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12 Best Things To Do In Quito, Ecuador


by Adelaida Lawless


Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, is a hidden gem nestled in the Andes Mountains. This vibrant and culturally-rich destination offers visitors a plethora of exciting activities, making it truly a must-visit for any adventurer. Whether you’re a history buff, a nature enthusiast, or a food lover, Quito has something to offer for everyone.

In this article, we will uncover the 12 best things to do in Quito, Ecuador. From exploring the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Old Town to venturing into the captivating landscapes of the surrounding area, this comprehensive guide will ensure you make the most out of your visit to this captivating city.

So get ready to soak up the stunning views, delve into the rich history, and indulge in the unique flavors of Quito. Let’s dive into the top attractions and experiences that make this destination a true gem of South America.

Explore Old Town (Historic Center)

Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Quito by exploring Old Town, also known as the Historic Center. Wander through its charming streets lined with colonial buildings, visit historic churches, such as the stunning La Compañía de Jesús, and admire the beautiful plazas. Don’t miss a visit to the impressive Presidential Palace and the historic San Francisco Church.

Take in the panoramic views from El Panecillo

Climb up to the iconic El Panecillo hill and be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of Quito. Marvel at the large statue of the Virgin Mary, known as “Virgen de Quito,” that stands tall atop the hill. Enjoy a peaceful moment and capture stunning photos of the cityscape stretching out before you.

Visit the Mitad del Mundo

Discover the equator at Mitad del Mundo, located just outside of Quito. Stand with one foot in the Northern Hemisphere and the other in the Southern Hemisphere at the famous Equatorial Monument. Explore the Intiñan Museum to learn about the history and science behind this fascinating geographical phenomenon.

Explore the TelefériQo

Ride the TelefériQo, a cable car that takes you up to the top of Pichincha Volcano. Enjoy breathtaking views of the city as you ascend to an altitude of 4,100 meters. Once at the top, take a hike along the trails and embrace the beauty of the Andean landscape.

Discover the beauty of Parque Metropolitano

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city by visiting Parque Metropolitano. This expansive park offers numerous trails, lush greenery, and panoramic viewpoints. It’s the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, a picnic, or even a bike ride.

Delve into Ecuadorian art at Museo Guayasamín

Immerse yourself in Ecuadorian art at Museo Guayasamín, dedicated to renowned Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamín. Admire his powerful and thought-provoking paintings that depict the struggles and resilience of the indigenous people. Explore the museum’s collection of contemporary and historical art pieces.

Embrace nature at the Botanical Garden of Quito

Escape to the peaceful oasis of the Botanical Garden of Quito. Discover a wide variety of native plant species, including orchids, bromeliads, and ferns. Take a leisurely stroll through its beautifully curated gardens and enjoy the tranquility of nature.

Experience the vibrant nightlife at La Mariscal

Indulge in the lively atmosphere of La Mariscal, Quito’s entertainment district. Explore its numerous bars, clubs, and restaurants, offering a mix of local and international cuisine. Dance the night away to Latin rhythms or enjoy a live music performance.

Visit the stunning Basilica del Voto Nacional

Marvel at the impressive architecture of Basilica del Voto Nacional, one of the largest neo-Gothic churches in the Americas. Climb up its towers for panoramic views of the city and visit the unique stone gargoyles, depicting Ecuadorian animals.

Explore the vibrant La Ronda neighborhood

Step back in time as you explore the charming La Ronda neighborhood. Wander through its narrow cobblestone streets, lined with colorful colonial houses that now house artisan workshops, galleries, and cozy cafés. Immerse yourself in the bohemian atmosphere and enjoy live music performances.

Discover the wonders of the Museo Casa del Alabado

Immerse yourself in the pre-Columbian art world at the Museo Casa del Alabado. Explore its vast collection of ancient artifacts and learn about Ecuador’s rich indigenous cultures and their artistic expressions. Admire intricately crafted ceramics, textiles, and sculptures.

Indulge in delicious Ecuadorian cuisine

No visit to Quito would be complete without trying the delicious Ecuadorian cuisine. Sample local dishes such as ceviche, llapingachos (potato pancakes), and the traditional Ecuadorian dessert, helado de paila (hand-churned ice cream). Visit traditional markets, such as Mercado Central, to explore an array of fresh produce and local food stalls.

Experience the Magic of Quito

The 12 Best Things To Do in Quito, Ecuador offer a diverse range of experiences, from exploring historical sites to immersing yourself in breathtaking natural landscapes. Embrace the vibrant culture, indulge in delicious cuisine, and create lasting memories in this enchanting city.


In conclusion, Quito, Ecuador offers a multitude of incredible experiences for visitors. From exploring historical sites to immersing oneself in vibrant culture, there is something for everyone in this captivating city. The 12 best things to do in Quito, Ecuador include visiting the magnificent historic center, exploring the panoramic views from El Panecillo, experiencing the diversity of the city’s markets, and indulging in delicious Ecuadorian cuisine. Additionally, adventuring to the nearby Cotopaxi National Park, discovering the enchanting Mitad del Mundo monument, and immersing in the vibrant nightlife are among the must-do activities in Quito. With its rich history, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality, Quito promises an unforgettable experience for every traveler.


1. What is the best time to visit Quito?

The best time to visit Quito is during the dry season from June to September. The weather is pleasant with clear skies, making it ideal for exploring outdoor attractions and enjoying various activities.

2. Is it safe to visit Quito?

Quito is generally a safe city for tourists, but like any other destination, it is important to take precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Avoid isolated areas at night and take necessary measures to protect your belongings.

3. Are there any altitude-related concerns in Quito?

Quito is located at a high altitude, around 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) above sea level. Some visitors may experience symptoms of altitude sickness, such as headaches or shortness of breath. It is advisable to take it slow, stay hydrated, and acclimate properly to the altitude.

4. Can I explore Quito on foot?

Absolutely! Quito’s historic center is compact and easily walkable. Many of the city’s top attractions are within walking distance of each other. However, it is advisable to wear comfortable shoes and be cautious of uneven streets and sidewalks.

5. What are some must-try dishes in Quito?

When in Quito, make sure to try the traditional Ecuadorian dish called “Locro de Papa,” a hearty potato soup with cheese and avocado. Also, sample the “Ceviche de Camaron,” a refreshing and tangy shrimp ceviche, and don’t miss out on the delicious “Empanadas de Viento,” which are savory filled pastries.

6. Are there any day trips from Quito?

Absolutely! Quito serves as a gateway to many incredible day trip destinations. You can take a trip to the famous Otavalo Market, explore the majestic Cotopaxi volcano, or visit the scenic Quilotoa Lagoon. These day trips offer unique experiences and breathtaking natural landscapes.