Lavanda at Gracias Madre
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanLavanda at Gracias Madre

Cinco de Mayo in Los Angeles

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Los Angeles with our guide to the best tacos, Mexican grub, cocktails, festivals and more


Think Cinco de Mayo in Los Angeles is like any other holiday? Think again: In this town, the fifth of May is a citywide celebration. From East L.A. to Santa Monica, families and singles alike join the all-day fiesta (and yes, we’re aware that it’s not Mexican Independence Day, and no, we don’t usually need an excuse to order margaritas). Here’s your guide to Cinco de Mayo events, things to do, where to eat and what to drink, and if you just can’t handle the crowds at your favorite Mexican restaurants, might we suggest partying at an Irish pub instead? It can be just as fun and just as drunken, with fewer sombrero collisions. Salud!

What is Cinco de Mayo? Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that celebrates an against-the-odds and victorious battle the Mexican army won over the French, who invaded the east coast of Mexico near Veracruz in 1861 and pushed toward Mexico City, the capitol. The battle took place on May 5, 1862 near the town of Puebla.

How to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Los Angeles