things to do in Quito

Quito is the capital city of Ecuador, housing a population of 2.011 million people and sitting on the tops of the foothills of the Andes. At an elevation of 2,850 m (9,350 ft), this marks Quito as the second-highest capital of the world.

Home to 8 of Ecuador’s 19 volcanoes, and one of the few places in the world where you can stand between two hemispheres at once, Quito offers some of the world’s most interesting peculiarities as well as most abundant biodiversity.

The influence of the indigenous culture of the Incas and Quitu people is still present throughout the streets of the historic district of Quito and beyond, paying homage via art, dance, cuisine, and ritualistic ceremonies today.

Dubbed “Florence of the Americas” due to its charming European-style houses and colonial red-tile roofs, the European influence is taken into consideration on a stroll throughout the virtually untouched and romantic historic downtown of Quito.

Visit Quito, Latin America’s best preserved historical center, and get some inspiration and ideas to add to your itinerary with these fun things to do in Quito.

1 – Be in 2 hemispheres at once at the Middle of the World Monument

Middle of the World Monument, Quito

Undoubtedly one of the must things to do in Quito is to visit the Middle of the World Monument – a tourist attraction that was originally built in 1982, to mark the divide between the northern and southern hemispheres.

Examine the equatorial line that divides the hemisphere is approximately 40,075 kilometers. Take advantage of viewing the towering 30-meter-high monument that commemorates this incredible site and visit the small museum which showcases the local, rich heritage.

Take a city tour that makes additional stops in other interesting points of interest in the city, while making a stop at the Middle of the World Monument.

Visit one of the only places in the world where due to the gravitational pull, things and people weigh slightly less, the water flows in a different direction due to the Coriolis Effect, and other peculiarities.

2 – Enter the peaceful and famous Basilica of the National Vow

Basilica of the National Vow, Quito

Named the largest neo-Gothic basilica in America, the Basilica of the National Vow is a symbol of religious faith to honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus by French architect, Emilio Tarlier.

The inspiration behind the Basilica is said to be Paris’ own Notre Dame and the Cathedral of Burgos in Spain. Marvel at the Basilica’s carvings of various imagery from saints, and angels, to local animals such as the armadillo, dolphins, and the iconic Galapagos tortoises.

Step inside and relish the beautiful bronze sculptures, and sit in the pews to take in the light that comes through the stained glass windows illuminating the 98-foot church interiors.

Take the elevator to the 11th floor, and gaze at the most panoramic views of the city, with vistas of mountain ranges, and the historic city center.

Enjoy a coffee at the cafeteria on the same floor, as well as a small museum showcasing the history of the Basilica.

3 – Take the TelefériQo to Pichincha Volcano

TelefériQo, Quito

Lifting up around 3,117 to 3,945 meters in the sky is the TelefériQo to Pichincha Volcano, situated 16 minutes west of the historic downtown of Quito.

It’s a cable car that offers visitors incredible views that keep getting better and wider the higher it reaches the top of the mountain.

The cable car takes visitors to the top of the TeléferiQo and takes around 10 minutes total. At the end of the journey, if you’re up for it, it is possible to climb up the Pichincha Volcano.

If you plan on doing this activity, make sure to give yourself a few days to get used to the high altitude, as some travelers have experienced getting a headache the higher the cable car went.

The temperature will drop the higher you go, so remember to pack a sweater.

4 – Step into the Museum of the City housed inside the oldest building in Quito

Museum of the City, Quito

The Museum of the City is an expansive collection of different pieces of Quito’s heritage, ranging from its historical past to its everyday living and the local’s experience living in Quito.

The museum is housed inside one of the oldest buildings in Quito, dating back to 1565 when it was previously a Spanish hospital.

Today, visitors get the immersive experience to learn everything from the pre-Colombian era to the Spanish conquest, historical facts, legends, Quito’s cuisine, heritage, customs and traditions, and what cultural factors play a role in modern-day Quito.

Enjoy the beautiful courtyard in the middle of the museum as well, and take in the years of historical symbolism that the building itself has, as you read about it inside the museum.

The museum is open every day from 9:30 am – 5:30 pm.

5 – Take in Quito’s beauty on a trolley city tour

bus tours in Quito

Take a historic stroll throughout the emblematic and beautiful downtown Quito, where you’ll learn about the city’s incredible history, hear interesting legends, and take in the beautiful sights from the comfort of a trolley.

Experience the colonial-style architecture, and the neo-Gothic churches, enter the picturesque neighborhoods and take a local’s perspective of what Quito looks like for them every day.

While on the trolley, you may also be taking a few stops to get snacks, ice cream, and drinks, to enjoy the stories told onboard even more.

Trolley tickets start at $15 USD, and some trolley tours will pick you up at your hotel, or meet you at a central location in the historic downtown. Tours usually last from 1-2 hours.

