Monte Albán traces its history to about 500 B.C. when Zapotec builders (who called themselves the cloud people) began leveling the mountaintop and constructing terraces and other works. The city's construction was done in phases, with Phase I stretching from the city's beginnings to about 400 B.C. The second phase spanned three centuries between 400 B.C. and 100 B.C., and is when the city's observatories were built.
Around 1200 A.D., the Zapotec abandoned the city due to Mixtec incursions. The Mixtec occupied the site until the Spanish conquest, and some additional, minor structures, were built during the Mixtec era.
Monte Albán is managed by INAH. 
Temperatures in Oaxaca are generally warm with winter low temperatures seldom going below 15 Celsius. November through April is the dry season in Oaxaca, which sees most of its rain in late summer, particularly September.
Monte Albán is located about 5 miles (10 kilometers) from downtown Oaxaca. The best ways to get there are by taxi or tour bus.
Entry to the site costs $57. Additional fees are charged for video cameras or tripods. Entrance to the site is free on Sundays, if you are a Mexican resident.
You can walk around the site and climb up the major structures. Mobility will be a problem for handicapped visitors. Local guides can be hired near the site entrance and their interpretive knowledge is well worth the reasonable fees they charge.
Monte Albán's site museum is modern, attractive and well worth a visit. They have some excellent interpretive displays plus a number of relics excavated from the site in the early 20th century. A highlight of the museum is its collection of stelae. Restrooms, a small bookstore, and a cafe are also available here.
A small bookstore is in the site's visitor center. Local vendors often sell local crafts and foods outside the site entrance.
A small cafe serving light sandwiches and beverages is in the site's modern visitor center. More substantial meals are available in Oaxaca.
Nightclubs and bars are in nearby Oaxaca. Sodas and beer are sold in the cafe in the site's visitor center. You may want to bring a bottle of water with you since it can get very hot walking around the site and climbing the ancient ruins.
Lodging is available in the nearby city of Oaxaca.
Monte Albán is a safe site to visit. Some political unrest occurred in Oaxaca City in early 2007, but the city is quiet again.
The city of Oaxaca is spectacular. Mitla, another Zapotec archaeological site, is nearby.