Where to Stay in Oaxaca: 8 Best Areas

The best areas to stay in Oaxaca Mexico are the neighborhoods around Zocalo – Centro, Santo Domingo, Barrio de Jalatlaco, Barrio de Xochimilco, Santa María del Marquesado, Barrio de la Noria, Universidad, San Agustín de las Juntas. In this guide we will help you to decide where to stay in Oaxaca and best hotels in each district.

Located in the Central Valleys region of Southern Mexico, and with a history of civilization dating back thousands of years, Oaxaca is a city where you can find the best of Mexican tradition and culture. Both the city and the surrounding valley have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites, so you know there is plenty worth seeing in the area.

Oaxaca Centro is the best area to stay in Oaxaca for tourist, especially for first-timers because it has a super central location and it has widest range of accommodation options for all budget travelers. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of action, within walking distance to city’s most famous tourist attractions, and many shopping, dining, nightlife venues of the city.

If you want a more local, authentic experience, whilst still staying close to the city center, the smaller barrios of Jalatlaco or Xochimilico are ideal. Both offer a small town, community atmosphere, whilst sitting just minutes from Oaxaca’s main attractions.

💖 Best Area for First Timers:Centro Oaxaca
💎 Best luxury hotel:Quinta Real Oaxaca
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Hotel Parador de Alcalá
💰 Best budget hotel:Hotel Las Golondrinas

Best Areas to Stay in Oaxaca for tourist

1. Zocalo – Centro, where to stay in Oaxaca for first-timers

Centro Oaxaca is the best area to stay for the first visit because it is the heart of the city and it has wide range of tourist amenities such as accommodations, restaurants, bars, and shops . The historic Zocalo square, known as the Plaza de la Constitución de Oaxaca, is the heart of the action in downtown Oaxaca.

It is a popular meeting place and a site for many national festivities, weekly performances, political rallies, and protests. It is surrounded by cafes and restaurants, street vendors, and market stalls.

Zocalo square boasts a daily marke, Benito Juárez Market that selling local products and traditional artisans crafts.

To the south side of the zócalo, you will find the Palacio de Gobierno, known as the State Government Palace. On the north side lies the Cathedral of Oaxaca, known as Catedral Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción which is dating back 1500s.

In front of the Cathedral are the Hotel Monte Albán, the post office, and Alameda de Leon Plaza which is a beautiful park shaded by giant Indian Laurel trees and comprising monument in honor of General Don Antonio de Leon.

You can also find the walkway of Los Portals lined with restaurants; and the old Government Capital Building home to the Museo del Palacio.

For the opportunity to take in some of the city’s performance art, the Teatro Macedonio Alcalá is just around the corner. The theatre, located on the Avenue de la Independencia, has a beautiful façade worth appreciating in its own right.

Hosting both music and theatrical shows, it is well worth checking the schedule to see if there is anything you would want to see during your stay.

If you love museums, there are a few museums between Centro and Santo Domingo such as MACO, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca, the Museum of Pre-Hispanic Art, Museo de Los Pintores Oaxaqueños, Museo De La Filatelia Mufi, and Museum of Regional Textiles.

Oaxaca is famous for its rich craft heritage, head to Instituto Oaxaqueño de las Artesanías, known as Aripo to grab quality pieces by local artists. it also hosts regular workshop.

The southern half of Centro is ideal for anyone who loves shopping. The cobblestone streets are lined with a mix of contemporary stores and well-known brands, as well as smaller independent shops and boutiques.

The Mercado de Artesanias de Oaxaca and neighboring Mercado 20 de Noviembre are vibrant sheltered markets, hosting a range of stalls selling local produce and street food, as well as artisanal crafts. It’s a great spot to pick up some souvenirs unique to the area.

From the Centro, you can take a day trip to theimpressive pre-Columbian site of Monte Alban, or White Mountain. This ruins of the ancient Zapotec capital is one of the most magnificent archaeological sites in all of Latin America. You can climb to the top and enjoy stunning views of the countryside.

