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!

Denver, Colorado

cinco de may denver

Held during the weekend closest to the 5th of May, Denver’s Cinco de Mayo “Celebrate Culture” Festival is one of the Mile-High City’s most popular, with events lined up throughout 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, chihuahua 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! Whether you have cheap flights in May or live in Colorado, Denver is where you want to be for Cinco de Mayo!

Phoenix, Arizona

 

The Cinco de Mayo Phoenix Festival is one of the largest cultural celebrations in Arizona; it’s located in Downtown Phoenix with related events all over town and in nearby Scottsdale, Chandler, and Mesa. Attendees can 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 throughout the day.

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio Market Square Cinco de Mayo

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. Party animals can enjoy free wine at Stone Oak’s Royal Pizza and cheap shots at the Brass Monkey.

Chicago, Illinois

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.

You may also enjoy: Margaritas & Live Mariachi Bands: Where to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo

San Diego, California

Cinco De Mayo decorations San Diego California

San Diego’s three-day Fiesta Cinco de Mayo (commencing May 5th) is held every year in the city’s Old Town. This spectacular event is known for having tons of food and drink specials available at local restaurants, multiple 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 treat themselves to tacos and nachos at the popular La Puerta restaurant.

San Francisco, California

 

San Francisco’s traditionally Mexican neighborhood, the Mission, becomes the party epicenter during the SF Cinco de Mayo Festival – 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

Cinco de Mayo St. Paul Minnesota

[Above image “Cinco de Mayo celebration” by Fibonacci Blue on Flickr – licensed under CC by 2.0]

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, 5k run, jalapeno eating contest, car shows, live music, and mucho, mucho mas!

Los Angeles, California

Fiesta Broadway Street Los Angeles California Cinco de Mayo

[Above image “Fiesta Broadway 2008” by Frederick Dennstedt on Flickr – licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0]

Widely recognized as one of the biggest Cinco de Mayo celebrations 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 of more activities – and lots to eat – in a family-friendly setting celebrating Mexican culture.

So, what are your plans for Cinco de Mayo? We’re eager to hear. Tell us in the comments below!

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About The Author

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