The city

Located in the Valleys of the homonymous State, surrounded by majestic mountains in the southeast of the country, Oaxaca City offers history, culture and innovation. As the capital of the state, the city is a meeting point for the different cultures of Oaxaca and its eight regions, which allows the encounter of traditions, handicrafts and even their languages. Considered as one of the cities with the greatest cultural offer in the country, Oaxaca can be enjoyed by walking and it marvels locals and visitors with its colonial and contemporary constructions.

On the outskirts of the city is Monte Albán, a pre-Columbian archaeological zone, which, together with the Historic Center of the Oaxaca City, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987.

No matter the season, the city always has something to offer. From its markets to its museums, Oaxacan daily life captivates by its colors, aromas and flavors.

The city and its creativity

The city overflows in creativity. Forged by traditions and customs, the city of Oaxaca is also defined by its inventive capacity, reflected in its streets, art and gastronomy. Knowing their challenges, people in Oaxaca have become dynamic thinkers, creators and actors of projects that bring unity and resilience to the city. The artistic expressions of the city can be enjoyed in special events, many of which take place in public spaces, or in any of the 17 museums, in the more than 37 galleries of the city or in its cultural centers.

  • Crafts and Folk Art

    Oaxaca is recognized worldwide for the skills and agility that its inhabitants capture in their handicrafts. In addition, these are not only a reflection of Oaxacan talent, but of the artistic and historical heritage that each piece represents. Once again, the city gathers artisans of different cultures and idiosyncrasies and it is possible to find textiles from the different cultures of the State.

    Within the textiles are huipiles, carpets, rugs, elaborated either in pedal or backstrap looms, with different threads and dyed with natural dyes. In pottery, the black clay crafts of San Bartolo Coyotepec and the green clay of Santa María Atzompa stand out, both communities located within less than 50 kilometers from Oaxaca City. Among the most representative crafts and folk art: the alebrijes. This carved wooden figures that represent colorful imaginary creatures can be found in San Martín Tilcajete and San Antonio Arrazola, in the Central Valleys of the State of Oaxaca.

    To admire the different crafts you can visit the Textile Museum of Oaxaca, the House of Handicrafts, the Oaxacan Institute of Handicrafts and a myriad of establishments that sell handicrafts from various regions in Oaxaca.

  • Music

    Music is present in the everyday life of the city, especially in its public spaces. It is common to find people dancing in the streets of Oaxaca as it is quotidian to hear bands playing in the Macedonio Alcalá Street Walk, where pedestrians spread the joy that invites them to dance. Every Sunday, the city enjoys concerts "Under the Laurel Tree”, in Plaza de la Constitución, where different bands offer a concert with regional music or different rhythms ranging from the classical to the contemporary.

    Likewise, the city organizes music festivals that reaffirm the potential of its inhabitants in the musical field, such as the Eduardo Mata Festival or the International Baroque Organ Festival.

  • Film

    In Oaxaca, film and cinema appreciation has been strongly positioned through exhibitions and festivals. In OaxacaCine you can see classic and contemporary cinema, curated by itself or as part of the Cineteca Nacional curation. Also, in October of each year Oaxaca Film Fest is celebrated, which is an international film festival that shows independent film productions, as well as having an academic programme aimed at students and professionals in the film industry.

    In addition, the cinematographic realization has been strengthened in the last decade through film schools, communication groups or the Itinerant Audiovisual Camp, which offers workshops related to audiovisual production.

  • Dance

    Dance is possibly one of the artistic expressions that can be enjoyed the most in the city of Oaxaca. Many festivities in the city are celebrated to the rhythm of calendas, which with a band and dances invite all the passers-by to join the celebration. In addition, the greatest celebration of the Oaxacans, the Guelaguetza, is a multitudinous party that consists of the representation of the traditions, uses and customs of diverse communities in the State, always accompanied by music and dance.

    You can enjoy different dance genres, such as contemporary dance at the Oaxaca International Dance Show, which takes place year after year; or the Oaxaca Salsa and Bachata Festival that, although of recent creation, already congregates a large number of professional dancers in Oaxaca.

    The city also offers dance in its everyday life, like the danzón evenings in the Plaza de la Constitución, which is a tradition that has been carried out for more than 18 years.

  • Literature

    One of the most important national literature events takes place in the city: The Oaxaca International Book Fair. Every November, this fair brings together national and international exponents of literature, while encouraging citizens to approach reading through various artistic and cultural activities.

    For literary creation, various cultural spaces offer story and essay workshops aimed at different audiences.

