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Oaxaca Travel Guide – Mexico’s Coolest Art & Foodie City

Oaxaca Travel Guide - Mexico's art and foodie city

Where? Oaxaca (pronounced Wahaca) is Mexico’s coolest art and foodie city. Here’s my style traveller Oaxaca travel guide.

When? I visited in august 2021

Why? One of the forerunners of the world food scene Oaxaca is a vibrant, colourful city filled with art galleries, musicians, world class restaurants and bohemian spirit. I was very lucky to be able to spend a fantastic week there.

Oaxaca art tour Bonnie Rakhit where to see street murals

Where to stay in Oaxaca?

For old school romance check into the beautiful Hotel Quinta Real. With a fantastically central location, stunning courtyards and gardens and a pool to cool off in after a humid day in the city, it’s the perfect luxurious base.

The ultimate in Oaxacan luxury hotels

On more of a budget? Check out Hotel Con Corazon. It’s cute little boutique hotel in the heart of the city and it’s also a social enterprise hotel meaning the profits from stays go towards supporting local initiatives and educating local kids! The name ‘hotel with heart’ sums it up perfectly!

Trendy boutique hotel con corazon oaxaca where to stay social project
Hotel Con Corarzon – budget friendly hotel with a social conscious
Oaxaca art tour Bonnie Rakhit street murals
Halatlaco village is filled with epic murals and street art

What to do in Oaxaca?

Of all the places I visited on my trip to Mexico, Oaxaca was the most culturally exciting and vibrant. Every wall is painted in bold, bright colours and the historic city is filled with mural and beautiful street art.

The main areas of interest are in the historic quarter. If you head to the central church square of Santo Domingo, all of the surrounding area is filled with galleries, cafes, shops, bars and restaurants. The botanical garden is within the grounds of the church and worth a calm morning wander through.

Oaxaca beautiful colourful streets

Walk up Calle de Mayo (pictured below) to see the traditional Mexican celebration bunting spreading colourful joy to the pedestrians below.

Celebratory bunting on Calle de Mayo

Oaxaca Art Scene

Simply wander around the streets of Oaxaca for a free art display. Or pop into the many independent galleries and shops dotted all along the streets around the Santo Domingo.

Oaxaca art scene street murals and graffiti painters world art

Art tour of Oaxaca

Head to Halatlaco village just five mins drive from historic Oaxaca to see the fantastic colourful graffiti and street art murals. It’s spectacular and a total instagrammers dream!

local artisans and tin smiths in Oaxaca Bonnie Rakhit blog
Bonnie at the tin beating factory in Xochimilco

The next village on the tour called Xochimilco pronounced Slo – che – mel – co is famous for hand woven fabrics, artisan looms and weavers. As well as the Mexican traditional craft of tin beating, to make gorgeous colourful mirrors and decorative pieces pictured above.

Bonnie Rakhit on the colourful streets in Oaxaca
Bonnie wanders around the colourful streets of Xochimilco
Oaxaca art scene street murals and graffiti Bonnie Rakhit
Street art and murals by local artists can be found on every corner
beautiful street vendor and art works in Oaxaca
A beautiful old lady street vendor selling chips in front of a colourful art wall

Foodie Oaxaca

Oaxaca is one of the most famous and exciting places on the world food scene. Commanding the best chefs, world renowned food markets, experimental restaurants, tasting menus, street food stands and stalls a plenty.

casa Oaxaca best restaurants in Oaxaca

Oaxaca Best Restaurants

Casa Oaxaca – Offers traditional Mexican food and is generally touted as the best restaurant in town. Delectable courses of spectacular traditional fare with a contemporary gourmet twist. Housed above an art gallery, it overlooks the splendid Santa Domingo church. I personally recommend it as my favourite restaurant in Oaxaca.

casa Oaxaca best restaurants in Oaxaca amazing mexican food
The most delicious (and beautiful) salad I’ve ever seen – Casa Oaxaca

Criolla – experimental dishes brought to you by Mexican chef extraordinaire Luis Arellano. Creative, sustainable, foraged and delicious. Set in his stunning courtyard garden, while away the evening trying one his fabulous tasting menus with wine pairings.

Criollo where to eat Oaxaca Mexico best restaurants
The exceptional tasting menu at Criollo offers local and foraged produce
Criollo where to eat Oaxaca Mexico
The open spit BBQ at Criollo is an event in its own right

Visit the food market – The food markets in Oaxaca are vast and exciting. It’s a good idea to get a guide to take you around as they can take you to all the best street stalls and markets where you can taste local delicacies… including grasshoppers and tripe! If you dare!

Walk through the pasillo de humo (a buzzing passageway of bbq stalls) pick your meats and wait while they grill them in front of you. Also try grinding your own cocoa beans in the city of the worlds best hot chocolate. Elotè a savoury corn on the cob snack doused in mayo and cheese is a local delicacy.

Fresh ground cocoa in Oaxaca Bonnie Rakhit
Bonnie looking very pleased with her own hand ground hot chocolate
street food in Oaxaca

Sunday market at Tlacolula

Tlacolula the huge, world renowned food market is about an hours drive outside of Oaxaca. This is a great trip for foodies and gastronomy lovers. You can also visit the 2000 year old ancient tree Arbol del Tule on your way there.

Bonnie Rakhit style travellerMexico's Coolest Art & Foodie City - Oaxaca Travel Guide

Other Oaxaca hacks!

Oaxaca is a very hot and humid city so try and stay out of the midday sun, it’s searing. I would recommend a hotel with a plunge pool for a calm oasis to retreat to after a day in the bustling city.

I loved being shown around by the lovely guides at Four Seasons Oaxaca Guides, they’re a small local business (they don’t have a website) and excellent guides to their own home town – contact them on

Oaxaca colourful streets

That’s all from Oaxaca for now. I hope you enjoyed the my Oaxaca travel guide, please leave a comment below if so.

Click here to see more of Bonnie’s travels in Mexico. Or follow along on Instagram and YouTube @BonnieRakhit.

Adios amigos!

Oaxaca I love you sign what to do in oaxaca
3 Discussions on
“Oaxaca Travel Guide – Mexico’s Coolest Art & Foodie City”
  • I loved this guide, it was the first I read and helped me get over all the negative news about mexico. I kept coming back to your great advice throughout my visit of this amazing country, so a huge thank you for inspiration!

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