Top 10 Biggest Cinco de Mayo Celebrations in the U.S.
What’s not to love about Cinco de Mayo? Spring has sprung, bringing lovely weather that makes for a perfect excuse to be out and about and celebrating. Inspired by a battle in 1862 known as the Battle of Puebla, Cinco de Mayo celebrates the turning point where General Ignacio Zaragoza defeated French forces.
While the city of Puebla in Mexico primarily celebrates Cinco de Mayo in that country, this anniversary has evolved into a cultural celebration in the United States. with colorful parades, lively music, and delicious Mexican cuisine.
Best Cinco de Mayo Celebrations in the U.S.
If you’re looking to join in on the festivities this year, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 cities to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the U.S. From Los Angeles to St. Paul, Minnesota, these cities offer a variety of events and activities that are sure to get you in the spirit of this joyous holiday.
So grab your sombrero and get ready to experience the best Cinco de Mayo celebrations across the country!
1. Los Angeles, California
If you’re wondering what city has the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations, look no further than Los Angeles. LA is known for its large Mexican-American community, and as such, it is one of the best places to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. The city hosts several events, including Fiesta Broadway, which is considered the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in the world. This free-to-enter event held along Broadway and around the streets of City Hall features live music, food, carnival rides, and other family-friendly activities, which continue to impress and surprise attendees each year. Kids even have their own designated “fun zone” on Spring Street that offers piñata-breaking contests and delectable Latin American dishes from local vendors, including empanada, churrasco, and so much more.
Pro Traveler Tip: Other popular May 5th events in Los Angeles include the Cinco de Mayo Festival at Olvera Street, a historic Mexican marketplace, where you can enjoy traditional live music, dancing, and delicious food. Olvera Street is home to many lively merchants and shops that work diligently to preserve the local Mexican history. It’s a nice alternative to the large crowds drawn to Fiesta Broadway.
2. San Antonio, Texas
If an authentic celebration is what you’re after, the historic Market Square will satisfy you in more ways than one. This three-block outdoor plaza is lined with shops and restaurants in downtown San Antonio, and is considered the largest Mexican market in the United States. The Cinco de Mayo festivities fill up the square, and are only rivaled in size by the Fiesta San Antonio, a 10-day event — from April 20th to 30th this year #VivaFiestaSA2023 — that includes parades, live music, and plenty of Mexican food and drinks in honor of the soldiers lost in the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto.
Luckily, if you can’t make the celebrations, El Mercado, or the public markets, are open year-round. At this collection of locally owned stores, you can purchase a wide variety of products celebrating the cultural, artistic, and ethnic influences of the Southwest and Mexico. There are also a ton of great restaurants to choose from, like Casa Rio on the city’s River Walk: a pedestrian-only thoroughfare that can be accessed by boat.
Pro Traveler Tip: Enjoy great Mexican dishes and drinks at La Fonda on Main, the oldest Mexican restaurant in San Antonio that initially opened its doors almost a century ago! Try the huitlacoche empanadas and start your meal with a campechana, a seafood blend of scallops, shrimp, and octopus served on tostadas and topped with pico de gallo. Be sure to get a reservation, as this place fills up quickly.
3. Denver, Colorado
Denver’s Cinco de Mayo celebration is one of the largest in the country, drawing over 400,000 people each year to its two-day outdoor festival. This Mile High tradition takes place in Denver’s Civic Center Park and features live music, traditional Mexican dancing, and delicious food and drink. This year, from the 6th to the 7th, you can also expect a colorful parade, a lowrider car show, and wildly fun events like the famous Chihuahua races and a taco-eating contest. As you stroll through Civic Center Park, you can peruse vendors displaying all kinds of Mexican folk art and handcrafted goods.
If you’re a fan of Mexican culture and want to experience it in all its glory, Denver is the place to be.
Pro Traveler Tip: The annual Cinco de Mayo Community Parade will be held on Saturday, May 6th, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. It’s a must-experience for kids to learn more about Mexican heritage and revel in some outdoor fun.
4. New York City, New York
Though Mexican Americans comprise over half the Latino population in the US, they make up just a small percentage by comparison in New York City. However, that doesn’t lessen the Cinco de Mayo festivities in the Big Apple. Visitors can take their pick, with neighborhoods across all five boroughs hosting events. The largest celebration occurs in Manhattan’s East Harlem neighborhood, where you’ll find a parade with colorful floats, dancers, and musicians. Numerous restaurants and bars throughout the city also offer Cinco de Mayo specials, including margaritas, guacamole, and tacos. Over at the Hester Street Fair there are food offerings, including pork shoulder al pastor, and shopping for Mexican-made wares such as handmade clothing and ceramics.
And if you can’t make the festivities in May, Manhattan’s 116th Street hosts the biggest Latin-American festival in the Northeast in mid-June. It has grown to encompass over 20 blocks that become filled with live music and delicious Latin food.
Pro Traveler Tip: Looking to get away from the crowds? Take in the sights from the waterways around the city on the Cinco de Mayo Party Cruise. Enjoy margaritas, enchiladas, and Mexican music from the comfort of a two-deck vessel, and view attractions like the Statue of Liberty from the comfort of a yacht.
