Quito Turismo is the city's official tourism institution. They mainly offer digital services, like online information on their website and a free app leading you to the touristic hot spots and best restaurants in town.
Quito Turismo also regulates the city's tourism agencies that all need to have a legal permit and comply with several regulations in order to operate tours and activities for tourists.
Quito's touristic hot spot is its historical centre, which has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1978. You can easily walk around the centre to admire its colonial squares and churches, like La Compañia with its golden interior.
If you want to gain a more complete impression of the northern part of the city, you can hop on the Quito Tour Bus, the typical hop-on-hop-off bus bringing you to several interesting parts of the city, like Carolina Park and Panecillo Hill. A ticket for the Quito Tour Bus costs $15 USD.
Another highlight of Quito is located outside of the city: Middle of the World (Mitad del Mundo). At this unique place, the equator crosses the prime meridian line, marking a unique spot on earth. Besides the famous but fairly commercial monument, you can visit the Intiñan Museum to learn more about Ecuador and challenge gravity (entrance $4 USD).
Quito's location, in the middle of the Andes Mountains, is perfect for day and weekend trips.
At only a few hours driving, you can visit an Amazon community, hike on a volcano or go bird watching in the cloud forest. The Pacific Coast is six hours driving away and can easily be visited in a long weekend.
If you do not own a car, you have three options to head out in the weekend: by public bus, a shared day tour or a private tour. Interprovincial buses are generally comfortable and inexpensive; but a private driver saves time and can bring you to places that are not frequently visited. Shared day tours can be good option to explore new places and meet new people.
These are the most common day tours from Quito:
The Ecuadorian Andes have several traditional festivals. The Inti Raymi is the most famous one, but Ecuador has many traditional festivals.
For some tourist attractions, like museums, Ecuadorians pay a lower fee than foreigners; foreign residents with an Ecuadorian identity card (cedula) entitled to the same discount. In many cases, children, seniors and students are also given discounts.