Cinco de Mayo may be a Mexican holiday, but it’s celebrated pretty much throughout the United States. Commemorating the Mexican army’s defeat of Imperial Bonapartist French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862 and NOT Mexican independence (that’s on September 19), the holiday is reportedly a mostly ceremonial affair in Mexico. But in the US, it’s evolved to an overall celebration of Mexican culture and heritage.
And if there’s one American City worth visiting for Cinco de Mayo, it’s Los Angeles. Considering the large Mexican-American communities — with first, second, and third generation immigrants — in LA, it’s no surprise that the city has its fair share of Cinco de Mayo celebrations to check out.
Here are 4 Los Angeles events that celebrate Mexican heritage and Cinco de Mayo:
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, according to its website, designed to celebrate Latin American culture as well. It’s probably why Fiesta Broadway isn’t ever scheduled for May 5, but the last Sunday in April instead. Some of the things you can expect at Fiesta Broadway include live music, piñata-breaking, authentic foods from local vendors, and more!
Cinco de Mayo at Olvera Street
Olvera Street (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 revelers, 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 an absence of more than three decades, the beachside neighborhood of Venice saw the return of its Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival in 2015 and it’s continued to grow in the years since. Spectators can take in mariachi bands, classic cars, traditional Folklorico 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.
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 LA. So it’s best to book your tickets well in advance.