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  • The best Cinco de Mayo festivals in the US

    photo by Esparta Palma

    In such a multicultural country like the US, national holidays and festivals like St. Patrick’s Day, Oktoberfest or the Chinese New Year tend to have a significance that goes beyond their original meaning.

    While Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of the Mexican Army over the French forces, in the US it is a holiday when American Mexicans celebrate their cultural heritage and their history, and the holiday is celebrated by many Americans regardless of their ethnic origin. So, for many Americans, Cinco de Mayo means fiestas, mariachi and tamales. Here are the best Cinco de Mayo festivals in the US.

    Los Angeles

    In such a huge city, it’s only natural that Cinco de May is celebrated in a grand way. The fiestas start at the end of April, and they last well into May. Olvera Street, the oldest district in LA,  is decorated with red, white and green flags, there’s traditional music, dance and food, and festival goers who party in the street.


    About 20% of Denver’s population are of Hispanic origin, so the Cinco de Mayo celebration is quite important in the city. The Colorado fiesta takes place every year, and has been celebrated since 1988 – nowadays, more than 450,000 people attend it.

    Music is a big part of the festival, and in addition to mariachi songs, you’ll also hear Tejano-style pop songs, salsa and tango music (and dancers too).


    The Cinco de Mayo festival is the largest multicultural event in Oregon, and it is celebrated every year in the famous Waterfront Park over five days. The Mexican city of Guadalajara is actually Portland’s sister city, so much of the celebration focuses on the link between the two cities.

    There are at least three stages at the park every year, where you can see traditional dances and music performances.


    The fiesta in Phoenix is no small affair, and it completely takes over the Patriot’s Square Park. Hundreds of thousands of people set upon the boots set up in the park in quest of food and refreshments.

    The Museo Chicano, not far from the park, has exhibits on Mexican history and culture. For something even more special, head to Chandler for the annula chihuahua race.

    San Diego

    San Diego has been officially celebrating Cinco de Mayo for the past couple of decades, and while the celebration is not the longest (it last only for two days), it is definitely one of the liveliest and most atmospheric ones.

    The fiestas take place in San Diego’s Old Town, and there’s a variety of entertainment events, including a reenactment of the 1862 battle (Old Town San Diego Historic State Park).

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