Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock

Believe it or not, some of the biggest Cinco de Mayo events take place north of the border every year, with annual festivities held in cities throughout the US to celebrate Mexico’s vibrant and diverse culture. For a look at some of the best fiestas around the US, check out this list of eight cities that add their own flavor to the 5th of May.

Vamos de fiesta!



Folks in Chi-town don’t need much of a reason to throw a massive party, especially if you can include the option of having some great Mexican food and drink as part of the festivities. You’ll find lots of Cinco de Mayo related events hosted across town including the Chicago Cinco de Mayo Parade and the very popular annual Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl. From mariachi music and mescal at the trendy Carnivale restaurant to the ice cold cervezas and tacos at the slightly more raucous Moe’s Cantina in River North, there’s sure to be something for everyone.



Held during the weekend closest to the 5th of May (this year it’s on the 7th and 8th), Denver’s Cinco de Mayo Celebrate Culture festival is one of the Mile-High City’s most popular, with events lined up through the day. With an aim to “experience Mexico in the heart of downtown Denver,” the free event features live music and dance, a parade, taco eating contest, chichuahua racing (!!!), a low rider car show, and lots, lots more. Stop by the La Loma restaurant to try their great food and famous Mexican tri-color margarita!


The 23rd Annual Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival (May 7th and 8th) will see the largest cultural celebration in Arizona return to downtown Phoenix with related events taking place all over town and in nearby Scottsdale, Chandler, and Mesa. Attendees will get to witness great live music, folklorico dances, and lucha libre. If you’re looking to party on May 5th, you can head to the Valley to grab some great tasting Mexican fare along with reasonable and generous servings of drinks at eateries such as Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen and Abuelo’s, who serve up specials through the day.

San Antonio

Head to San Antonio’s Market Square for Cinco de Mayo festivities along the lines of concerts with international headliners, mariachi bands, folklorico dancing, and of course innumerable opportunities to enjoy some of the best Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican dishes this side of the Rio Grande. Unique events you could check out include the 3rd Annual Queso Bowl, which lets you sample cheesy goodness, along with free beer, while party animals can enjoy free wine at Stone Oak’s Royal Pizza and cheap shots at the Brass Monkey.

San Diego

San Diego’s three-day Fiesta Cinco de Mayo (commencing May 5th) is held every year in the city’s Old Town. Going into its 33rd year, the 2016 events promises a ton of fun with food and drink specials at local restaurants, three stages for live music, a low rider car show, equestrian performances, and reenactments of the 1862 battle, which Cinco de Mayo commemorates. Tipplers can also head down to the Old Town Tequila Factory Restaurant & Cantina and foodies will the tacos and nachos at the popular La Puerta restaurant.

San Francisco

San Francisco’s traditionally Mexican neighborhood, the Mission, becomes the party epicenter during the SF Cinco de Mayo Festival (May 7th) – one of the most attended and longest running Cinco de Mayo events in America. Expect lots of family-friendly entertainment and activities here, plenty of dancing, live music, and mouthwatering food. Drop by the Cadillac Bar & Grill in Mid-Market to savor some Mexican-themed favorites.

St Paul

Minnesota might not seem the most likely place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, but Saint Paul’s Mexican and Latino communities are a significant part of the city and this time of year is an excellent chance to celebrate their culture. Festivities take place on the West Side of town and include a parade, a 5k run, a jalapeno eating contest, car shows, live music and mucho mucho mas!

Los Angeles

Widely recognized as the biggest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world (yes, even including Mexico), LA’s free-to-attend Fiesta Broadway street party spreads out across 40 blocks of Downtown Los Angeles with live performances by some of the Latin music world’s most popular artists and plenty more activities – and lots to eat – in a family-friendly setting celebrating Mexican culture.

So what’re your plans for Cinco de Mayo? We’re eager to hear.


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Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.