People in the Zocalo (Town Square) in Oaxaca.

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Oaxaca City

Traffic-free, shaded by tall trees and surrounded by elegant portales (arcades), the Zócalo is the perfect place to start soaking up the Oaxaca atmosphere. It bustles with life by day and night, as marimba ensembles, brass bands and roving buskers float their melodies among the crowds, hawkers try to offload pretty carpets and hideous balloons, and lovers parade in slow rounds under the trees, while anyone and everyone sits, drinks and watches from the sidewalk cafes.

The adjoining Alameda plaza, also traffic-free but without the cafes, is also ripe for people-watching with its trinket-toting vendors, street performers and informal clothes market.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Oaxaca City attractions

1. Palacio de Gobierno

0.05 MILES

A 19th-century wonder of marble and murals, the State Government Palace occupies the Zócalo's southern flank. The large, very detailed stairway mural …

2. Iglesia de La Compañía

0.06 MILES

Finely carved facades adorn the colonial Iglesia de La Compañía on the opposite side of the Zócalo to the cathedral.

5. Museo Textil de Oaxaca

0.16 MILES

This textile museum promotes Oaxaca’s traditional textile crafts through exhibitions, workshops, films, presentations and a library. Themed selections…

6. Centro Cultural San Pablo

0.17 MILES

Housed in the restored Ex Convento de San Pablo (a 16th-century Dominican monastery), the impressive San Pablo Center stages concerts, films, exhibitions,…

7. Templo de San Felipe Neri

0.18 MILES

The 18th-century baroque Templo de San Felipe Neri is where Benito Juárez and Margarita Maza were married in 1843; Margarita was the daughter of Antonio…