Oaxaca city was once a tiny, barely known town in the centre of Mexico’s mountainous region. Today, it’s one of the most popular places to visit; it’s even number one for celebrating the Day of the Dead festival. That’s because this lively and vibrant city has so much to offer tourists. 

Brought together to share their customs and beliefs, the region is one of the most culturally rich regions in the country. Today, it boasts a deep history and diverse culture. You’ll also find some of the best soul food, art, architecture, and nightlife in all of Mexico.

Despite its small size, deciding where to stay in Oaxaca can be a little tricky. Each area offers something different, and some are better suited to travellers than others. So you can tailor your visit to maximise your experience.

No trip to Mexico would be complete without visiting Oaxaca City. This guide is written with you in mind – for an unforgettable adventure. So buckle up, because we’re diving deep into Mexico’s fabulously loving, cultural heart. Vamos!

Front side of the Oaxaca Cathedral on a sunny day with blue skies
Todo bien o mal?
Photo: @Lauramcblonde

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Where to Stay in Oaxaca City

Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in the capital of the state of Oaxaca: Oaxaca city.

City Centro Hotel | Best Hotel in Oaxaca

City Centro Hotel is my favourite Oaxaca hotel. Its stunning colourful design matches the Jalatlaco perfectly. The outdoor swimming pool is a unique feature in Oaxaca city too! Digital nomads also love staying in barrio de Jalatlaco for the amazing vibes – and with fast, free wifi, this hotel is ideal.

Me Encanta Jalatlaco | Best Airbnb in Oaxaca

This cosy hideaway is the best airbnb in Oaxaca. The apartment matches the colourful and artistic neighborhood of Jalatlaco. Outside you’ll find traditional restaurants and art galleries. Inside, you’ll find your home away from home with everything you could possibly need.

Casa Angel Youth Hostel | Best Hostel in Oaxaca

Casa Angel is our favorite hostel in Oaxaca. Set in the buzzing Santo Domingo barrio, this hostel is ideally located for exploring the sights, sounds, and tastes of Oaxaca. It offers comfortable pod-style beds with privacy curtains and modern amenities. There’s also a relaxing balcony and free hot breakfast buffet.

Oaxaca Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Oaxaca

FIRST TIME IN CENTRO
Centro, Oaxaca
FIRST TIME IN CENTRO

Centro

Centro is the best neighbourhood to stay in Oaxaca if you’re visiting for the first time. This neighbourhood is the heart, soul and centre of the city.

ON A BUDGET
El Llano, Oaxaca
ON A BUDGET

El Llano

Situated north of the city centre is the quaint El Llano neighbourhood. Centred around one of the most famous parks in the city, this neighbourhood is one of the quietest in Oaxaca.

NIGHTLIFE
Santo Domingo, Oaxaca
NIGHTLIFE

Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is a small neighbourhood north of the city centre that packs a big punch. It is one of the most beautiful areas of the city thanks to its labyrinth of cobblestone streets, buildings with colourful facades and its spectacular heritage sites.

COOLEST PLACE TO STAY
Jalatlaco, Oaxaca
COOLEST PLACE TO STAY

Jalatlaco

West of the city centre is Jalatlaco. One of the coolest places to stay in Oaxaca, Jalatlaco is a hip neighbourhood known for its cosy coffee shops, vibrant street art and its laid back and relaxed atmosphere.

FOR FAMILIES
La Noria, Oaxaca
FOR FAMILIES

La Noria

La Noria is our best recommendation for where to stay in Oaxaca with kids because it is located outside of the city centre, but still within walking distance.

Oaxaca is the largest city and capital of the state of Oaxaca. It’s one of the most unique places to stay in Mexico, located in the Central Valleys region in the foothills of the Sierra Madres.

It is a colorful, fun, and vivacious city that seamlessly combines its rich history and culture with excellent food, buzzing nightlife, and a boisterous energy.

If you’re discovering Oaxaca city for the first time, Centro is a great place to stay. This busy and bustling neighborhood sits at the heart of the city, offering an endless array of things to see and do. It’s also well-connected to other areas, making it a great base for exploring further afield.

El Llano is centred on a lush park, and is the best place to stay if you’re visiting Mexico on a budget. It’s slightly out from the centre and offers cheaper accommodation, while not being too far from all the action.

Jalatlaco stuns.
Photo: @Lauramcblonde

North of the city centre is Santo Domingo, the best area in Oaxaca for nightlife. Here you’ll find an abundance of bars, clubs, and restaurants, with plenty happening when the sun goes down.

Jalatlaco is one of the coolest places to stay in Oaxaca. It is a hip and colourful neighborhood best known for its quirky cafes and bars. It’s also full of art galleries, museums, murals, and more.

Finally, south of the city centre is the Barrio de la Noria. Our top pick for where to stay in Oaxaca with kids, this neighborhood offers a great escape from hustle and bustle while still being within walking distance of the city centre.

