The city of Quito, Ecuador, sits 9,300 feet high in the Andes, surrounded by active volcanoes and drenched in an even 12 hours of light per day. Because of its location on the equator, Quito experiences no seasons, and its altitude keeps it at a comfortable 50 to 77 degrees year-round. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the city is known for an architectural vernacular that includes the Baroque School of Quito, a collection of 16th and 17th-century Spanish colonial churches that incorporate indigenous imagery.
The La Mariscal neighborhood boasts some great examples of Latin American modernism, and the city also caught the Brutalism bug in the 1960s and 1970s. A sophisticated food scene based on an abundance of fruits and vegetables marries traditional and avant-garde cuisines, while ecotourism includes trips to the nearby Galápagos Islands.
Designed by Ecuadorian architect Oswaldo de la Torre in 1965, this theater was one of Quito’s first modern buildings. The interior is strongly functionalist, while its dramatic sculptural forms and aging concrete express a past vision of progressive culture.
Location: Diego Ladrón de Guevara
Architect and gallerist Mathieu de Genot epitomizes the chic that pervades Quito’s design scene: “I am an architect, unapologetically classic in style, eclectic at heart, contemporary in art,” his website states. A graduate of Columbia University GSAPP, he is the curator of Galería ECX (above left), a platform for art and design. Paseo San Francisco
Location: Cumbayá, Planta Baja
Olga Fisch, a Hungarian Bauhaus artist, started her eponymous brand in 1942 after settling in Ecuador in 1939. Blending modernist sensibilities and Ecuadorian folk culture, her rugs are in the collection of MoMA, but you can find her home goods (top right), clothing, bags, and other accessories in one of the brand’s many stores in Quito.
Location: Av. Cristóbal Colón E10-53
Header image: View of Quito Old Town (Courtesy Casa Gangotena)
Executive Chef Alejandra Espinoza’s menu comes in two parts: Ecuadorian specialties are featured on the “Ecuadorian Born” menu, and international fare reimagined with local ingredients can be found on the “Globally Inspired” menu. The open-concept kitchen and art-filled space give Somos (above right) a cool vibe.
Location: N34-421 Av. Eloy Alfaro y Av. Portugal