Modela's Guide to Oaxaca de Juarez, Mexico

Oaxaca de Juarez in southern Mexico should be on your bucket list. It is a colorful, vibrant city in southern Mexico with an ongoing tradition of handmade textile and craft history, printmakers and artisans, ancient ruins, markets, and wonderful food.

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CULTURE

There are so many events happening in Oaxaca. From art fairs to chamber music to danzon dancing on Wednesday nights in the Zocalo—a favorite of mine—you will never be short of options. It’s easy to walk the entire Centro area, too.

For event listings check sites below.

Oaxaca Events

Que Pasa Oaxaca

Oaxaca Profundo Sessions—Food of the Gods Chocolate Tour

Pasaporte Gráfico An organization that provides monthly free tours to several printmaking studios in Oaxaca

Hoofing it in Oaxaca Twice weekly hiking group

Centro Cultural San Pablo A cultural center with concerts, a library, exhibitions, a cafe, and a beautiful courtyard to relax in. Favorite!!

MUSEUMS GALORE

Museo Textil de Oaxaca

Centro Cultural San Pablo

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca (MACO)

Rufino Tamayo Museum in Oaxaca— Pre-hispanic art collection

Instituto de Artes Gráficas de Oaxaca (IAGO)

Centro Cultural Santo Domingo

Centro Fotográfico Manuel Alvarez Bravo

Centro de las Artes de San Agustín A must see! An old textile mill converted into an art and music center with exhibitions and workshops. Stunning location in the town of San Agustin de Etla.

MERCADOS

Pochote Xochimilco Mercado Orgánico y Artesanal Organic market open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Excellent place to eat, as well.

La Cosecha Oaxaca Favorite—an organic food market open Wednesday-Sunday. Another excellent place to get a green juice, huevos on a comal, etc

Benito Juarez/20th of Noviembre A market just south of the Zocalo where you can get crafts, food, textiles, coffee, bread, and cooked food.

Central de Abastos Oaxaca A huge sprawling market in Oaxaca de Jaurez where one can find anything. It’s huge size makes it easy to get lost so pay attention.

Tlacolula de Matamoros A favorite market. Sunday market in the town of Tlacolula (about a 40 minute drive from Oaxaca) that is huge! Barbacoa, vegetables, rugs, palm baskets, you name it. A must see. Go early—around 10 or 11 am.

Weekly Mercados Many of the towns in the Oaxaca valley have markets once a week. Ocotlán de Morelos on Fridays is interesting, the Sunday early market in Teotitlán del Valle is a wonderful experience.

SURROUNDING AREAS

It’s a good idea to combine day trips to surrounding areas. If you wish to visit Monte Alban—a large pre-Columbian archaeological site in a striking location—you could combine it with the nearby wood carving village and maybe Atzompa, a town filled with talented potters and a newly opened archaeological site.

A trip to Ocotlán de Morelos for the Friday market means that along the way you could stop by San Bartolo de Coyotepec, the village of black clay artisans, visit José Antonio Garcia—a favorite potter in San Antonino Castillo Velasco—which is also the town where the beautiful embroidered wedding dresses are made. Once in Ocotlán visit the market and eat at Frida’s—the food is great and the owner looks like the real Frida, stop in the beautiful restored church to see the mural painted by Rodolpho Morales—beloved artist and patron of Ocotlán and then visit the Aguilar sisters who create figures out of painted barro clay.

A Sunday would be a perfect day to stop in Teotitlán del Valle to experience the Zapotec market, meet some rug artisans, and check out the beautiful church near the market. Continue on to the Sunday Tlacolula market or visit Mitla—a Mesoamerican archaeological site.

The valley is full of villages that specialize in a certain craft. Check a map for your route and explore the various options.

Oaxaca has some beautiful natural areas. You can get into the mountains quickly. You can also visit Hierve el Agua.

MY FAVORITE RESTAURANTS IN CENTRO

Cabuche Casual restaurant with tacos de guisados, wonderful salads, etc

La Jicara Vegetarian

Boulenc Both a bakery and a restaurant. Wood-fired pizza, banh mi sandwhich, and their breakfasts are great.

Biznaga A varied menu where you can get an entre, a salad, or a bowl of sopa de azteca

AM Cafe Breakfast spot in the Xochimilco neighborhood

Chepiche Cafe Favorite breakfast spot in the Xochimilco neighborhood

La Olla I like their comidas which change every day

El Destilado Cozy, tiny spot with great food. They have a tasting menu but also you can order off of the menu which is what I do. Best mezcal margaritas! Upstairs, there is a taco bar with great music and view.

Sabine Sabe Good comidas of the day

Criollo

Casa Oaxaca

La Cosecha mercado

Tacos del Carmen

SHOPPING

La Tiendita del Barro Focusing on sustaining Oaxacan pottery traditions, the shop is full of clay pieces from all around the state.

Studio Xaquixe Handblown, recycled glass products. A wonderful sustainable company—the furnace for blowing is heated by discarded cooking oil.

Andares del Arte Popular A large, beautiful space full of Oaxacan artisan creations both folk art, pottery and modern home decor. Favorite!

Mujeres Artesanas de las Regiones de Oaxaca (MARO) Artisan cooperative comprised of hundreds of women. Great place to shop for tin and other lower cost souvenirs.

Los Baules

Lanii Gifts

Habitáculo

Marias Arte y Diseño

The mercados, including Mercado de Artesanias

Artisan workshops

A shop in the same complex as Biznaga restaurant that has folk art (can’t remember the name)