For those who’re fortunate sufficient to go to Oaxaca, then I’ve little doubt it can rapidly develop into one in every of your favourite locations of all time. (And never simply in Mexico, however the world over.) From town’s bustling markets, smoky road meals stands, charming mezcalerías, colourful colonial structure, and unimaginable museums, to its indigenous archaeological websites, vibrant handicrafts and textiles, and world-class eating places, there are numerous distinctive and enriching issues to do in Oaxaca.
The sheer quantity of genuine experiences and mind-boggling flavors that await you in Oaxaca is overwhelming. In any case, Oaxaca is the simple cultural and culinary capital of Mexico.
See more: What to do in oaxaca mexico
So to make it simple for you, I’ve rounded up my high picks of the very best issues to do in Oaxaca Metropolis and its environment – together with the place to remain, what to eat, and another must-know suggestions.
So with out additional ado, listed here are the highest 20 greatest issues to do in Oaxaca!
This weblog put up covers the 20 greatest issues to do in Oaxaca, plus different need-to-know suggestions, information, and suggestions. It’s a complete information in your journey to Oaxaca! Use this desk of contents to navigate to particular sections of the put up.
Prime 20 Greatest Issues to Do in Oaxaca Metropolis, Mexico
1. Head to El Zócalo
First issues first, head to El Zócalo.
El Zócalo is Oaxaca’s important sq., situated smack within the middle of city. It’s the right place to people-watch and uncover how day-to-day life in Oaxaca unfolds.
In the primary sq., dozens of road meals stalls permeate the energetic ambiance with smoky, mouth-watering aromas. Contemporary fruit stands supply to quench your thirst on sweltering days. And a whole lot of native individuals collect there to calm down, catch up, snort, and probably, to promote you their conventional handicrafts, clothes, and souvenirs.
To correctly expertise El Zócalo, purchase some contemporary fruit with a sprinkle of chili, discover someplace to take a seat, and spend a while taking all of it in.
2. Meander via Mercado de Benito Juárez
El Mercado de Benito Juárez is a maze of colourful market stalls providing all the things from road snacks and typical elements, to conventional clothes, handmade pottery, dwelling décor, and painted by hand handicrafts.
For those who’re in search of souvenirs for buddies, or some décor to paint your property, this market is a good place to start out. El Mercado de Benito Juárez can be one other excellent spot to start out understanding extra concerning the native tradition and other people.
At Mercado de Benito Juárez, I bought fairly a couple of genuine elements for my kitchen – together with mole negro paste, full of roughly 30 elements. Such purchase!
Be sure that to clear a few hours in your schedule. This market is big and calls for loads of time to see, style, and expertise all the things on supply! Actually, you could have to return a few occasions.
3. Go to the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca
Even if you happen to’re not an enormous fan of museums, the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca is a should. Throughout my travels, I’ve been to numerous museums, however this one has been probably the most spectacular.
Set in a centuries-old monastery, the constructing itself is a vital piece of town’s historical past. Nonetheless, contained in the museum, you’ll discover valuable historical artifacts from the Pre-Colombian period and from throughout and after the Conquest.
You’ll see colourful artwork, study concerning the many indigenous cultures which have thrived within the space, and be blown away by the wonderful exhibitions and group.
The Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca is likely one of the greatest issues to do in Oaxaca, so don’t miss it!
RELATED: For nice offers on centrally situated accommodations in Oaxaca, click on right here!
4. Attempt the road meals
The road meals in Oaxaca is famous.
Actually, consuming road meals in Oaxaca is like taking a chew of town’s wealthy historical past itself. These recipes have deep indigenous roots, use centuries-old methods, and have been handed via households for generations. And actually, it’s best to really feel honored to expertise them!
As you stroll down the streets, cease at any one of many delicious-smelling stalls (particularly those crowded by locals!), and also you be rewarded with an affordable and easy, but extremely flavorful meal.
Throughout your journey to Oaxaca, be certain to strive these road meals dishes: tlayudas, tamales oaxaqueños, memelas, tetelas, and empanadas oaxaqueñas.