If you visit Oaxaca for the Day of the Dead festival, or the Dia de Muertos, which is held from October 31st to November 2rd, I suggest staying in Centro, near the Zócalo square.

Another big festival in Oaxaca is the Guelaguetza Festival, one of the best festivals in Mexico which takes place on the last two Mondays of July. The Night of the Radishes festival in December 23 also has fantastic figures made from radishes.

Accommodation in the south of Centro mostly falls into the mid-range. There are a few hostels available if you are really on a tight budget, but mostly the offerings are affordable hotels and apartments. 

Some more boutique-style, independent hotels charge higher rates, but are still within a reasonable range, perfect for treating yourself to something unique. Most of the boutique luxury hotels area former colonial mansions and palaces.

Stay in Centro if You’re first time visiting Oaxaca; Shopping is a highlight of your vacation; You enjoy browsing markets; Staying central is a priority.

Best places to stay in Oaxaca Centro:

See more: Bes areas to Stay in Mexico City

2. Santo Domingo, where to stay in Oaxaca for nightlife and sightseeing

The northern half of the historic Centro district in the north of Calle Independencia is home to Santo Domingo. It’s a labyrinth of cobblestone streets and beautiful buildings.

The grand Temple De Santo Domingo is the centerpiece of this region, drawing visitors to explore its opulent interior. It was build on the ex-convent of Santo Domingo in 1552 and took around a century to build.

The attached 17th-century monastery has been converted into the Museum of Cultures of Oaxaca, or Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, displaying a variety of artifacts from pre-Hispanic times through the colonial period and independence. The Treasure of Tomb 7 from Monte Alban is one of the highlight.

The monastery sits in the grounds of the Oaxaca botanical gardens, or Oaxaca’s Ethnobotanical Garden, which are dedicated to preserving and displaying plants native to the local region. Access at the corner of Constitución and Reforma.

The artfully maintained gardens are a great place to wander or picnic on a hot afternoon. The shady, tree-lined pathways offer a cooler environment than the surrounding city streets.

On the Santo Domingo Cultural Center area, you can visit Francisco de Burgoa Library. It has more than 30 000 published between 1484 and 1940. There are a reading room and the showroom.

Another famous park nearby is the Parque Juarez El Llano, it’s quieter than but very close to the Santo Domingo area.

The area between the botanical gardens and the Avenue de la Independencia is a great place to take in Oaxaca’s arts culture. The Graphic Arts Institute of Oaxaca is just across the road from the Temple and several small art galleries and local crafts shops dot the streets leading to the MACO Museum of Contemporary Art.

In the west you will find the ornate 17th century Basílica de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad. The historic structure is set behind the Plaza de la Danza and the Socrates Garden. A beautiful example of early modern architecture, this is a must-visit for anyone who loves history.

If bustling nightlife is important to you, the northern part of Centro is a great place to stay. Known for having the best selection of craft beer breweries, mezcalerias (mezcal bars), and restaurants in the city, the streets here are particularly active after dark.

There is a great selection of hotels, apartments, guesthouses, and hostels in the area. The streets around the Temple and parks boast some of the more high-end options, offering views of the monuments and historic sights.

However, if you are working on a tighter budget, there are plenty of more affordable options to choose from.

Stay around Santo Domingo if Staying at the heart of the city is essential; You are interested in learning about the history of the region; It is your first time visiting Oaxaca; You are only staying for a short trip; You would like to explore the city’s arts culture; Vibrant nightlife is a priority for you.

Best places to stay in Oaxaca near Santo Domingo:

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3. Barrio de Jalatlaco, where to stay in Oaxaca for street arts

Nestled at the north-western corner of Centro is the small, bohemian neighborhood of Jalatlaco. Known for its cobbled streets and small, local shops, Jalatlaco is ideal for anyone who wants to stay close to the city center but out of the crush of the main district.

The neighborhood is centered around Templo de San Matias Jalatlaco. This church was dedicated to St. Matthew.

