Arequipa  has great nightlife: San Francisco, Zela near Plaza San Francisco, and Santa Catalina streets are ground zero. Walk down these streets to survey the options, as bars open and close constantly and vary depending on the night of the week. Déjà Vu (San Francisco 319-B, tel. 054/934-7809, 9 a.m.–5 a.m. daily) is normally packed with people lured by its chic atmosphere of tables under sillar arches, live music Wednesday–Saturday nights, and great pizzas. Movies are shown every evening at 7:30 p.m.
Next door is La Casona Forum (San Francisco 317, tel. 054/20-2697, www.forumrockcafe.com , Mon.–Sat.), which is home to a variety of bars and discotheques, including Zero Pub & Pool (www.zeropub-pool.com , 6:30 p.m.–1 a.m.), on the second floor, which is a glitzy rock-and-roll pub with pool tables and live music on Thursdays. Forum (10 p.m.–2 a.m.), on the first floor, is Arequipa’s best discotheque for salsa and other latin rhythms; it gets going after 11:30 p.m., offering different levels and even a waterfall, with live concerts on Friday and Saturday. Retro (6 p.m.–1 p.m.), for drinks and chatting, and Terrase (6:30 p.m.), a karaoke bar, round out the mix
Nearby, there are several other bars, including Istanbul (San Francisco 231A, tel. 054/937-2264, 6 p.m.–4 a.m. daily), with charming sofas on the first floor and a nook upstairs, being the perfect place for an early-evening drink.
Locals hang out at Ad Libitum (San Francisco 233, tel. 054/993-1034, 6 p.m.–4 a.m., daily), a dimly lit, laid-back place with a wide range of affordable cocktails.
Mono Blanco (corner of Ugarte and Santa Catalina, 2nd floor) also is a relaxed place to go for a drink. Mojitos are especially good here.
A great live music and drinks place is La Café Art Montréal (Ugarte 210, tel. 054/931-2796, 3 p.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Fri., 3 p.m.–4 a.m. Thurs.–Fri., 5 p.m.–4 a.m. Sat.). This swanky colonial space, built of sillar in the 19th century and divided up into rooms with vaulted ceilings, swings with Cuban protest, Latin rock, and other live music from Wednesday to Saturday. There is a light menu including burritos (US$3), guacamole, pizza and pastas, and crepes.
If you want to see a movie on a big screen go to the eight-theater CinePlanet (Ejército 793, 2 km west of center over Puente Grau, Mall Saga Falabella, tel. 054/27-1945, www.cineplanet.com.pe , US$5). Movie times and options can be found in El Pueblo, the local newspaper, or on CinePlanet’s website.
Arequipa  has a lean but worthwhile cultural calendar that is promoted in the newspaper El Pueblo and in El Búho (www.elbuho.com.pe ), an extremely smart weekly publication that is a good source of information as well. Teatro Municipal (second block of Mercaderes, 7 p.m., free admission) has weekly concert listings at the door, with live string orchestras, big bands, guitar ensembles, and other Latin groups. Other exhibits and performances are held at Instituto Cultural Peruano Alemán (Ugarte 207, tel. 054/21-8567), Centro Cultural Peruano Norteamericano (Melgar 109, tel. 054/89-1020, www.cultural.edu.pe/mvia ), and Alianza Francesa (Santa Catalina 208, tel. 054/21-5579, www.afarequipa.org.pe ).
Arequipa ’s main festival is Founder’s Day, August 15, which includes a week of fireworks, parades, dancing, and bullfights.
One of Peru’s more famous pilgrimages is the Virgen de Chapi on May 1. Pilgrims trek 45 kilometers, or about 15 hours, from Arequipa to the small town of Chapi, which is blanketed with flowers by day and lit by fireworks at night.
Other local festivals include Virgen de la Candelaria in Cayma on February 2, the bullfighting festival in Characato on June 24, and the Virgen del Rosario in Yanahuara  on October 8.