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Daniela Ramos

Things to do in Oaxaca City

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Daniela Ramos
Daniela Ramos
 2021-05-11

With a small-town charm that enchants visitors, Oaxaca is filled with colorful façades, cobblestoned streets, art galleries, museums, and quirky cafes.

The main attraction in Oaxaca City is really the city itself, but the following is a list of the main attractions that make everyone who visits fall in love with this fantastic city.

Santo Domingo Temple

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Santo Domingo Temple is the most famous landmark of Oaxaca City. Its striking baroque facade is featured in countless postcards and magazines.

The temple’s former monastery now hosts the Cultural Center Museum, where visitors can admire an amazing collection of pre-Columbian artifacts.

Ethnobotanical Gardens

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Right behind Santo Domingo lies this museum where a huge variety of plants native to the state of Oaxaca are on display. Prepare yourself for a jungle-like atmosphere!

Oaxaca is the state with the biggest number of indigenous groups in Mexico, and it also hosts the largest variety of flora and fauna. Every plant in this garden has a cultural meaning to Oaxaca’s ethnic groups, which explains the name of this site.

Mercado 20 de Noviembre

This enormous market is probably the most visited in Oaxaca because of its incredible gastronomic variety.

Visitors will be able to eat authentic Oaxacan food in its small stalls, from seasoned grasshoppers to the famous tlayudas and mole negro. Freshly cut fruits and smoothies for ridiculously cheap prices are also available.

Museums

Oaxaca is considered the art capital of Mexico and it boasts some of the most fantastic art museums in the country.

The city’s historical center hosts hundreds of art museums, so many of them that it’s impossible to visit all of them in one visit. The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Textile Museum, and Museo de las Culturas are three good places to begin.

Monte Albán

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Located just a short drive from the city of Oaxaca’s historical center, Monte Albán is the most important archaeological site in the state.

Monte Albán was built by the Zapotec people on a mountain and used as an observatory during the 6th century B.C. For unknown reasons, it was later abandoned and taken by the Mixtecs around the year 1200 AD. They converted it into a burial ground for their elite.

Take a Cooking Class

Oaxaca’s unique and varied cuisine has made it a top spot for foodie travelers. The state’s ethnic diversity is reflected in its cuisine's diversified ingredients and preparation methods. For those eager to discover Oaxaca’s gastronomic heritage, a cooking class is a must while in the city!

Day trip to Mitla

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Mitla is considered the most important archaeological site of the Zapotec culture and the second most important one in the state of Oaxaca. It is an easy day trip from the city.

Mitla is also home to many mezcal factories where visitors can observe and learn about the process of making it from scratch. So, after exploring the fantastic ruins, you can stroll around this small town and enjoy a mezcal-tasting session. Distilled from agave, mezcal is one of Oaxaca’s many cultural heritages and worth tasting.