For extra info on Oaxacan road meals (and all the opposite causes you’ll love Oaxaca), click on right here!
Picture by Miguel Dorantes
5. Discover Monte Albán
A visit to Oaxaca could be incomplete with out visiting an indigenous archaeological website or two! Particularly Monte Albán, the mom of all of the ruins within the state of Oaxaca and a UNESCO World Heritage Web site.
Monte Albán was one of many earliest cities in Mesoamerica and the primary sociopolitical and financial middle for the Zapotecs for roughly 1,000 years. Different peoples, such because the Olmecs and the Mixtecs, additionally lived right here in succession.
The ingenious centuries-old engineering of Monte Albán’s pyramids, canals, terraces, and dams will blow your thoughts!
One of the best ways to expertise Monte Albán is with an professional tour information so as to totally grasp the magnitude of what you’re seeing. I like to recommend reserving this half-day tour to Monte Albán.
CLICK HERE to guide your day journey to see Monte Albán.
Picture by Andrea Schaffer
6. Cease by Templo de Santo Domingo
The Templo de Santo Domingo is arguably probably the most stunning church – in and out – in all of Oaxaca.
Primarily constructed between 1570 and 1608, the area’s greatest artists got here all the way in which from Puebla and elsewhere in Mexico to assist assemble this church.
Oaxaca is an earthquake-prone area, so the church’s stone partitions and pillars are extremely thick. In the meantime, its domed inside is adorned in ornate work, a gilded altar, and masterful sculptures.
Merely put, the wonder and the entire small particulars on this church are mind-blowing.
Picture by Mike Rowe
7. Go to a mezcalería
Ever heard of mezcal? Put merely, mezcal is the smokier, edgier (and extra scrumptious) cousin of tequila and it’s the factor to drink in Oaxaca.
All through town, you’ll encounter loads of totally different mezcalerías – or mezcal bars. And for my part, it’d be a criminal offense if you happen to didn’t cease in to at the least one mezcalería for a tasting!
At some mezcalerías, you have to to make a reservation prematurely. However at others, you possibly can merely stroll in, strike up a dialog with the bartender, and proceed to style and find out about totally different mezcals!
My high two suggestions for mezcalerías are Los Amantes and El Cortijo, however it’s also possible to simply meander and see what you come across!
8. Store for native crafts
Oaxaca is likely one of the final locations in Mexico the place handicrafts are nonetheless made with love, care, and tradition – somewhat than being mass-produced.
Whether or not you need to purchase one thing to brighten your property (reminiscent of a hand-woven tapestry, stunning textured pillows, a vibrant blanket, or a hand-painted alebrije), or one thing to put on (like buttery leather-based huaraches, a wicker tote bag, or a standard shirt), you’ll find it in Oaxaca!
A terrific place to buy crafts is the Mercado de Artesanias, nevertheless, there are all types of stalls and outlets all through town. Simply be able to barter!
9. Feast on the Mercado 20 de Noviembre
The Mercado 20 de Noviembre is a meals market within the middle of town, that includes dozens of meals stalls and all types of typical Oaxacan meals. From pollo con mole and enfrijoladas, to tlayudas and tetelas, you could find all of it within the Mercado 20 de Noviembre!
There’s additionally a bit of the market known as el Pasillo de los Tasajos, which is actually a smoky hallway lined with stands promoting freshly grilled meats, served alongside grilled onions and spicy salsas. For meat-lovers, it is a should!
RELATED: For excellent offers on centrally situated accommodations in Oaxaca, click on right here!
10. Take a cooking class
I like taking a cooking class in each new nation I go to. Cooking lessons are the easiest way to spend high quality time with the locals (generally in their very own houses!), studying about their meals and tradition, so I all the time leap on the likelihood. And I believe it’s best to too!
Need to learn to make mole from scratch? How about contemporary tortillas, guacamole, and salsa? Or perhaps Oaxacan tamales wrapped in banana leaves?
