Lima is the capital city of Peru, as well as the largest city in the country. Much of it sits along the Pacific coastline and when its metropolitan area is included, the population of Lima approaches 9 million. However, when you travel to Peru and visit Lima, you are only likely to see a few of these districts. Here is a brief guide to Lima’s most popular districts and the places you are likely to see during your Peru tour of Lima.

Miraflores. This is perhaps the most happening place in all of Lima. Popular with visitors and locals alike, Miraflores is where you’ll find the most restaurants, bars, shops, and general activity. The area is full of hotels and is one of the best places to stay because of its safety and the ease of being able to walk around. Parque Kennedy is the hub of this district. The park is small and doesn’t offer much more than people watching, but it is surrounded by cafes and bars, and is the perfect place to relax. Miraflores is on the coast and is where you’ll find the Malecon, a lovely bike path that runs along shore, connecting numerous parks and green spaces. Larcomar, a very popular and modern outdoor shopping mall clings to the cliffs and is the best place for comfortable ocean views.

Centro Historico. Downtown Lima, also called historic Lima, is where you’ll find colonial architecture and governmental buildings. The Plaza de Armas is here, surrounded by the main cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, the Municipal Palace, the Government Palace, and the Palace of Lima. Several of the churches are painted in bright pinks and yellows. A popular place to visit in downtown Lima is the San Francisco Monastery, famous for its catacomb tours.

San Isidro. This upscale business district is home to some of Lima’s finest museums. The privately owned Larco Museum is found here, along with its extensive collection of ceramics. The National Anthropology and History Museum is also in this area, and it traces the history of Peru from the Preceramic Period to the early republic.

Barranco. This bohemian district is located next to Miraflores and really comes alive at night. Many popular bars and nightclubs call Barranco home. During the day you’ll find the area rather sleepy, with dreadlocked vendors selling homemade jewelry and other paraphernalia. The district sits along the coast, and there is a sloping road down the hill to the water.