Guide to Cinco de Mayo in Los Angeles: Festivals, Events, Things to Do

Cinco De Mayo Celebrated In Los Angeles
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

In addition to every Mexican restaurant and bar having Cinco de Mayo specials and more than the usual number of strolling mariachis, Los Angeles has the largest Cinco de Mayo street fair in the world as well as many smaller celebrations in the city's many neighborhoods.

Cinco de Mayo, which literally means the Fifth of May in Spanish, is a holiday originating in Puebla, Mexico, to commemorate the last foreign battle on North American soil. The Mexican army defeated the much larger and better-equipped French army in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

While Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Pueblo and some other parts of Mexico, it is not an official national holiday in Mexico. However, it has gained popularity around the world as a celebration of Mexican heritage. It is often confused outside of Mexico with Mexican Independence Day, the biggest Mexican holiday, which is September 16 (Dieciseis de Septiembre).

There are Cinco de Mayo festivals in Mexican-American communities across the United States, but some of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations take place right in Los Angeles.

Many Cinco de Mayo events around Los Angeles are canceled in 2021. Confirm the most up-to-date details with individual organizers before making any plans.

01 of 10

Fiesta Broadway

Fiesta Broadway
Alexander Sibaja / Getty Images

Fiesta Broadway is a multi-block street fair with music, games, and vendor booths in Downtown Los Angeles. It used to be a mile long, but it's now just the several blocks around Grand Park and takes place the last Sunday in April. The festivities typically take place on Broadway from Temple to 4th Street, including Grand Park, and are free to attend. More than 200,000 people attend each year, so you know it's a good time.

02 of 10

Cinco de Mayo at Olvera Street

Masked Mexican dancers at Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Los Angeles California USA
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Every year, you can expect live music and dancing at Plaza Kiosko, followed by a traditional celebration with mariachis, Folklorico dancers, piñatas, and other activities for the kids at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument on Olvera Street in Downtown Los Angeles. El Pueblo is the site where the first Spanish and Indigenous settlers who came from what is now Mexico established a farming community, which has now grown into one of the country's biggest metropolitan areas.

El Pueblo and Olvera Street are still very much the heart of the Mexican-American community in Los Angeles, so you can expect lots going on for Cinco de Mayo.

03 of 10

Hecho en LA: Taco Madness at LA Plaza

MICHE MOBIL by I LOVE MICHELADAS
 I LOVE MICHELADAS

Originally started in 2017, the Hecho en LA: Taco Madness event presented by L.A. Taco and I LOVE MICHELADAS has turned into one of the city's most food-focused Cinco de Mayo events. Apart from the signature tacos that are the star of the event, expect food trucks serving dishes from all over Latin America along with margaritas and micheladas to wash it all down. You can even join in on a cooking demonstration or just dance away at the outdoor festival.

04 of 10

Lucha VaVoom Cinco de Mayan

Lucha VaVoom in action
Lucha VaVoom

A crazy combination of acrobatic masked wrestlers, burlesque dancing, and even a striptease, Lucha VaVoom (which ordinarily takes place at the Mayan Theater on South Hill Street) is one of the most unique Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the Los Angeles area. Based on the Lucha Libre wrestling matches that are ingrained in Mexican culture, this event has been given its own twist for the local crowds.

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05 of 10

"Cuatro de Mayo" Mariachi Night at Descanso Gardens

Maple restaurant interior
MAPLE AT DESCANO GARDENS 

An authentic Mexican meal is served and accompanied by live mariachi music on the Main Lawn at Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge. This annual event, which typically falls on the Friday before Cinco de Mayo, features a four-course pop-up dinner from Maple Restaurant featuring barbacoa de mole, cerdo or pork, and other traditional Mexican favorites. There is also a cash bar on-premise, but tickets must be purchased in advance to attend.

06 of 10

Cinco de Mayo Hollywood Club Crawl

Deleon Tequila Launch Party on Cinco De Mayo
WireImage / Getty Images

Hosted by LA Epic Club Crawls each year, the Cinco de Mayo Hollywood Club Crawl takes guests to up to four different bars, clubs, and lounges to celebrate the Mexican holiday. The purchase of a crawl ticket gets guests drink specials, VIP express entry, and no cover fees.

07 of 10

Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl in Santa Monica

The Circle Bar
The Circle Bar 

If you're on the west side of Los Angeles and looking for a great way to drink and socialize on Cinco de Mayo, you can attend VIP Nightlife's own Santa Monica Pub Crawl. The crawl features half-priced beers, tequila cocktails, and tequila shots, but you must register for the event at the Circle Bar on Main Street. At registration, attendees receive a map of bars, pubs, and participating clubs.

08 of 10

Cinco de Mayo at Citadel Outlets

Cinco de Mayo at Citadel Outlets
Citadel Outlets

The castle courtyard at Citadel Outlets is decorated for the Cinco de Mayo celebration. Each year, the Cinco de Mayo celebration features live ballet Folklorico, mariachi performances, sales at many of the Citadel's shops, and street tacos for purchase from the Center Court. Tickets are not required to attend and the event is free of charge.

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09 of 10

Michelada Music Festival in Lincoln Park

The Michelada Music Festival is generally held at Plaza De La Raza in Lincoln Park and features live music and a full bar. It's an event for guests that are age 21 and over, so this isn't the celebration for families. But apart from the micheladas that are free-flowing all day long, enjoy live mariachi music from local groups.

10 of 10

Viva La Fiesta at W Rooftop: The Loft

VIBE W Rooftop Cinco De Mayo Weekend Viva La Fiesta
VIP NightLife  

The W Hollywood hosts a Cinco de Mayo party on its rooftop (yes, there's a pool), hosted by VIP Nightlife. There's a cocktail hour followed by hours of dancing with a live DJ. It's a swanky way to spend a Saturday night, complemented by a gorgeous skyline view. 

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