Oaxaca is the undisputed culinary capital of Mexico, so in case you have any curiosity in conventional Mexican or indigenous Mesoamerican cuisines, then it’s best to take a cooking class in Oaxaca. Little question, your cooking class will likely be a spotlight of your journey!
All cooking lessons in Oaxaca value roughly $100 per particular person, however I promise it’s well worth the splurge. CLICK HERE to guide your cooking class!
11. Go to Hierve el Agua
Whenever you go to Oaxaca, it might be a disgrace to spend the complete time on cobblestone streets. As an alternative, ensure you get out into the enchanting, mountainous countryside and go to Hierve el Agua.
To make it simple, I like to recommend taking today journey to discover the state of Oaxaca. Alongside the way in which, you’ll cease at el Hierve el Agua – a set of pure rock and mineral formations that appear like a frozen waterfall! The views are beautiful, and it’s also possible to go swimming within the pure springs – so be certain to carry a swimsuit.
This tour is likely one of the greatest day journeys from Oaxaca and contains visits to Hierve el Agua, Mitla, El Tule, Teotitlan del Valle, and a mezcal distillery.
I took today tour to see Hierve el Agua too, and I can’t advocate it extremely sufficient! CLICK HERE to guide your tour.
12. Stroll via the Ethnobotanical Backyard
Within the metropolis middle, across the again of el Templo de Santo Domingo, you’ll discover town’s treasured Ethnobotanical Backyard, full of all types of gorgeous cacti and different regional flora.
Oaxaca’s Ethnobotanical Backyard is a peaceable place to go to, take pleasure in a gradual wander, and take some photographs among the many cacti.
13. Find out about conventional textiles
Go searching, and it received’t take you greater than 5 seconds to comprehend that textiles are an enormous deal in Oaxaca, Mexico.
A lot so, that there’s a whole museum devoted to textiles: El Museo de Textil de Oaxaca. And whereas textiles could not strike you as probably the most fascinating factor on the planet, they’re, certainly. Belief me once I say, this museum is 1000% value visiting!
One other spotlight of my journey was visiting a standard textile workshop in Teotitlán del Valle. There, I realized concerning the dyeing and weaving processes the indigenous peoples of the area have been utilizing for hundreds of years. And to be trustworthy, I used to be mind-blown.
After seeing the exhausting work that goes into these stunning textiles, it would be best to purchase all of them!
14. Dine at Oaxaca’s most interesting eating places
As you may’ve guessed, Oaxaca is dwelling to a few of Mexico’s greatest eating places. So splurging on a couple of advantageous meals is non-negotiable! It’s important to do it! (Plus, advantageous eating in Oaxaca could be very inexpensive… Particularly if you examine it to comparable experiences in, let’s say, Europe!)
I attempted a handful of the highest eating places in Oaxaca, and of all of them, I extremely advocate Casa Oaxaca, Los Danzantes, and Origen.
However if you happen to can solely go to at least one, be certain it’s Casa Oaxaca. Little question, it’s the very best restaurant within the metropolis!
The rooftop eating space, which overlooks the attractive Templo de Santo Domingo and people outdated cobblestone streets, is really particular. To not point out… The wonderful, fashionable Mexican meals (the mole was epic!), attentive service, and table-side finishes all make for an all-around unforgettable eating expertise!
Along with road meals and fine-dining eating places, Oaxaca has loads of wonderful mid-range eating places on supply.
Be sure that to take a look at these can’t-miss eating places:
- Itanoni emphasizes the all-important ingredient (indigenous corn!), a gradual, genuine expertise, and easy, conventional cooking. Go for lunch.
- Casa Taviche is one in every of my favourite locations in Oaxaca! A fully beautiful little restaurant, sharing fantastically introduced, conventional but fashionable Mexican delicacies. Good for lunch or dinner.
- Cabuche gives a captivating setting, traditional dishes, nice service, and large flavors that by no means dissapoint. An unrivalled lunch spot.
- Mexita delivers genuine Napoli-style Italian meals in a romantic ambiance. It’s and welcome addition to Oaxaca’s surplus of Mexican eats. Nice for dinner!
