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

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 the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations are right here in Los Angeles.

Editor's note: Due to closures and precautions in Los Angeles through May 15, some events will be held online, while others have been cancelled or postponed.

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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. In 2020, Fiesta Broadway is scheduled for Sunday, June 14.

The festivities take place on Broadway from Temple to 4th Street, including Grand Park, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is free to attend. More than 200,000 people attend each year, so you know it's a good time.

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Cinco de Mayo at Olvera Street

Masked Mexican dancers at Cinco de Mayo celebrations in Los Angeles California USA
nik wheeler/Getty Images

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. Editor's note: While this event typically takes place annually for Cinco de Mayo, this year's event has been cancelled.

El Pueblo also hosts a variety of celebrations throughout the year, and you can view a full list of happenings on the annual events calendar.

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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 presented by L.A. Taco and I LOVE MICHELADAS returns virtually in 2020 just in time for Cinco de Mayo. The online event will take place Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3 and feature virtual micheladas (Mexican beer cocktails), cooking demonstrations, and merchandise for purchase. There will also be DJs and live conversations throughout the duration of the event.

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Cinco de Mayo in Santa Ana

Dancers Performing on Cinco de Mayo
Robert Landau / Getty Images

The largest Mexican-American community in Orange County is located in the city of Santa Ana, which celebrates Cinco de Mayo with two days of festivities including carnival rides, games, music, dance, and lots of food. Located on historic 4th Street (Calle Cuatro) in downtown Santa Ana, the event runs from Friday nights' carnival through the full celebration over the weekend.

Editor's note: While this event typically takes place annually for Cinco de Mayo, this year's event has been cancelled.

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Lucha VaVoom Cinco de Mayan

Lucha VaVoom in action
Lucha VaVoom

A crazy Mexican combination of acrobatic masked wrestlers, burlesque, striptease, Lucha VaVoom (which ordinarily takes place at the Mayan Theater on South Hill Street) will live stream the best of their Cinco shows on YouTube this year. The event kicks off at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5, 2020.

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"Cuatro de Mayo" Mariachi Night at Descanso Gardens

Maple restaurant interior
MAPLE AT DESCANO GARDENS 

An authentic Mexican meal will be 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, and other traditional Mexican favorites. There is also a cash bar on premise, but tickets must be purchased in advance to attend.

Editor's note: While this event typically takes place annually for Cinco de Mayo, this year's event has been cancelled.

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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.

Editor's note: While this event typically takes place annually for Cinco de Mayo, this year's event has been cancelled.

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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 will feature half-priced beers, tequila cocktails, and tequila shots, but you must register for the event at the Circle Bar on Main Street between 3 and 10 p.m. At registration, you will receive a map to bars, pubs, and clubs who are participating in the drink specials, which will last until 2 a.m.

Editor's note: While this event typically takes place annually for Cinco de Mayo, this year's event has been cancelled.

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Cinco de Mayo at Citadel Outlets

Cinco de Mayo at Citadel Outlets
Citadel Outlets

The castle courtyard at Citadel Outlets will be decorated for the Cinco de Mayo celebration. Each year, the Cinco de Mayo celebration featuring live ballet Folklorico and mariachi performances as well as sales at many of the Citadel's shops and street tacos for purchase from the Center Court from noon to 7 p.m. Tickets are not required to attend, and the event is free of charge. 

Editor's note: While this event typically takes place annually for Cinco de Mayo, this year's event has been cancelled.

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Cinco de Mayo Hollywood Bar Crawl

On Cinco de Mayo, a number of Hollywood bars are participating in a self-guided crawl—drinkers are to pay $10 at a meeting point (location TBA) between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m., where they'll grab a wristband that gets them discounts at a number of establishments across Hollywood. Since it's a self-guided crawl, you're welcome to stay at each venue as long as you like.

Editor's note: While this event typically takes place annually for Cinco de Mayo, this year's event has been cancelled.

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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.

Editor's note: While this event typically takes place annually for Cinco de Mayo, this year's event has been cancelled.

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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 from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., 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. 

Editor's note: While this event typically takes place annually for Cinco de Mayo, this year's event has been cancelled.

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