The Little Village neighborhood hosts a Cinco de Mayo parade that leads to ongoing festivities at Douglas Park, with music, cultural displays, events for children, games, and food booths. Dance the night away at Duet Dance Studio and move to the rhythms of Merengue, Salsa, Bachata, and Cha Cha. For those looking to burn some calories, you can participate in the “Cinco de Miler,” a five-mile run with thousands of festive runners around Montrose Harbor and the scenic lakeside trail along Lake Michigan. There’ll be plenty of margaritas, Mexican Mules, and beer to quench your thirst afterward!
Over 100,000 visitors are expected to be on hand to enjoy Reno’s 22nd Cinco de Mayo Festival at a brand-new venue for 2023: the Glow Plaza Festival Grounds in the city’s Neon Line District. In addition to live music and booths serving festive food and drinks, Reno is known for putting on a show with dancing horses and carnival rides. In total, at least 100 vendors will greet attendees with offerings from great local Mexican restaurants and craftsmen and women, including a variety of art and miscellaneous crafts.
Aside from the special events, Reno boasts a massive list of Mexican restaurants that all put on Cinco de Mayo events. Check out Miguel’s Mexican Food for great margaritas and tasty appetizers like their queso fundido or a tasty bowl of ceviche. Chihuahua’s Cantina & Grill is serving up some great cuisine from northern Mexico like pozole, aguachile, and some killer steak fajitas.
Pro Traveler Tip: Try a glass of Mezcal at Estella. Enjoy your smokey beverage with some unbelievable carnitas or arrive in time for brunch and have a plate of chilaquiles.
7. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico is a great city to celebrate Cinco de Mayo if you’re looking for an authentic experience. Take a trip to the National Hispanic Cultural Center or the South Broadway Cultural Center to learn about Mexican heritage in the Southwest and experience live dance and entertainment. You can also explore the city’s Old Town area, where you’ll find numerous restaurants and bars with Cinco de Mayo specials. There’s even a bar crawl on May 6th that takes you to all the best bars in Albuquerque.
Pro Traveler Tip: To keep the fiesta going, you can head to Lava Rock Brewing Co. between the Las Lomita and Ladera West neighborhoods to sip some cervezas and listen to three local bands. If you’re itching for some traditional Mexican jams, head to the Revel Entertainment Center to hear the Abel Lucero Band in action.
8. San Francisco, California
The Mission District in San Francisco puts on an all-day block party in honor of Cinco de Mayo. Events include cultural entertainment and a pub crawl. The Lucha Libre wrestlers also hold a show, and interested attendees can take a tour of the nearby Mission Dolores. And of course, there’s a ton of great Mexican food, drinks, and music happening all over the city.
If you’re looking for something more family-friendly, head to Dolores Park for a picnic or take a walking tour of the city’s murals. San Francisco’s Cinco de Mayo celebration is a great way to experience Mexican culture while enjoying the city’s unique West Coast vibe.
Pro Traveler Tip: Head to Half Moon Bay just outside of San Francisco for some Mariachi music. The event happens annually at Mac Dutra Park in downtown Half Moon Bay.
9. San Diego, California
San Diego‘s Cinco de Mayo celebration is one of the largest in the country, drawing thousands of people to the city’s Old Town neighborhood. The fiesta includes traditional Mexican music, food, and dancing, as well as games and activities for kids. For a more adult-oriented celebration, head to the Gaslamp Quarter, where you’ll find bars and restaurants offering Cinco de Mayo specials. San Diego’s sunny weather and laid-back vibe make it the perfect place to celebrate this springtime holiday.
The city also offers several festivals in the area that include live entertainment, a car show, and food and drinks specials. Once you’re done meandering around Old Town, make sure to check out the celebration in Balboa Park, an all-day event with Mexican arts and crafts and tons of music and dance performances.
Pro Traveler Tip: Fiesta Old Town hosts an incredible Cinco de Mayo event that includes more than 40 different bands and a ton of food and drinks vendors. It’s not to be missed!
10. St. Paul, Minnesota
St. Paul may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of Cinco de Mayo celebrations, but the city’s annual festival is a must-see. The event takes place in the District del Sol, a neighborhood with a strong Latino community. The festival features live music, traditional dancers, and a parade that includes a mock battle reenactment. If you’re looking for a taste of Mexico, head to one of the many food vendors offering authentic dishes like tacos and churros. St. Paul’s Cinco de Mayo celebration is a great way to experience the city’s diversity and cultural heritage.
The Twin Cities also have separate events for children who attend the festivities, while everyone can enjoy a parade, music, food, and a salsa tasting contest. There is also a wellness village for festival-goers.
Pro Traveler Tip: Head to Minneapolis and spend your Cinco de Mayo on Lake Street. The neighborhood hosts a big party that is sure to make you feel like you’re in Puebla, Mexico. Eat delicious food and bring the kids. There are a ton of activities for them!
Plan Your Cinco de Mayo Trip Today
The U.S. has a bunch of cities that celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Whether you want something on the coast or an inland party for your festivities, there’s something for everyone. Head over to VacationRenter today to start planning your Cinco de Mayo celebration!
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