6 – Visit the animals inside the zoológico de Quito

Zoológico de Quito

Visit the animals inside the Quito Zoo, and learn about the stories behind some of the wildlife that resides in the zoo, under the watchful eye and care of the zoologists.

Walk the nature trails inside the museum, and explore the variety of animals ranging from tapirs, monkeys, turtles, lions, hawks, and more.

Enjoy a day or night safari with family and friends, make your way to the forest, find the piercing eyes of the owls on the trees, and view the zoo and take a life completely different from the day.

Many of the animals seen in the zoo have been rescued from being displaced from their habitat throughout Quito, and though some animals have been rehabilitated to go back out into the wild, some have remained under the care of zoologists at the zoo.

Book your tickets online starting at $7 USD.

7 – Visit the Church of the Society of Jesus – one of the best-known churches in Quito

Church of the Society of Jesus, Quito

Showcasing an example of Spanish Baroque architecture, the Church of the Society of Jesus is a religious space that is commonly known by locals as “La Compañia”.

Upon closer look, visitors will see some Arabic influence in the design and the inclusion of geometric shapes, infused with the ornate Baroque influence.

Dating back to 1722, the church took close to 160 years to be finalized, from the expansive central nave to the gold details, wood carvings, and stunning symmetry.

Inside, you can take a glance at the sarcophagus holding the remains of the Patron Saint of Ecuador, Mariana de Jesús de Paredes.

Your eyes will not get bored of looking around to take in the true beauty of this church, which to many travelers and locals, has been declared repeatedly one of the most beautiful churches in the Americas.

8 – Explore the “neck of the moon” at Cotopaxi National Park

Cotopaxi National Park tours from Quito

Make the plan to visit Cotopaxi National Park, situated 50 km (31 miles) south of downtown Quito.

Cotopaxi National Park is home to the snow-capped, and active Cotopaxi volcano, as well as the beautiful Limpiopungo Lake. Be prepared to witness incredible wildlife including condors, weasels, hawks, and local plants and trees.

From hiking to volcano biking, and climbing the Cotopaxi volcano, those are just a few of the fun activities to take part in what they call “the Avenue of the Volcanoes” due to its many volcanoes in the region.

Horse riding is another fun activity thanks to the local Chagra tradition, therefore tours are offered to enjoy the beauty of the park on horseback, at a slower pace.

Due to the crescent moon-like shape that the Cotopaxi volcano crater creates, the name of the park was born.

9 – Check out the views from Quito’s “little bread” at El Panecillo hill

El Panecillo, Quito

El Panecillo is an important sight in Quito that can be traced back to Inca times when it used to be the gathering spot of sun worshippers, to then be turned into the place where the Spanish built a fort due to its incredible visibility.

The Panecillo is a hill that stands 200 meters high, situated 28 minutes south of downtown Quito. You can get incredible 360° views of Quito, as well as do some souvenir shopping nearby.

The Virgin of the Panecillo is a towering, aluminum-made sculpture of the Virgin that was built in 1976.

The difference between this Virgin sculpture from others is her wings, and the stars around her head, which signify the Biblical “Woman of the Apocalypse”.

Entrance into the site is $1 USD for adults and $0.50 USD for children.

10 – Do some serious bird watching at Antisana National Park

Antisana Volcano tours from Quito

Forming part of the Andes is the Antisana National Park, brimming with opportunities to get in touch with nature, and get away from the hustle and bustle of Quito.

Antisana National Park is oftentimes seen as one of the least visited national parks, with so many to choose from, however, a trip to this national park is not one to miss for incredible condor watching, impressive volcano sights, and virtually untouched natural topography.

Consider bringing your good binoculars to catch sight of up to 100 wild condors on a condor-watching expedition, as well as over 418 different bird species flying around Antisana National Park.

Be witness to the remnants of the destructions that the Antisana volcano has left behind on a guided hike, as well as observe the grandeur of the volcano itself gracing the landscape.

11 – Spend hours at the Quito Botanical Gardens in Parque La Carolina

Quito Botanical Gardens, Parque La Carolina

The Quito Botanical Gardens offer a view into the biodiversity of Ecuadorian plants and flora, encompassed within an 18,600 square meters radius, located in the heart of Quito.

Explore and utilize the beautiful park space to pack a picnic with friends, take a walk through the arboretum to take a look at the different varieties of trees local to Ecuador, as well as step inside the abundant greenhouses brimming with botanical beauties.

Check out their outdoor concerts, as they host various acts including symphonic performances.

Tickets to enter the botanic garden start at $3.50 USD, and visiting hours are from 10 am – 3 pm.

Check out other activities and amenities within Parque la Carolina, including playgrounds, bike paths, skate parks, cafes, tennis courts and so much more over the 165-acre space.

