Mountains and hills such as the Pichincha, Panecillo, Ilalo of Cruz Loma raise in the environs of the city and they are excellent for sightseeing, some have archeological remains and others are the perfect spot for practice mountain bike or there are simply a free space to do a hike and relax away from the city.
The Panecillo its one of the main attractiveness of the city been a symbol of Quito. It is known that in that place once there was a temple to worship the sun, nowadays Quito's Virgen raises up which design was made by a sculptor named Legarda. From this site there is a breathtaking view of Quito's Historic Center. When you visit the Panecillo or a hike around the mountain skirts it is recommended to go with company.
Quito has many hills and cliffs, and that is why it is common to find stairs at the end of a street. A good way to get good views of Quito is to walk by the streets that lay in the skirts of the Pichincha or to go to the surroundings of the Metropolitan Park.
The parks are the main recreational places in Quito; people use to go over there on weekends to practice any kind of sports. In the city you can find many different parks in size and attractions, and you can find a small park in each neighborhood that you visit.
Metropolitano Park and Carolina Park are the main parks of the city. The first one located in Batan's neighborhood, is the biggest urban park in South America. Carolina park is known for being the lungs of Quito, located almost in the center of the north side of the city between Shyris and Amazonas avenues, it's close to many shopping centers and it has many recreational attractions.
There are also other parks that because of its antiquity and beauty are a traditional site in Quito. The "El Ejido" and "La Alameda" are located close to the Casa de la Cultura and are more than 50 years old. A small tour around old town Quito could end with a stop in La Alameda, were you can see the first astronomic observatory of the city.
Quito by its own, it's an excellent astronomical observatory site; because of its special location near the equator, you have the opportunity to admire the stars in its greatness. Also the sky of Quito is well known for its deep blue and for its cloudless nights in the summer.
The Cultura Solar museum and the planetariums (of the Mitad del Mundo and the one next to the Military Hospital) are institutions that are trying to raise the astronomic culture and occasionally they make some trips to the ancient observatory sites.
One of the main tourist sites in the surrounding of Quito is the "Ciudad Mitad del Mundo" were the equatorial line is located. Over there you can find museums, restaurants, handicraft stores, and live shows.
Also you can visit the Zoo, that is located one hour from Quito in Guayllabamba. This is an excellent place were you could see an interesting collection of animals like the Andes condor, tapir, small tigers and much more. There's an excellent weather and the opportunity to taste delicious typical dishes.