Although Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s biggest holiday (and spoiler: it’s not Mexico’s independence day, either!), who doesn’t wanna take any excuse to celebrate Mexico’s amazing culture, history, music and of course, food? With May 5th right around the corner, it’s the perfect time for to grab a last-minute flight (or hop in the car for a road trip) to one of these cities with standout Cinco de Mayo celebrations.
1. Los Angeles, CA
It’s no shocker that Los Angeles, the diverse (and giant!) city, would hold one of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Expect city-wide food, festivals and parades. Fiesta Broadway is one of the largest festivals, covering several blocks with music, games and food. Olvera Street has an entire weekend of parades, music, pinatas and tons of other traditional celebrations. If you’re just looking for tacos or other epic Mexican food, most neighborhoods and many restaurants host fiestas, pub crawls, and taco nights.
2. San Antonio, TX
San Antonio’s festival is held in the heart of Market Square, which celebrates Mexican culture year-round with locally owned shops and stalls making up the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico. (So even if you miss May 5th, you can enjoy a taste of Mexico anytime here!) During Cinco de Mayo, though, you’ll find festivities ramped way up. There’s a three-day festival with live bands, food, culture, crafts and even a Mariachi competition.
3. Denver, CO
Perhaps surprisingly, Denver has one of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the US! The Civic Center Park hosts the weekend-long “Celebrate Culture” festival, complete with parades, taco-eating contests, live music and chihuahua races. Come to watch the puppies, stay for the tacos. Plus, it’s free admission all weekend, so you can save all your money for the food and the hundreds of vendors at the festival marketplace.
4. St. Paul, MN
District del Sol, a neighborhood in St. Paul with a predominantly Mexican culture, throws a big celebration every year for Cinco de Mayo. Explore the neighborhood with traditional Mexican markets and restaurants. Then enjoy parades, floats, food and more. Want to make a beeline to the best tacos in town? Taco Libre has some of the best Mexican food in town or head to Boca Chica Taco House for their legendary fried tacos.
5. Puebla, Mexico
Save the best for last: Puebla, Mexico is where it all began. And while most Mexican cities don’t celebrate May 5th as a major holiday, Puebla does—and takes it to the next level. We’re talking month-long celebrations. Yup. That’s because Cinco de Mayo, which celebrates Mexico’s victory over the French empire, concluded with the battle of Puebla on May 5th. Head down to Puebla anytime between mid-April and early May for plays, concerts, parades, fireworks and tons of food and drinks. Plus, with cheap student tickets to Mexico, why not celebrate where it all began?
What’s your favorite way to celebrate?