Has a spot ever spoken to you so deeply that you just depart feeling modified? Oaxaca City did that for me. Its thriller, vibrancy, layers upon layers of artwork, meals, tradition, and historical past made it one of the stunning locations I’ve ever visited. Not solely is Oaxaca Metropolis visually beautiful from each charming courtyard to sun-bleached zocalo, one thing about it spoke proper into my soul. The colourful colours of the textiles and Seventeenth-century stucco buildings are rivaled by the heat and kindness of its locals, desperate to introduce you to its wealthy historical past and culinary traditions.
On a latest journey to Oaxaca Metropolis, I ate extra molé and recent tortillas than I ever thought attainable, logged an unimaginable variety of miles on foot (almost every part is walkable), sipped nice coffee or spicy mezcal at each meal, and wandered from store to buy with an woke up curiosity for Oaxaca’s inventive traditions. There have been wonders to be discovered round each nook, and I’ll be sincere—I’m already planning my return journey to dive deeper into Oaxaca’s magic. The handful of US and European expats I met described the town’s pull that spoke to their artist spirits in a method they couldn’t shake. So be forewarned: whereas this Oaxaca Metropolis journey information will persuade you to ebook a protracted weekend, you’re destined to be again.
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What to know about Oaxaca City
One of the only entire cities that made it onto UNESCO’s World Heritage Site listing, Oaxaca Metropolis is understood for its magnificence, unimaginable historical past, and wealthy arts and crafts traditions.
When to go to Oaxaca
There’s actually no unhealthy time to go to Oaxaca Metropolis. Its temperate year-round local weather and make it just about good on a regular basis. And, it’s extensively thought of one of many most secure areas in Mexico.
Where is Oaxaca City?
Oaxaca (pronounced waa·haa·kuh) is both the name of the state (Oaxaca de Juarez) located in southern Mexico, and the capital city. Most things to do in Oaxaca City are located near the city center, so you’ll often hear locals simply reference “Centro” when talking about things to do or places to eat in the city. When you fly into Oaxaca City, pull out some pesos at the airport or a bank to cover taxis and cash-only restaurants.
How to get around.
Almost everything in Centro is walkable, so you can definitely get away without a car. There are incredible day trips all around the area, but there are myriad taxi, bus, and private tour guide options, which I’ll share in my Oaxaca City travel guide below.
Where to stay: Best Oaxaca Hotels
Escondido Oaxaca. Part of the Grupo Habita hotel group, Escondido Oaxaca was our house base for the journey, and it was mainly good. Situated proper in Centro, the resort is a beautifully-designed mix of historical past and modernism. Whether or not you keep right here or not, you should definitely watch at the very least one sundown whereas sipping a mezcal margarita on the luxurious rooftop terrace.
Casa Antonieta. Our friends stayed at Casa Antonieta, and we have been grateful for a cause to make it our second house, stopping by for cocktails on the terrace and snacks on the charming light-filled restaurant, Muss Café. Housed in one of many oldest buildings in Oaxaca Metropolis, relationship to 1529, it has that sure character that may’t be replicated in newer building, although the thoughtfully-designed rooms and delightful design particulars fill it with trendy consolation.
Right here’s what to do in Oaxaca Metropolis on a protracted weekend…
Day 1: Explore the City on Foot—and Discover the Best Oaxaca City Spot for Mezcal
Head to beloved bakery Boulenc for breakfast (it possible gained’t be your final go to there over the course of the weekend.) Hop in line on the counter bakery to seize pastries and a chilly brew latté, or seize a desk and order from the menu—extremely advocate the breakfast sandwich served on a house-made english muffin. Share a flaky, sugar topped Nudo pastry for dessert.
After breakfast, wander next door to Suculenta, aka the tiny grocery retailer of my goals. Refill on artisanal Oaxacan chocolate and jars of salsa macha to pack in your suitcase.
I realized from expertise that one of the simplest ways to take in Oaxaca Metropolis is to carve out a number of hours simply to stroll, discover, and be guided by your curiosity. Begin within the zocalo round beautiful Santo Domingo church, then pop into the textile and ceramics outlets that talk to you. A couple of favorites of mine: Huizache is a large store with conventional embroidered clothes and textiles, ceramics, and different artisan items; Los Baúles de Juana Cata for stunning tablecloths and napkins, and Silvia Suarez for hats and clothes. Marchanta is the store I want we had within the states—attractive garments and luggage with sculptural shapes and arresting patterns from South American designers.
When your ft want a break, seize a espresso at Onno Loncheria—the vibe is hip, and the espresso and snacks are strong.
Run don’t walk to Las Quince Letras for lunch. Our information, Lalo, who was born and raised in Oaxaca Metropolis, really helpful this spot as considered one of his favorites, and I’m so glad he did. We sampled three varieties of molés and devoured corn tortillas made by hand on the comal within the middle of the restaurant. It was recent, nourishing, and I needed to return and check out every part on the menu.
Now it’s time to wander, a key a part of any journey to Oaxaca Metropolis. A number of the biggest moments from our journey occurred once we didn’t plan, strolling across the streets of Centro, popping into outlets that caught our eye, people-watching, and snapping photographs of lovely buildings lined in flowering vines. Go forward, get somewhat misplaced.
Since Oaxaca is the birthplace of mezcal, it’s no secret that everyone here is obsessed. The ultimate mezcal tasting happens at Mezcaloteca. Make a reservation at this extremely “library” of over 100 varieties of mezcals, and your group could have the place all to your self as Rodrigo guides you thru an hourlong historical past of mezcal in Oaxaca, in addition to tips on how to expertise it for optimum enjoyment. You gained’t wish to depart with out shopping for a bottle to take house.
