Introduction

Welcome to Oaxaca City, a vibrant and culturally rich destination in Mexico. Situated in the southern part of the country, Oaxaca City offers a unique blend of historical charm, stunning architecture, and a thriving arts and culinary scene. Whether you’re a history buff, a food enthusiast, or simply seeking a picturesque getaway, Oaxaca City has something to offer for everyone.

The city is known for its well-preserved colonial buildings and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Historic Center of Oaxaca. Here, you’ll find picturesque streets lined with colorful buildings, charming plazas, and exquisite churches. As you wander through the cobblestone streets, you’ll be immersed in the rich history and architectural beauty that Oaxaca City has to offer.

Apart from the Historical Center, Oaxaca City is also home to several fascinating and diverse neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own unique character and attractions, making it a delightful experience to explore the different corners of the city. From the quaint streets of Jalatlaco to the bohemian vibes of Xochimilco, Oaxaca City’s neighborhoods offer a kaleidoscope of experiences.

When it comes to choosing where to stay in Oaxaca City, you’ll be spoiled for choice. Whether you prefer the convenience of staying in the heart of the Historical Center or the tranquility of a residential neighborhood, there is a perfect accommodation option for you. In this article, we’ll explore some of the top neighborhoods to stay in Oaxaca City, giving you a glimpse into their unique features and attractions.

No matter which neighborhood you choose, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, taste the delicious cuisine, and witness the warmth and hospitality of the locals. So, let’s embark on a journey through the charming streets of Oaxaca City and discover the best places to stay for an unforgettable experience.

 

Historical Center

The Historical Center of Oaxaca City is the beating heart of the city, where history, culture, and art come together in a mesmerizing fusion. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, this area is a treasure trove of colonial architecture, charming plazas, and vibrant markets.

One of the main highlights of the Historical Center is the Zócalo, or the main square. This bustling plaza is surrounded by impressive buildings, including the cathedral, Palacio de Gobierno, and the iconic Macedonio Alcalá Theater. The Zócalo is a hub of activity, with street vendors selling colorful handicrafts, musicians showcasing their talents, and locals and tourists alike enjoying the lively atmosphere.

As you explore the narrow streets and alleys of the Historical Center, you’ll come across stunning colonial buildings, adorned with vibrant facades and intricate balconies. The Santo Domingo de Guzmán Church is a must-visit, known for its stunning Baroque architecture and a museum that houses an impressive collection of religious art and artifacts.

Food lovers will be delighted by the abundance of street food stalls and traditional restaurants in the Historical Center. The Mercado Benito Juárez is a vibrant market where you can sample traditional Oaxacan dishes, shop for fresh produce, and discover local ingredients used in the region’s signature dishes like mole and tlayudas.

Art enthusiasts will find a haven in the neighborhoods surrounding the Historical Center. The Rufino Tamayo Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Oaxaca (MACO) showcase both national and international artworks, providing a glimpse into the city’s artistic scene.

When it comes to accommodation, the Historical Center offers a variety of options to suit different budgets and preferences. From charming boutique hotels to cozy guesthouses, staying in the Historical Center allows you to be in the heart of the action, with easy access to the city’s main attractions.

Whether you want to immerse yourself in the history and culture, indulge in delicious cuisine, or simply soak up the vibrant atmosphere, staying in the Historical Center is a definite must for an unforgettable experience in Oaxaca City.

 

Jalatlaco Neighborhood

Nestled just east of the Historical Center, the Jalatlaco neighborhood is a hidden gem that offers a more tranquil and off-the-beaten-path experience in Oaxaca City. With its charming streets lined with colorful facades, quiet squares, and quaint cafes, Jalatlaco has a distinct charm that sets it apart from the bustling city center.

One of the highlights of Jalatlaco is its rich history and architectural beauty. The neighborhood is home to the iconic San Felipe Neri Church, a stunning example of Baroque architecture with its intricate facade and ornate details. The church dates back to the 18th century and is a significant landmark in the area.