12 – Learn more about the equator at Intiñan Museum

Intiñan Museum, Quito

Designed to be a space where visitors can learn about the sociological, political, and cultural aspects of the communities that have lived near the equator for ages, check out the Intiñan museum.

The Intiñan museum opens the door to the scientific perspectives of the interesting things that occur in the center of the world.

Opening in 1960, the Intiñan Museum has been a space to feed curious minds with scientific and fascinating findings relating to the equator, from the Coriolis Effect to the way balance and weight work in the equator, and how it has influenced local culture.

Walk through one of the main features of the museum, the Totemic Forest. A “forest” filled with totems, each representing various indigenous groups, where visitors can absorb their meaning, and understand their connection to the land.

The museum is open every day, 9:30 am – 5 pm.

13 – Step back in time at the Museo Templo del Sol Pintor Cristobal Ortega Maila

Museo Templo del Sol Pintor Cristobal Ortega Maila, Quito
credit to Museo Templo del Sol Pintor Cristobal Ortega Maila

Visit the cultural hub at the Museo Templo del Sol (the Museum of the Sun), where cultural dance, art, ceremony, and history come together to disperse amongst its audience good energy and an intriguing time.

Cristobal Ortega Maila is a well-known and talented artist known to be one of the fastest painters in the world, using ancient techniques as well as the initiator behind the museum.

Check out the outstanding art pieces and sculptures created by him around the museum, and stay for a live workshop where he paints in real-time in front of you.

Participate in activities within the museum, appreciate the cultural dances, and ancient ceremonies, learn more about Ecuadorian culture and stop by the souvenir shop to purchase a few items for friends back home.

The museum is open every day of the week, from 9 am – 6 pm.

14 – Visit Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve, one of the world’s inhabited volcanoes

Pululahua Volcano tours from Quito

Known for its impressive geological diversity, the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve is a geobotanical space that used to be a volcano crater, and today is inhabited by locals who use the fertile volcanic soil for livestock and farming.

The whole reserve covers around 3,383 hectares and offers a multitude of activities to do, from walking around the actual crater, taking in the farms and houses that now inhabit the area, and observing some of the remnants that remind people of the time when the volcano was active.

Do some birdwatching and spot some local animals such as the armadillo and Andean fox, and go up to the Ventanillas lookout, offering spectacular views of the crater as a whole, and the new life it breeds.

Try to go on a clear day to get the most out of the view.

15 – Take your kids to Vulqano Park

Vulqano Park, Quito

Whether you’re traveling with kids or a group of friends, rest assured that a good time is guaranteed at the Vulqano amusement park.

Located 17 minutes east of the historic downtown of Quito, Vulqano Park is the perfect day activity where visitors can catch some thrills and chills with activities and rides ranging from gentle to extreme.

Take advantage of the extreme rides such as the roller coasters and rides that turn you upside down at fast speeds, to family-oriented games made to fit a family of 4-5 in one section of the ride together, such as the Ferris wheel.

Tickets can be purchased at the door on the day of your visit. The amusement park opens every day from 12 pm – 7 pm from Monday to Thursday, while Friday, Saturday, and Sunday they close the park at 9 pm.

16 – Appreciate the art of being human at the Capilla del Hombre and Guayasamin Museum

Guayasamin Museum, Quito

The Capilla del Hombre is a space created by the famous Ecuadorian artist Oswaldo Guayasamín.

Oswaldo’s main interest in the creation of the Capilla del Humano (Chapel of the Human) was to create a space where visitors could explore the various works of art created by humans, and different modes of expression, from art, sculpture, dance, emotion, cuisine, dreams, and spirituality.

It’s a space to reflect on history based on the Latin American point of view.

The museum is dedicated to the people of Latin America, and their input into the art world based on their human experience living in Latin America.

Visit the Guayasamin Museum, where the personal art collection of Guayasamin resides, housed in his former home. Check out the works of art, predominantly from Latin America, and view examples of art from pre-Colombia to the Spanish conquest, and beyond.

17 – Spend your day hopping between other famous churches & basilicas

famous churches & basilicas in Quito

With over 30 historic and rich churches and basilicas, visitors can easily spend a day or two checking out the best of the basilicas or churches in Quito.

Consider checking out the Basilica and Convent of San Francisco. Enter Ecuador’s oldest religious space, and dive into years of history inside the cathedral’s library housing thousands of religious and ancient texts.

Walk around the Plaza de Santo Domingo before entering the Iglesia de Santo Domingo to view 16th & 17th-century paintings and appreciate the gold-plated details.

Check out Guapulo Colonial Church and Convent, known to be one of the oldest religious sanctuaries in Ecuador, and located in the bohemian town of Guapulo which deserves some exploring as well.

Located within Quito Old Town is the Catedral Metropolitana de Quito, also worth a visit, where some Mexican archbishop’s remains are resting.

