15 best thing to do in Oaxaca, Mexico

altImage Source: wikipedia.org

Oaxaca is the central city of Mexico and is known for buildings made of green volcanic stones. Inhabitants here are indigenous and rooted in culture. The cultures are conserved better here than other parts of Mexico because of the rough terrain. The city attracts tourists throughout the year for its archeological sites, native cultures, crafts and coasts. It is the third most biologically diverse state of Mexico and has a variety of reptiles, mammals, and plants. 

Following are the fifteen best things to do in Oaxaca: 

1. Visit  Santo Domingo de Guzman church

It is one of the most embellished churches in Oaxaca and is endowed with gold. It is a wedding destination for couples from all over Mexico. It’s beauty is enhanced in the evening when the lights are turned on. It is also known for hosting cultural exhibitions from Oaxaca. Painting and sculptures are explained well by masters from Oxaco. The gold leaf carvings are also quite impressive. At night, soothing music is played, which imparts a peace of mind.

2. Explore ancient archaeological ruins of Monte Alban

These remains are a UNESCO world heritage site. It is located on the low mountain range above the plains. It is one of the earliest cities in America and is an important economic center. The Main Plaza is the monumental site of Monte Alban and its archeological remains can be found near it. Large platforms are present towards the northern and southern part of the Main Plaza. They are easy accessible by a staircase. A large number of carved stones like Danzantes are also present, which depicts how dancers were discredited. Mount Alban also has a small museum with different carved stones from the archaeological site.

3. Be mesmerized by the art museum Museo Rufino Tamayo

The museum is housed in a building that dates back to 1979 and has pre-Columbian art. The arts are from the 100 B.C. and many of them were donated by a famous modern artist of Mexico, Rufino Tamayo. They are displayed according to their artistic themes. The museum gives an insight into the diverse and rich culture heritage of Oaxaca. In spite of being small, the museum has an extraordinary display which might take hours to digest by the visitor.

4. Shop books at Amate book shop

Amate bookshop has thousands of books in English depicting art, culture, history, cooking, and much more of Mexico. It also has folk art collection. As it has the best collection of books about Mexico, many travelers stop by here to get themselves a copy. It is a must visit for someone who is fascinated by Mexican literature.

5. Visit Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca, Santo Domingo

This museum has fabulous monastery, large corridors and exhibition rooms.

It has beautiful buildings with well-preserved decorations. The Museum of Cultures exhibits historical items from 2 to 9th century A.D. The building is an old monastery and has some religious art displayed. Although the explanations are in Spanish, English guides are also present to help the tourists learn history and art of Mexico. It also has a magnificent view of Botanical gardens and the mountains. Stamps are also sold here.

6. Visit Andador de Macedonia Alcala

It is one of Oaxaca’s crowded main thoroughfares. It is a great place to enjoy during the day as well as the night. No cars or motorbikes are allowed here.

It is a great street with only pedestrian traffic and is filled with vendors, coffee shops, and people who very friendly. It is surrounded by good eating places and various on-the-spot cultural activities. There are many galleries with paintings and weaving shops. It is apt for shopping and tasting authentic Mexican cuisine.

7.  Visit museum of Philately of Oaxaca

altImage Source: wikimedia.org

It was founded on July 9, 1998 and is dedicated to  philately and collecting. It was initiated by Alfredo Harp Helú’s Oaxaca Foundation who donated his first collection to the museum. It has around 2,00,000 pieces of stamps. It also has Penny Black which was the first postal stamp in world and first stamp of Mexico. It has collection of stamps that were issued in 1856.

8.  Have grilled meat at 20 de Noviembre Market.

altImage Source: wikimedia.org

The 20 de Noviembre Market has only one entry with lots of food stalls where one can taste Oaxacan specialties. The air is filled with the amazing smell of grilled meat. There is an option of selecting raw meat of choice and watch it being grilled. It has beautiful long tables and benches where people can enjoy salsa, guacamole, and tortillas. It also serves the best tample. It is fun to wander around here and enjoy lunch. It is a noisy but cheap food street with the perfect musical entertainment.

9. Learn about the native plants of Oaxaca at Ethnobotanical Garden

altImage Source: wikimedia.com

It has hundreds of live plant species from all parts of Oaxaca. So every plant  native of Oaxaca is said to be found here. The planting for this garden began in 1998 when plants from arid, humid, low, tropical and mountainous regions of Oaxaca were brought here. The garden gives a clear view of the rich biodiversity and climate of Oaxaca. The guides give information of the cultures, history and biology of Oaxaca. The tourist are expected to bring hats along with them and they need to spend considerable amount of time to enjoy the true beauty of the Ethnobotanical Garden.

10.  Shop at Benito Juarez Market

It is a vibrant and diverse market with vendors selling produce, prepared foods, crafts & textiles. It is also staked with exceptionally cheap handicrafts. It has varieties of fresh produce, beautiful handcrafted objects, spicy grasshoppers, dried chiles, and mounds of mole paste. It is the best place for chocolates and moles. Apart from these, vendors also sell empanadas, tamales, tortillas, juices, and fruits that are available to be consumed on the spot. Having a taste of freshly cooked food and local cheese and spices, makes it into a must thing to do in Mexico.

11. Visit Basilica of Our Lady of Solitude church

It is a roman catholic church built between 1682 and 1690 and is dedicated to  Our Lady of Solitude, patron saint of Oaxaca. The whole architecture is extravagant made of green cantera, a stone that is common in Oaxaca. It has low pyramid on the top of low towers and is designed in such a manner so as to resist earthquakes. It is declared as one of the world heritage sites by UNESCO.

