Exploring Oaxaca's capital, Oaxaca City, Mexico

Oaxaca City Travel

You know that feeling of excitement when landing somewhere new? This elation bubbled over as our plane descended into Oaxaca City. One of 31 states in Mexico, Oaxaca spans from the mountains to the sea. The capital, Oaxaca City, sits at the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

Oaxaca City Mexico Travel

This destination has been at the top of my must-visit list for quite a while. Oddly enough, after many trips to Mexico, Oaxaca never made the cut. Now checked off the list, it’s been re-added as a return visit is firmly in order. Leaving the airport, we were greeted with my version of a red carpet, a cacti-lined road welcoming us to Oaxaca. 

 Looking for a central base, we set up camp in the Centro Historico or Zocalo, another of Mexicos UNESCO world heritage sites. Getting around on foot is my favorite way to get intimate with a city the Zocalo makes that very easy. Cobblestone streets, colonial architecture, historic cathedrals a plethora of shops and restaurants make up this city center considered the heart of the city.

Zocalo Oaxaca City Travel

Oaxaca Mexico

Church Oaxaca City Mexico Travel

Centro Historico Zocalo Oaxaca City Mexico

Cathedral Oaxaca City Mexico

Perusing the city markets proved the perfect opportunity for a taste of local life, food, and crafts. Mercado Benito Juarez, named after the country’s first indigenous president, sells everything from fresh fruit to cowboy boots. Aisle after packed aisle offered up locally made pottery and endless chapulines (grasshoppers), a popular snack here. 

Mercado Benito Juarez Oaxaca City Mexico

Mercado Benito Juarez Oaxaca City Mexico

Chapulines Oaxaca City


Market Oaxaca Mexico

Women in market Oaxaca City Mexico

Shopping around the city markets works up an appetite. No more than half a block away is Mercado 20 de Noviembre or otherwise called the meat market. This market is full of butchers chopping fresh meat, endless bread vendors, and stall after stall of locals preparing their versions of Oaxacan cuisine. Pull up a seat at a counter to try some authentic cuisine with the locals. 

Market Oaxaca City Mexico

Market Oaxaca City Food

From counter stalls at local markets to a more upscale experience, the culinary scene in Oaxaca City is diverse. The city provides a menu for every kind of taste bud and price range. 

I have previously written about the complexities of being a traveling vegan. On the flip side, certain places make it easy, Oaxaca being one of these places, offers a plethora of options for the plant-based set. 

Here are my taste buds top Oaxaca faves:

Restaurante Sin Nombre

Located inside the Hotel Sin Nombre a 17th century mansion, the restaurant offered up a Moroccan meets Mexico vibe along with a chic vegan tasting menu. Chef Israel Loyola took us on a journey through his tasting menu that gave us an eclectic taste of seasonal vegetables that looked like art sculptures. 

Hotel Sin Nombre Oaxaca

Hotel Sin Nombre Oaxaca
Hotel Sin Nombre Oaxaca

Los Danzantes (The Dancers)

Art, architecture, and great food come together in this open-air restaurant. You're instantly greeted by eye-catching architecture in this remodeled colonial building. The old and the new come together beautifully not only in the architecture but the menu as well. Traditional flavors expertly executed in contemporary dishes made Los Danzantes one of our favorites. 

los danzantes oaxaca

Los danzantes Oaxaca Mexico

Oaxaca proved all of my preconceived daydreams true. There is magic here, an essence in the air still with me today, imprinting Oaxaca on my brain, forcing fantasies of returning. With so much to see, do, and so much cuisine to try, the only part left is choosing the perfect place to stay, which is up next...stay tuned because we nailed it!

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