Ecuador, Quito, Independence Square and Metropolitan Cathedral

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Plaza Grande


While wandering around colonial Quito, you'll probably pass through the Plaza Grande several times. Its benches are great for soaking up the Andean morning sun and watching the bustle all around. On Monday, the changing of the guards takes place on the plaza at 11am.

The white building on the plaza’s northwest side with the national flag flying atop is the Palacio de Gobierno, the seat of the Ecuadorian presidency. On the southwest side stands Quito’s cathedral.

On the northeast side of the plaza, the Palacio Arzobispal, a former archbishop’s palace, is now a colonnaded row of small shops and restaurants.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Quito attractions

1. Catedral Metropolitana

0.03 MILES

On Plaza Grande's southwest side stands Quito's cathedral. Although not the most ornate of the Old Town’s churches, it has some fascinating works by…

2. Palacio Arzobispal

0.04 MILES

On the northeast side of Plaza Grande, this former archbishop’s palace is now a colonnaded row of small shops and restaurants, located between Avenidas…

3. Palacio de Gobierno

0.04 MILES

The low white building on the northwestern side of Plaza Grande is the seat of the Ecuadorian presidency. Visitors can enter by joining a free guided tour…

4. Iglesia del Sagrario

0.06 MILES

Beside the cathedral on García Moreno stands the 17th-century Iglesia del Sagrario.

5. Centro Cultural Metropolitano

0.06 MILES

Just off Plaza Grande, this beautifully restored building houses the municipal library and lecture rooms, and hosts temporary art exhibitions.

6. Museo Alberto Mena Caamaño

0.06 MILES

Get a glimpse of Quito’s early colonial history through wax figures depicting the city's key events, including the massacre of August 2, 1810 when some…

7. Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús

0.11 MILES

Capped by green-and-gold domes, La Compañía de Jesús is Quito’s most ornate church and a standout among the baroque splendors of the Old Town. Free guided…

8. Convento San Agustín

0.12 MILES

This monastery is a fine example of 17th-century architecture, with unusual Moorish arches decorated with hundreds of golden pineapples. Many of the…