- Old Town
Lonely Planet review for Plaza Grande
While wandering around colonial Quito, you'll probably pass through the Plaza Grande (formally known as Plaza de la Independencia) several times. The austere white building on the northwest side of the plaza (between Chile and Espejo) with the national flag flying atop is the Palacio del Gobierno (Presidential Palace; García Moreno). The president does indeed carry out business in this building, so sightseeing is limited to the entrance. Inside, a mural depicts Francisco de Orellana's descent of the Amazon. The guard at the gate may allow you in to take a look.
On the southwest side of the plaza stands Quito's recently painted cathedral with religious paintings by several notable artists of the Quito School.
On the northeast side of the plaza, the Palacio Arzobispal (Archbishop's Palace; Chile) is now a colonnaded row of small shops and restaurants. It's located between García Moreno and Venezuela.