If you’re in search of a metropolis that’s not overwhelmingly large, but packs an enormous punch in phrases of actions and tradition, then Oaxaca is the vacation spot for you. This is likely one of the greatest places to visit in Mexico.

A go to to this state in southern Mexico is greatest began off in the capital metropolis of the identical title, the place you’ll be able to spend a couple of days taking in the sights, digging into the delicacies, and embarking on some adventures. 

On a brief go to to Oaxaca City (it’s pronounced wa-ha-ka, by the way in which), you’ll be able to bounce across the church buildings and museums, take day journeys out to historical ruins, indulge in the native delicacies, and possibly participate in a standard competition.

Read on for a large listing of the perfect issues to do in Oaxaca, and begin planning your journey to this superior Mexican metropolis.

things to do in oaxaca city mexico

1. Explore the Zocalo

One of the highest issues to do in Oaxaca is exploring the central a part of the town. Known because the Zocalo, this space is the perfect place to get a really feel for the town of Oaxaca. It’s additionally an amazing place to do some critical sightseeing. 

Start out in the principle sq. and bounce across the many well-known landmarks close by. You can simply fill a whole day or two with sightseeing in the Zocalo. There are loads of locations to seize some meals or a drink as properly everytime you want a break. 

A go to to the Zocalo is at all times one of many prime things to do in Mexico as an entire – that is the perfect spot to folks watch, loosen up with a drink, or seize a snack. It’s additionally the place you’ll usually discover Mexican households having fun with themselves through the night. 

Click here for directions

2. Visit the Templo de Santo Domingo

The spotlight of downtown Oaxaca is certainly the gorgeous Templo de Santo Domingo. This 16th-century Baroque Catholic church is gorgeous inside and outside. After admiring the constructing from the sq., make sure to go in to see the magnificent gilded inside. It’s been used as a church, monastery, and navy barracks all through historical past.

The Templo de Santo Domingo is open day-after-day from 7AM-1PM and once more from 4-8PM besides throughout mass. If you go to on a Saturday, there’s probability you’ll see a couple of weddings happening. 

Entrance to the church is free. Click here for directions

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3. Check out the Museum of Cultures

After visiting the church above, you’ll be able to take a while to go to the Museo de las Culturas (Museum of Cultures). It’s housed in the gorgeous monastery buildings of the advanced and covers the historical past and tradition of the area. 

The most spectacular show in the museum is the Treasure of Tomb 7 – a set of treasured stones and gold jewellery that was found in a Monte Alban tomb. There’s additionally a superb view of the town from contained in the museum, making it properly definitely worth the $3.50 entrance price.

Click here for directions

4. Take a Free Walking Tour

In cities all around the globe, free strolling excursions have gotten an increasing number of in style. Taking the free walking tour is certainly among the finest issues to do in Oaxaca. You’ll study loads in regards to the metropolis, its historical past, and its tradition from a educated native information and make new pals in the method.

things to do in oaxaca purchase traditional souvenirs
Woman weaving a basket on the market in Oaxaca

Free strolling excursions begin day-after-day at 10AM in entrance of the Oaxaca Cathedral. Tours final round two hours, leaving you loads of time to observe a few of your information’s suggestions on what to do and the place to eat. 

Although the excursions are technically “free”, suggestions are welcome. Click here for instructions to the assembly level. 

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5. Get Lost in the Markets

One of the important issues to do in Oaxaca is getting misplaced wandering across the metropolis’s many markets. You’ll discover scrumptious native meals at a low worth in addition to loads of attention-grabbing souvenirs. 

things to do in oaxaca visit a market
Mole paste on the market in the market

The most well-known market is Benito Juarez, the place you’ll be able to strive Oaxacan classics like mole, decide up some native cheese and mezcal, or get adventurous and snack on crickets. Markets are an integral a part of Mexican life, give your self a couple of hours and benefit from the ambiance. 

Click here for instructions to Benito Juarez Market. 

6. Day Trip to Monte Alban (undoubtedly one of many prime issues to do in Oaxaca)

Far and away one of the crucial in style issues to do in Oaxaca is taking a day journey out to the ruins at Monte Alban (White Mountain). Built by the Zapotecs, this is likely one of the most spectacular archaeological websites in all of Latin America. 

things to do in oaxaca visit monte alban ruins
A visit to Monte Alban ruins is a should

Unlike the extra well-known ruins at Chichen Itza, you’ll be able to truly nonetheless climb on the pyramids at Monte Alban. Doing so affords you gorgeous views of the encompassing countryside. You can take a bus or taxi out to the ruins for those who please, or you’ll be able to join a tour to go together with a bunch and a information. 

*Tip: deliver a picnic and luxuriate in some lunch in the shade, whereas gazing out at historical ruins!

7. Experience the Guelaguetza Festival

When in Oaxaca, you’ll wish to expertise the native indigenous cultures. There’s no time or place higher to do this than through the annual Guelaguetza competition. It’s targeted on conventional dance performances from native indigenous teams. Each group additionally wears its personal distinctive clothes for the occasion. 

