Oaxaca City is the capital of Oaxaca State. It’s about 7hrs by bus from Mexico City. It’s a popular tourist destination. It’s no wonder why, as it’s a really pleasant city set in a valley with a good climate. Oaxaca has great food and there are plenty of things to do in and around the city.
The city is famous for its cuisine – it’s claims to be the home of the mole (the generic name for a range of sauces in Mexico made of all kinds of spices, but usually chili and sometimes chocolate). It’s also famous for Mezcal, a strong alcoholic drug made from agave. Note that Tequila is actually a kind of Mezcal, which is made in the city Tequila. Only Mezcal made in Tequila can be called Tequila, similar to Champagne in France. Oaxaca city is also renound for good quality weed and grasshoppers, which are available fried in the markets to wrap your tacos around (I passed).
You can also make side trips, such as to the historic ruins in Monte Alban, or Hierve el agua, a natural rock formation which looks like a waterfall. There are also lots of small villages to see along the valley, the highlight of which is San Agustin Etla. It boasts the Centro de las Artes, a beautiful old textile mill converted into an “ecological” art gallery. It would not look out of place in Europe.
Finally, Oaxaca is also a great place to buy handicrafts including Alebrijes, intricately painted figurines from Mexican folklore.