  • Design

    Ancestral traditions and contemporary creativity are reflected in the design that emerges in Oaxaca. The complexity of Oaxacan textiles has been used by fashion designers to adapt the traditional embroideries, which in the case of textiles is merely utilitarian, to an urban context that responds to the desire of wearing Oaxacan culture in the everyday life.

    Likewise, Oaxacan crafts have inspired new designs that have been exhibited at events such as Mercado Materia or the Atemporal Design Market.

  • Architecture

    The city of Oaxaca is a unique architectural jewel in the country due to its historical, natural and cultural context. The city, together with Monte Albán, was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1987. Its more than 1,600 buildings listed in the Historic Center, some of them with elegant contemporary interventions, welcome traditions that have been developed over the centuries and that are still in force.

City of gastronomy

Gastronomy in the history of Oaxaca

Oaxaca is a state full of contrasts and contradictions, it is an effervescent culture of traditions that are mixed, created and recreated, full of colors, smells and tastes, it is a lively and rooted culture. Its capital, Oaxaca city, brings together the traditions and cultures of the State.

When it comes to gastronomy, Oaxaca is of great historical importance, since archeology has determined the oldest occupation in Oaxaca by nomadic groups of hunters and gatherers, about 12,000 to 7,000 years BC. In the caves of Yagul and Mitla, which in 2010 were declared World Heritage Sites, archeologists founds seeds of pumpkin, chili, bean, maguey bagasse and stoves.

Around this epoch begins the domestication of plants such as corn, chia, amaranth, cotton, maguey, chile, avocado, cocoa and a variety of fruits and vegetables, complementing their diet with the hunting of deer, rabbits, wild boar, pronghorn, armadillos, among others.

After almost 1,200 years of apogee, the Zapotec state of Monte Alban was abandoned and the seigniories or cacicazgos arose between 7520 and 1521 AD.

During the three centuries of Spanish colonization, the exchange of knowledge, architecture, culture, food and spices among Mexican settlers and indigenous people resulted in miscegenation. So also traditional Mexican food emerges.

Local products

The diversity and gastronomic richness of Oaxaca is due in large part to the State's biodiversity, which is mixed with the cognitive heritage of the inhabitants, whether cultural, historical or nutritional. Additionally, gastronomy is essential to the cultural identity of Oaxaca, transmitted generationally by indigenous peoples.

According to each region of the state, the knowledge and use of each plant or animal to be consumed is combined with the techniques and processes of production that have been inherited and transmitted from the pre-Hispanic epoch and during the colonial epoch, where this knowledge is reinvented with a culinary miscegenation that can be enjoyed nowadays.

Many of the plants that are essential to Oaxacan cuisine grow wild, some of them are native or unique to the state. Some are aromatic herbs that give flavor to traditional Oaxacan food, other plants are protagonists of delicious delicacies. Here is a brief description on these plants.

Guaje or huaje

Squash vine and pumpkin flower

Hierba de conejo

Hierba santa



Hoja de aguacate







Red Quintonil





Maguey worms


According to Molina-Luna (2016) Traditional markets constitute a physical, social space for the exchange of products between communities, where social, cultural and economic relations converge. Within the most important and representative markets of the Oaxaca City, the following can be mentioned:

20th November Market

Benito Juárez Market

Fourth Centenary Market

Sánchez Pascuas Market

La Merced Market

Handicrafts Market

Organic Market El Pochote

La Cosecha Market

Central Wholesale Market

Food dishes

Sopa de guías

Caldo de gato (“Cat” soup)

Oaxacan molotes


Mole amarillo empanadas

Oaxacan tamal

Traditional Female Cooks

In Oaxaca, it has been women who define gastronomy. They are the bearers of ancestral knowledge, of techniques and ideologies that are linked to the traditional dishes of the state of Oaxaca. To speak of traditional female cooks, is to speak of the exaltation and recognition of women as key people for the safeguarding of the gastronomic culture of each of the communities and regions of the State. It is also to listen and to understand life stories that are not disconnected from oaxacan cuisine.

The most traditional dishes are those prepared by these female cooks who, without a doubt, are the pillar of pride that Oaxacans show towards their gastronomy.

