Cinco de Mayo may not be Mexico’s biggest party of the year, but it’s a popular day for honoring all things Mexican in the US. We’ll settle for celebrating with some margaritas and mariachi, but there are five things we’d rather be doing today—and we’ll raise our tequila shots to anyone who does.
Exploring Puebla, Mexico
Puebla is more than just the site of the Mexican victory in battle that’s commemorated with the Cinco de Mayo holiday—it’s an important cultural center, a lovely colonial city (“Everything about Puebla is lovely,” says gorboduc), and a UNESCO World Heritage site. As if the city’s myriad churches and markets won’t keep you busy enough, it’s a short drive to Cholula, home to one of the world’s largest pyramids.
Taking a Mexican cooking class
Our first-choice destination for this is, of course, Puebla, where gorboduc experienced a week of Mexican Culinary Magic at the Mesones Sacristia. After foraging in the markets for “griddles called comals, dried chilies, spices, and chocolate,” the newly minted chef learned to cook regional specialties like coconut flan and Mole Poblano. Further south, in Merida, goddessdemaya recommends enrolling in Los Dos Cooking School for 1-, 2-, or 3-day courses in Yucatan cooking. And SDCarol found the cuisines of Mexico closer to home, at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, on her Busy Weekend in the city.
Strolling in Las Cruces, New Mexico
Coronado Bob & Berie spent a Cinco de Mayo in Las Cruces, where they shopped in historic Mesilla, hiked the Organ Mountains, ate lots of chili, and watched the sun set over mesas. “The setting is perfect for a Cinco de Mayo festival,” they say, and Las Cruces complies with “a constant stream of mariachis and ballet folklorico dancers that entertain the milling crowds.”
Partying on Olvera St. in Los Angeles
By all accounts, LA’s oldest street is one of the best places in the US to spend the fifth of May. Awash in traditional Mexican goods and food every day of the year, “during the festival week of Cinco de Mayo, it hosts some of the most exuberant free street concerts you’ll ever witness,” according to jemery. Angeleno SFPhotocraft, whose “favorite times here are any of the Mexican feast days and holidays,” visits Olvera St. year-round for its fiesta atmosphere and hot churros.
Sunning ourselves in San Diego’s Old Town
By the looks of his Cinco de Mayo in Old Town snapshot, San Diego denizen Slapshot7 marks the holiday under sunny skies and gorgeous Mexican windsocks. The best part is that all aspects of San Diego’s celebration, from its battle reenactment to its culinary events, are free.