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How to Spend 1 Day in Oaxaca City

How to Spend 1 Day in Oaxaca City

Compact and walkable—particularly in the historic downtown—Oaxaca City is a great destination for food and culture lovers on a time budget, but half the battle is deciding where to begin. Rest assured though: whether you’re looking for traditional street eats, art museums, or handicraft markets, here’s how to experience Oaxaca City in just one day.

Morning: Sightseeing and Shopping

Start your day with a Oaxacan bean coffee at the zócalo (plaza) in the heart of the historic downtown. Alongside the impressive green-stoned Oaxaca Cathedral, you’ll also find plenty of street food vendors dishing up breakfast, like tamales oaxaqueños. Then it’s time to sightsee—try a short guided city tour for some local insight and visits to spots such as the 20 de Noviembre and Benito Juárez markets. Browse for hand-embroidered shirts and mole sauce, among other Oaxacan items.

Afternoon: Museum Hop or Explore Beyond the City

To maximize your afternoon, choose activities tailored to your tastes. Dedicate your time either to picking up some skills at a traditional cooking class or to visiting the city’s museums—such as the Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca, entry to which you can book in advance. Alternatively, head beyond Oaxaca for further exploration. Monte Alban makes for a popular half-day trip, but don’t waste time waiting on public transport; instead, book a flexible shuttle service or visit on a guided tour with transportation and skip-the-line entry. Other half-day trip options include villages like San Martín Tilcajete, where you can learn about alebrijes and other handicrafts.

Night: Street Food and Mezcal

Even if you didn’t have time to squeeze in a trip to a mezcal distillery, you can still sample Oaxaca’s most famous spirit in the heart of downtown. Stop by a traditional cantina or mezcalería (mezcal bar) for a taste of the smoky spirit made from agave plants—just remember to sip rather than shoot. Afterwards, round out the evening with a streetside tlayuda. Sometimes known as Mexican pizzas, these huge, crispy tortillas, topped with meat, cheese, sauces, and vegetables will leave you full until morning.

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4 Tours and Activities

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Monte Albán/half day tour

Monte Albán/half day tour

star-4.5
110
Discover the pyramids of Oaxaca in Monte Alban, meaning ‘White Mountain,’ located on a vast mountaintop expanse with spectacular 360-degree views of Oaxaca Valley. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with Oaxaca City, the pre-Columbian archaeological site is considered the most magnificent of the region’s ancient ruins. On this guided tour by coach from Oaxaca, explore the complex filled with pyramids, ceremonial rock carvings, a huge ball court and 170 excavated tombs. Hotel pickup and drop-off included.
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  • 5 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$35.94
From
$35.94

Oaxaca Cooking Class

Oaxaca Cooking Class

star-5
10
Learn how to create Oaxacan cuisine at a world-class restaurant in Oaxaca raved about in the ‘New York Times’ and ‘Bon Appétit.’ During this 3.5-hour cooking class led by an expert chef-instructor, your small group, limited to just 10 cooking enthusiasts, decides which dishes are on the menu. After picking up the necessary ingredients, all fresh, from a local market, prepare your dishes back in the kitchen. Whether it’s tortillas, salsas, soup, mole, or dessert, take home exciting recipes knowing you’ll be able to easily recreate the flavors of Oaxaca.
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  • 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$116.03
From
$116.03

Safe Transportation - Shared round trip from Oaxaca Airport

Safe Transportation - Shared round trip from Oaxaca Airport

star-4.5
14
Reserve your shared shuttle roundtrip from the Oaxaca airport to hotels in Oaxaca city.The service is from Monday to Sunday, save by booking roundtrip service You only need reservations, provide the information of your flight, so that they pass through you. It is important that if your flight is delayed or changed, contact us, so that our staff can make the necessary changes and wait for you on the correct flight.
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  • 35 minutes
From
$19.18
From
$19.18

Half-Day Alebrijes Carving and Painting Workshop in San Martin from Oaxaca

Half-Day Alebrijes Carving and Painting Workshop in San Martin from Oaxaca

star-4.5
8
Visit the town to San Martin Tilcajete to learn about the alebrijes sculptures of Oaxacan-Mexican folk art. Visit a workshop to watch artisans carve and paint the figures, then paint your own figure with guidance from the experts. Take your creation home with you on a half-day tour that includes guide, round-trip transportation from Oaxaca, and hotel pickup and drop-off. Great for travelers who enjoy making art and meeting local artisans.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$44.09
From
$44.09