What to see in Quito Old Town?

Plaza Grande Quito Ecuador

Embark on a journey through time as we explore together the wonders of Quito Old Town, a cultural treasure that captivates at every turn with its colonial splendor and imposing historical legacy.

On this fascinating tour, we invite you to uncover the best-kept secrets of this city declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where cobbled streets whisper tales of conquest and revolution, and majestic churches and palaces transport you to past eras of grandeur and splendor.

From the iconic Plaza Grande to the most remote corners where forgotten stories intertwine, every step in Quito Old Town is an enriching experience that awakens the senses and ignites the imagination.

Additionally, we will provide you with some lodging tips near the area so you can visit the city without straying far from the most touristy spots and take advantage of the best hotel rates in Quito old town. You’ve come to the right place.

Are you looking for things to do in Quito?

Tourists visit our city year after year for many reasons: the contact with nature, the gastronomy, the proximity to the Andes, its architecture, its people… There are endless possibilities to do in Quito, but it is highly recommended to start with the old town.

It is one of the largest and best-preserved historic centers in Latin America, making it a must-visit destination for any traveler eager for history and culture. Today we show you 7 places to visit in Quito, Ecuador.

A Must-See: San Francisco Plaza and its Surroundings

Immerse yourself in the historic heart of Quito and discover the unparalleled charm of San Francisco Plaza and its surroundings. This emblematic square, located in the heart of the city’s Historic Center, is much more than a simple public space: it is a true crucible of history, culture, and local life that captivates those fortunate enough to visit it.

In the center of the square stands the majestic church and convent of San Francisco, an architectural gem dating back to the 16th century and one of the main references of colonial art in Ecuador.

Its ornate facade and imposing bell tower are just the prelude to the beauty that awaits inside, where you can admire altarpieces carved in golden wood, sacred artworks, and an atmosphere of serenity and solemnity that will transport you to times past.

But San Francisco Plaza is not only home to this magnificent church: its surroundings are full of life and color, with cobbled streets winding between colonial houses, charming small squares, and a vibrant commercial and cultural activity that invites you to get lost and explore every corner.

Here you will find traditional markets where you can indulge in local gastronomy, craft shops where you will discover unique souvenirs, and small cafes and restaurants offering Ecuadorian culinary delights. Additionally, you can admire the architecture of historic buildings such as the Archbishop’s Palace and the Bolivar Theater, which we will discuss later.

Heart of Quito: The Architectural Ensemble of Plaza Grande

Surrounded by imposing colonial buildings and steeped in historical significance, this architectural ensemble is a must-visit for anyone wishing to immerse themselves in the heritage richness of the Ecuadorian capital.

Dominating the square stands the majestic Carondelet Palace, the seat of the Ecuadorian government and a silent witness to centuries of political and social history. Its imposing neoclassical facade and richly decorated interior are a testament to the power and grandeur of bygone eras, while its balconies offer a privileged view of the square and its surroundings.

Right next to it lies the imposing Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito, a masterpiece of colonial architecture that blends Baroque, Renaissance, and Gothic elements. Its interior is equally impressive, with golden altars, religious paintings, and an atmosphere of serenity and reverence that invites contemplation.

A Journey to the Past in the Church of the Society of Jesus

Built during the peak of the 17th century, the Church stands as a tangible testament to the colonial splendor of the region. It’s worth mentioning that it is internationally recognized as one of the most important colonial gems in Latin America!

The facade of the Church of the Society of Jesus is a masterpiece in itself, adorned with exquisite details that welcome visitors from around the world. Carved in stone and decorated with religious motifs and Christian symbols, these architectural elements reveal the skill and devotion of the artisans who dedicated years to their creation.

Upon entering the interior, one is immediately enveloped by the opulence and splendor characteristic of South American Baroque. The walls are lined with panels of carved wood and covered with sheets of gold leaf, while the ceilings are adorned with frescoes depicting biblical scenes and glorifying the lives of saints.

The altars, richly ornamented with sculptures and reliefs, compete for the attention of visitors, who are mesmerized by the beauty and majesty of these sacred artworks. Every detail, from the candelabras to the carved wooden benches, is carefully designed to inspire reverence and devotion in those who set foot in this sacred space.

The Church of the Society of Jesus is not only a place of worship but also a symbol of Ecuador’s cultural and religious heritage. Over the centuries, it has withstood earthquakes, conflicts, and political changes, remaining steadfast as a beacon of faith and hope for the local community and the visitors who admire it.

