Wandering Oaxaca, Mexico
What is it about Oaxaca that entices visitors to come and to linger? Let’s wander around and see…
The first thing that I noticed, being a painter and photographer, is that Oaxaca is a city of colors – color is everywhere! From the buildings on the bustling streets…
…to the walls of graffiti – whimsical, playful, pretty, and political.
Turn a corner, and what do you see? Balloon sellers in the Zocalo, along with a gazebo, market, and shoe shine stalls, and sometimes even a free symphony concert!
Nearby, parades pass and festivals fill the streets with swirling and colorfully dressed dancers.
Markets sell anything and everything, in a rainbow of colors. From baskets and hammocks and hand-painted animals…
…to flowers, and fruits and vegetables.
And if you’re tired of all of this color, you can always switch to white!
Yellow cabs, red collectivos (group taxis) or green and white buses will haul you around from place to place, but the Centro historical area is very walker-friendly.
If culture is your thing, in Centro you’ll find many museums, including a textile museum (Museo Textil de Oaxaca), stamp museum (Museo de Filatelia de Oaxaca), and several art museums including MACO (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Oaxaca), and IAGO (Instituto de Artes Graficas de Oaxaca), among others.
Located in Santo Domingo is the cultural center (Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca), where you’ll find the history of Mexico on exhibit for your looking and learning pleasure, with artifacts including jewelry, tools, musical instruments and even a skull or two.
If perusing all of this color and culture is making you hungry or thirsty, you’re in luck – Oaxaca is known as a foodie capitol! Restaurants and cafes are sprinkled everywhere in the city and serve everything from street food to gourmet cuisine.
Oaxaca is known for its many kinds of mole, and markets ply piles of chocolate. You can also find places to stop for a hot chocolate all around town, and there are lots of friendly faces happy to share other sweet treats as well.
If you’re feeling daring, give the chapulines a try. Chapulines, another specialty of Oaxaca, are grasshoppers that are sprinkled with lime juice, garlic, and salt that contains extract of agave worms, or sometimes chile or other flavors, then toasted on a clay cooking surface. People munch on them for a snack like potato chips, or eat them as a filling in tlayudas (tortillas spread with refried beans and other assorted goodies – cabbage, avocado, meat, salsa, or cheese).
Speaking of Oaxacan specialties, why not wash those grasshoppers down with some Mezcal?
If you’re looking for a colorful place to discover Mexico, head to Oaxaca City. You’ll find great food, depths of culture, and brilliant local color. Next up, visits to some scenic surrounding area attractions!