Flanked by several important buildings—the Archbishop’s Palace, City Hall, Government Palace, and the cathedral—Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza Grande to the locals) has been part of Quito’s streetscape since 16th century. What was once a central market and bullfighting arena is today a shady square.The Basics
Chances are you’ll pass through this main plaza at some point during your time in Quito. Just about every city tour stops here, and several of the surrounding buildings are open for visits, too. Step inside the courtyard of the Archbishop’s Palace to see the Moorish-inspired architecture, view the art collection within the 16th-century cathedral, or take a guided tour of the Government Palace (Palacio de Gobierno) to learn about the building and enjoy views of the plaza from above.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- This plaza, at the heart of Old Town, is perfect for relaxing and people-watching.
- Don’t forget your passport; you’ll need it to tour the Government Palace.
- Wear comfortable shoes—there’s a lot to see and do in the vicinity of the plaza.
This central plaza sits within walking distance of much of Old Town. To get there by trole, get off at Plaza Grande and walk for about a block.
When to Get There
This outdoor space has plenty of benches for relaxing in the Andean sunshine. Come on Mondays at 11am to see the changing of the guard, or plan to visit in the evening to see the surrounding structures illuminated.
A Clean Source of Water
During the 16th century, Spanish colonists built a protected well in response to fears that local Incas might try to poison their water supply. The site of the well soon become a place for gathering and socializing; hence, Independence Plaza was born.