While many in the U.S. mistakenly think of Cinco de Mayo, the 5th of May, as Mexico’s Independence Day, it’s actually a holiday to celebrate the 1862 victory of the Mexican Army’s victory at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Although it’s not a super celebrated holiday in Mexico, in the U.S. it’s a popular holiday, especially for Mexican-Americans. Celebrations are typically accompanied by food, parades, and, of course, tequila.
If you’re looking to celebrate this holiday in true fashion, we’ve rounded up the U.S. cities with the best Cinco de Mayo festivities that are sure to have you partying into the wee hours.
Downtown Denver is home to a two-day Cinco de Mayo “Celebrate Culture” festival featuring live entertainment on several stages, special attractions, a parade, kids’ activities, and more. With more than 400,000 attendees expected, the May 4-5 celebration focuses on the city’s vibrant Latino population.
This free, family-friendly event celebrates its 32nd anniversary in 2019. In addition to more than 350 vendors serving up favorites like tacos and enchiladas, there’s an annual Green Chili Bowl Cook-Off, a taco-eating contest, low-rider car show, and chihuahua races!
Where to Stay: the Curtis Denver – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel
This unique downtown hotel is located near the festivities and a warm chocolate chip cookie awaits your arrival. Enjoy your stay in a guest room where each floor is designed to reflect a theme from pop culture, from TV and music to art, sports, and more.
St. Paul, Minnesota
Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019, the Cinco de Mayo – West Side Saint Paul Festival brings a fiesta of Mexican culture, history, and heritage. While most people don’t associate Minnesota with Mexican heritage, perhaps they should. Visitors to St. Paul can start the celebration with a morning parade down Cesar Chavez Street. Later in the day, the festivities continue with Latin entertainment on several stages, contests, plus plenty of food and a beer garden. The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 4.
During the event, you can experience an authentic “placita” (“plaza” in Spanish) market at the Community Village. Local artisans showcase everything from arts and crafts, jewelry and T-shirts to airbrush creations, second-hand items, seedlings, and produce. If you’re into fast cars and cool rides, stop by the Cinco de Mayo Car, Truck, and Bike Show to view some of the most eccentric modes of transportation in the area.
Where to Stay: The Saint Paul Hotel
This historic property overlooks Rice Park and is steps away from the vibrant business, arts, and entertainment center. The Saint Paul Hotel is also just a quick five-minute drive away from the center of the Cinco de Mayo action.
Live Latino music, carnival rides, food booths, and more are on display at the Cinco de Mayo festival in Reno at the Grand Sierra Resort. Enjoyed by more than 100,000 visitors each year, this two-day festival running May 4-5, 2019, is northern Nevada’s largest Hispanic heritage celebration. Enjoy Mexican dancing horse performances, amateur boxing bouts, and more than 100 clothing, arts and crafts, and food vendors from noon to 8 p.m. each day.
Where to Stay: Plaza Resort Club Hotel
This award-winning RCI Gold Crown Resort and Hotel is located in the heart of Downtown Reno’s Riverwalk District. When you’re not enjoying the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, you’ll enjoy a bustling arts community and top restaurants.
Los Angeles, California
One of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the country comes to life each year in the Fiesta Broadway festival. Held in downtown Los Angeles on April 28, 2019, the festivities will include performances by well-known Latin American artists, plus authentic food, carnival-style games, and rides for the entire family. This year will mark the 30th year of this festival that’s so big, it’s referred to as the “Super Bowl of Festivals.” More than 200,000 people attend Fiesta Broadway each year, so be prepared for crowds.
Los Angeles festivities continue into the actual weekend of May 5 with the Cinco de Mayo at Olvera Street festival. Starting Friday, May 4, and ending Sunday, May 6, spectators can enjoy mariachis, folklorico dancers, pinatas, live music, and kids’ activities at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument on Olvera Street.
Where to Stay: The Los Angeles Athletic Club
You’ll receive exclusive Olive Club membership at this historic private club boutique hotel. For more than 120 years, the Los Angeles Athletic Club has delivered state-of-the-art athletic and spa facilities, award-winning restaurants and bars, plus an array of social, business, and athletic events.
Performers in the National Cinco de Mayo festival travel from places like Guatemala, Peru, Puerto Rico, and El Salvador to perform in this celebration that embraces the heritage of all Latin Americans. The Maru Montero Dance Company hosts the free National Cinco de Mayo Festival in Washington, D.C., to bring together people of all cultures to celebrate Latin American dance, music, and crafts in front of the Washington Monument.
Where to Stay: Hampton Inn Washington, D.C./Whitehouse
Whether you’re in D.C. for the National Cinco de Mayo festivities or want to sightsee legendary landmarks like the White House, the Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol, you’ll be in the heart of the action at the Hampton Inn.
San Antonio, Texas
You’ll find celebrations throughout the city, but the largest Cinco de Mayo celebration in San Antonio is at Market Square, the largest Mexican market in America. More than 50,000 will enjoy folklorico dance exhibitions, live music, and Tex-Mex food over the course of the weekend, with events starting Friday, May 3, and ending Sunday, May 5.
Where to Stay: Hyatt Place San Antonio Riverwalk
Stay near the action with easy access to the San Antonio Riverwalk. Choose a room with a city or river view, just a short walk from fine dining, shopping, and entertainment. You’ll be located at the center of the city’s best attractions, historical landmarks, and bustling nightlife.
This certainly isn’t an exclusive list of the Cinco de Mayo festivities happening across the country on May 5, but these six cities host celebrations that rival all the rest. Don’t forget, after a long day of dancing, eating tacos, and enjoying margaritas, you’ll need a