This blog post was updated on May 2, 2023.
Cinco de Mayo may be a Mexican holiday, but it’s celebrated pretty much throughout the United States. The day commemorates the Mexican army’s defeat of Imperial Bonapartist French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. (Oh, and it’s not the same as Mexican Independence Day — that’s on September 19.) The holiday is reportedly a mostly ceremonial affair in Mexico. But in the U.S., it’s evolved to an overall celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.
And if there’s one U.S. destination worth visiting for Cinco de Mayo, it’s Los Angeles. Considering the large Mexican-American communities living in L.A. — with first, second, and third generation immigrants — it’s no surprise that the city has its fair share of Cinco de Mayo celebrations to check out. Here are 4 fun events to celebrate Cinco de Mayo like a local in the City of Angels!
Based on Miami’s Calle Ocho Festival, Fiesta Broadway has been taking over the area around Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles since 1990. And while it is tied to Cinco de Mayo and Mexican culture, it’s also meant to celebrate Latin American culture as a whole. That’s probably why Fiesta Broadway isn’t ever scheduled for May 5, but the last Sunday in April instead. Among the things you can expect are live music, piñata-breaking, and, of course, authentic foods from local vendors.
Cinco de Mayo at Olvera Street
Olvera, one of the oldest streets in Los Angeles, is home to a vibrant Mexican marketplace that dates back to the 1930s. Each Cinco de Mayo, this area is a hub for partygoers who come to enjoy the mariachi music, authentic Mexican cuisine, and handicrafts for sale. The El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, which is on Olvera street, also hosts a number of events and celebrations throughout the rest of the year.
The Venice Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival
After the celebration was absent for more than three decades, the beachside neighborhood of Venice saw the return of its Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival a few years ago, and it’s continued to grow since then. Visitors can take in mariachi bands, classic cars, traditional dancers, music from local high school bands, and floats as they move through the streets of Venice before transitioning to a festival at Oakwood Park.
You may also like: Viva Mexico! How and Where to Celebrate Mexican Independence Day
Lucha VaVOOM at the Mayan Theater
Mixing elements of traditional Mexican wrestling, burlesque, and comedy, the performers of Lucha VaVOOM have been wowing audiences with their unique “glam meets slam” style all over the world for years. Their Cinco de Mayo performance at the Mayan Theater is a yearly tradition and one of the hottest events in California. So be sure to book your tickets well in advance when planning your trip to Los Angeles!
Know of any other spots in L.A. to enjoy Cinco de Mayo? Let us know in our comments section below!