With its glowing cobblestone streets and stunning colonial architecture, Oaxaca is a city bursting with colour and life. Whether you are looking to taste the best food in Mexico or explore the country’s cultural epicentre, Oaxaca offers great experiences for every traveller.
Read on for some of the best things to do in Oaxaca, and start planning your trip today.
Visit the Church of Santo Domingo
Featuring impressive Baroque-style architecture, the church and former monastery includes a massive network of courtyards, cloisters, and rooms constructed over a period of 200 years. It is also home to a museum, the Cultural Centre of Oaxaca, that holds an extensive collection of pre-Columbian artefacts.
Spend the day here admiring the beautiful architecture, weaving through the labyrinth of exhibition rooms, or wandering around the 2.3-hectare botanic garden next door.
Discover the Zócalo
Abuzz with vendors and musicians, this plaza is a vibrant place lined with bars, restaurants, and little shops. Surrounded by huge banyan trees, stroll around the shade and experience the charm of Mexico, or sit down for a while and enjoy a drink as you watch the world go by.
Explore the Local Markets
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The Mercado 20 de Noviembre is a one-stop oasis for foodies. Lined full of stalls, this is a great place to try many Oaxacan specialities. Be sure not to miss the Passilo de Carnes Asadas (Hall of Meat) and try the variety of charcoal-grilled meats on offer from the various stands. Savour the atmosphere and get lost in the busy streets somewhere between the bright colours, textures, and fragrances.
For more vegetarian and vegan-friendly options, do also check out the Organic Harvest market. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, this market is a food haven. Shop for organic fresh produce, try the delicious food at local street stalls and enjoy the live music as you relax and stroll through its lanes.
Discover Local Street Art
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This city is brimming with beautiful mural paintings all over. Interestingly, street art in Oaxaca also encourages creativity in many local artists, who use their works as a means to express the issues faced in society. Stroll through the streets, take a look at the vintage cars, and soak in the bright colours that add to the charm of the place.
Try Mezcal: The Real Flavour of Oaxaca
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Derived from the Aztec word “mexcalli” meaning “oven-cooked agave”, mezcal is the general term for spirits distilled from local Mexican agave plants. You will find dozens of mezcalrias -places that serve mezcal- in Oaxaca, so be sure to taste this famous drink while here as many famous varieties are native to the region.
Experience the Day of the Dead
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The Day of the Dead, or “Día de los Muertos” in Spanish, is a Mexican holiday where friends and family gather to remember and pray for those who have died. Steeped in rich tradition, this is one of the biggest celebrations of the year in Oaxaca. Observe the beautiful and ornate altars on display, try special festive breads (also known as “pan de muerto”) dipped in some local hot chocolate, and join in the various parades across the city.
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