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Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
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Independence Square

Rows of stately colonial buildings and a 16th-century cathedral surround this historic civic square on the site where Quito’s Old Town made its humble beginnings.

Independence Square (Plaza de la Independencia, also known as Plaza Grande) is the civic heart of historic Quito. Flanked by historic sites such as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito, Carondelet Palace (the presidential palace), the Municipal Palace and the Archbishop’s Palace, the square is the perfect base from which to visit all the sites of Quito Old Town.

The square began as a meeting place and water source for the fledgling town. Since the 16th century, townspeople have gathered here to collect water from the fountain and watch bullfights. Today, the square features a modern monument to the Royal Audience of Quito, who first called for independence from the Spanish colony in 1809.

Stroll along the square’s tree-lined paths to admire the surrounding colonial buildings and the tall independence monument. Admire the gardens dotted with charming flowerbeds and fountains. The square’s shaded seats are popular with students enjoying a recess, locals partaking in some people-watching, and street vendors selling souvenirs and snacks.

Take a seat on one of the curved stone benches and look up at the Cathedral of Quito. The cathedral was built in the mid-16th century. One of the oldest cathedrals in South America, it is rich with legend and history. According to one legend, a drunken man offended the Gallo de la Catedral, the rooster that sits atop the cathedral, so the rooster flew down and pecked the man.

Wander around the square’s bordering streets to find many typical Ecuadorian restaurants, cafés and local craft stores. Stop by the Information Center in the Municipal Palace to learn about the area’s heritage and to enquire about history tours.

Independence Square is located in Quito Old Town. The square is open daily and free to enter. Most of the colonial buildings are open to the public but may charge an admission fee. Reach Independence Square by trolleybus or find metered parking on nearby streets.


Guide to Exploring around Independence Square


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Best Lodging Options Near Independence Square

See all 634 Properties near Independence Square
Swissotel Quito $78
Swissotel Quito

Swissotel Quito

Av 12 de Octubre y 1820 Luis Cordero, Quito, Pichincha
     
    4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly Quito hotel is located in the business district, within a 15-minute walk of Trude Sojka Cultural House and Foch Square. Independence Square and Catedral Metropolitana de Quito are also within 3 mi (5 km).

    Casa Gangotena $279
    Casa Gangotena

    Casa Gangotena

    Calle Bolívar OE 6-41 & Cuenca, Quito, Pichincha
       
      4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Quito Historic Center, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of San Francisco Church, Catedral Metropolitana de Quito, and Independence Square. Foch Square is 2.4 mi (3.8 km) away.

      Secret Garden $13
      Secret Garden

      Secret Garden

      Antepara E4 60 y Rios, Quito
         
        2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Centro Histórico, this hostel is within a 15-minute walk of San Blas Square, Independence Square, and Catedral Metropolitana de Quito. Foch Square is 1.7 mi (2.7 km) away.

        Illa Experience Hotel $230
        Illa Experience Hotel

        Illa Experience Hotel

        Calle Junin E1-44 y Montufar, Quito
           
          4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Quito Historic Center, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Bolivar Theatre, Independence Square, and Catedral Metropolitana de Quito. Foch Square is 2 mi (3.3 km) away.

          Hotel Plaza del Teatro $22
          Hotel Plaza del Teatro

          Hotel Plaza del Teatro

          Guayaquil, N8-75 y Esmeraldas, Quito, Pichincha
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Quito Historic Center, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Catedral Metropolitana de Quito and Independence Square. Basilica of the National Vow and El Panecillo are also within 1 mi (2 km).

            Hotel San Francisco de Quito $63
            Hotel San Francisco de Quito

            Hotel San Francisco de Quito

            Sucre Oe 3-17 y Guayaquil, Centro Histórico, Quito
               
              3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Quito Historic Center, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Museo Casa de Sucre, Catedral Metropolitana de Quito, and Independence Square. Foch Square is 2.2 mi (3.5 km) away.

              Hotel Plaza Grande
              Hotel Plaza Grande

              Hotel Plaza Grande

              Garcia Moreno N5-16 Y Chile, Quito, Pichincha
                 
                5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Quito Historic Center, this luxury hotel is steps from Independence Square and Catedral Metropolitana de Quito. Basilica of the National Vow and El Panecillo are also within 1 mi (2 km).

                Masaya Hostel Quito $23
                Masaya Hostel Quito

                Masaya Hostel Quito

                Calle Rocafuerte OE3 85 y Venezuela, Quito, Pichincha
                   
                  2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Quito Historic Center, this hostel is within a 10-minute walk of Queen´s Arch, Catedral Metropolitana de Quito, and Independence Square. Foch Square is 2.3 mi (3.7 km) away.