15. Go to Mitla
After Monte Albán, Mitla is the second most necessary archaeological website within the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Mitla is considered a sacred burial floor for the Zapotecs. And it is smart, since Mitla is a Nahuatl title translating to Place of the Lifeless.
You probably have some further time, it’s best to be certain to go to Mitla in addition to Monte Albán.
For an ideal day journey to Mitla (in addition to a mezcal distillery, El Tule, Hierve el Agua, and Teotitlán del Valle), click on right here!
Picture by Russ Bowling
16. Tour a mezcal distillery
For those who haven’t picked up on this but, artisanal mezcal is the drink of alternative in Oaxaca. So it’s solely becoming that you just go to a close-by distillery to see the way it’s made!
To offer you a fast concept, first the mezcaleros roast the hearts (or piñas) of agave vegetation in underground pits with sizzling rocks for up to a couple days. Subsequent, the pits are uncovered and donkeys or mules macerate the agave with a stone device (known as a tauna) to help the fermentation course of. And at last, the cooked agave vegetation are distilled into scrumptious mezcal!
Throughout a day journey across the area, I ended at El Rey de Matatlán for a tour of the distillery and loads of mezcal tastings. It was a lot enjoyable to study concerning the course of of constructing this smoky, robust, and tremendous scrumptious spirit. I purchased a few bottles to carry dwelling too!
For an superior day journey to a mezcal distillery (in addition to Mitla, El Tule, Hierve el Agua, and Teotitlán del Valle) click on right here!
17. Try the artwork galleries
As you roam town streets, you’ll occur upon numerous artwork galleries showcasing all types of artwork, from Oaxacan folks to fashionable artwork.
Be sure that to cease into every (or, at the least, most) of the galleries to take pleasure in their brilliantly colourful work and sculptures. And in case you have the funds for it, be happy to splurge on a one-of-a-kind piece!
We discovered ourselves fully blown away by this metropolis’s artwork, and we have now an inkling you’ll really feel the identical.
18. Sip on sizzling chocolate
Oaxaca is known for its wealthy sizzling chocolate drinks, that are made in clay pots, and laced with cinnamon.
You’ll be able to’t go away Oaxaca with out having a cup of sizzling choccy, so listed here are my high suggestions for the place to seek out it:
- Oaxaca En Una Taza: A cute little café providing pleasant cups sizzling chocolate (infused together with your decisions of spices and fruits) and delicate pastries. My high choose for Mexican chocolate in Oaxaca.
- Cafe Brújula: I cherished this cafe – for warm chocolate, chai, and specialty espresso – and went again many occasions.
- Be adventurous, help a small enterprise proprietor, and see if you could find the very best chocolatey drink at a stall in one of many markets!
19. See El Tule
Whereas taking a look at a tree won’t look like one of many high issues to do in Oaxaca, it completely is.
El Tule is, by far, probably the most spectacular tree I’ve ever seen… contemplating that it’s greater than 2,000 years outdated, 119 ft in circumference, and 116 ft tall!
After you’ve marveled El Tule for a bit, be happy to roam across the tree’s cute hometown of Santa María del Tule and do some people-watching.
This tour is likely one of the greatest day journeys from Oaxaca, and features a cease at El Tule (in addition to Mitla, a mezcal distillery, Hierve el Agua, and Teotitlán del Valle). Click on right here to guide it!
20. Expertise Day of the Lifeless (Día de los Muertos)
Day of the Lifeless (Día de los Muertos in Spanish) is a Mexican vacation and pageant the place households and buddies collect to welcome again the souls of members of the family who’ve handed away. Undeniably, as a traveler, the very best place to expertise Day of the Lifeless is in Oaxaca.
For those who go to Oaxaca throughout Day of the Lifeless celebrations, you’ll be met with intricate altars decked in flowers, candles, and non secular figures. To not point out, markets bursting with altar decorations, mole sauce, sweets, and tamales, and a sea of limitless sugar cranium faces. All of this, and extra, is Mexico’s means of celebrating and remembering the lives of misplaced family members.
