Oaxaca City is a haven for those who love trawling through a good market, whether that be a food market or one that sells traditional artisanal products and clothing. You can head to one of the city’s permanent markets, such as the Benito Juarez Market in the centre, or keep your eyes peeled for the roaming street tianguis.
Oaxaca City was built for the wanderer; winding streets take you high up above the centre with views over the Oaxacan skyline, and cobbled paths lead you to cafés you wouldn’t ordinarily have found in a million years. The multi-coloured façades of many of Oaxaca City’s houses and edifices only adds to this small town charm in what is actually the state capital.
Monte Alban is the most important archaeological site of the Valley of Oaxaca. Inhabited over a period of 1,500 years by a succession of peoples – Olmecs, Zapotecs and Mixtecs – the terraces, dams, canals, pyramids and artificial mounds of Monte Albán were literally carved out of the mountain and are the symbols of a sacred topography.
The Templo de Santo Domingo is one of Mexico and Oaxaca’s most iconic landmarks. It is over 400 years old and while it seems deceptively understated from the outside, the interior is ornate, impressive and positively drenched in gold. Also, given that it’s surrounded by cacti and often bathed in the midday sun, it makes for a great spot to take some artsy photos.
Oaxacan cuisine is some of Mexico’s best and you can’t afford to miss out while you’re in the capital. Even if you can only try out a few dishes, make sure they include at least one of its regional specialities. Tlayudas are also known as Mexican pizzas because they’re large, crispy tortillas topped with beans, cheese, avocado and meats of your choice – you can’t not try one!
While Mexico City takes the title for the most museums, Oaxaca is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to art galleries. From smaller independent ones that you can dip in and out of as you wander the cobbled, winding streets of the city to the larger more famous ones that display pieces from renowned artists, the art scene in Oaxaca is absolutely one of the things you must see.
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