Walking through the streets of Jalatlaco feels like stepping back in time. The neighborhood is known for its well-preserved colonial houses, many of which have been beautifully restored and converted into guesthouses, boutique hotels, and cafes. Strolling along the cobblestone streets, you’ll encounter vibrant bougainvillea-covered walls, beautiful courtyards, and hidden gardens.

Jalatlaco is also home to a vibrant culinary scene. You’ll find a range of local eateries and gourmet restaurants offering traditional Oaxacan dishes with a contemporary twist. Whether you’re craving tlayudas, mole, or Mezcal cocktails, Jalatlaco has plenty of options to satisfy your culinary desires.

The neighborhood is also a hub for artisans and craftsmen. Explore the workshops and galleries showcasing traditional Oaxacan crafts, including pottery, textiles, and woodwork. Take the time to chat with local artists and learn about their craft, or even participate in a workshop to create your own unique piece of Oaxacan art.

When it comes to accommodation, Jalatlaco offers a range of charming options. You can choose to stay in a beautifully restored colonial house transformed into a boutique hotel, where you can experience the historical charm of the neighborhood in a comfortable setting.

Whether you’re seeking a tranquil retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city center or looking to immerse yourself in the rich history and culinary delights of Oaxaca, Jalatlaco is a neighborhood worth exploring and staying in during your visit to Oaxaca City.

 

Reforma Neighborhood

The Reforma neighborhood, located just south of the Historical Center in Oaxaca City, offers a blend of modernity and tradition. This up-and-coming area is known for its vibrant atmosphere, trendy shops, and a thriving food and arts scene.

Reforma is home to the iconic El Llano Park, a spacious and green oasis in the heart of the neighborhood. The park is a popular gathering spot for locals and visitors alike, offering a place to relax, enjoy a picnic, or engage in outdoor activities. On weekends, you’ll often find art and craft markets, cultural events, and live music performances taking place in the park.

One of the standout attractions in the Reforma neighborhood is the Centro Cultural San Pablo. Housed in a beautifully restored former convent, this cultural center showcases contemporary art exhibitions, hosts workshops and performances, and is a hub for cultural events in the city.

Reforma is also a hub for shopping enthusiasts, with a range of boutiques, artisanal shops, and galleries showcasing local craftsmanship. From handmade jewelry and textiles to ceramics and artwork, you’ll find unique and one-of-a-kind treasures to bring back as souvenirs.

The neighborhood is also known for its gastronomic delights. From trendy cafes serving gourmet coffee to innovative restaurants offering fusion cuisine, Reforma has emerged as a foodie haven in Oaxaca City. You’ll have the opportunity to taste a variety of flavors, from traditional Oaxacan dishes to international cuisine, all within a vibrant and contemporary setting.

For those interested in Oaxacan mezcal, Reforma is a great neighborhood to explore. It is home to several mezcalerías where you can sample different varieties of this traditional Mexican spirit and learn about its production process. A visit to a mezcalería in Reforma is not just about enjoying a drink, but also gaining a deeper understanding of the cultural significance of mezcal in Oaxaca.

Accommodation options in Reforma cater to a range of budgets and preferences. From sleek boutique hotels to cozy guesthouses, you can find a comfortable place to stay while immersing yourself in the lively energy of the neighborhood.

Whether you’re seeking a vibrant and contemporary experience, exploring the local art scene, indulging in gourmet cuisine, or simply relaxing in a picturesque park, the Reforma neighborhood offers a unique and exciting stay in Oaxaca City.

 

Xochimilco Neighborhood

Located just west of the Historical Center, the Xochimilco neighborhood is a bohemian and artistic enclave in Oaxaca City. Known for its narrow cobblestone streets, colorful murals, and vibrant arts scene, Xochimilco offers a unique and eclectic experience for visitors.

One of the main draws of Xochimilco is its thriving arts and crafts community. The neighborhood is home to numerous art studios, galleries, and workshops where local artists create and showcase their work. You can explore the bustling artistic scene, meet the artists, and even purchase one-of-a-kind pieces to take home as a memento of your trip.

