MALI, Lima

Top 10 Art Galleries and Museums in Lima

After sitting in cafés, visiting art galleries and museums is probably our second favourite activity while in large cities. So after visiting many during our time in Lima, we decided to put together a list of our top five art galleries and top five museums so you don’t have to suffer through the ones that really aren’t worth it (and there are a few).

Of course, this is all subject to our personal opinions, but here you go.

Art Galleries

#5: Lucía de la Puente, Barranco

Set in a colonial building that has been nicely restored and well repurposed to be the small gallery that it is now. Exhibits take up only a couple of rooms, and there is no shop, but a cute café is attached. Worth a visit if you’re already in the area (it’s near Barranco’s sea front).

  • Address: Paseo Sáenz Peña 206
  • Entrance: free

lucia_puente

#4: Centro Cultural Inca Garcilaso, Downtown

If you happen to be strolling through the downtown’s pedestrianised streets, a quick stop at this gallery in a nice colonial building is worth the ten minutes it’ll take you. Exhibitions change more or less on a monthly basis and feature new works of art by up and coming Peruvian artists.

  • Address: Jirón Ucayali 391
  • Entrance: free

centro_cultural_inca_garcilaso

#3: Enlance Arte Contemporáneo, San Isidro

This cool gallery boasts a nice garden with a water feature and friendly and helpful staff. It’s also obviously a working gallery: you’ll probably see people sorting and categorising works in the store rooms, and in some of the rooms it can be hard to tell if the display is still being set up or not, which I think adds to the charm.

  • Address: Avenida Pardo y Aliaga 676
  • Entrance: free

enlance_cont

#2: Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (MAC), Barranco

Set in what seems to be a series of remodelled warehouses, MAC is one of Lima’s most well regarded contemporary art museums. Exhibits range from the expected monochrome canvases and weird sculptures to the more esoteric concept pieces (an old Dodge filled with sand?) from Peruvian and a few international artists.

  • Address: Avenida Grau 1511
  • Entrance: S/6, but S/1 on Sundays

mac

#1: Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI), Downtown

This excellent art gallery mostly consists of temporary exhibition spaces set around a courtyard behind a cool chill out area and cafe (which was rather disappointing). We learnt a lot about the Peruvian artist Sabogal and his indigenist movement.

  • Address: Paseo Colón 125
  • Entrance: by donation (minimum S/6, suggested S/12, on Sundays S/1)

mali

Museums

#5: Museo de la Electricidad, Barranco

This diminutive museum would be a great place in Lima to visit if you’re travelling with kids: there are lots of buttons to press and bells to ring, which of course makes it fun for anyone who can’t help but touch everything! Otherwise, it gives an interesting look at the history of how electricity was introduced to Lima, how production has changed in the country and how to raise awareness of consumption.

  • Address: Avenida Pedro de Osma 105
  • Entrance: free

museo_electricidad

#4: Museo Metropolitano de Lima, Downtown

If you don’t speak any Spanish, I unfortunately cannot recommend this museum to you, as it consists entirely of a series of video and audio displays covering the history of Lima from its earliest settlement right up to the modern day. There is very little in the way of visual displays apart from what is presented in the videos, and they are all narrated in Spanish. It’s great for an immersive experience to learn about the city, especially if you’re a visual learner. Guides take visitors around every 20 minutes (and you really need a guide as you could easily get lost in the labyrinth of dark rooms) and the whole thing lasts about an hour and a half.

  • Address: Avenida 28 de Julio con Av. Gacilaso de la Vega
  • Entrance: S/4

museo_metropolitano

#3: Museo de la Nación, San Borja

The beautifully harsh Brutalist architecture of the building that houses this museum may have been what drew me to it more than the museum itself. The changing exhibitions focus on Peruvian folk art, dance and traditions and even have some information in English.

  • Address: Javier Prado Este 2465
  • Entrance: free

museo_nacion

#2: Museo Banco Central de Resvera del Perú, Downtown

The former bank of the Peruvian central reserve is now a small but well curated museum featuring artefacts (pottery, weavings, metal work) from the many prehispanic civilisations of Peru in the basement as well as a small collection of paintings by Peruvian artists ranging from colonial times to the modern day upstairs.

  • Address: Jirón Antonio Miró Quesada 441-445
  • Entrance: free

museo_reserva

#1: Museo Larco, Pueblo Libre

Not only is this certainly the best history museum we visited in Lima, but it may also be the best we’ve been to in all of South America. The museum, set in a gorgeous colonial mansion and gardens, is home to an extensive and extremely well curated collection of prehispanic artefacts. The entrance may be high, but we felt it was worth it. There is also a swanky restaurant attached with lovely (if rather expensive) food.

  • Address: Avenida Bolivar 1515
  • Entrance: S/30

museo_larco

What’s your favourite museum or art gallery in Lima?