A Local's Guide to La Floresta, Quito's Most Chic Neighborhood

Street art features throughout the La Floresta neighborhood in Quito
Street art features throughout the La Floresta neighborhood in Quito | © Karol Kozlowski Premium RM Collection / Alamy Stock Photo
Rick Segreda

Cultural Activist

In the last 20 years, La Floresta has developed a reputation for being one of the most beguiling neighborhoods of any city in South America. Discover it for yourself with this guide to the trendiest spot in Quito, Ecuador.

Keen to explore Quito? It’s just one of several incredible destinations on Culture Trip’s specially curated eight-day Ecuador adventure, led by our Local Insider.

The Spanish named La Floresta owing to the unusually high concentration of wildflowers in the area. Early in the 20th century, prosperous landowners settled here and built mansions in the neo-classical style popular at the time.

More than 70 of these homes remain, side-by-side, which (along with tree-lined streets) are the defining feature of the area. There’s also a town square, a small park featuring an elegant fountain where children and senior citizens gather and street vendors sell their goods.

During the day, you can walk past the old mansions and new wall murals while enjoying the variety of galleries, restaurants, pastry shops, clothing stores and creatively designed cafés. At night there are jazz and dance clubs, an elegant movie theater showcasing foreign films, and taverns featuring local artisan beer. Anybody vising La Floresta (Católica and Orellana is a recommended starting point) should consider dropping by the following venues.

1. Watch a movie at Ocho y Medio Theater


Trendy exterior of Ochoymedio Cinema, La Floresta Neighbourhood, Quito, Pichincha Province, Ecuador
© Karol Kozlowski Premium RM Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

Named after the 1963 film by Federico Fellini, the Ocho y Medio Theater features three film salons of varying sizes plus programs of foreign, alternative, independent, classic and avant-garde cinema. It is one of the most popular bohemian hangouts in Quito, with a restaurant and tavern that operates from midday to evening.

2. Indulge in a pastry or two at La Cleta Bici Café

Cafe, Bar, Coffee

Exterior of La Cleta Cafe, La Floresta Neighbourhood, Quito, Pichincha Province, Ecuador
© Karol Kozlowski Premium RM Collection / Alamy Stock Photo

There are many creatively designed pastry and gourmet coffee hangouts in La Floresta, but none are quite like La Cleta Bici, on Guipuzcoa between Sevilla and Cadiz, where all the furniture is constructed from bicycle parts, and where cycling as a theme is highlighted in the decor.

3. Hunt for fresh produce at the farmer's market


A vegetable vendor at a market in Quito, Ecuador
© Andie Mills / Alamy Stock Photo

On Galavis between Católica and Andalucia, during daylight hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, this is one of the prime locations where local farmers from outside Quito, sell fresh produce. There are fewer better places in the capital of Ecuador to sample the exotic fruits and vegetables grown in the country.

4. Explore WWII at Casa Museo Trude Sojka

Art Gallery, Museum

The late Trude Sojka was an exceptional woman with an extraordinary life story. Sent to Auschwitz when the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia, she lost her child and most of her extended family to the camps. Afterward, she settled in Ecuador and became one of the best-known artists in the country. Her home on Coruña and Toledo, managed by her daughter, is now a museum showcasing a collection of her paintings and sculptures, much of it a haunting reflection of her personal experience during WWII. The rooms also showcase works by local artists.

5. Enjoy the architecture of the Quito Publishing House

Architectural Landmark

The construction and design of this modern building, home to a local media corporation, has been universally praised by architectural journalists for its fresh modernism and ecologically friendly design. It’s worth a look if you are passing by Mallorca and Guizpucoa, though the interior is not open to the general public, except for the lobby, which has a charming fountain and some appealing sculpture.

6. Taste seasonal cuisine at URKO

Restaurant, Authentic

Ambient decor at Restaurant Urko, Quito, Ecuador
Courtesy of Urko Restaurant

Fine dining meets tradition at URKO, an Ecuadorian restaurant often ranked among the best in the country. Their year is divided into four ryamis (seasons), with a tasting menu for each showcasing the top seasonal ingredients. If you’ve got time, opt for the full experience – an eight-course tasting menu that should take around two hours. If not, there’s the lite experience – five courses that should be all wrapped up in around 90 minutes.

7. Sip coffee at Botánica

Cafe, Coffee Shop, Eco-friendly

Botánica serves the La Floresta neighborhood with exceptional coffee amid a calm-inducing setup. Order a cup of freshly brewed cafe and enjoy it on the covered patio, perhaps with something sweet from the snack menu. The team also runs Cafe en Casa, a workshop that aims to demystify the basics of coffee and the art of making a good cup. You’ll need to message Botánica or check out their website to find when the next sessions are being held.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article