Still unsure where to stay in Oaxaca de Juárez? Don’t worry, we’ve got more detailed guides on each area below!

Oaxaca’s 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in

Now, let’s take a look at each area in more detail. We’ve included our top accommodation and activity picks in each, so you know exactly what you’re getting.

1. Centro – Where to Stay in Oaxaca for Your First Visit

fairy lights decorating the central pavillion surrounded by people
El Zocalo to base yourself.
Photo: @Lauramcblonde

Centro is the best neighborhood to stay in Oaxaca city if you’re visiting for the first time. This neighborhood is the heart and soul of the city and is the best place to be if you’re keen to be at the center of the action.

Here, you’ll find yourself surrounded by shops, restaurants, and bars, as well as the city’s most famous historical attractions and landmarks. One thing’s for sure, there’s no shortage of Mezcal bars.

Centro is also one of the best areas to stay in Oaxaca to soak in the city’s glorious atmosphere. On any given day you’ll find yourself swept up in the sounds, smells, and tastes of the city thanks to its lively atmosphere and welcoming spirit.

Hotel NaNa Vida | Best Hotel in Centro

Hotel NaNa Vida

Hotel NaNa Vida is one of the best places to stay in Oaxaca. It is set at the centre of the city and offers easy access to dining, nightlife, shopping, and sightseeing. Rooms are modern, spacious and airy, and each is filled with a range of amenities.

The Heart of Oaxaca | Best Airbnb in Centro

This apartment in the city center has a charming atmosphere set in the heart of the historic centre. It’s stylish and very comfortable and has all the modern amenities you may need during your time in Oaxaca city. Its central location means all the best bars, restaurants, art galleries, shops, and attractions are just a stone’s throw away.

Selina Oaxaca | Best Hostel in Centro

Selina Oaxaca

This hostel is the perfect base for travellers and digital nomads visiting Oaxaca. They’re actually a great option for hostels throughout Mexico. It offers clean and comfortable private and dorm rooms, and free wifi is available throughout. Situated in the city centre, you’ll be within easy walking distance of shops, restaurants, and top attractions.

Things to See and Do in Centro:

  1. Browse contemporary art at the Museo de Los Pintores Oaxaqueños.
  2. Catch a performance at the Teatro Macedonio Alcala.
  3. Explore Oaxaca’s Zocalo, a small but bustling square in the heart and centre of the city.
  4. Go for a stroll along the atmospheric Andador Turístico.
  5. Marvel at the works of five well-known Oaxacan artists at MACO, the Museum of Contemporary Art of Oaxaca.
  6. See the statue of Antonio de Leon, a Mexican Brigadier and native of Oaxaca.
  7. Visit Casa de la Ciudad, a community centre that offers a variety of creative and artistic exhibits.
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2. El Llano – Where to Stay in Oaxaca on a Budget

El Llano, Oaxaca
Budget backpackers don’t have to miss out!
Photo: ProtoplasmaKid (WikiCommons)

The quaint El Llano neighborhood sits north of the city centre. Based around one of the most famous parks in the city, this area is also one of the quietest in Oaxaca. Here, you can enjoy a breath of fresh air and a break from the chaos without straying too far from the centre.

Oaxaca is a safe city, in general. But if you’re really concerned about safety, this area is also a great base.

El Llano is also our recommendation for where to stay in Oaxaca for one night or if you’re on a budget. It has an abundance of good-value accommodation options, from backpacker hostels to boutique hotels. This lets you stretch your dollars a little bit further.

Hotel Posada San Rafael | Best Hotel in El Llano

Hotel Posada San Rafael is the best place to stay in Oaxaca on a budget. Set in El Llano, this three-star hotel is within walking distance of the city centre’s quirky bars, family-run restaurants, and a beautiful park. All the rooms are colourfully decorated, have private bathrooms, and free wifi.

La Mina | Best Airbnb in El Llano

This beautiful Airbnb combines comfort and beauty with a fantastic location in Oaxaca city. It’s located right outside Jardín Conzatti and El Llano park, then just a 10 minue walk to Santo Domingo Church. Wifi, a full kitchen, and parking are provided. Plus, pets are allowed!

Hostel Don Nino | Best Hostel in El Llano

Hostel Don Nino

This charming property offers private rooms and shared accommodations near the center of the city. It has comfortable rooms and contemporary facilities, including a large shared kitchen. Guests can also enjoy a delicious breakfast courtesy of the restaurant Blulemon.

