Quito's Historic Downtown contains the largest collection of 17th century buildings in Latin America. Plaza de la Independencia is in the heart of the city and is bordered by some of Quito's most interesting buildings, such as the Carondelet Palace (the seat of government), the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Archdiocese, City Hall and the Hotel Plaza Grande. From there you can walk to Plaza San Francisco, where you'll find Ecuador's oldest church – from the 16th century – and the Franciscan Museum.
This area is known for its narrow streets, impressive mansions and important churches, such as the Jesuit Church. You also won't want to miss the "La Mitad del Mundo" monument, which is just 1 km from downtown. It's 10 meters (32 feet) high and located exactly on the equator.
The protected downtown area was the first place in the world to be declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Be sure not to miss the aerial tramway. Quito is at an altitude of 2,800 meters (9,200 feet) above sea level and the aerial tramway takes you to the Cruz Loma Lookout, at 4,000 meters (13,100 feet). There's a beautiful view from here. Get to know other parts of the city too – rent your car from Localiza Rent a Car in Quito. There are two locations – one at the airport and the other one downtown.