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How to Spend 2 Days in Oaxaca City

How to Spend 2 Days in Oaxaca City

With two days to dedicate to Oaxaca City and the surrounds, you can cover both the essential bases—such as traditional food, history, and handicrafts—while tailoring out-of-city excursions to your tastes for a more comprehensive trip. Here’s how to make the most of your limited time in Oaxaca City.

Day One: Stick to the City

Morning: Spend your first morning exploring traditional Oaxacan food, such as tamales and tlayudas (tortillas covered with refried beans and other toppings). Explore the fresh produce–filled 20 de Noviembre Market independently or as part of a guided city tour before taking part in a half-day, mid-morning cooking class.

Afternoon: Escape the heat of Oaxaca’s midday sun by visiting one or more of the city’s many museums—entry to some can be booked in advance—and handicraft boutiques. From heavily embroidered shirts and blouses to dainty coin wallets, you’re sure to find the perfect souvenir.

Night: Dedicate your first night to seeing what Oaxaca City nightlife has to offer. From laid-back joints selling pulque (traditional, milky-white, fermented alcohol) and lively mezcalerías (mezcal bars) to curbside restaurants where you can enjoy a beer and people watch on the plaza, you’ll find a spot to suit you.

Day Two: Get Out and About

Morning: Wake up early and stroll the central plaza (zócalo) in peace while much of the city still sleeps, before wandering up the lively pedestrianized Calle Alcalá towards Santo Domingo Temple and snapping traveler-free photos. Be sure to grab a coffee made from Oaxacan beans along the way.

Afternoon: Choose between archaeology, handicrafts, and mezcal on day two, with convenient day trips that typically leave midmorning for distilleries in Santiago Matatlán, visits to villages such as San Bartolo Coyotepec, or tours through Mitla and Monte Alban. If you can’t decide, some longer tours combine two or even all three options.

Night: Finish up your stay in Oaxaca City with a relaxed evening dining and drinking in the city center; sample the foods you haven’t yet had a chance to—a rich mole sauce, perhaps?—accompanied by a smoky glass of mezcal. If the Guelaguetza show is in town, watch the performance with dinner included.

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