La Ronda Neighborhood: Stories, Traditions and Artistic Expressions

Strolling through the narrow streets of La Ronda is to delight in a unique atmosphere, where colonial architecture blends with the hustle and bustle of modern life. The colorful facades and flower-adorned windows transport visitors to a bygone era, while workshops and artisan shops showcase the talent of the local community.

Undoubtedly, it is a vibrant center of cultural activity that can be enjoyed both day and night.

During the day, visitors can explore the art galleries and museums that dot the neighborhood, discovering the rich history and cultural diversity of Quito. At night, La Ronda comes alive with live music and traditional dances, where locals and tourists come together to celebrate the life and joy of Ecuadorian culture.

The history of La Ronda dates back to colonial times when it was home to artists, poets, and musicians who found inspiration in its cobbled streets. Today, the neighborhood continues to be a haven for creativity and artistic expression, with numerous events and festivals celebrating the country’s traditions and fostering cultural exchange.

Every corner offers a new surprise, whether in the form of a restored old mansion or a folk dance performance.

The Imposing Facade of the Sucre Theater

With its majestic facade and rich history, this theater is much more than a mere entertainment venue: it is a cultural monument that has witnessed centuries of art, music, and drama in the Ecuadorian capital.

The Corinthian columns, decorative arches, and ornamental details bear witness to the ingenuity and mastery of the architects who designed it, while the statues adorning its main entrance add a touch of grandeur and sophistication.

Its main hall, with its exquisite decoration and impressive decorated dome, is the perfect stage to enjoy an evening of opera, ballet, or theater.

In addition to its architectural beauty, the Sucre Theater also has a rich history to tell. Since its inauguration in the 19th century, it has been the scene of important historical events and has hosted some of the most prominent figures in the world of art and culture in Ecuador and beyond.

The Colonial Grandeur of Carondelet Palace

The history of Carondelet Palace dates back to the 16th century when it was built as a residence for the colonial governors of the region. Throughout the centuries, it has witnessed crucial historical moments for the country and has been the stage for important political and social decisions.

The architecture of Carondelet Palace is a magnificent example of neoclassical style, with its Corinthian columns, triangular pediments, and ornamental details that evoke the grandeur of Ancient Rome. The building’s facade, with its wrought-iron balconies and grilled windows, is a testament to the elegance and refinement of colonial architecture.

Interestingly, inside are the offices of the president of the republic and other government agencies, where decisions that affect the country’s destiny are made.

The Archbishop’s Palace and Its Historical Influence

Built in the 16th century, the Archbishop’s Palace has been for centuries the residence of the archbishops of Quito and a focal point of the city’s religious and social life. Its imposing facade, with its wrought-iron balconies and grilled windows, is a magnificent example of Spanish colonial architecture, while its interior houses an impressive collection of sacred art and antique furniture.

For centuries, it has been the scene of important political and social events and has played a crucial role in the spiritual and cultural life of the city.

Today, the Archbishop’s Palace remains a place of great importance for the Catholic community of Quito, and its doors are open to all who wish to explore its rich history and magnificent architecture. It is a living reminder of the Church’s legacy in Ecuador and a testimony to the deep connection between faith and history in this land.

Looking for lodging Near the Architectural Gems of the City?

Being close to tourist sites allows travelers to make the most of their time, as they can quickly and easily reach them. This gives them the flexibility to explore points of interest at their own pace and return to their accommodation easily whenever they wish.

Do you want to fully immerse yourself in the atmosphere and charm of the city? Then you should get to know Hotel Ecuatreasures, one of the best hotels in Quito Old Town. Those who have visited us claim to have felt comfortable, safe, and amazed by the accommodation. But… what sets us apart from other hotels in Quito?

Discover one of the Best Hotels in Quito’s Old Town

Our Hotel-Casa Ecuatreasures is much more than just a place to stay: it is an eco-friendly refuge that offers a unique experience in an environment full of charm and authenticity.

This boutique hotel in Quito’s Old Town, located in a meticulously restored colonial-style house, combines the elegance of the past with modern comforts, providing guests with an unforgettable stay.

Every corner is imbued with Ecuadorian Andean identity and environmental care. From its traditional architecture to its commitment to sustainability, here we offer a unique experience that connects you with Ecuador’s cultural and natural richness.