The festivities happen on the final two Mondays of July in a stunning open-air amphitheatre. You’ll wish to safe your tickets good and early, as this is likely one of the hottest issues to do in Oaxaca and thus sells out in a short time. 

If you sit in the again in sections C and D, entrance to the competition is free. But, in order for you higher seats, you’ll need to buy tickets. Speak to your resort, they’ll have the opportunity that will help you type out tickets. Click here for extra particulars. 

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8. Visit the Botanical Gardens

If you like seeing and studying in regards to the native natural world while you journey, you’ll wish to make sure to hit the botanical gardens. Here you’ll have the ability to see many alternative crops which can be native to the state of Oaxaca.

A go to to the botanical gardens is definitely mixed with the cathedral and the tradition museum, as they’re all positioned on the identical grounds. There are English excursions on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 11AM for about $5. Click here for instructions. 

things to do in oaxaca
Ice cream vendor in Oaxaca

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9. Take Part in a Temazcal Ceremony

Every as soon as in some time, it’s good to have a pleasant sweat to cleanse your physique of poisons. It’s even higher when you are able to do it in an historical Mayan ritual. That’s why you need to put participating in a temazcal ceremony excessive in your listing of issues to do in Oaxaca.

The greatest place to go in the town is Ceviarem Temazcal Oaxaca, however you’ll wish to be certain to order a spot properly forward of time as they have an inclination to replenish. This historical ceremony can be one of many prime things to do in Cancun, don’t miss it!

The value of this ceremony varies, however for the normal clear, anticipate to spend round 700 pesos ($35). 

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10. Go Hiking and Swimming at Hierve el Agua (Boiling Water)

When travelling in Oaxaca, a day journey out to Hierve el Agua is a should. Here you’ll see wonderful rock formations that resemble cascading waterfalls. It’s an amazing place to spend half a day mountain climbing and having fun with nature. 

There are additionally pure mineral springs which you could soak in. While title means “boiling water” in Spanish, the water can truly be a bit chilly right here. It’s nonetheless good and refreshing to take a dip, particularly after mountain climbing across the space for some time. 

Although it’s attainable to get right here by yourself steam, in this case, excursions make the journey a lot simpler. They may be booked via your resort or hostel and can value round 200 pesosl. The web site opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m, and the doorway price is 30 pesos ($1.50) per individual.

Click here for instructions to Hierve el Agua, and click here for extra details about the falls.

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11. Check Out the Street Art Scene

There appears to be amazing street art all over the place in Mexico, and Oaxaca isn’t any totally different. You’ll discover murals all around the metropolis, thanks in giant half to the road artwork collective often called Lapiztola.

Their title is a mix of the Spanish phrases for pencil (lápiz) and pistol (pistola). Their purpose is to make use of artwork as a weapon to unfold social and political messages. Be certain to trace down a few of their work while you’re out in search of road artwork in Oaxaca.

12. Stroll On The Pedestrian-Only Street

When strolling between the Zocalo and the Templo de Santo Domingo, you should use the pedestrian-friendly Calle Alcala. Strolling alongside this car-free road lets you admire the colonial-era buildings, most of which at the moment are house to galleries, cafes, artisan retailers, and bars. 

If you spend a couple of days in Oaxaca, likelihood is you’ll return to Calle Alcala a minimum of a couple of occasions – the visitors in Oaxaca metropolis may be relentless. It’s at all times good to get away from the fumes of autos and simply get pleasure from your self on a stroll across the metropolis. Click here for directions

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13. Feast on Local Food

Ask any Mexican what you need to do in Oaxaca, and most will merely reply “Eat!” Indeed, Oaxaca is legendary for its mouth-watering delicacies, and also you’ll need to indulge your style buds when you’re there. Each area of Mexico has its personal conventional delicacies on supply, and the identical goes for Oaxaca State. 

Perhaps probably the most quintessential native dish is tlayuda – a crispy, evenly fried tortilla lined with beans, meat, lettuce, avocado, salsa and Oaxaca cheese (which is gentle, white and really stringy). 

things to do in oaxaca city try the local food
Side of the highway meals stalls are the perfect in Mexico

Mole sauce can be mentioned to have originated proper right here in Oaxaca, so that you’ll undoubtedly need to make making an attempt the totally different varieties (there are 7!) one in all your prime issues to do in Oaxaca.

Bonus! If you’re backpacking Mexico on a finances, you’ll have the ability to eat wonderful meals with out breaking the financial institution.

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14. Take a Mexican Cooking Class

Since you’re going to get pleasure from consuming the scrumptious delicacies of Oaxaca a lot, why not discover ways to make it at house? There are a number of totally different choices for Mexican cooking lessons in the town, so join and channel your internal chef.

Click here to see the quite a few cooking lessons accessible in the town and select one which sounds the perfect to you! The value of lessons varies and also you’ll want a minimum of 2 folks. Expect to spend round 1,200 pesos ($65) and up for a day of studying, cooking and consuming.

