GringosAbroad Ecuador

Best Things to Do in Quito?

Posted in: Ecuador Travel, Living in Ecuador, Quito Ecuador

Next week we are heading North.

But just a little. We are visiting Quito for a few days. I’ve got a few days of meetings and we are taking a few extra days to explore the city. This will be our first time there (I know, everyone has been to Quito – except us).

What we want to know is:

What are the best things to do in Quito?

Just a couple things to keep in mind. We are a young family with family tastes. Please include family friendly attractions only.

And we love architecture, the outdoors and culture. We also love great food.

cotapaxi-quito-ecuadorNow its your turn. What is your favorite thing to do in and around Quito? We have a few ideas in mind, but nothing is set in stone. We will adjust our schedule and plans based on the top attractions and suggestions.

We will cover our adventures (and pictures) in upcoming blogs.

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Meet the Author

Bryan Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. He is a travel blogger and content marketer. He is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

20 comments… add one
  • Daniel Pino Apr 11, 2017, 2:07 am

    Hey! I know it’s been a while since you asked for advice on this.. You probably already visited huh? Well, let us know what you think!

    Since this page is getting still a lot of organic visits, I wanted to recommend Quito’s Bucket Pass ( service to everyone. It is the smartest and cheapest way to hit the best spots in Quito. If you have some time, check it out!

    • Bryan Haines Apr 11, 2017, 6:53 am

      Looks like a great pass – and a great deal.

      Thanks Daniel!

  • Sarah Gunter Canez Apr 1, 2012, 10:09 am

    Forget La Mitad del Mundo! it’s a tourist trap. But do check out El Panicillo – great views of the city, and it is historic. For dinner, go to La Casa de mi Abuela, which is around the corner from the Holiday Inn Express and across avenida Orellana from the JW Marriott – but the restaurant in a little house has been there for decades. It was my favorite place to eat when I was in Ecuador in the late 70’s as a Peace Corps Volunteer; it still is my favorite place to eat in Quito: quiet, out of the way, and not many tourists know of it. Ask for Fabiola, tell her Sarah from Texas sent you….and order the tenderloin steak plate (not on the menu) that used to be the prix fixe meal that they served 40 years ago….they will make you up a wonderful all inclusive meal that is just delicious (it’s huge, can actually feed 2 people). And I bet you could take a few pics of the place and the people and do a nice write-up for your blog. P.S. “Abuela” is still around, her son has run the place for the last 2 decades. The food is excellent, the ambiance very old fashioned upscale Quito and they are just lovely people. You will not be sorry you went there. @ Juan Leon Mera 1649, between Orellana and Colon; between Amazonas and Seis de diciembre.

    • Bryan Haines Apr 1, 2012, 5:39 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion on the great restaurant – can’t wait to try it.

      Thanks Sarah!


    • sonia Jun 30, 2016, 7:08 pm

      We also used to go there quiet often in the late 70s can still remember the amazing beef

  • Janice May 30, 2011, 6:40 pm

    My son-in-law is from Ecuador. We visited three years ago to meet his family in Puyo.
    While in Quito we drove to the Mitad del Mundo and found it to be quite facinating. Not the location where the huge monument is located, although the tour through the monument is very interesting, but rather, we walked a short distance to a site that can easily be seen from the top of the monument. This site is apparently the actual Mitad del Mundo. It is often overlooked. A tour guide will explain everything you ever wanted to know about the site. We were shown demonstrations of how water swirls in opposite directions down a drain, depending on which side of the equator the basin is located, balancing an egg, telling time, and using a blow dart gun. There was much more. It was one of the most memorable parts of our visit. We also drove to Otovalo (spelling) where there is a huge market where you can purchase handcrafted items. In a few weeks we will be traveling to Ecuador again but this time we will take a side trip to Manta for a few days before traveling to Puyo.
    Ecuador is a beautiful country. I’m looking forward to this next visit, and enjoying the wonderful fruits. We are bringing an extra suitcase just to bring home as many jars of Mora jam as we can!!

  • Andy Mar 13, 2011, 9:29 am

    Hello Bryan and Dena,

    My name is Andy, I hope you enjoyed your trip to Quito. Did you like it? We will be in Quito in April, so we would like to hear your opinion.


  • Nathalie Mar 4, 2011, 9:53 pm

    If you like colonial architecture and art, I would suggest Calle La Ronda (Old town Quito).

    You’ll find tiny restaurants, specialty shops, art galleries and a museum. Sometimes there are bands, theater groups and musical events performing along the street.

  • posterdog Feb 27, 2011, 7:20 am

    Bryan – There was a great blog about family with a young daughter living in Quito (they have since moved back to Baltimore.) They seem to love exploring museums and such, you might find some ideas there for places to go: Have fun on your trip. Mary

  • Liliya Bykova Feb 25, 2011, 10:22 am

    Mitad del Mundo for these who know!!!
    Inti-Ñan Solar Museum just up the road (turn left out of the Mitad del Mundo)

    and Teleférico – cable ride

  • Liliya Bykova Feb 25, 2011, 9:35 am

    Martes 8 de marzo de 2011, 20h30
    Black box USD. 125.00
    Preferencia USD. 75.00
    General USD. 33.00
    Menor USD. 30.00

    check what is going on at

    at Casa de la Cultura

  • Liliya Bykova Feb 25, 2011, 9:30 am

    Another one:
    “Quito Botanical Garden a Hidden Jewel” Parque La Carolina
    "Located in Parque Carolina, the Quito Botanical Garden is a wonderful way to spend an hour or two. It features plants from all ecological regions of Ecuador and is laid out by ecological region. It features 2 green houses devoted to orchids ( Ecuador has 100's of species of orchids native to it), a beautiful pond, an ethnobotony exhibit"
    After walking at the Garden go for the lunch to the Federer(parillada), few blocks from the Park
    Teléfono 223-9558
    Dirección Av.eloy Alfaro Y Belgica Esq.

    After lunch walk thru the Quito Manhatten (calle Republica de Salvador)
    to the Quicentro. Have Cyrano or El Espanol cofee/decert at the open terrace.

  • Liliya Bykova Feb 25, 2011, 9:30 am

    Café Mosaico
    came over at 5 p.m. and stay until 7 p.m.
    You will see amazing daytime view gradually
    going to the night time view. .

    Before going to Cafe Mosaico stop at the
    Parque itchimbía – located few blocks from Cafe Mosaico

  • Liliya Bykova Feb 24, 2011, 2:22 pm

    People who take our tours receive info about two Mitad del Mundo (literally)
    And a story how it became that way.
    One Mitad del Mundo(MdM) with a monument is a tourist trap.
    Second (GPS confirmed MdM) located 200 metros from the official one and is a solar museum as well.

    and much more

  • Lilly Feb 24, 2011, 11:14 am

    Yhe best thing to do in Quito is to take our
    Walking tours of Centro Historico Quito with Liliya and Leo
    Entertaining history, legends, stories, gossip and
    a lot of info you can use while visiting Quito.
    $50 total cost for three hours for up to four people (1 – 4 people)

  • Steve Waiksnoris Feb 24, 2011, 10:32 am

    I had a great time wandering through the old town part of the city. Lots of beautiful churches and interesting cafes to take a break at. My most memorable aspect of Quito, however, was actually the side trip we took to Mindo. It's a small little town, but big on beautiful surroundings and eco-adventures.
    The excursion to Mitad del Mundo was rather blah and actually pretty disappointing. It's basically the monument and a whole lot of tacky souvenir and snack shops. Enjoy your time in Quito!

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