Head to dinner at Criollo, one of the visually beautiful eating places I’ve ever set foot in. Helmed by Chef Enrique Olvera (of Pujol in Mexico Metropolis), that is undoubtedly one of many pricier meals you’ll have in Oaxaca, however it’s a singular expertise that I’d advocate for any first-time customer to the town. You enter via a colonial mansion, and are led into an expansive courtyard with minimalist wooden furnishings, lush flowers, and bunnies and chickens roaming the property. The 6-course menu is elevated however speaks to Oaxacan custom. Put together to eat a lot.
Day 2: Soak up history at Monte Albán
Rise and shine! Walk over to Café Muss for to refuel with an oat milk latté, inexperienced juice, and Shakshuka. You’re going to wish your power for all the steps you’re about to climb.
Tour Monte Albán. Positive you possibly can take a taxi to this historic Zapotec metropolis, however hiring an area information to fill us in on the unimaginable historical past of this archaeological website, based round 500 B.C., was price each penny. Listening to the tales and which means behind the pyramids, tombs, and historic carvings introduced it to life in a method that I by no means would have appreciated by myself. Monte Albán opens at 8am, and the sooner you arrive, the extra probability you’ve got of beating the recent solar. (Shoot an e mail to [email protected] in the event you’re going to Oaxaca and need our information’s contact data!)
Grab lunch at delicious vegan restaurant Hierbe Dulce—the meals is surprisingly satisfying whether or not you’re vegan or not. We sat on the very heat courtyard (severely, attempt to seize a spot close to a fan) and had tostadas topped with pickled greens, new twists on guacamole, iced horchatas, and mushroom tacos.
Hope you saved room for an ice cream, as a result of come 5pm, the Nieves distributors come out throughout the town middle. It’s one style you’ve received to expertise when visiting Oaxaca Metropolis. Nieves is artisanal hand-churned ice cream that’s extra like sorbet than conventional American ice cream. It is available in refreshing flavors like mango, hibiscus, and cactus fruit.
If it’s Saturday, you’ll possible be handled to an impromptu marriage ceremony parade via Oaxaca Metropolis’s streets—actually one of many highlights of our complete keep. Let your self get caught up within the parade and be a part of the dancing.
Casa Oaxaca is likely one of the finest eating places in Oaxaca Metropolis, so undoubtedly find time for a dinner there. Due to the beautiful setting and unimaginable meals, it’s as beloved by locals as it’s by vacationers and journey specialists. Request a seat on the terrace overlooking the church, and put together your urge for food for a parade of Oaxacan seafood dishes, molés, grilled meats—and for dessert, an unimaginable coconut flan that I’m nonetheless dreaming about.
Day 3: Explore the Art, Artisans, and Best Oaxaca Restaurants
Start the day with a pastry (did I mention the Nudo from Boulenc? I ate one day by day of our journey.) Then, make it a degree to discover the inside of Templo de Santo Domingo, the enduring church within the metropolis middle that you just’ve possible walked previous numerous occasions at this level in your journey. It’s free to enter the church, and in the event you plan forward, you possibly can reserve a spot in one of many guided excursions of its Botanic Gardens, which I extremely advocate. There are a number of guided excursions a day, with a couple of every week in English.
Oaxaca City is full of pottery, textile, and home shops—there’s an incredible fusion of traditional folk art and modern design. My favorite place to go for handmade ceramics is Colectivo 1050°. Don’t let its small measurement idiot you—it’s packed ground to ceiling with a surprising array of handmade items made by artisans round Oaxaca, and completely embodies this mixing of previous and current.
For lunch, head to one of the markets like Mercado 20 de Noviembre. Pull up a chair and have good carne asada cooked proper in entrance of you, with peppers, onions, and (in fact) handmade tortillas to wrap all of it up in.
Although the weekend is nearing an in depth, we’ve saved maybe the very best expertise for final: a visit outdoors Oaxaca Metropolis to Teotitlán del Valle, a small village that epitomizes why Oaxaca is the capital of Mexico’s artisan craft scene. You’ll be able to ebook a information to take you to the village via many resorts or journey companies—our unimaginable information Angie took us to family-owned workshops the place we might watch artisans weave vibrantly-hued rugs, hand-dye wool with pure supplies like flowers and herbs, and create stunning beeswax candles into sculptural types. Most of the artists convey a up to date point-of-view to historic Zapotec designs. It’s actually a once-in-a-lifetime, can’t-miss alternative whilst you’re in Oaxaca.
It’s time to get dressed up and toast an unforgettable weekend in Oaxaca City. Book a table at Selva for artisanal cocktails made with Oaxacan elements. Because it’s your final evening, may as nicely go along with a mezcal drink, just like the inexperienced Selva cocktail described as a “rainforest in a glass.”
Phrases can’t describe my love for dinner at Levadura de Olla, fairly presumably my favourite meal of your entire journey. Everybody informed us that the tomato salad was an absolute spotlight, and they were right. 26-year-old chef/proprietor Thalía Barrios Garcia has created a menu rooted within the delicacies of her hometown in Oaxaca’s southern mountains, and her meals is without delay recent and smoky, vegetable-forward and deeply nourishing. We sipped crisp white wine from Mexico and dug into candy potato-filled tamales as the feminine cooks turned out recent corn tortillas on the close by comal. Greater than another meal I’ve had in latest reminiscence, every part about dinner at Levadura de Olla made me actually, actually completely satisfied.
Have any recommendations to add to our Oaxaca City travel guide? Drop your tips and favorite spots in the comments.