15. Day of the Dead Festivities

Do a Google search of “best places to celebrate Day of the Dead,” and Oaxaca is bound to show up. The metropolis is house to a few of the most energetic celebrations for Día de Muertos, which final from the tip of October to early November. 

Taking place October 31 – November 2, Day of the Dead is just not a mournful competition, however relatively a celebratory one. Locals go to the cemeteries to brighten the graves of family members and light-weight candles, and there are very energetic parades to look at in city. 

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On prime of the visits to cemeteries and parades, you’ll discover vibrant sand tapestries across the metropolis, particular meals for the event, distinctive alters, and extra. This is taken into account excessive season in Oaxaca, so ensure you ebook your lodging properly in advance – try our Airbnb coupon code for a $25 low cost, or click on right here to check resort prices on Booking.com.

16. Eat All The Meat on the Mercado 20 de Noviembre 

If you’re a carnivore, that is undoubtedly the perfect place to go to in Oaxaca! But, even for those who’re a vegetarian, you’ll be able to nonetheless discover some meals you’d get pleasure from as properly. This meat corridor is a highly regarded spot for locals and vacationers alike. If you’re unsure the place it’s, simply observe the grilled meat odor… 

It’s a little bit of an meeting line and getting your meal can appear extremely complicated. Basically, you select the greens that you really want grilled after which take your tray to the “meat man” who will add proteins to your tray (strive the thinly sliced beef, sausage or ribs).

things to do in oaxaca try the 21 de noviembre market for meat
The meat hallway! Just observe your nostril…

You’ll obtain a quantity, and till it’s known as simply sit down at one of many tables – shared seating type. Tortillas and condiments will come round so that you can decide from. This market is the place the locals eat so that you’ll have the ability to get pleasure from a cultural expertise, and possibly make new pals over some BBQ. This is certainly one of the crucial hectic issues to do in Oaxaca, however value it!

Click here for instructions to the Mercado 20 de Noviembre.

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17. Do a Mezcal Tasting

If you fancy an grownup beverage on occasion, among the finest issues to do in Oaxaca is a mezcal tasting. This spirit comprised of any kind of agave plant, not like tequila which may solely be comprised of blue agave. Mezcal has a novel, smoky style due to the underground roasting of the plant. 

Oaxaca is understood to supply a few of the greatest mezcal in the nation, so pop into one of many numerous mezcalerias and do some tasting.  Chances are you’ll prefer it a lot you’ll wish to decide up a bottle to deliver again house. 

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18. Visit the Ruins at Mitla

If you’re making an attempt to see some extra ruins in your journey, you then’ll wish to make a journey out to Mitla. While Monte Alban was the political centre for the Zapotecs, Mitla was the spiritual centre. Its title comes from the Nahuatl phrase that means the place of the lifeless, or the underworld. Taking a visit out right here ought to undoubtedly be in your listing of issues to do in Oaxaca. 

The ruins at Mitla are famed for the Column of Life positioned in one of many tombs. It’s believed that for those who wrap your arms across the column, the area between your palms represents what number of years you will have left on Earth. Try it for those who dare, and for those who can converse slightly Spanish, you’ll be able to ask for assist.

Mitla may be mixed with a visit to Hierve el Agua. Click here for instructions. 

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19. Check Out The Sunday Market

If you need to end up in Oaxaca on a Sunday, make sure to head out to the huge market in close by Tlacolula. Vendors come from all around the valley to promote all kinds of products. It’s an amazing place to do some folks watching, as most individuals put on the normal garments of their village.

Wandering across the market, you’ll be able to decide up some contemporary produce, strive some yummy road meals, seize a bottle of mezcal, and store for artisan items and crafts. It’s properly definitely worth the quick journey out right here to expertise this vibrant market. Click here for instructions. 

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20. Enjoy a Hot Chocolate

In addition to mezcal, Oaxaca is legendary for one more drink – sizzling chocolate. There are a number of cafes in the town the place you’ll be able to order up a cup of candy chocolatey goodness. You also can go to Mayordomo Chocolate to look at the chocolate being made and luxuriate in a number of free samples. 

hot chocolate tasting is one of the things to do in oaxaca

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21. Take a Tour with Fundacion en Via

If you wish to assist an amazing trigger when you journey, join a tour with Fundacion en Via. This non-profit group makes use of the funds from excursions to empower girls in the Tlacolula Valley by giving them interest-free loans and funding instructional packages. 

On their excursions, you go to small communities simply exterior of the town to satisfy artisans and businesswomen. You’ll study loads about their micro-finance program and the native tradition as properly. They have a couple of totally different tour choices, together with a particular tour for Day of the Dead.

Ready for Oaxaca?!

After studying about all of the unbelievable issues to do in Oaxaca, I’m certain you’re able to ebook your flight and test it out for your self. As you understand by now, there’s a lot to do right here to incorporate it in your subsequent journey to Mexico. Spend a couple of days taking in all that the town has to supply, then make your option to the coast to lounge on the seaside. Now that’s what I name a trip! 

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