Things to See and Do in El Llano:

  1. Browse the collections at VAGAMUNDO, a small gallery that showcases the works of up-and-coming artists and creatives.
  2. Dine on an amazing array of fresh and delicious dishes at 100% Natural.
  3. Dive deep into the history, favours and spirit of the city at Oaxaca Profundo Sessions.
  4. Enjoy a sweet and refreshing treat from Helado Frito Oaxaca.
  5. Excite your senses at Tacos Del Llano.
  6. Pack a picnic or go for a stroll through leafy and relaxing Parque Juarez El Llano.
  7. See a great collection of contemporary works of art at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca.
  8. Sink your teeth into a delicious burger from Hamburguesas La Esquina.

3. Santo Domingo – Where to Stay in Oaxaca for Nightlife

Santo Domingo, Oaxaca

Santo Domingo might be a small neighborhood, but it packs a big punch. It’s one of the most beautiful areas of the city thanks to its labyrinth of cobblestone streets, buildings with colorful facades, and spectacular heritage sites.

It’s an excellent place to explore by day, but Santo Domingo really comes alive at night. Oaxaca, famously, is one of the best cities for Mexican festivals. In this neighborhood, they really come alive.

As the sun sets, the streets of fill with people looking for a good time. Because there are so many places to enjoy a drink, snack, or chat, Santo Domingo is the ideal place to be in Oaxaca for nightlife.

Hotel Oaxaca Real | Best Hotel in Santo Domingo

Hotel Oaxaca Real

It may look quaint from the outside, but the Hotel Real provides a stunning oasis retreat in Oaxaca city. The hotel sits in a restored colonial mansion, complete with swimming pool, poolside bar, and an onsite restaurant. Top attractions are close by, including Santo Domingo Temple and various markets.

Hotel Casa Vertiz | Best Hotel in Santo Domingo

Hotel Casa Vertiz

This stylish four-star hotel is conveniently situated a short walk from Centro, while enjoying the quieter surroundings of Santo Domingo. It is close to a variety of bars and restaurants, as well as top sights and attractions. Rooms come complete with all of the essentials, including free wifi and cozy beds.

Casa Vichui | Best Airbnb in Santo Domingo

This stunning apartment is ideally located to make the most out of nightlife in Oaxaca city. It’s right by the historic center where you’ll be flooded by mezcal bars, international restaurants, and live music. It’s also fully equipped with everything you’ll need for a comfortable stay.

Casa Angel Youth Hostel | Best Hostel in Santo Domingo

This awesome hostel in Oaxaca is set in the buzzing Santo Domingo barrio. It offers pod-style beds with privacy curtains and modern amenities, so you’ll be comfortable no matter how long you stay. There’s also a relaxing balcony and free hot breakfast buffet – you can’t go wrong!

Things to See and Do in Santo Domingo:

  1. Be amazed by the art, architecture and design of the spectacular Temple de Santo Domingo de Guzman.
  2. Dance the night away at El Barracuda.
  3. Drink refreshing cocktails at Mezcaleria Los Amantes.
  4. Enjoy a night of cocktails at Passion Bar.
  5. Sample a variety of drinks and shots at El Cortijo Mezcaleria.
  6. Shop for local crafts at La Casa de las Artesanías de Oaxaca.
  7. Sip, sample and learn all about mezcal at La Mezcaloteca.
  8. Start your day with a delicious brew from Praga Coffee Bar.
  9. Try a range of local craft beer at the Oaxaca Brewing Company.
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4. Jalatlaco – Coolest Place to Stay in Oaxaca

Jalatlaco, Oaxaca
See an alternative side to Oaxaca

West of the city center is Jalatlaco. One of the coolest places to stay in Oaxaca, Jalatlaco is a hip neighborhood known for its cozy coffee shops, vibrant street art, laid-back atmosphere and some of the best restaurants in Oaxaca for traditional cuisine.

Despite being so close to the city centre, Jalatlaco isn’t the place to be if you’re looking for tourist attractions. But, what this trendy neighborhood lacks in landmarks and attractions, it certainly makes up for in restaurants, cafes and bars. So, if you’re looking to eat well while in Oaxaca city, Jalatlaco is the neighborhood for you!

City Centro Hotel | Best Hotel in Jalatlaco

City Centro Hotel is my favourite Oaxaca hotel. Its stunning colourful design matches the Jalatlaco perfectly. The outdoor swimming pool is a unique feature in Oaxaca city too! Digital nomads also love staying in barrio de Jalatlaco for the amazing vibes – and with fast, free wifi, this hotel is ideal.

Me Encanta Jalatlaco | Best Airbnb in Jalatlaco

This cosy hideaway is the best airbnb in Oaxaca. The apartment matches the colourful and artistic neighborhood of Jalatlaco. Outside you’ll find traditional restaurants and art galleries. Inside, you’ll find your home away from home with everything you could possibly need.

Hostal La Cochinilla | Best Hostel in Jalatlaco

Hostal La Cochinilla

Hostal La Cochinilla is a friendly and welcoming hostel in the heart of Jalatlaco. It’s close to a range of great bars and eateries, and is a stone’s throw from the city centre. This property offers a variety of room options, each fitted with modern amenities.