12.  Enjoy the beauty Hierve el Agua waterfall

altImage Source: wikimedia.org

It is a set of natural rock formations which resembles steps like waterfalls. 

The site is located about 70 km east of Oaxaca city. It consists of two rock shelves or cliffs which above the valley. The rocks formations are white in color and look like waterfalls. When the freshwater springs over-saturated with calcium carbonate and other minerals flows over the cliffs, the excess minerals are deposited giving the white color of calcium carbonate to the rocks.

13. Check out the Cuilapan de Guerrero town

It was formerly a monastery and has a fortress like complex build. It is located on a small hill and it has a great view of the valley. Though it is one of the extravagant areas of Oaxaca, sites like tall basilica, the elaborate baptismal font, the Gothic cloister and murals makes it fit to the list of 15 things to do in Oaxaca.

14. Watch concert at Teatro Macedonio de Alcala

The theater is named in honor of Mexican musician and composer of the 19th century. It is a concert hall where cultural performances like folk dances can be enjoyed.

15. Relax and refresh at the Mazunte beach

Mazunte is a small village and has one kilometer beach. A variety of deciduous trees, cactus and mangroves can be found here. Depending on the season, whales, dolphins, sea turtles, and manta rays are also spotted. National Mexican turtle center is situated here, which contains multiple specimens of all marine turtles native to Mexico.

Are you looking for a Oaxaca De Juarez travel itinerary? Create an itinerary within minutes, on your own!

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Oaxaca De Juarez, Mexico

Must see places in Oaxaca De Juarez ranked on popularity. Here is the complete list of best attractions in Oaxaca De Juarez and point of interests to visit.

  1. Casa Oaxaca

    #1 of 73 Things To Do in Oaxaca De Juarez
    Casa Oaxaca

    Tags: Hotel, Food And Drinks, Dine In

    Address: Oaxaca, Mexico

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    (INR 15300-20,900 per night):a hotel which captures all the flavour of the colonial city Oaxaca. It provides excellent service and facilities with easy accessible to everything in the city,Hotel Azul ...Read more

  2. Basilica Of Our Lady Of Solitude

    #2 of 73 Things To Do in Oaxaca De Juarez
    Basilica Of Our Lady Of Solitude

    Tags: Church, Religious Site, Architecture

    Address: Av. de la Independencia 107, CALZADA MADERO, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico

    This Roman Catholic basilica was built in the sixteenth century. Baroque architecture and low spires are worth visiting at least ones. Many people believe that there is some kind of a healing power in...Read more

  3. San Juan De Dios

    #3 of 73 Things To Do in Oaxaca De Juarez
    San Juan De Dios  Image

    Tags: Religious Site, Temple, Historical Site

    Address: Aldama 217, OAX_RE_BENITO JUAREZ, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico

    Parroquia de San Juan de Dios or the Temple of San Juan de Dios is the oldest temple in the city of Oaxaca. It dates back to 1521 and its first priest was Juan Diaz. It is widely considered to be the ...Read more

  4. Benito Juarez Market

    #4 of 73 Things To Do in Oaxaca De Juarez
    Benito Juarez Market

    Address: Oaxaca

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    A huge and busy street market with stuffs like cooking ingredients, handmade baskets, textiles etc . A must bargain place with vendors to get low price.  

  5. Gold Of Monte Alban

    #5 of 73 Things To Do in Oaxaca De Juarez
    Gold Of Monte Alban

    Tags: Tomb

    Address: Oaxaca

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    jewellery boutiques which sell reproduction of the jewellery found in Monte Alban’s tomb 7. Also with very unique designer’s as well as handmade jewellery

  6. Zipolite

    #6 of 73 Things To Do in Oaxaca De Juarez

    Tags: Resort

    Address: Oaxaca De Juarez

    The low-key beach resort in the Pacific Coastline of Mexico gives perfect exposure to the 2km long beach known for its strong current and medium grain gold colored sand. The West end of the beach is f...Read more

  7. Monte Alban

    #7 of 73 Things To Do in Oaxaca De Juarez
    Monte Alban

    Tags: Church, Mountain, Cafe, Restaurant

    Address: Oaxaca

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    A premier archeological site with an eye catching view at the top of the mountain and a small but a nice museum with a gift shop and a restaurant café in the same building. This museum is also ...Read more

  8. Panuelito Garden

    #8 of 73 Things To Do in Oaxaca De Juarez
    Panuelito Garden

    Tags: Garden

    Address: A Gurrión 102, Centro, Oaxaca, Oax., Mexico

    Timings: 24-hrs Details

    In the corner of the Oaxaca city, this garden speaks of culture and tradition of the country. The various restaurants are there so that you can sit back and relax over delicious food. The garden is lo...Read more

  9. Benito Juarez Market

    #9 of 73 Things To Do in Oaxaca De Juarez
    Benito Juarez Market  Image

    Tags: Market


Tourist Attractions Near Oaxaca De Juarez

Find Your Oaxaca De Juarez Attractions on Map

Types of Things To Do in Oaxaca De Juarez

Find more attractions and places to visit in Oaxaca De Juarez under these things to do categories.

What To Do in Oaxaca De Juarez: Day-Wise Ideas

Find what not to miss in Oaxaca De Juarez! Recommended Oaxaca De Juarez itineraries and vacation ideas created by travelers across the world.