Standing strong in Lima’s Plaza de Armas (aka Plaza Mayor), where Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro established the city in 1535, the opulent Municipal Palace (Palacio Municipal de Lima) has been fantastically rebuilt and restored many times over. Today the neo-colonial administrative center has an elaborate French Renaissance interior.
While many colonial buildings have succumbed completely to earthquakes, fire, and wear, Lima’s Municipal Palace (City Hall of Lima), which originally dates back to the 17th century, was not lost to history. Venture inside to see opulent symmetrical marble staircases, exquisite vintage architecture, and an impressive library with more than 15,000 titles—as well as a copy of Peru’s Declaration of Independence.
Many small-group and private tours of Lima take in the Municipal Palace and the surrounding historic city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some neighborhood tours are themed—shopping, sightseeing, food, history—and others include archeological sites such as Huaca Pucllana, a pre-Columbian site in Miraflores, and important museums such as the Larco, which holds an extensive collection of pre-Columbian artifacts.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Municipal Palace (City Hall of Lima) is ideal for those interested in history, architecture, and period interior design.
- Save on admission fees with a combination ticket to both the palace and the Lima Cathedral.
- Remember to bring a light sweater or scarf to cover shoulders in public places.
- When walking around Lima, especially at night, leave jewelry and other eye-catching accessories at home.
How to Get There
The Municipal Palace (City Hall of Lima), located on the western flank of Plaza des Armas (aka Plaza Mayor) along Jirón Carabaya, is walking distance from anywhere in Lima’s historic center. Take a cab from other parts of the city, or from Miraflores take bus 301 to the Quilca stop and walk about five minutes to the plaza. From Barranco, take the Metropolitano bus going north (norte) to the Colmena stop.
When to Get There
The Municipal Palace (City Hall of Lima) is open from 9am to 4pm Wednesday to Sunday. In general, the best time to visit Lima is winter (May to September), when there is the least amount of rain—especially important if planning a trip to Cusco or Machu Picchu. The summer months (December to March) are warmer, wetter, and, in Lima especially, quite foggy.
A Deeper Look Inside
The Municipal Palace (City Hall of Lima) has several rooms and objects of interest. Among them is Daniel Hernández’s painting Pizarro on Horseback and a room with a mesmerizing perspective effect made by huge mirrors along the walls. Conceived as an enormous dance hall with tribunes for orchestras, the reception room has a portrait of Francisco Pizarro by Spanish painter Julio Vila y Prades, and an interesting polychrome wood relief depicting the effigy of Nicholas de Ribera, Lima’s first mayor.