Oaxaca wants to be a creative city

Creativity is the lifeblood of Oaxaca City. Here races and cultures of different ages and generations coexist, mix and this interaction gives rise to ideas, innovation and even solutions to the challenges the city faces. Aware that Oaxaca City is a place of opportunities, changes and solutions, to be part of the Creative Cities Network by UNESCO will allow:

Support letters


Oaxaca gastronomy forged the jewel of “Noche de Rábanos”

December 22th, 2019

“El Mercado de vigilia”, the cradle of the magical Oaxaca celebration; Now Oaxaca de Juárez has 14 markets to make purchases for Christmas Dinner.

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Oaxaca recognized as Best Gourmet Destination at the Food and Travel Reader Awards 2019

November 17th, 2019

The British magazine with presence in Mexico Food And Travel, awarded the city of Oaxaca as the Best Gourmet Destination in Mexico.

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Oaxaca Flavors, the festival that extolled traditional local cuisine

October 13th, 2019

"El Saber del Sabor", brought together talented chefs, both from Oaxaca and from other regions of the country and abroad...

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Vogue recognized the Mexican cook on her cover

October 1st, 2019

Abigail Mendoza Ruiz, who has been recognized since her restaurant opened in 1990, appears on one of the covers of Vogue Mexico...

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Wine Festival 2019

September 30th, 2019

The Festival of Wine in Oaxaca (FEVO) is a meeting between producers and consumers that seeks to promote the culture of wine in the inhabitants of Oaxaca and the alleged tourism, those experts and who enjoy a wine world and appreciate the distinction of varieties, as well as those who are excited to enter and seek learning from the experts...

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Oaxaca Flavors, fuses vanguard and ancestral seasoning: Oswaldo García

September 29th, 2019

The Municipal President of Oaxaca de Juárez, Oswaldo García Jarquín, gave the warmest welcome to national and foreign visitors attracted by the Oaxaca Flavors,El saber del sabor Festival, which seeks to put in the reflectors of the world the wide gastronomy of the entity, during this weekend...

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Oaxaca de Juárez, UNESCO Creative City candidate: Oswaldo García

September 28th, 2019

The Municipal President announced that the decision to enter the Network of Creative Cities of the agency, will be given next November...

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10th Taco Fair 2019

September 19th, 2019

On September 21rst and 22nd of the current year, the 10th Taco Fair 2019 will be taking place at Plaza de la Danza. This is organized by University Anáhuac’s program ‘Vértice’...

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Oaxaca City Council works to boost food self-sufficiency

September 17th, 2019

The Human Development Department undertakes the Sustainable Corridor of Macro tunnels for the cultivation of vegetables...

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Oaxaca host city of the Vive Mezcal International Forum

September 12th, 2019

Vive Mezcal, the first international forum for innovation, business, culture and the tradition of Mezcal. This will be a global space where every actor in the industry, from the government to the final consumer, may participate. It is the largest initiative created to strengthen, promote, organize, develop and add value to the entire productive chain. With an exponential vision, this event will consolidate Mexico and Oaxaca as the epicenter of the industry where all the voices and actors can take part...

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From September 27 to 29, 2019, Oaxaca city will host the “Oaxaca Festival, Flavors El Saber del Sabor”

September 5th, 2019

Oaxaca Flavors Saber del Sabor is the reinvention of a festival that seeks to give Oaxaca a place in the heart of Mexican foodies and foreigners, with a culinary experience that brings together the best of this state with the talent of renowned chefs...

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Oaxaca host city of the national gastronomy contest of the Icats

September 2th, 2019

On September 4, 5 and 6, in the Cultural and Convention Center of Oaxaca met people who have been trained by the Institutes of Training and Productivity for Work in the country...

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Prepare Third Meeting of Traditional Cooks of Oaxaca

August 30th, 2019

This gastronomic feast will feature 60 traditional cooks from the eight regions of Oaxaca and 15 beverage exponents...

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Oaxaca of my flavors

August 24th, 2019

Great gastronomic celebrations are prepared in this beautiful state, which will be held in September 2019...

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Considered the best place to travel in the world, this is Oaxaca

August 14th, 2019

As every year, Travel Leisure magazine published The 2019 World’s Best Cities and this year, Oaxaca is located in the Top 5...

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Oaxaca in National Gastronomy Festival

May 22th, 2019

Oaxaca State was the special guest to “Sabor es Polanco”, the most important Gourmet Festival in Mexico....

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Pre-hispanic Gastronomy contest in Oaxaca

May 17th, 2019

The cook Abigail Mendoza, renowned for her work in favor of the preservation of pre-Hispanic gastronomy...

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Chicatana season starts in Oaxaca

April 29th, 2019

With the rain season, the streets and fields of the Central Valleys Region are filled with these insects...

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