With its flower-filled parks and wide swaths of green overlooking the ocean, this seaside suburb is the alpha and omega for most visitors to Lima. Not only does it have the city's best selection of hotels and restaurants, but its boutiques, cafés, bars, and dance clubs are second to none. Some travelers who find themselves in Lima for a short time manage never to leave this tiny haven.
Miraflores's centerpiece is Parque Kennedy, a lively gathering spot between Avenida José Larco and Avenida Diagonal. Here, locals as well as tourists come to peruse local handicrafts, listen to concerts, or people-watch at one of the sidewalk restaurants. There's a cute, dinosaur-filled playground for kids, and the park is home to a throng of well-fed resident cats, who live off the beneficence of the local matrons.
Miraflores is also where the commercial sirens of Lima sing loudest. Larcomar, a tony cliffside mall with views of the Pacific, has rows of frou-frou shops that woudn't be out of place on Rodeo Drive, while the handicrafts markets along Avenida Petit Thouars vanquish even the hardiest retail warriors with their onslaught of ponchos, silver jewelry, and Andean flutes. If you're interested in Lima's food scene, don't neglect the district's markets and bioferias (organic-food fairs). Many chefs buy their ingredients at the Mercado No. 1 in Surquillo, right across the bridge near the Metropolitano bus station on Avenida Ricardo Palma, while on Saturday mornings, the Bioferia Miraflores offers locally grown foods at the Parque Reducto on Avenida Benavides.