Maria Hedian
Maria Hedian
New York City, New York State, USA
Solo Traveler | Event Producer | Marketing Creative

A Local's Guide to Quito

While many people will tell you to visit La Mitad del Mundo (the equator) or stay at Hotel Quito, I am here to show you the other side of this magnificent city - through the eyes of a local. Everyone knows that some of the best places are the ones kept more low-key. In addition to its traditional treasures, Quito is also home to many amazing international places. This is probably what makes it such a popular destination for travelers worldwide. In this guide, I have highlighted the best local places to help make your next trip unforgettable. Take a look around and enjoy everything this beautiful city has to offer! 
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1. Parque Itchimbia

Iquique y Jose Maria Aguime, Quito 170150, Ecuador

As far as parks go, this one takes the prize for most stunning views of the city. Located across from the Teleferico, Parque Itchimbia has awesome bike trails, interesting sculptures and the iconic Quito sign with breathtaking views of the city in the background. It is possible to walk up the path, but if you're not used to the altitude (I wasn't the first time I tried and nearly died!) you can take public transportation - there is a bus that makes it up there - or a taxi. Any time of the day is gorgeous but sunset is my personal favorite. Enjoy a peaceful day while taking in all of the magnificence this city has to offer!

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2. Mercado Artesanal

Jorge Washington 611, Quito 170143, Ecuador

Ecuadorian artesanal market that covers an entire city block. You can find handmade pieces native to only the country which make for excellent souvenirs. All prices are negotiable, the sellers expect a bit of haggling! Overall, one of the best places to buy touristic handcrafts in Ecuador. Make sure to get there early as it gets very crowded. Must-see while visiting, you won't regret it!

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3. Cotopaxi Volcano

Tanicuchi, Ecuador

Cotopaxi is the second highest mountain in Ecuador. In order to get to the start of the "climb", you will need to go by car. Once there, start your climb slowly as the altitude affects your ears and head and can be quite painful. Best advice I've received: no heavy eating or alcohol consumption the night before the climb. If you are able to make it to Base Camp 1, you will get hot chocolate at the lodge!

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4. Museo Casa de Sucre

Venezuela, Quito Canton, Ecuador

Wonderful small museum located in historical Quito. Former home of Antonio Jose de Sucre, a military hero in Ecuador. The house is very well preserved and all the military historical artifacts are fascinating to learn about. Free tour is offered and is fantastic, however only offered in Spanish. Total time: 30-45 min

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5. Fundacion Guayasamin

E18-94 y Barrio, Mariano Calvache, Quito 170122, Ecuador

Fantastic museum about the life and works of artist Oswaldo Guayasamin. First part of tour is through his very large home and second through a connecting art museum. His children donated all of their father's work to the city of Quito upon his death and it is a cultural treasure. You will walk through his studio, see breathtaking portraits including some painted for famous people such as Fidel Castro and Mercedes Sosa. Tours are conducted in both Spanish or English, though much more informative in Spanish. No pictures allowed inside. Highly recommend!

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6. Pim's Panecillo

Calle Melchor Aymerich, on top of the Panecillo, Quito, Ecuador

Every time I visit Quito, I make sure to stop by this restaurant - it is one of my favorites in the city. Whether you go during the day or at night, the views are breathtaking. The service is impeccable and the food is absolutely delicious. The restaurant itself has a rustic feel and sometimes, you will have live music while you eat (depending on the occasion). All in all, this restaurant is a MUST SEE when in Quito!

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7. Rincon Manabita

Tomas de Berlanga e Isla Santa Fe, Quito, Ecuador

Small, simple Ecuadorian restaurant with many selections from the province of Manabi. Seafood is the most popular option, however they have other plates you can choose from. You pay upon arrival and then select your table which gives you the opportunity to take a look at the different plates offered, just in case you're unsure what to order!

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8. La Purisima

y, Guayaquil &, Quito, Ecuador

I accidentally stumbled across this wonderful restaurant in Historic Quito and am so happy I did! It is vegetarian friendly (a must for me) but has plenty of options for everyone to enjoy. The setting looks like it's out of Phantom of the Opera and the host was super friendly. The drinks were strong and had excellent presentation. Food was delicious! Definitely recommend if you are in the area!

9. Lua By Alex -- CLOSED

Pontevedra N24-422, Quito 170143, Ecuador

Fantastic food in La Floresta, which is in my opinion, the best neighborhood to eat in Quito! Its not too touristy which is nice and has a large selection of food. They have a warm ceviche which sounded interesting and tasted great! The environment is friendly - everyone makes you feel at home!

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10. La Choza

12 de Octubre N24-551 y Cordero, Quito 170514, Ecuador

Traditional Ecuadorian food - one of the best in the city! The decor is colorful and authentic to the region. The service and staff are all very friendly. If you stop by on a Friday night, you are in for a treat! There is a folkloric dance show put on for patrons as they enjoy their food.

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11. La Briciola

Av. Isabel la Católica, Quito 170143, Ecuador

Fantastic Italian food in the center of Quito. Prices are not cheap but are reasonable. The food is delicious, everyone in our party was completely satisfied with their orders. The host and wait staff were extremely friendly and professional. Amazing food - definitely recommend!

