Oaxaca City Travel Guide
This is one of my favorite places in Mexico! Honestly probably my number 1 at this time. If you are heading to Oaxaca City anytime soon, I’ve got all the info you need to get you started. Where to eat, drink, explore and any additional info you may need. My husband and I love traveling to this city, but haven’t been able to go back since before Covid (about 3 years at the time of writing this) so keep that in mind. There may be new places to check out and explore, but I’m pretty sure what I’m sharing below is still relevant as most of these are just classics. Hopefully we will get to go back asap to update this list!
Where to eat and drink:
Oaxaca is such an amazing place for food lovers! It’s full of unique flavors and textures. Most places get their food locally, so you know it’s fresh. These places below are my favorites and you can not miss out! I promise you will thank me later.
Los Danzantes – This place is so delicious! It’s great for lunch or dinner but also has great cocktails They mix traditional flavors with contemporary Mexican dishes and it’s all yummy. Plus the place is super cool looking. Not to mention they are one of my favorite Mezcal distilleries and their mezcal cocktails are great.
Casa Oaxaca– This restaurant serves authentic Oaxacan food and has an adorable rooftop. Highly recommend during sunset or on a pretty day. This place is very authentic and typical of this part of Mexico. If you don’t know what something is, make sure to ask, because you may just get a tortilla with guacamole and a bunch of bugs like crickets and worms on it. This could totally throw a few tourists off if you aren’t into exploring this but try it out! It’s a specialty for a reason. My recommendation is the beef tongue, or, “lengua”. The sauce is delicious and so is the soft meat!
Piotiona– This spot is my absolute favorite! You can tell with every single bite the chef really loves food and his country. What I love is that it has a good blend of all the regions of Mexico here. It almost has a home cooked feel to it.. it’s so yummy and heartwarming. The pork belly is delicious and probably the best I have ever had. It was satisfying yet I left feeling light and airy. If you are in the mood for something soothing to the belly and heartwarming, try the sopa de fideo and the salads are all delicious. I had a warm salad which blew my mind away. It had delicious cinnamon flavors (forget the name sorry) and it was a whole delicious meal in itself.
Hotel Los Amantes– for a good rooftop at sunset late lunch/early dinner this spot is so pretty! We just had some tacos and drinks which were great, but the real reason to go in my opinion is the view.
Hot Dogs + Burgers in the plaza – I had no idea until the second time I visited Oaxaca, but apparently for after hours (when everything is closed) you can get cheap burgers and hot dogs from the stands in the plaza in front of the Santo Domingo church. They are all delicious. I had two dogs and felt great.
Mezcaloteca – This is a small tasting room right behind the Santo Domingo church. The staff is very knowledgable and welcoming. If you aren’t familiar with Mezcal and want to dip your toes into this spirit, absolutely go here! It’s a great introduction to Mezcal for beginners. I was not a fan until I came to this spot. Make sure to make a reservation beforehand!
Aloha Oaxaca– This place is a small, cozy tiki bar hidden in the far end of a building. It almost feels like being back in the states which is a nice break from all the food and mezcal drinks after a few days. They have all kinds of spirits (not just mezcal like a lot of places in Oaxaca). So if you are feeling like some tropical cocktails stop here to check it out and chat with their talented bartenders.
Muss Cafe – This is the prettiest little coffee shop!! If you are around it stop in for a sip.
What to see:
Walk the botanical gardens! Behind the main square cathedral is a botanical garden which is super peaceful and pretty. Take a little walk through and explore. There are also great IG pic spots here.
Museum plaza Check out the museum that was once a convent. It’s a gorgeous place to shoot photos and is also just stunning. You can also get a great view of the botanical gardens from above.
Museo de textiles – for anyone that wants to dive deep into the culture and loves textiles there is a museum where you can see all the history on textiles.
Head to artisanal market: Of course you can’t miss the artisanal markets. There are markets everywhere and little shops, but there is a specific area that is called Artisanal market where you can see all the stuff in one place. I would def recommend taking extra cash just to take home a few goodies. The art scene here is insane and there are really cool things. Rugs, Textiles, Ceramics, art pieces or just little trinkets.
Drive outside of the city: There is so much to see outside of the city. You can go check out local small towns, see some ruins (Monte Alban) or head to the beach area. One thing I have always wanted to see but never had a chance to is Hierve el Agua which is a super touristy spot but I’ve heard well worth the trip.
Where to Stay:
As far as where to stay we still have a lot to explore. We stayed at an airbnb once that turned out to be a horrible mistake as the whole building was infested with mold. We ended up leaving it early and heading to this hotel CITY CENTRO OAXACA which was a basic hotel but it’s so well situated. I really liked this area. It was well priced, clean, safe and all pink which was super cute for photos.
We also stayed another time at a spot which was way more affordable called CON CORAZON MEXICO. This hotel was a nice, minimal hotel which was clean and simple. It was more affordable and helps support the community by helping fund the local development programs that help educate the local kids. Great concept but it is a ten minute walk to the main area. Not bad but also not ideal when it’s raining or very hot.
A few other places that look super cute, but we haven’t had a chance to try:
For a more luxurious stay: PUG SEAL
Casa Antoineta is so beautiful! It’s just a dream inside! Hope to stay here one day.
I’ve heard good things about Casa De Las Bugambilias as well! Cute little B&B
Things to know:
- Wear comfortable shoes! Oaxaca city is perfect for walking all around but a lot of the streets are cobblestone or uneven. Walking shoes are crucial especially since it can get really hot and blisters can creep up on you.
- Check the weather ahead of time. Depending on what time of year you go, it can be extremely hot and stuffy or it can also be rainy. Just make sure you check so you are well prepared for either.
- Traditionally Oaxacans are very conservative. I would suggest to be respectful with clothing options. You can keep it super casual, just be respectful.
- Sip, DONT SHOOT mezcal. Not only is it super strong but you can’t really appreciate the taste and aromas when you shoot it.
- Always carry cash! Mexico is still very cash friendly. Tipping is also a big thing in Mexico (hotels, staff, waiters ) so carrying extra cash around is always good!
- Eat everything but be careful with the water. Stick to bottled.