Quito's La Mariscal: 10 Things to See And to Do

Plaza Foch
Plaza Foch
Photo of Rick Segreda
Cultural Activist5 April 2017

For people visiting Quito to relax, shop, eat, drink, and party, the Mariscal is the place to go. Even though it doesn’t have the classic prestige of Quito’s historical district or the cultural pull of the La Floresta neighborhood, tourists love to patronize the Mariscal’s many hostels, restaurants, taverns, discotheques, clubs, cafés, antique retailers, galleries, bookstores, and gift shops. So what are some of the more fun things you can do?

Watch Live Music and Dance in Plaza Mariscal Foch

The wide open space of the Plaza Mariscal Foch and a ready-made audience of tourists make this a natural hang out for musicians and dancers. Concerts are also held periodically.

Browse and purchase goods at the open-air, international handcraft market

The Plaza also brings out artists and handcraftsmen, many of them from outside Ecuador. They sell goods such as designer candles, hand-made jewelry, or hand-carved picture frames.

The Plaza Foch Market

Hang out with your friends (old and new) at the Magic Bean Café

The Magic Bean Café, located on Juan Leon Mera and Mariscal Foch, may not offer superior food or coffee to that of its competition in the Mariscal, even though it is more than adequate, but it doesn’t matter. It is simply the go-to place to hangout for both locals and visitors alike. The walls are plastered with Gary Larson’s cartoons from back when The Far Side was trendy, and they have remained, cultivating a relaxed, homey aura comparable to revisiting one’s former college dormitory.

Magic Bean Cafe, +593 2-256-6181

The Magic Bean

The Magic Bean@RickSegreda

Take the “Dirty Sanchez” challenge at the Dirty Sanchez

This Swiss-owned bar located on Pinto, between Reina Victoria and Diego de Almagro. Occupying a small space, the venue features an avant-garde ambience and offers wine, good coffee and great cocktails, including the “Dirty Sanchez” – a Baileys, Kahlúa and tequila combo in a tall shot glass. A roll of a pair of dice lets you know how much ($6) or how little ($1) you pay.

Dirty Sanchez Café Bar Galeria, Reina Victoria, Quito 170143, Ecuador

Dirty Sanchez

Dirty Sanchez@Rick Segreda

Enjoy low-cost, high-quality fresh fruit and vegetable juice at La Fruteria

Many people don’t know that the glossier and more tourist-oriented restaurants closer to the Plaza overcharge by double for natural fruit juice. But by simply walking a few blocks to 6 de diciembre and Wilson, La Fruteria will offer you fresh carrot juice, orange juice, beet juice, and more, for a fraction of what other businesses charge.

Get to know authentic Andean music and musicians at Saucisa

Saucisa, located on Avenida Amazonas and Veintimilla, is by far the best music store in Quito for travelers who want to familiarize themselves with authentic local music and musical instruments. Against all odds in the age of digital piracy, Saucisa has remained open and continues to sell the largest selection of original Andean folklore CDs, along with pan flutes, cymbals, and more, for professional musicians and/or collectors.

Saucisa, Av. Río Amazonas, Quito 170143, Ecuador +593 2224174


Saucisa@Rick Segreda

Shop at the Artesan Market

The artesan market on 6 de diciembre and Jorge Washington offers the largest concentration of folkloric clothing and gift items, from ponchos to jewelry and much, much more. As is the custom in Ecuador, the vendors will negotiate a price with you.

The Artesian Market

Eat real Ecuadorian food at Ecuadorian prices in the company of real Ecuadorians at Cocina Ecuatoriana

Like La Fruteria, this is a little bit away from the Plaza, on Vincente Roman Roca and Reina Victoria, and well worth the walk; for as little as three dollars you can have a full-course Ecuadorian lunch, featuring seco de chivo and other items, and experience Ecuador as the locals do.

Chill out at the colorful Plaza Borja Yerovi

This quiet plaza on 9 de Octubre and Carrión, a few blocks walk from Plaza Foch, features a creatively designed water fountain popular with children, and is surrounded on all sides by buildings whose facades have been turned into large, colorful murals.

Plaza Borja Yerovi@Rick Segreda

Plaza Borja Yerovi@Rick Segreda