Are you ready to feel on top of the world? Quito is the second highest city in the world and also one of the most spectacular! This city has it all from cosmopolitan streets to looming mountains overhead.
As the resident trip planner for my friends and family, I spend hours researching to put together the perfect itinerary. We only had a day to explore, but we made the most of it and saw some of the coolest spots in the city. If you too are only there for a day then you will want to see the highlights! I have a great guide below for the best things to do in Quito in just one day.
If you only have a day, you may not be acclimated to the elevation. So, take it slow and rest before you explore. Drink lots of water, take it easy, and then you’ll be ready to tour through this magnificent city.
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Table of Contents
How to Spend One Day in Quito
Visit Ciudad Mitad de Mundo
One of the most unique things about Quito is that it sits on the Equator. Visit the “middle of the world” and you’ll get to experience what it’s like to stand right on the Equator’s line! Take a photo here and show it to all your friends and family.
The Ciudad Mitad de Mundo has a gorgeous sculpture in the middle of it and a small museum. At the museum, you can learn about about Ecuadorian history and the various parts of Ecuador! One of the most fascinating parts is learning about the remote Amazonian tribes and their daily lives.
Ride the Teleferico
This is one of the newest attractions in the city, but also one of the best things to do in Quito. Gondolas will take you up the mountain until you’re at 13,000 feet above sea level. From there you’ll get breathtaking panoramic views over the entire city as well as the Cotapaxi Volcano. Tickets cost $8.50 and it gets crowded on nice days, so get there early so you won’t have to wait in line!
Once you get off the Gondola, there is a cafe and walking paths around to various viewpoints. If you’re feeling even more daring, you can take a ride on the highest swing set in all of South America. The experience is thrilling and exhilarating. Don’t forget to bring a jacket, because it gets windy at the top!
Walk Around Old Town
When you explore this area, it will be clear why Quito is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the buildings date back to the 1500s and they have so much character! You may even want to get a tour guide so that you can learn more about the history of the buildings.
Make sure to tour a few of the churches and visit La Ronda, one of the most colorful parts of the city. This area is walkable and you’ll find plenty of historic buildings, delicious food, and homemade goods to bring home!
Admire the San Francisco Church
In the center of the town’s square, you’ll find the San Francisco church. This church was built in the 1600s and is the second oldest in Ecuador! There is no entrance fee so it’s easy to add to a day long tour in Quito.
I always find that looking at the church’s art’s intricate details is fascinating. It’s crazy to think about the time and effort that goes into building these beautiful buildings! As you walk through, you’ll be stunned at the architecture, and pay close attention to the facade
See the Golden Compaña de Jesus
Have you ever seen a church that is covered in gold? Well, walk into church and prepare for your jaw to drop. There is over 7 tons of gold that covers the church inside. You can imagine how much that much have cost to build!
It’s crazy how much detail is etched into the walls, paintings, and sculptures throughout the building. You’ll really be in awe of how much work went into this stunning church. Unfortunately, this church doesn’t allow pictures so you’ll just have to keep them in your memory. Entering the church costs $5 so don’t forget to bring some cash!
Let me know if you enjoyed this guide on the best things to do in Quito and pin it for later!