Plaza Mayor, formerly Plaza de Armas, is the heart and birthplace of Lima. The crown jewel of the city, this UNESCO World Heritage–listed square is flanked by many important buildings, such as the Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno), Cathedral of Lima, City Hall (Palacio Municipal de Lima), and the Archbishop’s Palace (Palacio Arzobispal). The Basics
To understand the history of Peru and the City of Kings, a visit to Plaza Mayor is essential. Watch the changing of the guard, admire the architecture of the Government Palace, or simply sit on a bench and watch the world go by. Walking tours of Lima often leave from the square and visit the surrounding buildings. Take a bike tour or a private excursion to get a more comprehensive overview of Lima and Peruvian culture. Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- Plaza Mayor is a must-visit for all first-time visitors to Lima.
- The square is a great starting place to explore the city, as there are many important cultural attractions in and around the area.
- The changing of the guard occurs daily at noon outside the Government Palace.
- Many cafés and restaurants line the square—grab a drink or a meal and enjoy the people-watching.
- The plaza and many of its surrounding attractions are accessible to wheelchair users.
You can get to Plaza Mayor from just about anywhere in Lima. Hop aboard the El Metropolitano bus, which goes right into the city center. You can also take a number of regular city buses or the L1 metro line.
When to Get There
Lima's main square is open year-round and hosts a number of cultural events, festivals, and concerts, generally held on weekends. At the end of July you can catch the impressive military parade, part of Peru’s annual anniversary celebration.
Free Pisco in Plaza Mayor
If there is one day of the year that is the best time to visit Plaza Mayor, it’s National Pisco Day, on the first Saturday in February. This is a favored day around the country, as it celebrates the high-proof grape brandy that is Peru’s national drink. Lima celebrates it with vigor by serving free pisco throughout the day from the central fountain.