From the bright displays of traditional costumes at the artisan's market to the exquisite detail in the Church of Saint Jerome, Oaxaca City captures a cross-section of Southern Mexico's best. Any good tour should be undertaken on foot. Start with a coffee at a picturesque caf‚ off of the central plaza, the zocalo, and some people-watching before setting out to soak up sunny days, vibrant colors and lovely architecture.
Find rows of spices and cooking accoutrements at the Market 20 November or barter for souvenirs and crafts at the artisan's market close by. If shopping leaves you with more than you bargained for, retreat to the quiet cool of the Oaxaca Cathedral or the Church of Santo Domingo.
Several museums offer an introduction to regional art. Stop in at the Museum of Oaxacan Cultures for history and culture or try the Oaxaca Graphic Arts Institute and the Rufino Tamayo Museum for graphic art and pre-Hispanic art respectively. If this extensive tour of civilized sights leaves you ready to run for the surrounding hills, sign up with local operators for an overnight guided mountain bike excursion.
Should the spirit of Oaxaca City lead you to linger on, join a language class and make your Mexican tour an educational one.
Oaxaca City is 500 miles from Acapulco on the Pacific Coast.