, San Miguel Lima. The entrance costs $2.3 per kids and $4.
You can find a variety of animals and birds from South America, Central America, and around the world.
9.- Imagination Park
This is a playful science and technology park for children age 5 to 12. There is a mini fire station, where kids can ride the fire engine and put out fires. You get to experience an earthquake, make giant bubbles, and much more. The entrance cost is $5. This Park and Museum are located on Av. José de la Riva Agüero Cdra. 8 s/n – San Miguel.
10.- Monterrico Horse Race Track
Visiting Lima’s only Horse Race Track called Monterrico hipodromo can be a really fun family experience. This is a horse raising arena build in 1960. The entrance is free and is located in Derbi Avenue s/n door 3.
My kids really enjoyed watching the races, and they watched a horse race for the first time. There’s also a small playground for them, and they sell peanuts, popcorn, beer, and snacks.
11.- Visit Callao Peru
The Port City of El Callao is a great place to visit and relax. El Callao is an upcoming area like many in Lima. It used to be known as a dangerous area but now you can enjoy its beauty with nothing to worry about.
It is a peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean with three main beaches: Cantolao, Malecon, and Arenilla. It’s a place where you can find great Cevicherias (restaurants specialized on Ceviches), the Naval Museum and the Peruvian Naval Academy and the Real Felipe Fort.
12.- A day trip to Ancon Peru
Ancon is a hip little beach town on the outskirts of Lima. It’s located 43 km to the North of Lima, a long distance from Lima touristic area, Miraflores. If you have time to spend at the beach I highly recommended. The water is very calm and there’s a beautiful walk path the lead to calm beaches where you can rent umbrellas, chairs, boats, and kayak. Once you get there you can chill and relax!
13.-A family-friendly cultural show: Brisas del Titicaca
One thing that I always like to do with my family when visiting is taking them to see the dance show in the Brisas del Titicaca. I’m a big fan of Peruvian dance and if you appreciate culture from places you visit, this is a must go place.
It is a great place to visit with the family located in Jiron Heroes de Tarapaca 168, Lima 15001, Peru. The Cost ranges from $10 to $25, depending upon the day of the week or for dinner and dance show. This Dinner-and-Dance Showplace or Peña is like no other in Lima because is the first one. The performer’s costumes are very colorful and traditional.
During the evening where you will learn about the origin of the dances get to see different dances and dresses from the many regions of Peru. Remember Peru is a country with a lot of foreign influences and the mix of them has created many difference dances as an expression of the lifestyle of different areas.
Want to know about the best playgrounds in Lima?
I have been travel to Lima since the kids were little. Bringing the kids to Lima since they were toddlers wasn’t easy and was always looking for playgrounds. There are several indoor play areas, but I’m not a big fan of them. So many electronics and money can go fast. Luckily it never rains in Lima so your kids can enjoy the outdoors any time they visit. I made a list of favorite parks and playground in Lima that you can see here!
Is Lima Peru Safe?
Lima once was the center of attacks by the Shining Path terrorists, but now after more than 20 years, things have changed 100%. However, Lima is one of the biggest cities in South America, and any precaution that you take in any of the major cities is advised.
Use your common sense and stay in the popular areas such as San Isidro, Barranco, or Miraflores. Even there, be cautious as you would be in any major city. There are areas of Lima that have more crime than others. There are areas you should avoid, such as Rimac and La Victoria district. In more cases, people will discourage to go there as happened to my husband when he was crossing the bridge to Rimac all alone, a shiny white gringo with his camera. People alert you about the crime sometimes. Plaza de Armas is pretty safe today but was known as an unsafe area in the “bad old days.”
I once was robbed by a taxi driver and I developed I strong fear if I’m alone with kids or myself in taxis. So since then, when I visit I just take official taxis or Uber, I recommend doing that. Ubers and Lyft are available – I have heard mixed reviews but mostly favorable.
Always take safety precautions when you take out cash out of an ATM because as in all around the world your credit card can be cloned. Also, another problem is that criminals could see you withdraw a big amount of money and follow you to rob you. Be aware of your surroundings always anywhere you go. We always check the US State Department Travel Advisory for the country we are visiting, before traveling. Here it is for Peru!
Want to see Real Lima?
Peru has grown so much and expanded but the reality it is still many poor areas. If you are up for the adventure and don’t want to do many touristic things with your kids. You may be interested in tours to visit real Lima or hire an official taxi or van service. They will basically take you to the local markets, or drive around the popular areas in Lima, different shanty towns where a big population of Lima lives. This visit should be done by experts tour services.
The last time we visited we got the chance to show our kids the other side of Lima, in just a simple 45 minutes trip to Ancon, this was the view:
Where is the family-friendly Hotel in Lima: El Pueblo Hotel
If you are in Lima with kids and looking into relaxing for a few days, El Pueblo Hotel is one of the most complete family-friendly resorts in Lima. It is located in the countryside of Lima around 30 minutes from Central Lima. It’s a great place to relax in nature since it has 16 hectares of gardens. It’s an all-inclusive resort located on Carretera Central Km. 10.5, on the district of Ate Vitarte.
It has green areas with pools offer spaces to relax. Villas sleep up to 6 people, some have mountain views and access to a private pool. Meals and drinks are served in 7 bars and restaurants, tennis courts and sports fields. It has many organized activities as well as space to run, swim, play games, etc. This property is perfect for families with children in search of fun, relax and comfort. You can see reviews of Lima hotel here
I hope you get to visit some of these great places and enjoy it!
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