18 – Spend some time in the enchanting streets of Quito Old Town

Quito Old Town, Equador

Narrow, winding streets merging onto larger avenues and roads snake through the multiple plazas in Quito Old Town, giving way to the fusion of European and Indigenous influence via churches, historic buildings, and museums.

Take note of the variety of plazas, each offering a space for social gathering, and offering beauty via architecture. Plaza Grande (Plaza de la Independencia) is one of the main squares that offer historical charm and is a great meeting point for other important sites, such as the Carondelet Palace, the official residence of the President of Ecuador and the seat of government.

Visit some of Quito’s other notable plazas including Santo Domingo Plaza, and San Fransisco Plaza on a comprehensive walking tour, and take in the local culture while learning the history behind the buildings.

Walk through the picturesque Calle la Ronda – a famous street in the historic center of Quito, where you can walk into museums, and galleries, and take in the bohemian vibe.

19 – Gain a renewed appreciation for water at the Yaku Water Museum

Yaku Water Museum, Quito

The Yaku Water Museum is a museum unique to many visitors that focuses on water – from water and nature to water and society.

It’s the museum’s goal to provoke more questions than answers when it comes to reflecting and realizing the true importance of water in life, our necessity for it, and thus our conservation of it.

Walk through the 8 different exhibits that exemplify the different perspectives on water, and the ways in which sustainable practices are shared and discussed.

Moving along other exhibits also show the marine biodiversity, and the current issues that are risking marine life from thriving, as well as dealing with natural disasters as a result of climate change.

This and many more topics of interest are brought to the surface inside the museum. The museum tickets start at $4.00 and can be booked online.

20 – Visit the water-filled crater lake at Quilotoa Lagoon

Quilotoa Lagoon tours from Quito

Bask your eyes on the natural wonder that is the Quilotoa Lagoon – a water-filled crater lake located around 3 hours south of Quito offering sights of emerald green water, in a less than busy site near the country’s capital

Add a visit to the impressive wood platform viewpoint to your list of things to do in Quito, where visitors will be astonished at the incredible panoramic 360 views of the crater-filled lake, and then check out the 20-30 minute Quilotoa hike.

For any camping and adventure lovers out there, camping and multiple water activities are available, as well as serene activities such as tranquil bird watching and taking in the sights and scents of various plants.

Though the drive isn’t too difficult for many travelers, a guided tour will ensure a comfortable, reliable, and cost-effective journey to and from Quilotoa Lagoon.

21 – Learn about Pre-Columbian heritage inside the stunning Pre-Columbian Art Museum House of Praise

Pre-Columbian Art Museum House of Praise, Quito
credit to Casa del Alabado

With over 5,000 pieces of pre-Columbian history within its 17th-century walls, the Pre-Columbian Art Museum House of Praise is the home of incredible pieces that date back to 10,000 BC.

Take a look inside to learn more about the impressive, advanced, and historically rich culture of the pre-Columbian people of Quito.

Examine the different pieces of pottery, metal and stonework, textiles, ceramic, and wood pieces, many of which were used in a variety of ways, from everyday use like cooking and weaponry to ceremonial use.

Appreciate the agricultural methods, the connection to ancestors, and the different stories and legends that abound in Ecuadorian culture.

The museum often has rotating exhibits, so make sure to check their website to view what events, programs, and visiting exhibits they are hosting.

Book your tickets online starting at $6 USD.

22 – Spend a day splashing around at Aqua River Park

Aqua River Park, Quito

Make refreshing plans to escape the heat and hustle and bustle of Quito by taking the day to relax and unwind poolside at Aqua River Park.

Located 40 minutes north of downtown Quito, Aqua River Park is a themed water park, offering visitors big and small a wide variety of attractions from slides, to big pools, lazy rivers, and even group activities.

Check out Dinosaur Park located inside Aqua River Park, offering Dinosaur enthusiasts and children the awesome opportunity to walk amongst life-size Dinosaur replicas.

Learn about the fascinating world of dinosaur, their habitat, and their favorite food as you walk through the themed park.

Tickets begin at $6 USD, and the park is constantly hosting various sales so check their Facebook page often.

23 – Enjoy a day of relaxing at the Papallacta Hot Springs

Papallacta Hot Springs tours from Quito

Situated 64km (40mi) east of Quito is a town called Papallacta, most widely known for its incredible geothermal hot springs, but also famous for great hiking, and stunning views of the nearby Antisana Volcano, as well as wildlife spotting.

With 8 hot spring pools available and a spa, visitors can plan a day of relaxation soaking in one of the pools, while appreciating the natural phenomena and gazing at the iconic Andean mountains. The standard entry price into the hot springs starts at $9 USD and goes up to $23 for entry to the spa.

If you are a guest staying at the Termas Papallacta resort, entry to the hot springs is free.

Make sure to appreciate the beautifully manicured gardens and flora displays around the pools, and rest assured that showers and lockers are also offered at the entrance.