12. Baalbek

Av. 6 de Diciembre y Wilson, Quito, Ecuador

Every single time I have eaten at this amazing Lebanese restaurant, the service is the same: IMPECCABLE. The quality and variety of the food here is superb (very vegetarian friendly!). If you stop by on a Thursday, there is a belly-dance show you can enjoy. Great food and great service for a great price!

13. Sereno Moreno

E3- y, Vicente León & Esmeraldas, Quito, Ecuador

Located in the center of Quito, this place is fantastic! It's a small place with an even smaller menu but absolutely everything on it is recommended. The place is family run and you will normally see/talk to one of the two brothers who are always there. Vegetarian options are available (try the ceviche de coco!!) as well as delicious draft beer. If you stick around, the restaurant has local DJs and musicians come by for nighttime entertainment. You could turn your dinner into a party! If you're in the area, definitely make it a point to stop by and enjoy this amazing gem in the center!

14. Pizzeria Amici Miei

Madrid, Quito 170136, Ecuador

This place never disappoints! The food is sensational, you can taste the freshness in the organic ingredients. Best pizza in town for a low price! What's not to love??

15. Cafeteria Chantilly

Roca 736 Y Av.amazonas, Quito, Ecuador

Beautiful French-style cafe and restaurant with food and pastries that are To Die For! The cafe offers a wonderful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city center while the restaurant provides the perfect meal for lunch or dinner. Their menu has something for everyone and their staff is absolutely accommodating. Cafeteria Chantilly is a must when you're visiting Quito!

16. Corfu

AV. Portugal E9-59 y Shyris, Quito, Ecuador

Anytime I visit Quito, I make it a point to stop at this delicious ice cream shop. They have every flavor imaginable (Mora is my favorite) but the best part is that they have a cone bowl that you can build a sundae off of to make your inner kid super excited for your delicious treat!

17. Bungalow 6

esq. Jose Calama y Diego de Almagro, Quito, Ecuador

This bar is awesome! Owned and run by Americans from Wisconsin, the bar features foosball tables, air hockey and large flat screens that play American sports (going there on a Sunday feels like you're right at home!). I know that when you're on vacation, you don't want to go somewhere that so closely resembles a bar from home, however - it's perfect for game days or simply if you are homesick. The bar food features buffalo wings, chicken fingers and delicious fries - right at home!

18. Abysmo

12 de Octubre y Foch | Diagonal Al Supermaxi, Quito, Ecuador

Great pub with craft beers, both local and international. The food is very good and service is always attentive. If you happen to stop by Thursday - Sunday, there is live music which always makes for an unforgettable night out!

19. The Hyde Rock Bar

Avenida Francisco de Orellana 46, Quito 170135, Ecuador

The Hyde is an excellent rock bar that has delicious food, strong drinks and live music. The atmosphere is laid back and very fun. The service is impeccable. Hands down, one of the best places to party in Quito!

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20. Cafe Democratico

Reina Victoria & Lizardo García, Quito 170143, Ecuador

Awesome place with an artsy feel. They serve craft beer, cocktails and have an interesting menu. Live bands and DJs take over at night making this a perfect hangout in Quito.

21. La Rosario

Los Rios N12-25 | Entre Espinoza y Antonio Elizalde, Quito, Ecuador

Wonderful small hotel near the Historic part of Quito. Rooms are not huge, but have enough space and are very clean. The wifi is free, there is an airport shuttle that is very reliable and even a pretty terrace you can relax on after a long day of visiting the city.

22. Hotel Reina Isabel

Av. Amazonas N-23-44 y Veintimilla, Quito, Ecuador

A hotel worthy of the 5-stars! This beautiful hotel in the center of Quito is very modern, comfortable and with some of the best staff in the world. During my stay, I decided to splurge on the suite and had a room with a hot tub and complimentary breakfast. The bed is ridiculously comfortable and the shower pressure is worth mentioning, because it's amazing! Exactly what my back needed after a long week of traveling with a backpack. You feel like royalty at this beautiful boutique hotel.

23. Hotel Boutique Portal de Cantuna

Bolivar Oe6-105 | Centro Historico, Quito, Ecuador

Nice hotel with a perfect location to all of the Historic Quito sites. All of the rooms are located around a centralized courtyard filled with beautiful plants and flowers. Breakfast is provided and is always very good. There is also a small restaurant on the first floor where you can get light meals and some drinks. The staff go out of their way to be helpful and very nice. I would definitely stay here again!

24. 593 Hostel Boutique

Gregorio Bobadilla y Granda Centeno, Quito 170521, Ecuador

This is a solo traveler's paradise! Everyone here is so friendly and the environment makes it easy to meet people and make friends. The decor is so interesting - very colorful and historic! The lounge is awesome, from games to Netflix to music. Very laid-back place with amazing service and the potential to make new travel buddies!

25. Hostal de La Rabida

La Rabida 227 y Santa Maria, Quito, Ecuador

Charming hotel with friendly staff and comfortable rooms! The food is delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The beds are SO comfortable and the staff go out of their way to make sure you have a memorable stay. Whether you need a cab, have a medical emergency or simply want to stay in the lounge a little later with the fireplace going - they are there to the rescue!

Last updated at Jul 25, 2018