Quito's La Mariscal: 10 Things to See And to Do
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?
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.
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.
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, Juan León Mera, Quito 170143, Ecuado +593 2-256-6181
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@Rick Segreda
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
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.
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