The area isn’t famous for any particular tourist attraction but the street art that covers many of the buildings here is a popular draw. Many of the shops are decorated with beautiful, vibrant artwork, which paints the winding streets with a wash of rainbow colors.

It’s worth taking a walk around the alleys just to see what new art you can discover, almost like it’s an open-air gallery. You can check out the Cafeteria La Casa de las Calaveras on the corner of Calle de Ignacio Aldama and Calle de Hidalgo.

During the day, the large number of cafes and coffee shops that line the streets give it a distinct hipster vibe. If wandering the streets hunting for art in between stops for Mexican coffee sounds like a dream afternoon, Jalatlaco is the neighborhood for you.

Aside from its stunning art scene, Jalatlaco is known as one of the best places to eat in Oaxaca. Filled with little independent restaurants, some of the most unique culinary experiences in the city can be found in this neighborhood.

If you are looking to try traditional Oaxacan cuisine or street food, you should definitely visit Jalatlaco.

Jalatlaco is home to some lovely boutique hotels and quirky guesthouses. Rates for these are higher than the more standard commercial fare you can find in Centro but still reasonable. There are a few more budget options available, but they tend to be quite basic.

Stay in Barrio de Jalatlaco if You love street-art and interesting shopfronts; Trying the local cuisine is at the top of your to-do list; You would like to stay close to the city center but outside of the crowded tourist hubs; You prefer staying in unique hotels and guesthouses.

Best places to stay in Oaxaca near Barrio de Jalatlaco:

4. Barrio de Xochimilco, where to stay in Oaxaca for local vibe

A little community to the north of Centro, Barrio de Xochimilco is the oldest neighborhood in Oaxaca. Despite being just a few minutes from the activity of the city center, the old, cobbled streets possess a quiet, small-town vibe.

Spending your vacation in Xochimilco is perfect if you want to enjoy a peaceful break, in the convenience of a modern city.

The area is ideal for anyone who wants to experience the local culture. There are several galleries offering workshops in local arts and crafts for you to try during your stay, whilst independent handicraft stores sell locally made and traditional artisan souvenirs. Meanwhile, the bars and restaurants that populate the area primarily offer traditional Mexican cuisine

An aqueduct runs through the north of the neighborhood. Tucked away behind trees, the stone arches and waterfalls make for an attractive spot to visit for a walk or picnic.

Despite its historical status, Barrio de Xochimilco remains largely undiscovered by tourists and as such has few options for accommodation. There are a couple of independent hotels operating around the neighborhood at reasonable prices. However, for a better selection, you should look south to the border with Centro.

Stay in Barrio de Xochimilco if You want to experience the history of the city; You want to stay close to the city centre but in a neighborhood with a more local vibe; Learning about the traditional food, arts, and culture of the region is an important part of your trip.

Best places to stay in Barrio de Xochimilco:

5. Santa María del Marquesado, a residential suburb in Oaxaca

Branching off from the northwest corner of Centro, Santa Maria del Marquesado is a residential suburb that runs along the southwest side of the Estatal Cerro del Fortín ecological park.

The massive park is ideal for anyone who enjoys hiking and outdoor activities, with a number of trails leading across the wooded hill.Aside from the views across the city that can be appreciated from the top of the hill, the park houses several interesting facilities. Most notably, the observatory and neighboring planetarium will be fascinating attractions for any visitors with a love of science.

The urban neighborhood itself contains mostly small shops and restaurants catering to the residents of the area. It’s a great area to get a feel for everyday suburban life in the region.

Going largely unnoticed by the majority of the tourist crowd, the southern part of this district is ideal for anyone looking to stay close to the city center whilst avoiding floods of fellow travelers. There are a few 3 and 4-star hotels to choose from at reasonable prices, offering an affordable alternative to the inner-city hotels.

Stay in Santa María del Marquesado if you enjoy hiking and outdoor activities; you are on a budget; you want to stay close to the city centre without the crowds and higher prices.

