A recommended walking tour that could enhance your vision of the Historic Center is as follows.
Take the trolley (watch your belongings) south until "Cumanda" stop. Get down, you are on Maldonado street. There you will have an impressive view of what once was the "Jerusalem" ravine, which stands between Panecillo and the core.
Walk north past the trolley stop and go down a narrow stairway that brings you to La Ronda street, of Pre-columbian origins. Walk up picturesque La Ronda until you reach Av. 24 de Mayo. This boulevard was built on top of this section of Jerusalem ravine to connect the two sides of town.
On Garcia Moreno Street turn north and you will arrive to the Museo de la Ciudad, which provides an easy and interactive history of Quito.
Then walk on Garcia Moreno street until Sucre, which is a pedestrian street. La Compania is at the corner and if you go up Sucre street you will reach San Francisco.
If you continue on Garcia Moreno you will reach the Main (independence) Square. If you go to San Francisco, then walk to La Merced and down to the Main Square. This itinerary follows a chronological and logical sequence of sites.
Most people do it backwards, turning La Ronda and Museo de la Ciudad as distant points where you're usually worn out by the time you get there.
In any event, the Historic Center is so vast that you need more than one visit to see it all. The recommended walk provides you with a good overview if you're short of time or want to see as much as possible on a first day.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.Based on a work at Wikitravel.org & Traveldudes.org.