Arts & Culture in Oaxaca

Advisor - Leslie Overton
Curated By

Leslie Overton

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  • Mexico

  • Oaxaca

  • Arts & Culture

  • City Travel

  • Food & Wine

  • International Travel

  • Foodie

  • History

  • Shopping

Advisor - Arts & Culture in Oaxaca
Curator’s statement

Oaxaca is stunningly picturesque. Lined with narrow streets and colonial buildings, it has a vibrant art and music scene as well as an abundance of quality restaurants. Producing a great variety of handicrafts, Oaxaca boasts innumerable markets and specialty shops that offer unique creations.

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Where to stay in Oaxaca, Mexico

Hotel Los Amantes

Tradational Mexican architecture with contemporary art and design make this property a highlight in Oaxaca.

Casa Oaxaca

The food will keep you coming back again and again, and the rooms are simple but well outfited.

Quinta Real Oaxaca

Once a monastary, this hotel is a favorte for Mexican weddings in it's beautiful garden cortyards.

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Things to do in Oaxaca, Mexico

Arts & Culture in Oaxaca - Things to do

Arts & culture

The city of Oaxaca features an impressive number of museums and art galleries, but your first stop should be CASA, a great spot located in the village of San Agustín. This bustling art center started by Francisco Toledo – Mexico’s foremost contemporary artist – is set in an expansive facility to accommodate its mission to educate, exhibit and act as a workshop for the painter. It’s a beautiful and peaceful place to spend half a day. Children might enjoy their art classes.

Back in Oaxaca, Galeria Quetzalli displays some of the biggest artists in Mexico, while the Museum of Contemporary Art offers rotating exhibitions in an 18th-century house. The Textile Museum of Oaxaca is free to visit and, aside from the beautiful fabrics from the region, the gardens are serene and worth a wander.

For more local art, head to Colectivo 1050 to discover a wonderful community of women making pottery using traditional methods.

Skip town again to explore the market at Teotitlán del Valle, and don’t leave without stopping by the Vida Nueva Women's Weaving Co-op.

Last but not least, pay a visit to Monte Albán, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that was 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.

Places to eat & drink in Oaxaca, Mexico

Arts & Culture in Oaxaca - Places to eat & drink

Coffee & breakfast

Boulenc: Grab a coffee and a pastry or enjoy a sit-down breakfast in the lovely patio.

Casa Estambul: A pleasant spot to start the day and enjoy a healthy breakfast.

Itanoní: A no-frills restaurant, Itanoní makes tortilla-based dishes using heirloom corn. There are filling options for every taste.

Lunch & dinner

Criollo: An incubator for revered restaurant Pujol in Mexico City, this is a must-try in Oaxaca for refined cuisine using local, season-based ingredients. The tasting menu is top-notch.

Whether you’re staying at Casa Oaxaca Hotel or not, don’t leave the city without eating at their rooftop restaurant. Modern Oaxacan cuisine is dished up using fresh, organic ingredients. Simply one of the best meals you’ll have in Mexico.

Eat artisanally-made moles to your heart’s content at Los Pacos.

Los Danzantes is an upscale Oaxacan restaurant in a beautiful setting. It’s been around forever and is still delighting diners every day. To accompany your meal, take your pick from their large selection of mezcals.


A trip to Oaxaca isn’t complete without trying mezcal, and Mezcaloteca is the ideal spot for that. The speakeasy bar takes its specialty very seriously and offers a uniquely wonderful experience to go along with your drink.

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Also check out this guide to Oaxaca, Mexico's culinary capital.

Advisor - Leslie Overton

Travel Advisor

Leslie Overton

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Mexico.