Tianguez: a stunning view
This is not the kind of place I normally go. It’s expensive and quite touristy but it does have a great location and I wanted to try canelazo. All that said, it’s a romantic little place right on the Plaza de San Francisco. The outside seating area offers a great view of the square lit up quite colorfully at night and even has heaters to help keep the chill off. It is also fenced off and has a guard to keep beggars from bothering you as you enjoy a drink that could probably feed them for an entire day.
The food looked to be pretty expensive and we were strictly there for the canelazo, a warm apple cider livened up with aguardiente, a high octane alcohol. It was a lovely warming drink perfect for Quito evenings. We went back a few weeks later only to be told that no alcohol could be served due to the local elections!
Dress Code: You'll need a jacket if sitting out at night in Quito.
- Wine Tasting
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
La Ronda: Weekend haunt in the old town
La Ronda (also known as Calle Morales) is a narrow street on the south side of the old town, and has become known for its relatively lively nightlife when compared with the rest of that area at least. We found though that this varied very much according to when we visited. On both a Friday and a Saturday night the street was packed with both locals and tourists, and the atmosphere was great. But two evenings later, on a wet Monday, it was almost deserted and we found ourselves the only diners in our chosen restaurant for most of the evening. On our third visit, a Sunday, it was somewhat between the two but really not that busy. So if you want a party atmosphere, come on a Friday or Saturday.
The street is really little more than a pedestrianised lane, lined with old colonial buildings from 16th century onwards. On some of these there are informative illustrated boards, describing the history of the area and some of the artists and writers who once lived there. Today the old buildings have been turned into restaurants (some smart and upmarket, others cheap and cheerful), bars and shops. On a busy evening there are street traders selling gimmicky items such as light sabres and whirling helicopter toys, which seemed to be aimed more at the local market than tourists, but some of the shops have some nice craft items and paintings if you’re looking for something more special. But really this is a place to come and wander, soak up the atmosphere, eat and drink ...
The street is one of the oldest in the city, dating back to pre-colonial times, when the indigenous inhabitants used it as a path to the Pichincha River, where they went to fish, bathe and wash clothing. Later it developed as the route to the San Juan de Dios Hospital, then the home to all types of artists, and later still became a street notorious for crime – theft, muggings and worse. Today however, like much of the colonial quarter, it has cleaned up its act and is regularly patrolled by tourist police who ensure that you need have no fears about visiting here.
We also saw the smartly uniformed soldiers in my third photo here, who were happy to pose for my photo (and for many others!) But I have no idea, and no one could tell me, whether they were here on duty or for pleasure.
My next few tips describe some of the places we ate and drank here, starting with an example of what we drank – a local speciality known as Canalazo.
Colonial Quito at night
The first thing to say about nightlife in Quito is that if you’re looking for lively bars and lots of late-night action, the colonial part is not where you should be staying! Although these days generally considered safe at night (and we certainly didn’t experience or observe anything to worry us), it is quiet and definitely low-key. A pleasant dinner, a stroll through its attractive streets, and a relatively early night are probably the norm for most people who choose to stay here, although La Ronda (see next tip) can be livelier, especially at weekends.
However, the afore-mentioned stroll through the streets can be a real pleasure as so many of the churches are beautifully illuminated at night. My own favourite spots were the Plaza de la Independencia (where one evening our pleasure in the surroundings was enhanced by a performance of traditional Spanish dancing) and one of the streets leading from it – Moreno, formerly known as Calle de Las Siete Cruces. Here in a single block you can admire the cathedral, the small church attached to it known as El Sagrario, and La Compañia. One evening when we wandered along here on our way back from dinner, we came across a bride and groom posing for photos outside the illuminated churches. We weren’t sure if they were newly married and looking to get a series of nice photos to mark the occasion, or if perhaps it was a modelling shoot. Either way, we could see the attraction of these beautiful backdrops.
Next tip: La Ronda, where what nightlife there is has its focus.
Plaza Foch: Nightlife in the day as well
I know some of you are checking gravity at the sight of a nightlife tip from me. At the intersection of calle Mariscal Foch and calle Reina Victoria is a square almost completely surrounded by cafes and bars. Locals tell me it is a great nightlife spot. Even at midday, it is buzzing with tourists relaxing over a cup of coffee and people watching. Even the locals come here at lunch.
Dress Code: I wore simple clothes and they didn't throw me out.
Auberge Inn: Meet other foreign travelers
My only nightlife experience in Quito is at the hotel Auberge Inn (see my accomodation tip). This is not at all "Saturday Night Fever" but you can meet other travelers, share your experiences and your plans, and have a beer or two!
Cubano: Dance the night away to live Cuban Music!
