Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, we’re going to explore the vibrant and historic city of Quito, Ecuador. Nestled high in the Andes, Quito is a treasure trove of culture, adventure, and unforgettable experiences. If you’re planning a trip to this South American gem, you’re in luck, as I’ve compiled a list of the top things to do Quito. So, buckle up and join me as we delve into the must-see attractions and hidden gems that make Quito a truly remarkable destination. With so many things to do Quito, you’ll be spoilt for choice, but fear not, for Journeying Jack is here to guide you through the ultimate Quito adventure!
Exploring Quito’s Historical Center
If you’re looking for things to do in Quito, exploring the city’s historical center is a must. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to some of the most well-preserved colonial architecture in South America. Here are some of the top things to do in Quito’s historical center:
Visit the Plaza de la Independencia
The Plaza de la Independencia, also known as the Plaza Grande, is the main square in Quito’s historical center. It’s surrounded by important buildings such as the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, and the Archbishop’s Palace. Take a stroll around the square and admire the colonial architecture while enjoying the lively atmosphere.
Explore the Cathedral of Quito
The Cathedral of Quito is one of the most impressive buildings in the city’s historical center. Its construction began in the 16th century and it took almost 200 years to complete. Inside, you’ll find beautiful artwork and religious artifacts. Don’t miss the chance to climb to the top of the bell tower for panoramic views of the city.
Wander through La Ronda
La Ronda is a charming street in Quito’s historical center that’s full of character. It’s lined with colorful colonial houses, artisan shops, and traditional restaurants. Take a leisurely stroll down the street and soak up the atmosphere.
Visit the Museo Casa del Alabado
The Museo Casa del Alabado is a small but fascinating museum that showcases pre-Columbian art and artifacts. The exhibits are beautifully curated and provide insight into the cultures that existed in Ecuador before the arrival of the Spanish.
Take a guided tour
If you want to learn more about the history and culture of Quito’s historical center, consider taking a guided tour. There are many options available, from walking tours to bike tours to Segway tours. A knowledgeable guide can help you appreciate the significance of the buildings and landmarks you’ll see.
Exploring Quito’s historical center is one of the top things to do in Quito. Don’t miss the chance to experience the city’s rich history and culture firsthand.
Outdoor Adventures in Quito’s Surroundings
If you’re looking for some adventure and outdoor activities, Quito’s surroundings offer a plethora of options. Here are some of the things to do in Quito for adventure seekers:
Hiking in the Andes
Quito is surrounded by the Andes mountains, which offer some of the best hiking trails in the world. One of the most popular hikes is the Cotopaxi volcano, which stands at 5,897 meters. The hike is challenging but the views from the top are breathtaking. Other popular hikes include Pichincha volcano, Antisana volcano, and the Quilotoa loop.
For those who prefer two wheels, mountain biking is a great way to explore Quito’s surroundings. There are many trails to choose from, ranging from easy to difficult. Some of the popular trails include the Pichincha downhill, the Cotopaxi loop, and the Antisana trail.
Rafting and Kayaking
If you’re looking for some water adventure, Quito’s rivers offer some great options for rafting and kayaking. The most popular river for rafting is the Jatunyacu river, which offers class III and IV rapids. The Quijos river is also a great option for rafting and kayaking.
For a bird’s eye view of Quito’s surroundings, paragliding is a must-do activity. There are many paragliding companies that offer tandem flights, where you can fly with an experienced pilot. The views of the Andes mountains and the city of Quito are simply stunning.
For a more relaxed adventure, horseback riding is a great way to explore Quito’s surroundings. There are many ranches that offer horseback riding tours, ranging from a few hours to a full day. You can explore the Andes mountains, the valleys, and the forests on horseback.
In conclusion, Quito’s surroundings offer a wide range of outdoor activities for adventure seekers. From hiking in the Andes to paragliding over the city, there’s something for everyone. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Quito, make sure to add some of these outdoor adventures to your list.
