Hotel Parador del Domonico is well-positioned 3-star hotel located 3 blocks away from the main church, and has a traveler-friendly single-room price, friendly staff, and basic + safe accommodations. 2022 $55 USD includes a choice of breakfast in their first floor hotel.
I've often held the opening night welcome dinner here for one very big reason: we can hear each other in this restaurant! It's a less than a 10-minute walk from our hotel, headed towards the main Plaza, and the chef/owner is a well-known woman chef who also offers cooking classes. I've worked with this restaurant and they know what works well for my groups, but I'm also keeping my eyes open for other opportunities as the restaurant scene is pretty hot these days and there's lots of exciting chefs making exciting Oaxaca food. I would describe Oaxaca food as Mexico's Soul Food.
Templo Santo Domingo de Guzman
C. Macedonio Alcalá s/n, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_of_Santo_Domingo_de_Guzmán
This is THE spot to meet and hang out to watch the action in Oaxaca. Normally each Mexican town has a Zocalo where people gather, and Oaxaca does have a Zocalo about four blocks away, but for whatever reason, this plaza is the main plaza for gathering and watching festivities. As it's been explained to me, the folks with money can afford to have their weddings here, while local folks have their weddings in the Zocalo church, without all the festive celebrations. There's no set time for the parades and celebrations, so I have a local guide on the ground who let's me know what's happening when I give her my workshop dates. I have also hired this local guide to give brief historical talks in front of this church while everyone draws.
A suggestion is to have the workshop start here and end here as well on Saturday night, 4:30pm is the ideal time to be here for best lighting and festivities, but we can fine tune that as we confirm our dates.
Barrio de Jalatlaco
Neighborhood about a 10-minute walk from our hotel and has outrageously Oaxaca street art on many of it's buildings. It's really something to see and has high impact Oaxaca visual inspiration. https://nohurrytogethome.com/jalatlaco-oaxaca-things-to-do-where-to-stay/
El Tendajon Agaveria
Calle de José María Pino Suárez 409, RUTA INDEPENDENCIA, Centro, 68000 Oaxaca de Juárez, Oax. https://www.facebook.com/El-Tendajón-Agaver%C3%ADa-970966993024313/
This bar/restaurant is across the street from our hotel and it's where I held nightly sketchbook reviews, and people had a drink and/or something to eat. It's pretty casual and Oaxaca funky, we call it the Jaguar Bar. I don't know if nightly sketchbook reviews are a part of your curriculum, so this is only a suggestion.
Archaeological Pyramid Site of Monte Albán
https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/415/ Ahhhhhhmazing Zapotec archeological site where I have brought many sketch groups. My driver Luis picks us up in his comfy van and it takes about 30 minutes to get there. It's expansive, indigenously majestic, with a very complicated history, and as we walk into the grounds, Luis gives us some background. He normally gives two-hour talks on the site, but I have worked with him to do a 10-15 minute talk, and then everyone heads out for sketching. After being out for for three-ish hours, we head back to the van and go to a local restaurant that's about 15 minutes away; it's an open-air Oaxaca buffet style food, which means they're cooking most everything on an open fire and it's not only impressive, but totally delicious. It's a full day, getting us back to hotel around 4 or 5pm.
Morelos de Octotlan Mercado
This is a Zapotec mercado that's about 45-minutes outside of Oaxaca and is also a full day excursion. It's like we've time-machined back to the past, it's a very old-school mercado and it's really a sight to see. This particular mercado is only on Fridays, so it serves the entire region of the area, and folks come from all over. Although the mercado itself is open everyday, it's about triple the size on Fridays, and on display are things such as chapulines (grasshoppers), cacao, veggies, local bread, butcher shops, grilling stations for meat --everything is grilled in Oaxaca and/or smoked. It's not an ideal location for sketching just because it is crowded and people are moving about like ants. There is, however, a restaurant located inside the mercado that's run by a woman who looks very much like Frida Kahlo and is world-renown for her moles and comida. More photos of Frida below, but I have led groups through the mercado just walking and looking, and then we stop at Frida's place for lunch -- it's a scene! There's a church located next to the mercado, and this is where I've taken people to sketch, in the courtyard in the church because it's a lot less crowded, yet there are women selling their wares and all the other mercado activity without the crush of the crowds.
La Cocina de Frida
Restaurant located inside the Friday Mercado with Sra Bety Gomez https://www.instagram.com/betygomezfridaocoteca/?hl=en A real Oaxaqueno experience, to sit at Señora Bety's table and experience her comida, which is different each week and based on what's in season. She does a brisk business, so it's not idea for a sketch session, but several of us were able to do quick sketches of the scene before our food arrived. So cool to see and experience the action of the mercado at this table.
Located near the Friday Mercado, this is a Friday-only Livestock Mercado which is full of animals and cowboys, everything's for sale. Less than 10-minutes from the Friday Mercado.
Cocina de Humo, Closing Dinner
Oaxaca Centro although you'll feel as though you've been transported into the mountains Read a recent review in English https://www.instagram.com/lacocinadehumo/
Here's another very Oaxaqueno experience, it's a private supper club, basically, and reservations are a must becasue there's only one table and your group must be no less than four people. It's called the "Kitchen of Smoke" and it is smokey because everything's being cooked over open fires and the food is amazing, local, Oaxaquena and delicious. It's definitely for the adventurous spirit, as I could see some in my group were baffled by the whole thing, but this is rising woman chef and a seat in her kitchen is a real culinary treat. I painted the chef with mole here :))