As you wander through the streets of Xochimilco, you’ll be captivated by the vibrant murals adorning the walls of buildings. These colorful and intricate artworks depict various themes, from Oaxacan culture and history to political and social commentary. The murals add an extra layer of beauty and creativity to the neighborhood, making every corner a visual delight.

Xochimilco is also known for its lively nightlife. The neighborhood is dotted with trendy bars, live music venues, and mezcalerías where you can enjoy a night of entertainment and experience the vibrant energy of Oaxacan nightlife. From live bands playing traditional music to DJ sets that blend ancient rhythms with modern beats, Xochimilco offers a memorable nightlife experience.

Food enthusiasts will also find plenty to savor in Xochimilco. The neighborhood is home to a variety of cozy cafes, trendy restaurants, and street food stalls, offering a multitude of culinary delights. Whether you’re craving traditional Oaxacan dishes, international cuisine, or organic and vegetarian options, Xochimilco has something to satisfy every palate.

For nature lovers, a visit to the Xochimilco Ecological Park is a must. This lush green space offers a serene escape from the bustling streets and provides an opportunity to connect with nature. You can take a leisurely stroll along the park’s pathways, enjoy a picnic, or simply relax and soak up the peaceful ambiance.

Accommodation options in Xochimilco range from cozy bed and breakfasts to boutique hotels tucked away in colonial-style buildings. Staying in Xochimilco allows you to immerse yourself in the bohemian atmosphere and explore the neighborhood’s artistic offerings at your own pace.

Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a night owl seeking entertainment, or a food lover on a culinary adventure, Xochimilco offers a vibrant and colorful neighborhood to discover during your visit to Oaxaca City.

 

San Felipe del Agua Neighborhood

Situated just north of the city center, the San Felipe del Agua neighborhood offers a tranquil and picturesque retreat from the bustling streets of Oaxaca City. Known for its lush greenery, beautiful colonial mansions, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains, San Felipe del Agua is the perfect neighborhood for those seeking peace and serenity.

One of the main attractions of San Felipe del Agua is its natural beauty. The neighborhood is surrounded by verdant hills and offers breathtaking views of the Sierra Norte mountain range. It’s an ideal destination for nature lovers, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts. You can explore the hiking trails, go for a refreshing swim in the natural pools nearby, or simply relax and soak in the beauty of the landscape.

San Felipe del Agua is also home to several colonial mansions, showcasing the grandeur and architectural elegance of the past. Many of these mansions have been converted into boutique hotels and guesthouses, offering a unique and luxurious experience for visitors. Staying in one of these historic properties allows you to step back in time and enjoy the charm of San Felipe del Agua.

The neighborhood is dotted with charming cafes and restaurants, where you can indulge in delicious Oaxacan cuisine while enjoying the peaceful ambiance. From traditional dishes made with locally sourced ingredients to international fusion cuisine, there are plenty of dining options to satisfy your taste buds.

Art lovers will appreciate the presence of art galleries and studios in San Felipe del Agua. You can visit local artists’ workshops, admire their works, and even purchase original pieces to bring home as a reminder of your visit.

San Felipe del Agua is also known for its vibrant festivals and traditional celebrations. Throughout the year, the neighborhood comes alive with colorful processions, music, and dancing, providing a unique opportunity to experience Oaxaca’s rich cultural heritage.

Accommodation in San Felipe del Agua ranges from boutique hotels to bed and breakfasts, offering a peaceful retreat amidst nature’s beauty. Staying in this neighborhood allows you to unwind and recharge while still being within easy reach of the city center and its attractions.

If you’re seeking a tranquil and scenic escape from the city, San Felipe del Agua is the perfect neighborhood to immerse yourself in nature, relax, and rejuvenate your senses.

 

Santa María Atzompa Neighborhood

The Santa María Atzompa neighborhood, located just east of Oaxaca City, is a vibrant and thriving community known for its rich pottery tradition. This neighborhood is a haven for those interested in exploring the world of traditional Mexican ceramics and immersing themselves in the local artisanal culture.