24 – Visit the Rumipamba Archaeological and Ecological Park where the Quito people lived

Parque Arqueológico Rumipamba, Quito

The Rumipamba Archaeological and Ecological Park is a fascinating site that dates back as far as 500 BC to 1500 AD and retells the story of the Quito civilization as well as other groups of indigenous people that lived in the area.

Additionally, it shares the fragmented history seen in the varied archeological pieces excavated representing different historical eras from perforated plates to ceramics, as well as changes in architecture and materials used in the now ruins.

Take a guided tour of the Pre-Inca trails, learn about ancient groups of people that inhabited the land, and take a look at the excavation work that archaeologists have been busy with.

Learn about the tombs, the stone walls, and studies conducted to dive deeper into the history of those who lived there.

Only 7 minutes away from downtown Quito, it’s a must-see sight for curious travelers.

25 – Learn about Ecuador’s rich history at the National Museum of Ecuador

National Museum of Ecuador, Quito

Housing more than 1,500 artifacts found throughout Ecuador from tools, clothing, art, textiles, literature, and even mummies, the National Museum of Ecuador has an A-Z presentation of the immense history of Ecuador, dating back to 11,000 BCE.

Located only 9 minutes from the historic downtown of Quito, the National Museum of Ecuador is a hot spot to learn everything from the first human remains and documentation in Ecuador, all the way to social and political present-day challenges and wins.

Check out art pieces that represent the more than 10 different culture groups residing all throughout the country, especially the impressive Golden Sun Mask, said to belong to the Manteños culture.

Tickets can be purchased at the ticket booth when visiting the museum.

26 – Go on a bike tour to get around to Quito’s best parks

best parks in Quito

The city of Quito is considered to be 55% vegetation and is recognized for its biodiversity from its multiple different parks and green spaces throughout the city.

Check out Parque la Alameda, known as “Chuquihuada” by the locals. It is the city’s oldest park, dating to 1596, and offers refreshing fountains, perfectly maintained gardens, and walking paths.

Parque el Ejido is the city’s third largest park in the city and is located where the old city and new part of the city meet. Inside, check out the various historical monuments, including the popular Arco de la Circasiana.

Although there are many more parks that we could add, such as the Parque Metropolitano Guangüiltagua, with great views over Quito; Bicentennial Park, located on the former runway of the city’s old airport; La Armenia Park, with great picnicking and camping areas; or Las Cuadras Park, Parque Guápulo, Cumandá Parque Urbano, just to name a few, one of the best ways to see many more parks is via a scooter tour.

Along with the scooter tour, a bike tour is one of the most local, fun activities to take part in when exploring a new city, and checking out the local scene more closely and personally.

27 – Plan an informative trip to the House of Ecuadorian Culture

House of Ecuadorian Culture, Quito

In 1944, the House of Ecuadorian Culture came to be an initiative to promote and stimulate the various layers of Ecuadorian culture as well as freedom of thought. There are 5 specialized exhibits inside: library, cinema, artistic and cultural, museum, and publications.

Enter the space, and learn more about specific cultural groups in Ecuador, including the Amazon, the coast, the Galapagos, and the mountains.

Make sure to head to their website to check their event calendar, as they are continuously hosting many cultural events such as film screenings, cultural workshops, book signings, live courses, and more.

this culture hot spot is open every day, except for Mondays, and operates daily from 8:30 am – 5 pm, except Wednesdays when it closes at 4 pm.

28 – Explore the La Floresta neighborhood

La Floresta neighborhood, Quito

La Floresta neighborhood is a beautiful area of Quito that should be explored, offering picturesque imagery of cafes, restaurants, cinemas, museums, art galleries, shops, and so much more.

Due to the mixture of neo-Gothic homes built here in the early 20th century, mixed with the recent influence of creatives have all come together to make La Floresta an attractive zone to grab a coffee, and walk its streets.

Check out the WWII at Casa Museo Trude Sojka, a museum housing a collection of art created by a woman who escaped the European Natzi occupation, and settled in Ecuador. Her daughter now runs the museum and showcases life in Natzi-era times, as well as Ecuadorian influence in her work.

Have dinner at URKO, a seasonal restaurant offering the best of Ecuadorian cuisine, using fresh, local ingredients, based on the city’s seasons.

29 – Set up a tour to visit the town of Otavalo

Otavalo tours from Quito

Impressive volcanoes and indigenous culture reign over the small town of Otavalo, located in the Andean highlands.

One of the most remarkable sites to take in, in addition to the natural scenery is the Otavalo Market, where locals gather to buy a myriad of items ranging from ingredients, clothing, spices, ritualistic materials, and so much more.

Reminiscent of the markets of the pre-Columbian era, the Otavalo Market is one of the best ways to indulge in local culture and get a feel for Andean practices.

