Oaxaca is an incredible destination for families with children! With its rich culture and delicious cuisine, there’s something for everyone. If you’re planning a trip to Oaxaca with kids, here are some things to do, places to stay, and safety tips to help you make the most of your vacation.
Where to stay in Oaxaca
There are plenty of family-friendly accommodations in Oaxaca. You should first narrow it down to what neighborhood you want to stay in. Here are the best places to stay in Oaxaca:
If you're in Oaxaca with kids, they will absolutely love this neighborhood as the streets are all lined with the Mexican flags, cobblestone streets, and colorful buildings and beautiful murals. It's super mellow and you can find nice boutique shops and cute cafes. Jatalctaco would be a great area to stay in with your kids.
Xocomilco is one of the oldest barrios ini Oaxaca and has so much character. It sits higher up in the hills, so you get some beautiful views of the mountains with the forefront being brightly colored buildings and blooming flowers. Similar to Jataltaco, it's very artsy with lots of cute restaurants and cafes.
You're definitely closer to the action if you stay in Santo Domingo. We stayed in Oaxaca for 2 months, so we got a residential spot outside of the downtown area, but if I were coming for a shorter vacation, I would absolutely stay around here.
Santo Domingo was one of my favorite places to hang and shop around in Oaxaca. Additionally, on the weekends, there's a never ending celebration of weddings at the Cathedral where you get to see and experience the whole procession which is better seen than explained--but if you are in Oaxaca, make it a point to see it.
One of the best places to stay in the Santo Domingo area is Quinta Real Oaxaca, a boutique hotel that's a converted convent with a swimming pool. It's absolutely gorgeous and family-friendly.
We always use Booking to find places to stay when we travel. If you want to check out what's available in Oaxaca, search below.
Getting around Oaxaca with kids
The city is somewhat small and seeing the city on foot is absolutely possible (if you've got that stamina for city walking). If you're strolling Oaxaca with young kids, I highly recommend bringing a soft carrier and/or a stroller. We brought both and we're so glad we did.
Our favorite travel stroller is the gb Pockit stroller that folds up so tiny that it fits in an overhead compartment, so you never have to check it on an airplane.
If you're looking to splurge, I also highly recommend the Baby Zen Yoyo stroller which is absolutely worth the money. It's lightweight and small enough to fit in an overhead compartment as well, but it has a lie flat feature, it has a huge space for storage, and can add so many attachments like a board for an older kid to ride, or a bassinet for a young baby. These stroller are truly *chef's kiss*
For soft carriers, I recommend Tula carriers. They have so many colors and styles that grow with your baby.
Biking was our main source of transportation. We rented bicycles from Bicibella and they were wonderful! They had a small bike that fit our 6 year old perfectly, as well as bike seats for our two young kids. The biking can be dicey at times, but there are a few pedestrian-only streets in the city, as well as bike lanes that are separate from the car lane.
One of our favorite bike rides was the 16 mile roundtrip to Tule to see the second widest tree in the world.
Yellow taxis are quite ubiquitous around the central area of Oaxaca. In the time of writing this, within the city, you could get pretty much anywhere for about 80 pesos ($4) which makes it pretty accessible. Uber is not common here, but the Chinese equivalent, Didi is if you have wifi and would prefer going that route.
Where to eat
One of the only restaurants that has a playground inside the restaurant. This place is laid back, open air restaurant with picnic tables and quality food. I definitely recommend a meal here so parents can enjoy a drink and a break and the kids can enjoy some playground time. It's also in a great location right next to El Llano park.
I'd almost say this one is a must-visit if you're in Oaxaca. It's away from the city center in San Felipe, but the restaurant is next to one of the best parks in thee city (Colosio) and the restaurant itself is amazing for kids. It has pigs, bunnies, chickens, ducks, and a donkey that your kids are welcome to pet and even hold. They keep it remarkably clean too.
On top of that, they have a whole playground for the kids to enjoy. and get their energy out while you eat their fabulous food and drink their beer on tap! I highly recommend this spot.
This one is a little out of the way as it's right next to the airport, but if you're in the area or if you have time before your flight, it's worth the trip. It's in the middle of a beautiful farm and has an enclosed playground for the kids and a soccer field. Beyond a great place for kids, the food is wonderful and everyone that worked there was so kind and accomodating.
Mercado 20 de Noviembre
This market isn't necessarily kid-friendly in the sense where there's a playground and an area to run around because there's definitely not, but I have to put this place on my list because the food is so good and it's a great authentic experience. I had chicken enchiladas there and it was one of my favorite meals in our 2 months in Oaxaca. I have no specific recommendation, just walk around and find the stall that speaks to you.
Honestly, most of what we consumed was street food and it was fabulous. Not only is it the best food you can get in the city, but it's friendly on your wallet. Our favorites were Tacos de Carmen, Empanadas de Carmen, the taco cart in El Lleno. Elote on the street is also a must.
Oaxaca en un Tazo
This coffee shop in Santo Domingo is Mexican-owned and has great coffee. Beyond that, their pastries and croissants are the biggest I've ever seen and so delicious.
In Xocomilco, a neighborhood worth a stroll around to check out the colorful buildings, this restaurant is
You can't go to Oaxaca with kids and not hit up some ice cream places! A fun place to go to was Dark Heladeria, on one of thee most beautiful streets in Oaxaca in the Jataltaco neighborhood, so it's worth a walk over anyway. They have a chocolate ice cream infused with charcoal, making it pitch black (definitely wasn't my thing). The kids loved the fruity ice cream that they added a little topper to.
You also must try the traditional Ice cream of Oaxaca: Leche queimada. Yes, the means burnt milk. It's ice cream made with warm milk and "tuna", a fruit that comes in different colors, but for this ice cream they use the white. It's delicious! Paletas Popeye makes their own ice cream and sells in a few different locations around Oaxaca.
It's also important to try Nieves, the Mexican version of sorbet. The best place to do it is Museu de Nieves where you can try a few different kinds and
Things to Do
If you're planning a Oaxaca family vacation, know that there are activities and attractions that will keep your family entertained. We were here for 2 months and still missed some things!
El Llano Park
We loved this park and found ourselves there almost every weekend. Most days, and always on weekends, there are so many activities set up for kids like trampolines, bouncy houses, and easels with characters that your kids can paint. It is a great local vibe where kids come to proactive rollerblading, biking, and skating, and you can honestly spend hours there people watching.
If you're hungry, there's carts and stands everywhere to get great food. Our favorite was at the southwest corner of the park where they make great chicken tacos called Tacos Pepe Pica Papas.
Museu Infantil de Oaxaca
This museum was recently transformed from an old railroad station to a wonderful (and should I mention totally free) place for kids to play. On any given day, they have a great outdoor playground (including an accessible playground), a nice garden, and lots of things for kids to play with like a mock market, dress-up clothes, musical instruments, and plenty for even your littlest to play with. They also have events and little workshops throughout the week that you can find on their website.
The zócalo, the main square in the city, is often poppin'. There is nothing specific to do, but the hustle and bustle is fun to see.
Spend a day just walking around Santo Domingo, hang around the Cathedral, shop at the markets dotted around, and play it by ear!
The best day trips
For more in depth information, check out the best day trips from Oaxaca City
Hierve el Agua
Tule (the second widest tree in the world)
Visit Teotitlan de Valle (where they make carpets)
San Bartolo Coyotepec (the village that makes black clay ceramics)
Tlacolula market on a Sunday (make sure you get the barbacoa there! They're famous for it!)
Check out our post on visiting Monte Alban and also exploring Sierra Norte!