Things to See and Do in Jalatlaco:

  1. Dine on authentic Mexican fare at Café Blason.
  2. Eat incredible local dishes and delicacies at Cocina Económica El Atrio.
  3. Excite your sense with a delicious Italian meal at Miel & Canela.
  4. Feast on a festival of flavours at La Toscana de Oaxaca.
  5. Grab a slice at Pisa Pizza.
  6. Indulge in fresh, delicious and flavorful Mexican fare at El Bicho Pobre.
  7. Sample a great selection of snacks, drinks and more at Mesón Jalatlaco.
  8. Sip a coffee at Bor Bon Coffee Tea Snack.
  9. Visit the majestic Templo de San Matias Jalatlaco.

5. La Noria – Where to Stay in Oaxaca for Families

Man sat facing the vista over the city from a patch of shade on a dry hill
Pack your picnic and your sun hats.
Photo: @Lauramcblonde

La Noria is our best recommendation for where to stay in Oaxaca with kids. It’s removed from the busy city centre but is still within walking distance of all the top places to visit.

Set south of Centro Oaxaca, La Noria is a calm and peaceful neighborhood just a stone’s throw from the Zocalo plaza. Here you can enjoy a range of delicious restaurants, bars, attractions, and shops, but without the throngs of tourists.

La Noria is also ideally located for exploring further afield. If you’re keen to get back to nature, than this is the perfect place to make your base.

Parador San Agustin | Best Hotel in La Noria

Parador San Agustin

Parador San Agustin is ideally located in central Oaxaca. It is close to popular shopping, sightseeing, and dining areas. This four-star hotel has charming rooms that feature a great range of amenities. It also boasts an outdoor terrace and an in-house restaurant.

Hotel Camba | Best Hotel in La Noria

Hotel Camba

This three-star hotel is one of our best recommendations for where to stay in Oaxaca for families. It is conveniently located in La Noria and offers easy access throughout the city. Rooms are spacious and comfortable, and each comes complete with a range of amenities.

Casa Doblado | Best Airbnb in La Noria

This Airbnb is perfect for a big family, furnished with style and charm. It’s an easy walking distance to the historic centre and the heart of Oaxaca but without having to be in the middle of the noise and movement. It has 3 bedrooms and 5 beds so everyone gets a good night’s rest.

Azul Cielo Hostel | Best Hostel in La Noria

Azul Cielo Hostel

This is our favourite hostel in La Noria. It offers clean and comfortable accommodation just ten minutes from the city center. Each room is stylishly decorated to reflect Oaxacan culture and is well-equipped with contemporary features. There’s also a rooftop bar, bikes, and wifi available.

Things to See and Do in La Noria:

  1. Dine on fresh and fried seafood (and everything in between) at Marisquería La Casa del Pirata.
  2. Enjoy an authentic meal in a friendly atmosphere at Los Compadres.
  3. Explore the grounds of the Templo de San Agustin.
  4. Feast on an incredible array of Mexican, Latin and Spanish food at Sabor Antiguo.
  5. Learn to make your favourite Oaxacan dishes and delicacies at La Cocina Oaxaquena.
  6. Shop, snack and sample your way through the bustling Mercado de Artesanias.
  7. Take a day trip to nearby Monte Alban and explore the archaeological site and the ruins of the ancient Zapotec capital.
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FAQs about Finding a Place to Stay in Oaxaca

Here’s what people usually ask us about the areas of Oaxaca city and where to stay.

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What To Pack For Oaxaca

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

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Make Some New Buddies…

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Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

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Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Oaxaca

The most important thing about any kind of trip is making sure you’re safe. The best way to secure yourself before your trip is with trusty travel insurance for Mexico.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

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Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Oaxaca

Quirky, colourful and packed with excitement, Oaxaca city is a can’t miss destination for travellers. It offers a diverse history, unique culture, and plenty of delicious food to eat. Plus, with its incredible arts scene and lively nightlife, you’ll find there’s something for every traveller in Oaxaca.

Oaxaca is a must-see for every traveller in Mexico. It might not be your most beloved destination ever, but it’s surely one to remember. Everyone is always grateful for this eye-opening experience.

Casa Angel Youth Hostel in Santo Domingo is our favourite hostel because it is ideally located for exploring, shopping, dining and dancing.

Another great option is City Centro Hotel. Centrally located in Jalatlaco, Oaxaca’s hippest hood, this hotel has comfortable rooms, modern features, a swimming pool, a sundeck and free wifi.

Just don’t forget to keep your senses open. Oaxaca is a delight, so try not to miss anything!

Try and be more Mexican.
Photo: @Lauramcblonde
Looking for more info on travelling to Oaxaca and Mexico?

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