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World’s best Cinco de Mayo celebrations

Published May 5th, 2016

It’s fiesta time! Cinco de Mayo – 5 May – pays homage to all things Mexico with mariachi music echoing amongst the crowds of red, white and green, merry folklore dancers giving it their best and many a tasty fajita is washed down by cold cervezas.

Get amongst the mariachi!

Cinco de Mayo is the day a small Mexican militia unexpectedly defeated a much bigger French army back in 1862. Today it’s a special day in the hearts of all Mexicans that sees hundreds of thousands flock together in celebration of their beloved homeland.

These locations make for some of the best Cinco de Mayo celebrations, where streets are closed for elaborate carnival-style fiestas that can last for days.


Where it all began, Puebla’s giant military parade, 20 days of cultural performances and plenty of mariachi music, salsa dancing and carnival fun make for Mexico’s biggest Cinco de Mayo celebrations. Think Mexican and French soldier costumes, reenactments, and loads of fiesta goodness (and tequila).

Fun fact:

With Pre-Hispanic, Spanish, French and Middle Eastern influences, Puebla is revered for its top-notch cuisine. It’s the home of Mole Poblano – a distinctive dish with spices, chilli and even chocolate (don’t knock it ‘til you try it).

#domingo de #molepoblano!! #gastronomia #puebla

A photo posted by Fonda De Santa Clara (@fondastaclara) on

Los Angeles

When half a million people come together for a fiesta be ready to dance, eat and be merry in honour of their friends south of the border. Festival de Broadway closes down 20 blocks from late April to make way for Latin American superstars, mariachi bands, storytelling, carnival games and let’s not forget treats like enchiladas and margaritas.

Fun fact:

Latin American superstar Pablo Montero will headline this year’s free Festival de Broadway, aka the ‘Superbowl of Fiestas’.

San Antonio, Texas

Market Square in La Villita is the perfect historic backdrop for San Antonio’s large Mexican-American populace to serve up TexMex, dancing and all-round fiesta fun on the big day. Fiesta San Antonio is a huge nine-day party held at the end of April to celebrate Texas. The state’s large Hispanic influence makes this a great unofficial start to Cinco de Mayo.

Fun Fact:

Love nachos, brekkie burritos and steak fajitas? You can thank San Antonio and its chilli queens for introducing TexMex to the world back in the 1870s.

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Another notch of Chicago’s festival crazed belt, families in red, white and green head to the annual Cinco de Mayo parade in hoards. Sacramento Drive hosts this sea of Mexican flags amongst pimped out floats and is followed by a three-day fiesta full of traditional games, food and dance at Douglas Park for a cool 200,000 people.

Fun fact:

Thousands of over 21s enjoy the city’s Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl where the tequilas flow and energy is restored with Mexican food-clad buffets.

via Giphy

Denver, Colorado

With one fifth of Denver’s population Hispanic, perhaps it’s no surprise the Mile High City goes all out for Cinco de Mayo. Nearly half a million people take part in a two-day fiesta starting with a parade that leads to Civic Center Park where the city really turns up the heat with steaming salsa dances and spicy food.

Fun fact:

A much-loved tradition of the festival sees local restaurants compete in a green chili cook-off.

The perfect pairing for #cincodemayo#josecuervo#margiritas#margaritaville

A photo posted by @molinaro30 on

We've got the lowdown on all the best events and festivals around the world - the perfect excuse to pack those bags and get outta here!

Jolee Wakefield

A seasoned backpacker and travel writer, Jolee has spent the past decade wandering the globe in pursuit of good vibes, unusual conversations and unforgettable adventures like cave diving in Mexico, mountain climbing in Borneo and learning (failing at) local dances in the Pacific nation of Kiribati.

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