Quito’s Vibrant Art and Culture Scene
Quito is a city that is rich in history and culture. There are many things to do in Quito, but one of the most exciting is exploring the vibrant art and culture scene. Here are some of the top things to do in Quito for art and culture enthusiasts:
Visit the Centro de Arte Contemporáneo
The Centro de Arte Contemporáneo is a must-visit for anyone interested in contemporary art. This museum features a wide range of exhibitions and installations from both local and international artists. It’s a great place to see some of the most cutting-edge art in the world.
Explore the Historic Center of Quito
The Historic Center of Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to some of the most beautiful colonial architecture in the world. It’s a great place to explore on foot and take in the sights and sounds of the city. There are also many museums and galleries in the area, including the Museo de Arte Colonial, which features a collection of colonial art and artifacts.
Attend a Performance at the Teatro Nacional Sucre
The Teatro Nacional Sucre is one of the most important cultural institutions in Quito. It’s a beautiful theater that hosts a wide range of performances, including opera, ballet, and theater. It’s a great place to experience the arts in Quito.
Visit the Museo de la Ciudad
The Museo de la Ciudad is a museum that is dedicated to the history and culture of Quito. It features a wide range of exhibits, including artifacts from the pre-Columbian era, colonial art, and contemporary art. It’s a great place to learn about the history and culture of Quito.
Take a Street Art Tour
Quito is home to a vibrant street art scene, and taking a street art tour is a great way to explore it. There are many different tours available, and they offer a unique perspective on the city’s art and culture.
In conclusion, Quito’s vibrant art and culture scene is one of the city’s biggest draws. From contemporary art museums to historic colonial architecture, there are many things to do in Quito for art and culture enthusiasts. So, if you’re looking for things to do in Quito, be sure to check out the city’s art and culture scene.
Savoring Quito’s Culinary Delights
When it comes to things to do in Quito, exploring the city’s culinary scene should be at the top of your list. Quito is a food lover’s paradise, with a wide range of dishes that reflect the city’s rich cultural heritage. From traditional Ecuadorian cuisine to international flavors, there’s something for everyone.
Sample the Local Cuisine
One of the best ways to experience Quito’s culinary delights is by sampling the local cuisine. Head to the historic center of the city and visit one of the many traditional restaurants that serve up classic Ecuadorian dishes. Try the hearty locro de papas, a potato soup that’s flavored with cheese and avocado, or the ceviche de camarones, a shrimp ceviche that’s bursting with flavor.
Visit the Mercado Central
For a truly authentic culinary experience, head to the Mercado Central. This bustling market is a feast for the senses, with vendors selling everything from fresh produce to exotic spices. Take a stroll through the market and sample some of the local delicacies, like empanadas, tamales, and churrasco.
Take a Cooking Class
If you’re a foodie at heart, why not take a cooking class and learn how to make some of Quito’s most famous dishes? There are plenty of cooking schools in the city that offer classes for both beginners and experienced cooks. Learn how to make ceviche, empanadas, or even chocolate, and take home some new skills to impress your friends and family.
Enjoy a Night Out
Quito’s culinary scene doesn’t end with traditional Ecuadorian cuisine. The city is also home to a vibrant nightlife, with plenty of bars and restaurants that serve up international flavors. Head to the trendy La Floresta neighborhood and enjoy a craft beer at one of the many microbreweries, or sample some sushi at a Japanese restaurant.
In conclusion, savoring Quito’s culinary delights is one of the top things to do in Quito. From traditional Ecuadorian cuisine to international flavors, the city’s culinary scene is sure to satisfy any food lover’s cravings. So, grab your appetite and get ready to explore all that Quito has to offer.
Shopping and Markets in Quito
If you’re looking for unique souvenirs or just want to immerse yourself in the local culture, Quito has plenty of shopping options. Here are some of the best markets and shopping areas to check out during your visit to Quito.