Check out a group tour from Quito, which offers stops in other must-see places such as Cayambe, home of Cayambe Volcano which is known as the highest point in Ecuador, before arriving in Otavalo.

The best day to explore the market is Saturday at the crack of dawn, in order to explore most of the market untouched.

30 – Contemplate contemporary art at the Contemporary Art Center of Quito

Contemporary Art Center of Quito, Quito

The Contemporary Art Center of Quito (CAC) is housed in an old military hospital built by an Italian architect, and now hosts a multitude of contemporary art pieces, ranging from sculptures, paintings, drawings, photography, and much more.

The art center focuses on artistic research and processes of contemporary arts nationally and internationally.

Located in the heart of the historic district of Quito, the CAC offers a window into international contemporary art pieces from renowned global artists that offer reflection and contemplation.

Wander through the beautiful courtyards, take in the various exhibits, and check out fun events put on frequently at the museum, such as a nightly ghost tour or other art workshops.

Opening in 2011, the CAC is free to enter however you must reserve your entrance time online.

31 – Go rafting in nearby Baños

rafting tours from Quito

Go white water rafting in Quito, specifically in Baños, a picturesque town located south of Quito known for many activities, including white water rafting.

The Pastaza River is a strong current river that is famous for some seriously fun and adventurous rafting in Baños.

Book your rafting tour online to better plan your schedule, or if you’d like, wake up early and book your rafting experience in person, however, this option may be riskier as spots are not guaranteed.

Rafting tours include the tour guide, medics nearby in case of an emergency, safety gear, and a wetsuit as well.

Make sure to also check out a relaxing activity afterward such as a soak in one of the geothermal baths (Baños means bath in Spanish), or indulge in one of the many spa experiences in Baños.

32 – Visit the jungle paradise that is Mindo Forest

Mindo Forest tours from Quito

A lush, and tropical getaway is Mindo Forest, located 2 hours east of Quito where visitors can expect invigorating waterfalls, leafy jungles, tons of adventure sports, and some of the best bird-watching experiences in Ecuador.

Known as the Cloud Forest, take in sights of mist dancing through the tree tops of the lush jungle, typically caused due to the mix of warm and cool temperatures with high humidity levels.

One of the best ways to see the misty outlooks is via a zip line, which takes visitors through various sections of the jungle in one of the most thrill-inducing activities.

Indulge in some chocolate tastings as well, where visitors can learn about the source of chocolate as well as learn the artisanal process of chocolate making.

Make sure to check out tours that combine chocolate tasting, zip lining, and more.

33 – Get experimental at the Museo Interactivo de Ciencia

Museo Interactivo de Ciencia, Quito

Opened in 2008, the Museo Interactivo de Ciencia (MIC) is a scientific space determined to promote and sustain innate human curiosity, questioning, critical thinking, and the scientific perspective amongst its citizens.

Housed inside a previous textile factory, some of the exhibits shown inside MIC include topics in sensory, experimental, society, culture, and technology.

Check out the ample amounts of events and workshops conducted for children and adults, from science coffee chats to lectures on seasons, and book signings.

The museum is open every day from 9 am – 5 pm.

34 – Catch an amazing golden hour at the Centro Cultural Itchimbia

Centro cultural Itchimbia, Quito

The magnificent sight of the Centro Cultural Itchimbia (the cultural center of Itchimbia) is situated on top of a hill that stands 3,000 meters above sea level and appears as a glass and metal structure, resembling a crystal palace or a greenhouse.

Before the structure was imported from Germany, and installed in its current site in 1889, this same hill was used by the Incas and Quitus groups as a space for worship.

Today, the Centro Cultural Itchnimbia is a space that often hosts a variety of cultural exhibitions as well as concerts, festivals, and more.

Make sure to also check out the surrounding amenities such as the Ecuadorian restaurant, Pim’s Restaurant, and take in some beautiful vistas of the city from above.

35 – Indulge in Ecuadorian cuisine on a food tour

food tours in Quito

One of the best ways to learn about a new culture is via food.

Get to know the local ingredients used in typical Ecuadorian cooking, learn new flavor combinations, and check out some of the best local restaurants on a food tour, serving one of Latin America’s freshest and most appetizing cuisines.

Be guided by a local food guide, and be taken to a variety of hot spots for some of Quito’s most famous dishes including Hornado (roasted pig), Pescado Encocado (fish in coconut sauce), and Ecuadorian-Style Shrimp Ceviche.

In some restaurants, try some traditional beverages as well such as Colada Morada (spiced berry drink), Chicha de Piña (oatmeal pineapple drink), and refreshing Guanabana Juice.

Join a group of 4-10 other foodies, and explore the food scene in some of Quito’s most popular neighborhoods such as Guapulo and La Floresta.

36 – Experience sports passion at a live sporting event

sports events in Quito

You may think of soccer as the main sporting event that Ecuador fans love, however other sports including baseball, basketball, and American football, also rank as some of the most fun sports in Ecuador to either participate in or watch as a spectator.

