While the majority of Ecuador's most famous and sought-after shopping occurs outside Quito -- in Otavalo and Cuenca, and at small Andean markets -- you can still find ample opportunities for successful and rewarding shopping in the capital.
The Shopping Scene -- As in the rest of the country, the shopping scene in Quito mainly consists of local handicrafts (alpaca sweaters, tapestries, figurines, pottery, hats, and jewelry) made by indigenous Ecuadorean artists. Some of the stuff you'll find is mass-produced or of poor quality. But if you know where to go , there are some great shops that support local indigenous groups. You'll also find more high-end shops here than in other parts of the country.
A note on store hours: Unless indicated, all stores are open from 9am to 1:30pm, and from 3 to 7pm. Most stores close for a siesta from 1:30 to 3pm, and most are closed on Sunday.
Markets -- While nothing compares to the various weekly local markets held in towns and cities across the Andes, or to the world-famous market in Otavalo, a couple of longstanding markets are worth hitting in Quito, especially if you can't visit any of the others.
In New Town, the Mercado Artesanal La Mariscal (Mariscal Artisans Market) is a tight warren of permanent booths selling all sorts of arts, crafts, and clothing. You should definitely be picky here -- there are a lot of mass-produced and mediocre wares for sale. But if you shop carefully, you can find plenty of high-quality goods. You can bargain a little, but not too much. Located on Jorge Washington, between Reina Victoria and Juan León Mera, it's open daily from around 10am until 7pm. A similar option is available on weekends all along the north end of Parque El Ejido.
Modern Malls -- Much of the local shopping scene has shifted to large mega-malls. Modern multilevel affairs with cineplexes, food courts, and international brand-name stores are becoming ubiquitous. The biggest and most modern of these, called centros comerciales in Spanish, include the Centro Comercial El Jardín (tel. 02/2262-350), at Avenida Amazonas and Avenida de la República; Centro Comercial Iñaquito (tel. 02/2255-650), at Avenida Amazonas and Naciones Unidas; and Centro Comercial Quicentro (tel. 02/2464-526), at Avenida 6 de Diciembre and Avenida Naciones Unidas. Although they lack the charm of small shops and galleries found around Quito, they are a reasonable option for one-stop shopping; most contain at least one or two art galleries and crafts shops, along with a large supermarket, which is always the best place to stock up on coffee, local liquors, and other nonperishable foodstuffs.
Jewelry -- You'll find excellent arty jewelry for sale at the Fundación Guayasamín.
Music -- You'll see CDs of Ecuadorean pop and traditional Andean folk music for sale at many gift shops around Quito. You'll also see hawkers selling CDs on the streets around the city, though most of them are poor-quality bootlegs. For the best selection, head to the local outlet of Tower Records (tel. 02/2920-415), in the Centro Comercial Quicentro.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.