One of the most famous markets in Ecuador, the Otavalo Market is a must-visit for anyone looking for traditional textiles, clothing, and handicrafts. Located about two hours north of Quito, this market is open every day but is busiest on Saturdays. You can find everything from alpaca sweaters to woven blankets to handmade jewelry. Don’t forget to haggle for the best prices!
Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal
Located in the trendy La Mariscal neighborhood, this market is a great place to find souvenirs and gifts. You’ll find everything from colorful textiles to hand-carved wooden figurines to Panama hats. The market is open every day, but it’s best to go in the morning when the vendors are setting up.
Centro Artesanal Guayasamin
This market is located in the northern part of Quito and is known for its high-quality handicrafts. You’ll find everything from pottery to leather goods to jewelry. The market is named after the famous Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamin, and you can even visit his former home and studio nearby.
Plaza de San Francisco
If you’re looking for a more traditional shopping experience, head to the Plaza de San Francisco in the historic center of Quito. This square is surrounded by shops selling everything from clothing to electronics to souvenirs. You can also visit the San Francisco Church and Museum while you’re there.
El Ejido Park Artisan Market
Located in the heart of Quito, this market is open every weekend and is a great place to find unique handmade items. You’ll find everything from paintings to jewelry to clothing. The market is located in El Ejido Park, which is a great place to relax and people-watch after you’re done shopping.
Whether you’re looking for traditional handicrafts or modern souvenirs, Quito has plenty of shopping options to choose from. Don’t forget to add these markets and shopping areas to your list of things to do in Quito!
Quito’s Nightlife and Entertainment
Quito is not only known for its rich history and culture but also for its vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene. Here are some of the things to do in Quito at night:
1. Party in La Mariscal
La Mariscal is the heart of Quito’s nightlife. This neighborhood is packed with bars, clubs, and restaurants that cater to all tastes and budgets. From salsa clubs to rooftop bars, La Mariscal has it all. Some of the popular spots include Bungalow 6, Dirty Sanchez, and La Casa de la Cerveza.
2. Watch a show at Teatro Sucre
Teatro Sucre is a historic theater located in the heart of Quito’s Old Town. The theater hosts a variety of shows, including opera, ballet, and theater performances. Watching a show at Teatro Sucre is a great way to experience Quito’s cultural scene.
3. Visit Plaza Foch
Plaza Foch is a popular square in La Mariscal that is surrounded by bars and restaurants. The square is a great place to people-watch and enjoy a drink or two. On weekends, the square comes alive with street performers and live music.
4. Take a salsa class
Salsa is a big part of Ecuadorian culture, and Quito has plenty of salsa clubs and classes. Taking a salsa class is a fun way to learn a new skill and meet new people. Some of the popular salsa clubs include Salsoteca Lavoe and La Juliana.
5. Enjoy the view from El Panecillo
El Panecillo is a hill located in the center of Quito that offers stunning views of the city. At night, the hill is lit up, making it a great spot to enjoy the city’s skyline. There are also several restaurants and cafes located on the hill where you can enjoy a meal or a drink.
In conclusion, Quito’s nightlife and entertainment scene has something for everyone. Whether you want to party, watch a show, or enjoy the view, there are plenty of things to do in Quito at night.
In conclusion, my fellow travelers, Quito is a treasure trove of experiences just waiting to be discovered. From its rich history and stunning architecture to its vibrant markets and breathtaking natural surroundings, there’s no shortage of things to do Quito. As Journeying Jack, I’ve had the pleasure of exploring many corners of the world, and I can confidently say that Quito is a destination that should be on every traveler’s bucket list.
So, whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or a foodie, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful city. I hope my Suitcase Stories have inspired you to embark on your own adventure and uncover the many things to do Quito. Remember, the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. So, pack your bags, book that ticket, and get ready to create your own unforgettable Quito memories. Happy travels!