Day of the Lifeless festivities happen yearly on November 1st and 2nd. If attainable, plan your journey to line up with these dates, and you can be set for the cultural expertise of a lifetime!
RELATED READING: 20 Festivals to Expertise in Your 20s
The place to Keep in Oaxaca Metropolis
Oaxaca is crammed to the brim with authenticity, tradition, custom, and appeal. In different phrases, you received’t discover any big worldwide lodge manufacturers as you roam the streets. As an alternative, you’ll come across loads of cute, historic mattress and breakfasts with typical decor and exquisite courtyards.
There are additionally loads of different choices, starting from enjoyable and inexpensive hostels to fancy accommodations.
Listed here are my high suggestions on locations to remain in Oaxaca!
Greatest Mattress & Breakfast
Throughout my week in Oaxaca Metropolis, I stayed at a mattress and breakfast known as Lodge Casa de la Tía Tere and cherished each minute of it!
I extremely advocate this mattress and breakfast for its pleasant workers, good location, and nice worth.
You’ll be able to learn all about my keep right here. And to guide the Lodge Casa de la Tía Tere, CLICK HERE.
- NaNa Vida Lodge Oaxaca (3-star lodge)
- Palacio Borghese Lodge Boutique (4-star lodge)
- Quinta Actual Oaxaca (4-star lodge)
Greatest Price range Lodging & Hostels
- Hostal las Americas
- Andaina Hostel
Yow will discover different nice offers on Oaxaca lodging right here.
The best way to Get to Oaxaca Metropolis
By way of Airplane (Really useful)
The most secure and quickest method to make a journey to Oaxaca is by way of airplane. There are home flights out there all through Mexico and there are many one-stop flights out there from the USA.
The final time I visited Oaxaca, I spent one week consuming my means via Mexico Metropolis, earlier than hopping on a airplane to Oaxaca. To offer you an concept, the flight from Mexico Metropolis to Oaxaca takes about one hour and prices roughly $100 USD.
From the airport, I organized for my lodge to select me up, however you possibly can simply seize a taxi from the airport to town middle for round $7.
Straightforward, secure, and environment friendly, that is the easiest way to journey to Oaxaca Metropolis.
Drive Your self
You probably have a rental automobile, you possibly can drive your self to Oaxaca. Nonetheless, for security and ease, I wouldn’t advocate this selection. When you’re in Oaxaca Metropolis, you’ll have little use for a automobile. Town could be very walkable and taxis (if obligatory) are very inexpensive. Plus, relying on the place you’re touring from, it may be harmful to drive your self to Oaxaca Metropolis.
For those who’re satisfied on road-tripping via Mexico, know this: it’s not secure to drive the highways after darkish.
Fast FAQs about visiting Oaxaca + the highest issues to do
The Prime 20 Greatest Issues to Do in Oaxaca Metropolis
Nicely, there you will have it, buddies! These are the highest 20 most unimaginable and unforgettable issues to do in Oaxaca Metropolis.
Between its fascinating historical past, unimaginable meals, smoky mezcal, heat and pleasant locals, indigenous archaeological websites, Day of the Lifeless celebrations, stunning arts and handicrafts, and surrounding pure magnificence, Oaxaca Metropolis is dwelling to an awesome number of distinctive and enriching experiences.
Plus, with its bright-colored colonial façades, cobblestone streets, wrought-iron particulars, and peaceable tree-lined plazas, Oaxaca is likely one of the most stunning cities I’ve ever seen.
I don’t suppose a metropolis has ever stolen my coronary heart as rapidly as Oaxaca did. And if you happen to comply with this information of the very best issues to do in Oaxaca, Mexico, my guess is, you’ll really feel the identical.
Planning a visit to México? Try these posts!
- 10 Causes You’ll Fall in Love with Oaxaca Metropolis
- A Foodie’s Information to Mexico Metropolis
- A Roadtrip to Baja California, Mexico
- Loreto, Mexico: A Prime-Secret Vacation spot in Baja California Sur
What are your favourite, high issues to do in Oaxaca Metropolis? Tell us within the feedback beneath!