Cinco de Mayo in Chicago

Plot out your Cinco de Mayo in Chicago with our guide to the perfect May 5 fiesta, complete with margaritas and tacos

Photograph: Martha WilliamsScarf down Mexican food like these Xoco tacos on Cinco De Mayo.

A great Cinco de Mayo in Chicago is never far away. The city has an abundance of Mexican restaurants just waiting for you and a group of friends to comandeer their patios and guzzle down some of the best margaritas in the Midwest. Whether you're looking for a way to kick of the Chicago summer festival season or are on your way to another one of Chicago's great spring events, plan on a great Cinco de Mayo this year with our complete guide.

What is Cinco de Mayo?

Originally conceived to commemorate the victory of the Mexican army against the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862, Cinco de Mayo has become an international celebration of Mexican traditions and cuisine.

Cinco de Mayo in Chicago

Cinco de Mayo events
Bars

Cinco de Mayo events

Eat, drink and be merry at these Cinco celebrations

11 margaritas you should try
Bars

11 margaritas you should try

Drink them at tiny Mexican restaurants, cocktail bars and even sports bars

Best Mexican restaurants
Restaurants

Best Mexican restaurants

From high-end dishes to cheap tacos, your next great Mexican meal isn't far

The 23 best tacos in Chicago
Restaurants

The 23 best tacos in Chicago

The state of the taco in Chicago has never been better

18th Street walking tour
News

18th Street walking tour

Hop off the Pink Line and explore Pilsen's Mexican cuisine

5 great Mexican breakfast dishes
Restaurants

5 great Mexican breakfast dishes

Forget about Taco Bell and try some real Mexican breakfast dishes

Where to find cheap tacos
Restaurants

Where to find cheap tacos

You don't have to spend a bunch of money to eat amazing tacos

BYOB Mexican restaurants
Restaurants

BYOB Mexican restaurants

Grab a six pack and dig into some enchiladas

Archive Cinco de Mayo in Chicago coverage

Cinco de Mayo celebrations
Kids

Cinco de Mayo celebrations

Cinco de Mayo FestivalLast year’s fiesta in Little Village had delicious food, carnival games and pony rides. Let’s see if it can top itself this year. 26th St and Kostner Ave (773-521-5387, lavillitachamber.org). May 4–6. Fri 6–11pm; Sat, Sun 11am–11pm. Price TBD.Cinco de Miler Post-Race FiestaAfter you’ve finished the 5-mile Cinco de Miler race (or cheering from the sidelines), meet the family at Montrose Harbor for this after-party to feast on a Mexican brunch, help crack open piñatas and groove to live mariachi music. Check cincodemiler.com for race and party updates. Race $45–$50. May 6.Cinco de Mayo FiestaCantigny Park marks the Mexican holiday with a wee history lesson, storytime, Mexican-inspired crafts and some delish South-of-the-Border snacks. 1S151 Winfield Rd (630-668-5161, cantigny.org). May 6. 4:30–5:30pm session is geared toward kids ages 6–8; 6–7pm session is geared toward kids 9–12. $12.“El Alma de la Fiesta”Celebrate Cinco de Mayo all summer at this museum exhibition that highlights Mexican festivals and the art they inspire. National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W 19th St (312-738-1503, nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org). Exhibit runs through Aug 19. Tue–Sun 10am–5pm. Free.¡Hola! Wiggleworms ConcertWiggle, giggle, sing and dance to Mexican-themed songs, amigos. Geared toward kids ages 6 months to 3 years. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N Lincoln Ave (773-728-6000, oldtownschool.org). May 5 at 11am. $12, members $11. Cinco de Mayo ParadeKeeping the kids en

Cinco de Mayo in Chicago 2013
Restaurants

Cinco de Mayo in Chicago 2013

Whether you're celebrating Mexican-American pride or simply the joy that is tequila shots, here's where the parties are happening over Cinco de Mayo weekend.  ¡Ay Chiwowa!What you'll eat Specials like chicken-tortilla soup, jicama-cucumber salad, chile rellenos, molletes and flan with Kahlua whipped creamWhat you'll drink A different margarita each day, whether it's pineapple-ginger or acai-berry-jalapenoWhen you'll party During the "Cinco days of Cinco," Wednesday, May 1–Sunday, May 5 Cactus Bar & GrillWhat you'll eat $5 salsa and chipsWhat you'll drink $7 margaritas, $25 Mexican beer bucketsWhen you'll party "Tres de Mayo" (Friday, May 3) Division Ale HouseWhat you'll eat $2 pulled-pork tacos (whole-roasted pork with mango salsa) with complimentary chips and salsaWhat you'll drink $3 Corona bottles, $3 El Jimador shotsWhen you'll party Sunday, May 5—the mariachi band begins at 4:30pm (no cover) The Fifty/50What you'll eat With all the shots you'll be taking, hopefully a snackWhat you'll drink $4 Coronas and $5 Cazadores tequila shots—or $5 Wild Turkey bourbon shots if you want to change it up and celebrate Derby Day insteadWhen you'll party Saturday, May 4 (10am–3am) and Sunday, May 5 (10am–2am) Geja'sWhat you'll eat Chili con queso fondue with apples, grapes, bread and tortilla chips for dippingWhat you'll drink $5 Negra Modelos and margaritasWhen you'll party Sunday, May 5 Kit KatWhat you'll eat The usual (chicken and waffles, Rice Krispie French toast) or a $25 pri

Cinco de Mayo 2011: Where to celebrate in Chicago
Restaurants

Cinco de Mayo 2011: Where to celebrate in Chicago

Atwood Café At this State Street stalwart, Cinco de Mayo doesn’t just happen on the 5th—it happens all month long, when, from 8–10pm every evening, the restaurant offers a $40 Pilsen-inspired tasting menu. Dishes range from crispy pork belly tamales and smoked tomato gazpacho to wood-grilled bison and horchata churros. 1 W Washington St (312-368-1900, atwoodcafe.com). Breakfast (Mon–Sat), brunch (Sun), lunch (Mon–Sat), dinner. Average main course: $25. Cactus Bar How do traders do Cinco? You’ll find out if you hit up this financial district bar on the 5th, when the bar’s staff will don sombreros, a “roaming DJ” will weave through the crowd, and Dos Equis will be $20 a bucket. (You’ll need those beers to wash down the Baja shrimp cocktail, nachos and tacos.) 404 S Wells St (312-922-3830, dontdrinkandtrade.com). Average cocktail: $6. Carnivale At Chicago’s most massive pan-Latin spot, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated with special dishes courtesy of executive chef David Dworshak. Among them: guatape de camaron (a spicy shrimp soup), seafood salad (of shrimp, octopus and halibut), torta del mar seafood cake and mixiote de puerco (Maple Creek pork shoulder served with a pork-belly tamale). 702 W Fulton St (312-850-5005, carnivalechicago.com). Average main course: $24. Mercadito Cinco de Mayo at this taco-and-tequila parlor means three things: the restaurant’s menu of tacos (carnitas with coleslaw and peanuts; crispy fish tacos); live music; and pitchers of the Missionary (Repo)sitio

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Cinco de Miller

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