Santa María Atzompa has a long history of pottery production, dating back centuries. The neighborhood is home to numerous pottery workshops and studios, where skilled artisans create beautiful and intricate ceramics using traditional techniques. You can visit these studios, witness the pottery-making process, and even try your hand at creating your own piece under the guidance of a master potter.

One of the highlights of Santa María Atzompa is the vibrant weekly pottery market, held every Friday. This market is a bustling hub of activity, where locals and visitors converge to browse and purchase an array of pottery items, from traditional cookware and decorative pieces to modern interpretations of Oaxacan ceramics. It’s a fantastic opportunity to witness the local craftsmanship and bring home unique and authentic souvenirs.

Aside from pottery, Santa María Atzompa boasts an array of vibrant colors and cultural traditions. The neighborhood is known for its lively festivals and traditional celebrations, including the annual Day of the Dead festivities, where the streets come alive with music, dancing, and elaborate altars adorned with beautiful ceramics.

While in Santa María Atzompa, make sure to visit the iconic Santa María Atzompa Church, a colonial-era church that showcases beautiful architectural details and religious art. It’s a serene and peaceful spot that offers a moment of contemplation amidst the busy streets.

When it comes to accommodation, Santa María Atzompa offers a few charming guesthouses and bed and breakfast options for those who wish to experience the neighborhood’s authenticity and immerse themselves in the local culture.

Visiting Santa María Atzompa is not just about observing pottery making, but also understanding the cultural significance of ceramics in Oaxaca. It’s an opportunity to engage with the artistic community, learn about their traditions and techniques, and appreciate the craftsmanship that has been passed down through generations.

In Santa María Atzompa, you’ll discover the timeless beauty of Mexican ceramics and experience a neighborhood that is steeped in tradition and artistic expression.

 

Conclusion

Oaxaca City is a vibrant destination that offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, art, and culinary delights. Each neighborhood in Oaxaca City has its own unique charm and attractions, providing visitors with a diverse range of experiences that cater to different interests and preferences.

The Historical Center, with its well-preserved colonial architecture and bustling plazas, is the heartbeat of the city. It immerses visitors in the rich history and architectural beauty of Oaxaca City, while also offering a wide array of culinary delights and artistic experiences.

The Jalatlaco neighborhood provides a more tranquil and off-the-beaten-path experience, with its colorful streets, colonial houses, and vibrant culinary scene. It’s a perfect choice for those seeking authenticity and a slower pace.

Reforma, known for its modernity and trendy shops, offers a vibrant and contemporary experience. With its thriving arts scene, gourmet cuisine, and vibrant nightlife, Reforma is a neighborhood that caters to the tastes of the modern traveler.

Xochimilco, with its bohemian vibes and vibrant arts scene, is a neighborhood for the creative and the free-spirited. Its colorful murals, lively nightlife, and artistic offerings give it a unique and eclectic atmosphere.

San Felipe del Agua, nestled amidst nature and colonial mansions, offers a tranquil retreat from the city. It’s a perfect neighborhood for those who appreciate the beauty of nature and seek a peaceful and rejuvenating escape.

Santa María Atzompa, with its pottery tradition and cultural celebrations, offers a deep dive into the world of traditional Mexican ceramics. It’s a neighborhood where visitors can witness the artistic process, engage with local artisans, and take home pieces that embody the rich cultural heritage.

Whether you choose to stay in the Historical Center, explore the artistic nooks of Xochimilco, or immerse yourself in the pottery traditions of Santa María Atzompa, every neighborhood in Oaxaca City has something unique to offer. Each neighborhood provides an opportunity to delve into the rich culture of Oaxaca, interact with the locals, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

So, whether you’re a history buff, a food lover, an art enthusiast, or an adventurer seeking new experiences, Oaxaca City welcomes you with open arms and promises a truly memorable and enriching journey.