Of the many reasons to visit Oaxaca, capital of the rugged southern Mexico state of the same name, here’s just a few: its gorgeously quaint yet cosmopolitan heart (many streets of which have recently undergone a face-lift); a cutting-edge arts scene comprising small galleries, first-class museums, and a shopper’s paradise of local handicrafts; a roster of rich and accessible cultural events and festivals; a dramatic backdrop of mountains offering adventure and important ancient Zapotec sites; a simpático and passionate local population. And then of course there’s the food: a proudly regional and undeniably delicious cuisine that starts with the famous seven moles, utterly decadent things, before moving on to chocolate and mezcal, massive street tlayudas and incredible tamales, and some of the best food markets in the country. Just 6.5 hours by bus from D.F.—and with its own international airport as well—Oaxaca is a must in Mexico.