Old town also includes 17 Squares, the most significant being Independence Plaza (map) where the Presidential Palace (map), the Archbishop’s Palace, a hotel used primarily by diplomats and the main municipal of Quito make up the four sides.
Almost always music, performed by locals who use the Plaza as a gathering place in the evening, permeates the scene in spontaneous affairs, and can range from singing to guitar to singing. A beautiful place to spend a lazy afternoon.
If you happen to be there during Christmas or Easter, you’ll be amazed at the number of events, masses, and processions that bring out the crowds. You’ll find craft shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels across its grid of streets.
Old Town has been called the ‘Reliquary of the Americas’ for the richness of its colonial- and independence-era architecture and heritage. It’s a great quarter to wander, with several excellent museums and plenty of restaurants and terrace and courtyard cafes for a rest while sightseeing. With unique restaurants, incredible churches worth seeing regardless of your religious views, museums, shops and more this 500 year old colonial city center provides a unique experience.
Modern, northern Quito (just to the north of the old city and south of the old airport – now called Parque Bicentenario) is a larger place worth exploring, particularly the “La Mariscal” quarter, with plenty of museums, urban parks, restaurants, and nightlife. The new National Museum (map) is here, a very well put-together history museum focused on Ecuador, especially the different native and Catholic colonial cultures.