Regardless of who you root for, or which sport you love the most, check out the different sporting events that take place in Quito in one of its many stadiums.

The Atahualpa Olympic Stadium – home to the Ecuador national football team, S.D. Quito, C.D. Universidad Católica del Ecuador, El Nacional and América de Quito – hosts the majority of national soccer games, however, they are also known to host a few other sports and even major concerts.

If you’re looking to catch Quito’s soccer league – LDU Quito – chances are that the games will take place inside Estadio Rodrigo Paz Delgado. Check out a guided tour of the facilities, and step inside spaces where few fans get to enter.

If you’re around southern Quito, stop by the Estadio Gonzalo Pozo Ripalda and catch a game of the Aucas Football Club.

37 – Learn about astronomy and atmospheric physics at the Astronomical Observatory of Quito

Astronomical Observatory of Quito

Considered one of the oldest observatories in all of South America, dating back to 1873, the Astronomical Observation of Quito welcomes curious minds to learn more about natural sciences and astronomy to serve global and national necessities better.

Inside the observatory, visitors will be able to see that a lot of the original tools are still being used to an extent, while the museum has integrated newer technology throughout the years.

Take a look at the 5 different exhibits, ranging from astrophysics to spacial climate and meteorology. Something to consider is booking a nocturnal observation, allowing visitors to view the skies and study planets and the Astros. Those bookings are to be done separately.

The museum is open every day except for Sundays and operates between 9 am – 5 pm. Tickets can be reserved online or purchased at the door.

38 – Sharpen your cooking skills in a cooking class

cooking classes in Quito

Put into practice your cooking skills, or if you’re a beginner, learn some of the best tips and skills inside a cooking class while in Quito.

Learn about the diversity of flavors, and ingredients, and practice them in a group setting with a knowledgeable cooking instructor.

Learn how to make some of Quito’s most famed dishes, including Educadorian shrimp-style ceviche, Cuy Asado (roasted guinea pig), and Seco de Chivo (braised goat).

Shop together for the ingredients at a local market, ask questions about the ingredients and their cultivation, and learn about which flavors and scents go together best that you may not have known before.

Cooking classes begin at $77 USD and include materials and ingredients, a professional chef, and a visit to the market.

39 – Browse through the stalls of the Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal

Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal, Quito

Visit the Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal, situated 2 hours south of Quito, which welcomes shoppers from all over to walk through the stalls selling a variety of items from wallets, belts, bags, clothes, blankets, and so much more.

You may have heard of Otavalo Market, a great option for a local market experience. However, Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal is another great option to test your bartering skills and pick up some unique souvenirs for your friends back home.

Check out artisanal items made from alpaca wool, beautiful rugs, and affordable jewelry. Browse through the almost 100 stalls, and be prepared to do some heavy-duty shopping and people-watching.

The market opens every day from 9 am – 7 pm.

40 – Make dinner reservations at the best restaurants in Quito

best restaurants in Quito

Check out some of the best restaurants in Quito, ready to offer you the freshness and richness of Quito cuisine, as well as spectacular service and dining experience.

Vista Hermosa (Beautiful View) is a restaurant that is centrally located in the historic downtown of Quito and definitely lives up to its name by offering expansive panoramic views of the historic downtown.

Centrally located in historic downtown Quito, step into Tianguez – a heritage-rich, eclectic, restaurant located near the church of San Fransisco. Indulge in local flavor and try their shrimp and rice dish along with a craft beer.

Try clean, organic, and housemade Ecuadorian dishes made from scratch inside Masaya Bistro while enjoying either courtyard seating or inside.

Award-winning restaurant Zazu is considered one of the best restaurants in Quito and is the best option if you’re looking for seafood and grilled meats, located in the heart of downtown historic Quito.

41 – Feast your eyes on the colors of the Mercado Central

Mercado Central, Quito

The Mercado Central is a great place to check out and see for yourself the different aromas, colors, and textures of fresh produce and ingredients, located near the famed Centro Cultural Itchimbia.

Feast your eyes on the sight of a local market, or simply just feast in one of the two food courts inside, offering some of the most authentic Ecuadorian, home-style dishes that you can’t beat.

Refresh yourself with freshly squeezed juice, taking advantage of the beautiful abundance of fresh and sweet fruit, or buy a delicious freshly baked loaf of bread.

Check out the other floors of the market, especially the bottom floor as you may find specialized services and rituals performed by healers.

42 – Watch a performance at the iconic Teatro Sucre

Teatro Sucre, Quito
lights show on Teatro Sucre’s facade

Opening in 1922, the Teatro Sucre is one of the cultural gems of Quito as a recognized performance theater, presenting concerts from some of the most notable Latin singers as well as other international performers.

Though it has been open for quite a few years, the theater closed in 1996 for renovations and then reopened in 2004.

