What to do in Quito City?

Quito is Ecuador’s vibrant capital city. This metropolis in the mountains is full of culture and is even a UNESCO world heritage site. Whether you’re into history, adventure, or local food & nightlife, Quito offers fun things to do for nearly any interest. Quito is an intriguing travel destination to consider. It’s one of the largest cities in the world to lie right next to the equator. And at an elevation of 2,850 meters (9,350 feet, or nearly 2 miles high), Quito is the highest constitutional capital city in the entire world.

This high-flung equatorial city dates way back to its founding, in 1534. Some of the architecture from that century can still be found in Quito’s historic Old Town today! But fast-forward to 2020 and visitors will realize that Quito is a fascinating mix of old-meets-new. Historic alleyways and baroque buildings are situated against a backdrop of modern skyscrapers with trendy eateries.

Quito is a land of beautiful contrasts. The city is indeed a busy and sprawling metropolis. Yet the looming volcanos and tranquil Andean mountain peaks surrounding Quito provide a stark reminder of the serene landscapes all around.

Home to the country’s largest international airport, Quito is frequently used as a gateway city to access the rest of Ecuador. Often travelers visit Quito as a quick one-day stopover on the way to the Galapagos. But there are so many great things to do in Quito to easily justify a longer stay. Ecuador’s capital can be an unexpected delight to travelers.

There are plenty of things to do in Quito itself to fill several days of a packed itinerary. Quito contains:

  • Dozens of historic buildings to discover in Old Town
  • The unique opportunity of visiting the equator line
  • Hiking trails to trek from right within the city
  • Hundreds of ornate churches to admire
  • A ride from the city into the Andes one of the highest cable cars in the world
  • Fantastic local cuisine to try, plus some interesting local drinks to tip back
  • More than fifty museums to tour!

Quito acts as an excellent travel hub to organize excursions within a two-hour drive of the city. There’s an abundance of popular Quito day trips to consider, from summiting an icy volcano to river tubing through a cloud forest.

The many things to do listed within this detailed Quito travel guide have been carefully curated after doing several months of on-the-ground research in the city, reviewing Quito’s best attractions and activities.

It’s all in a grand effort to help travelers make the most of a visit here. So we hope this Best Things to Do in Quito Travel Guide proves helpful to anyone planning a trip to this great South American capital.

Welcome to Quito!