The heart of Quito’s new town, officially called Mariscal Sucre but known locally as La Mariscal, is roughly bound by avenidas Patria in the south, Orellana in the north, 12 de Octubre in the east and 10 de Agosto in the west. The main commercial artery, Avenida Amazonas, is lined with banks, tour operators and souvenir shops, but the social focus is the Plaza del Quinde (also called Plaza Foch), at the intersection of Reina Victoria and Foch, where bars, clubs, restaurants and cafés are often thronged with people in the evenings. The jumble of colonial-style town houses, Art Deco villas and functional 1970s blocks means La Mariscal isn’t particularly attractive, but it is where the majority of visitors to Quito base themselves.
There are no really outstanding attractions in the new town proper, except for the first-rate Museo del Banco Central. Yet there is plenty of good stuff to do if you’re willing to take a short taxi ride, most obviously the wonderful TelefériQo, a ski-lift-type gondola which swoops up to a lofty vantage point on the hills west of the capital. On the high ground east of town, the Museo Fundación Guayasamín and the associated Capilla del Hombre showcase the powerful art of Ecuador’s most famous twentieth-century artist, while nearby Guápulo has the feel of a sleepy village far removed from the bustle and noise of the big city. Back in the centre, the new town does benefit from several precious green spaces, the Parque La Alameda, Parque El Ejido, and the extensive Parque La Carolina, where among the trees and cycle paths you’ll find a botanical garden, a natural science museum and the Vivarium, exhibiting snakes and amphibians.