Brimming with exquisite Baroque architecture, the theater will have you looking up and around upon entering, as you take in the marvelous details of mythological creatures and adorning light fixtures.

Check their packed upcoming show calendar, and consider attending a concert to have the experience of attending a show at the grand Teatro Sucre.

Make sure to stop by for an early dinner at the second-floor restaurant in the theater called Theatrum Restaurant & Wine Bar, offering delectable Mediterranean cuisine dishes.

43 – Go out for a beer tasting in Quito

beer tastings in Quito

Take yourself out to a little beer tasting experience in Quito, and enjoy learning and trying local craft beers, as well as learning about the history of beer making in Quito.

Visit some of the best breweries in the city, and sample some of their best-selling beers, as you check out the local drinking scene, and spot the places to revisit on your own time.

Learn about classic beers loved by the Ecuadorians, and what makes them different from other beers worldwide, amongst other interesting facts.

It’s a great activity to do if you are traveling solo especially, or if you’re traveling with friends, so make sure to check out a beer tasting while in Quito.

As part of a few tastings, visitors will receive snacks as well as be transported in an air-conditioned car to and from their hotel.

44 – Party Quito style at Plaza Foch

Plaza Foch, Quito

Plaza Foch is a town square located 10 minutes south of the historic district of Quito and is most widely known for its vibrant nightlife that goes onto the early hours of the next day.

Plan for a fun evening of bar hopping and catching dinner in one of the many restaurants in the vicinity, offering a wide range of mostly Ecuadorian classic dishes, as well as a few international cuisines.

If nightlife isn’t your thing, try giving Plaza Foch a try during the day, and take advantage of the many different shops and cafes in the area to observe the local culture, and gain a different view of everyday life in Quito.

45 – Get an incredible view of Quito with a drink in hand at a rooftop bar

rooftop bars in Quito

Enjoy the end of a busy day sightseeing all over Quito preferably with a craft drink in hand, and an indescribable view of all of Quito’s beautiful features from a high point of view.

Cruz del Valdo is an incredible rooftop bar offering some of the best of Ecuadorian foods, impressive views of the city, and impeccable interior design that is inspired by local culture while giving modern feels.

Vertigo Rooftop will give sky-high views within a loungy, luxurious, comfortable setting, perfect for an evening of chatting with friends. Check out their complete menu of craft cocktails, and enjoy the small tapas that accompany each drink.

Lastly, check out The Secret Garden, situated on a UNESCO World Heritage building in the heart of historic Quito, offering refreshing beverages to the sound of live music and perfect vibes.

How to get to Quito?

Quito’s main international airport is Mariscal Sucre Quito International Airport, located only a 37-minute drive from the historic downtown of Quito.

Though travelers can opt for Metropolitan Transportation System Trolebús to connect visitors to the city center, the best way to arrive in Quito is via airport transfers, starting from $30 for private cars, or $20 for a coach bus.

An airport transfer will ensure security, promptness, and easy drop-off at your hotel, and it is by far the most comfortable way to travel between the airport and your hotel.

Where to stay in Quito?

Casa Anabela Hotel is centered in the historic heart of Quito and offers guests boutique amenities and charm. Guests especially enjoy breakfast included in the booking and American-style breakfast options to choose from.

Consider a stay at Casa El Edén and enjoy the stunning courtyard-style hotel, built in a colonial-style house in the historic district of Quito. Enjoy the beautiful corners of the hotel including the reading room and a rooftop garden featuring stunning views of Quito and the mountains.

Spend the night or two at Posada Tambuca raved by many travelers for its high-speed internet, social activities, free walking tour options, in-house entertainment activities, and games for guests to enjoy. For the price, guests get the biggest bang for their buck.

Adored for its garden and sun terrace, Hotel Casona 1914 welcomes guests every morning with a fresh continental breakfast, as well as an in-house restaurant. Guests also enjoyed the comfortable beds and room cleanliness.

Visiting Quito on a budget?

One of the best ways to explore Quito and the crown jewels hidden within its streets and corners is on a free walking tour.

A free walking tour guarantees travelers the best way to explore the lay of the land, recognize their new surroundings, and even make friends with their tour guide or other curious travelers.

Make sure to find and book a walking tour, and explore the different sides of Quito from historical facts, to urban legends, and fascinating facts, for free.

Final thoughts

Quito is an incredible mix of South American tradition and European influence that together, have merged to create the Quito of today, and tomorrow.

From the stunning sights of volcanoes in the distance to the remarkable and beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the entire historic district of Quito, spend a few days immersing yourself in the rich culture of dance, art, cuisine, and indigenous ceremonies that will truly inspire you to say all you need is (Quito) Ecuador.

We hope that you enjoyed reading along the most fun things to do in Quito, and hope that you’ve grabbed some more ideas to add to your itinerary.

Happy travels!