Best places to stay in Santa María del Marquesado:

🔍MORE HOTELS IN OAXACA

6. Barrio de la Noria, where to stay in Oaxaca for family

If you are looking for a quiet neighborhood close to the Centro, La Noria is your best bet. It is Oaxaca’s quietest neighborhood and just a 15-minute walk from the action of Zocalo.

Barrio de la Noria is a residential neighborhood with a few family-run restaurants such as seafood restaurant Marisquería La Casa del Pirata, Los Compadres, Sabor Antiguo, and La Cocina Oaxaquena.

There are numerous of martkets nearby including Mercado de Artesanías de Oaxaca, Mercado Benito Juárez, and Mercado 20 de Noviembre.

It is a great place to stay for a family with kids who want a quiet holiday but an easy distance to the center.

Best places to stay in Barrio de la Noria:

7. Universidad, for families, budget travelers

The large area to the south of Centro is the university district, Universidad. Comprised of a number of smaller communities, this region is ideal for anyone who wants to stay near to the city center whilst avoiding the crowds and higher rates for accommodation.

Being so close to the main attractions, whilst being more open with fewer people, makes this an ideal location for those visiting with children. There are plenty of local restaurants serving a range of cuisines to keep everyone happy, so you won’t have to worry about constantly traveling into Centro and back for meals.

Admittedly, aside from some local shops and small museums, there isn’t much for visitors to do here. The main benefit of the area is its proximity to the city center and relative calm atmosphere.

If you are in Centro for the first time, or just for a shorter trip, and want somewhere with tons to see and do on your doorstep, this likely isn’t the place for you.

A large portion of the district is taken up by the university grounds. The university sometimes run exhibitions or displays of its student’s work in their buildings and grounds, so it’s worth checking ahead to see if they have any events during your stay. 

If you opt to stay in this neighborhood, I recommend looking for hotels in the north, around the La Noria neighborhood. This is where the region borders with Centro and you will find the best selection of conveniently located options.

Stay in Universidad if you are on a budget; you want to stay near to the city center but outside of the crowded tourist hubs; you are traveling with family and children; you are visiting the university or a student.

8. San Agustín de las Juntas, where to stay in Oaxaca near airport

San Agustín  in Oaxaca
Maria Ines Hotel Suite in San Agustín

The last option on this list is further out of the city than the others. San Agustin de las Juntas is a small town, just south of Oaxaca City, directly next to Oaxaca International Airport.

If you are in Oaxaca on a layover, have an early morning flight you don’t want to miss, or want to stay near the airport for any other reason, San Agustin de las Juntas is a perfect choice.

If you do want to travel into Oaxaca City during your stay, Route 175 connects the area directly to the city center. You can be in the heart of the city in just a few minutes by car or taxi. 

If you don’t want to venture all the way into the city, there are a few bars, restaurants, and small local shops in the area. It all caters solely to the residential population, rather than tourists, but if you want to get a feel for everyday suburban life around Oaxaca, this will provide that.

Just across the Atoyac River is a large park. It contains a small forest that would make a great place to take a walk in the shade and avoid the Mexican sun.

The area itself is primarily residential, so you won’t find too many hotels throughout the main part of the neighborhood. However, the area around the airport, particularly around Route 175 which acts as the main trafficway for the region, is home to a number of options for accommodation catering to travelers. 

Most of the choices are mid-range and affordable, with a few low budget options. There aren’t any particularly high-end hotels out this way.

Stay in San Agustín de las Juntas if you want to stay near the airport; you don’t mind being a little further out of the city; you are not looking for a luxury hotel.

Best places to stay in San Agustín de las Juntas:

Check out the virtual tour about the best places to stay in Oaxaca:

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Overal, Oxaca centro is the best area to stay in Oxaca because it is the most convenient location and it has a widest range of accommodation options that suit all budget travelers. If you stay here, you will be located in the heart of city, within walking distance to many tourist attractions, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.

Oaxaca is a beautiful city, with tons to offer visitors, regardless of how you like to spend your city breaks. I hope this article has given you a solid idea of where you most want to see and where the best place for you to stay in Oaxaca is.

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