• Photo: trappy76 / Shutterstock

Oaxaca City

With its magical concoction of sights, smells, and sounds both ancient and modern, this mountain-ringed city of about 400,000 people, officially called Oaxaca de Juárez, embodies the bundle of contrasts that is modern Mexico. You'll hear the singsong strains of Zapotec, Mixtec, and other indigenous languages in the markets, Spanish rock in the bars and restaurants, and hip-hop in English blaring from passing cars. Affluent families sip tea or tequila in classy restaurants; out on the streets, men, women, and children of significantly more modest means sell pencils, sweets, and ears of delicious grilled elote (corn).

The Centro Histórico is a pastel collage of colonial- and Republican-era mansions, civic edifices, and churches. The colonial heart is laid out in a simple grid, with all the attractions within a few blocks of one another. Most streets change names when they pass the zócalo (town square); for example, Calle Trujano becomes Calle Guerrero as it travels from west to east. Only the two major east–west arteries—Avenida Morelos and Avenida Independencia—keep their names.

Read More


Trip Finder
Travel Phrases

Learn Spanish Phrases before or while you're on the go!

Download Now

No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE email communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.