Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Los Angeles


Los Angeles is home to some of the biggest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the world. (The party actually starts in April with the annual Fiesta Broadway downtown.) Here are five ways—besides drinking—to commemorate the 154th anniversary of Mexico's victory over France at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

1. Olvera Street
Although the big celebration on historic Olvera Street, known as the "first street in L.A.," is actually held the weekend before Cinco de Mayo, you can still shop and enjoy authentic Mexican food along this block-long marketplace that celebrates the culture of Mexico.

2. La Plaza de Cultura y Artes
Learn about California's connection to the Battle of Puebla at the La Plaza de Cultura y Artes (aka "La Plaza") museum, considered the premier center of Mexican-American culture in the U.S. There will be live performances as well as art, culinary and garden workshops. It's a short walk from Olvera Street, and admission is free.

3. Revolution Cinco de Mayo
Starting at 8 p.m. May 5 and ending at 3 a.m. May 6, three stages at the Belasco Theater will feature dozens of musicians, artists, poets and DJs during what's called a "music and art experience." There will also be burlesque dancers, interactive media—and Donald Trump pinatas. Tickets are about $40 to $80.

4. Lucha VaVOOM's Cinco de Mayan
For two nights only, May 5 and 6, this slightly loco group will be presenting a show featuring authentic Mexican masked wrestling performing acrobatic feats, with burlesque and comedy between the matches at downtown L.A.'s historic Mayan Theatre. At previous performances, color commentary has been provided by celebrities like Jack Black, Fred Armisen and Bobcat Goldthwait. Tickets are around $50.

5. Cinco de Mayo at Citadel
If you don't want the party to end on Cinco de Mayo, you can enjoy street tacos as you're entertained by the mariachis and folklorico dancers who'll be performing at the Citadel Outlets shopping center in East L.A. the weekend of May 7 and 8. There will also be a talent showcase featuring up-and-coming local acts.

Laura Goldman is a freelance writer and lifelong Angeleno. Check out her i Still Love Dogs blog and follow her on Twitter.

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