While most of Quito’s attractions are located in the historic city, the modern city provides visitors with plenty of things to see and do as well. There are numerous museums and parks as well as shopping and restaurants. We didn’t have time to visit all of the attractions but this entry will explain what we did manage to see.
Parque La Alameda
First, we took a walk through some parks near the historic city. The first one was Parque La Alameda. It’s a very nice park with a small lake and paddleboats.
At the west end of the park is Plaza Bolívar, which includes a huge monument to Simón Bolívar.
In the center of the park is the Observatorio de Quito, an astronomical observatory opened in 1864. It is the oldest observatory in South America. There is a small museum inside. Admission is US$2 and it’s open from 10am to 5pm.
Along the eastern end of the park is a nice theatre building, Teatro Capitol.
A couple blocks east of Parque La Alameda is the Asamblea Nacional, which houses the legislative branch of Ecuador’s government.
Parque El Ejido
Parque El Ejido, a large park full of tall trees, is further to the north. It was pretty empty when we walked by, but in one corner there were some people playing football and a few running with their dogs.
Across the street is the wide-open Parque del Arbolito, which also contains a few museums on its east end.
The Museo Nacional complex, including the Casa de la Cultura Ecuatoriana and Teatro Nacional, are all located in a small cluster of buildings. Admission to the museums is free. They are open from 9am to 5pm Tuesday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm Saturday and Sunday. We didn’t visit, but the hotel reception told us they are a good place to learn about indigenous culture and see a huge collection of pre-Columbian and colonial art. On a return trip to Quito, I will make this a priority.
Some places we didn’t have a chance to visit include the Jardín Botánico (Botanical Garden), Museo Etnográfico (Ethnographic Museum), Museo Amazónico (Amazon Museum), and the views from the statue of Francisco de Orellana in Guápulo.