This place is great. You might have to pay $4 to get in, but that will give you a free drink (mojito or cuba libre) and you get to dance the night away to live Cuban music! The music is great, and the people working there don't mind showing you some steps (trust me, they really know what they are doing!). The atmosphere is great and the crowed varied, but what you all have together is that you want to sweat the night away salsa dancing!!!
Open until 2am.
- Study Abroad
- Work Abroad
- School Holidays
Huaina: Chill place where you get to choose the music
Great place to go and chill with some friends. They serve up the regular sortmet of drinks and pass around a chart of music to pick from. So, if you get there in descent time, you can pick what music is to be played that night. Because of this arrangement, the music is very varied from hip-hip, salsa, and Grease! Dance to your favorite, and sit down and enjoy a beer and your company when the other music is played. The crowed is a blend between Ecuadorians and gringos.
Kinda "iffy" if there is a cover charge or not, but if you get there early you are likely to not have to pay.
- Study Abroad
- School Holidays
Iglesia de Santo Domingo: Quito at night
Our hotel was at the corner of Plaza de Santa Domingo. And we had a splendid view over the Plaza, that is why we all enjoyed the view and the lighted Church on Plaza de Santo Domingo.
The first night we did not walk around because we were pretty tired after a long flight and the acclimatisation to the altitude.
But on our last day in Ecuador we had another chance to discover Quito at night.
Dress Code: a sweater as it can be very chilly at night at 2800 m altitude.
- Road Trip
- Historical Travel
Monique: Dance and Kareoke
This is an awesom place. When we went here with our Ecuadorian friends, we were the only gringas/os in the place. After that we had the guts to sing an English song on the karoeke machine, we were accepted into the group. At the end of the night, we were all singing together with all of our NEW Ecuadorian friends. They also turn the karoeke machine of every now and then so that you can dance. Of course, being the only gringas in the bar, there were always plenty of guys wanting to dance with you.
So go here, sit somewhere in the middle, order some Pilsner, and just enjoy yourself!
Dress Code: Whatever
- Budget Travel
- Study Abroad
Plaza de Independencia: Music in the streets
As we left the restaurant La Cueva del Oso, we heard music, singing and yelling.
Of course, we wanted to satisfy our curiosity.
Like this we arrived at the plaza de Independencia, where a group of young people were celebrating.
There was life music, and lots of singing, yelling and dancing.
It was a kind of celebration of university students.
Dress Code: a sweater for the chilly wind
- Road Trip
Plaza de Independencia: Dancing on the Plaza
There was loud music on the Plaza. And the group of young students were dancing on the Plaza.
An open Ranchero was waiting for them in order to transport them to another Plaza, where they could continue their celebration.
At the other side of the Plaza there was another group of young people dancing and singing.
- Road Trip
Plaza de Independencia: A different city ?
Because of the music, we took another road, and like this we arrived at this big Plaza.
I was kind of overwhelmed by the beauty of the lighted colonial buildings.
And I must also tell you that there were almost 28 days in between my first visit to Quito and this one. So like this I was really convinced that I had missed this square at my first visit. I did not recognise these buildings.
Wow, so beautiful, it was almost impossible that I had been here, a month ago.
Till the moment that one of my fellow travellers, told me that the big building on the other side was the Cathedral, and then I started to remember the buildings as the looked like by daylight. Indeed this was the biggest square of old Quito The plaza de independencia.
How strange, that a city-view can change at night.
More nightviews in the travelogue.
- Road Trip
The Street itself !!! La rue entiere !!!: Nightlife in Jose Camala Street - Gringoland
It's Gringo Land !!! Every guide will indicate this place, but it's really worth going there : you will get everything you want : Internet, good meals, good drinks, nice music....
On daytime, it's a very cute street, melting colours and origins....
Very tasty !
C'est bien Gringoland, indique dans tous les guides ... mais ca vaut le detour ! On trouve de tout : Internet, plats typiques ou etrangers, boissons, musique tendance...
De jour, la rue est l'une des plus gaies de Quito.
NoBar: A Place to Have Fun
It is GREAT!!! bartenders keep doing different shows during the night while music makes you move no matter what time is it. Each time i went to that night club i had a blast.
Dress Code: I guess they dont have a dress code, since i could get inside with jeans and sneakers and flip flops....
Bungalow 6: LADIES NIGHT
Bungalow 6 is where you will find the gringos and the gringueros (the ecuatorianos who "hunt" the gringas).
On Wednesday night between 6pm and 10pm is Ladies' Night. Women drink for free and the music is poppy with the classics such as "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." Men cannot enter until 10pm, so plan to show up separately if you in a mixed group.
Dress Code: If you are a white woman, you can pretty much get away with anything. But most people generally dress up.
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