Fodor's Expert Review Museo de Arte de Lima (MALI)
Built in 1871 as the Palacio de la Exposición, this mammoth neoclassical structure was designed by the Italian architect Antonio Leonardi, with metal columns from the workshop of Gustav Eiffel (who later built the famous Parisian tower). The ground floor holds temporary exhibitions by both national and international artists, and the second floor houses a permanent exhibition that spans Peru's past, with everything from pre-Columbian artifacts to colonial-era art to republican-era paintings and drawings that provide a glimpse into Peruvian life in the 19th and early-20th centuries. One of the museum's treasures is the collection of quipus, or "talking knots": collars of strings tied with an array of knots, each with a distinct meaning (the closest thing the Incas had to writing). Leave time to sip an espresso in the café near the entrance.