Things to Do in Oaxaca
Oaxaca, Mexico

8 Must-Do Things to Experience the Best of Oaxaca City

Nestled in the heart of Mexico, Oaxaca City is a charming colonial town that offers an abundance of activities for visitors. From its unique cuisine to its rich cultural history, this destination is a must-see for any traveler. Here are the top things to do in Oaxaca City that should be on every traveler’s itinerary.


1. The Food

Let’s start with the obvious: the food. Oaxacan cuisine is not your typical Tex-Mex fare. It is a feast for the senses, with flavors and ingredients that are unique to the region. From zucchini flower quesadillas to fried grasshoppers, there is something for everyone to try. Don’t forget to try the rich complex sauces called moles, which are a staple in Oaxacan cuisine. And for those with a sweet tooth, the chocolate in Oaxaca is a must-try. You’ll find chocolate like you’ve never tasted before, made from locally grown cacao beans.

2. Places to Visit in Oaxaca – Monte Alban

One of the most well-known places to visit in Oaxaca City is Monte Alban, an ancient archaeological site that was once the center of the Zapotec civilization. The city was built on top of a hill, which provides a stunning panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. Visitors are free to wander around and explore the ruins, which include many buildings and sculptures that give insight into the rich history of the region.

3. Places to Visit in Oaxaca – Hierve el Agua

Hierve el Agua, or “the boiling water,” is a natural wonder that is a must-see when visiting Oaxaca City. This rock formation resembles a waterfall, and there are natural pools nearby where visitors can swim and bathe. The views of the surrounding valley are breathtaking, and there is even an artificial pool that provides an incredible view of the landscape. This is a perfect spot for a day trip from Oaxaca City.

4. Places to Visit in Oaxaca – Mezcalerias

Mezcal is the spirit of Oaxaca City, and mezcalerias are the bars that specialize in the local spirit. Unlike tequila, mezcal has a smoky flavor that’s perfect for sipping, but it can also be enjoyed with ground-up worms, chili powder, sugar, and salt. You can also pair mezcal with fresh oranges. But be careful! Mezcal is strong stuff.


5. Tlacolula de Matamoros

If you’re in Oaxaca City on a Sunday, head over to Tlacolula de Matamoros. It’s a small town just 20 minutes away from downtown Oaxaca that turns into one of the oldest continuous markets on the continent. You can find plenty of food items, like live poultry, grilled meats, and even fried bugs, as well as clothes, fabrics, spices, and artisanal chocolate. The atmosphere is festive, and it’s a great way to experience the local flavor of Oaxaca.

6. Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman

Construction of this complex, which includes a church and a monastery, began in 1570. It’s a popular tourist spot due to its history and grandness, but it’s most famous for the church’s altarpiece, a Virgin of Guadalupe covered with 60,000 sheets of 23.5-carat gold leaf. The temple complex is situated on the Plaza de Santo Domingo, a square that’s perfect for people watching.

7. Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca

If you want to understand Oaxaca City’s history as well as Mexico’s history as a whole, the Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca is an essential stop. The museum specializes in pre-Columbian cultures, specifically Zapotec and Mixtec cultures. The exhibits are well-explained, and they allow visitors to understand the diversity of Mexico.

8. Zocalo & Alameda – Things To Do In Oaxaca City

The cathedral of Oaxaca City, located in the Zocalo, is a must-visit for its architecture and history. The Zocalo is also a great place to relax and people watch. Nearby, the Alameda is a park that’s perfect for a leisurely stroll. The park is filled with trees and benches, and it’s a great place to take in the local atmosphere.

READ MORE (OUTSIDE WEBSITE): Discover the Rich Culture and History of Oaxaca City