Home Expat Blogs Oaxaca Ranks as the Best City in the World  

Oaxaca Ranks as the Best City in the World  

Beautiful ladys celebrating Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe
Credit: Aleksandar Todorovic | Shutterstock

Mexico scores an embarrassment of riches in this year’s “Top 25 Cities in the World” list chosen by the readers of the upscale travel magazine Travel + Leisure. Oaxaca ranks as the best city in the world, followed closely at #2 by perennial favorite San Miguel de Allende. Also making the top cities list at #11 is megalopolis Mexico City and #24, Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatán. All have large communities of expats in Mexico.

T+ L’s survey was completed in March of this year, just before lockdowns began for most of the world and the cratering of the travel industry.

Competing against world travel destination powerhouses like Rome and Florence, Oaxaca City scored 93.54 out of 100 possible points in the estimation of Travel + Leisure’s discerning and well-heeled readers.

In the words of T + L, “Whether you’re into art, architecture, food, history, spirits of the drinking kind or handicrafts, Oaxaca has it in spades.” One of the magazine’s readers comments, “One of the most delightful cities I’ve ever visited.”

The magazine effuses, “A center for mole and mezcal making, Oaxaca is filled with fantastic markets, including Mercado Benito Juarez, where visitors can find local staples like grasshopper tacos. The city also boasts both a modern art museum in a 17th century mansion and, 20 minutes away, an impressive pre-Columbian archaeological site. Artisanal culture is not just alive in this southern Mexican city but thriving.”

In last year’s T + L reader survey Oaxaca City ranked #5. Hoi An, Vietnam was ranked #1 followed by San Miguel de Allende, which was the #1 choice in both 2017 and 2018 and #2 in 2019, ranks #2 this year. Its score of 92.01 in the 2020 study is just a breath away from Oaxaca, so the city is clearly adored by Travel + Leisure readers.

Mexico City, the country’s capital and largest city, was ranked #4 in last year’s readership survey, but drops to #11 this year.

Mérida, beloved by expats for its colonial architecture, proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and its overall quality of life, just made the top 25 cut at #24. It wasn’t ranked last year, which only named the top 15 cities in the world.

For a complete look at T + L’s 2020 results, click here You can also find detailed profiles of Oaxaca City, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico City and Mérida in our Cities section, which can be found in the navigation bar.