Digging deep into what went down at the Battle of Puebla, and the historical happenings of 1862, can be done in myriad ways, from catching up on a few documentaries, to reading a book, to doing a good amount of online research.
To further round out this historical holiday, however, at least in modern-day terms, a visit to a Cinco de Mayo fiesta is key. It might have mariachi tunes, folklorico dance, art displays, margaritas, tacos, or all of the above, but a vibrant May 5 celebration is a central and contemporary part of the Cinco story.
If you'll be joining in on Friday, May 5, or even later in the weekend, well, you have a plethora of parties to choose from, including museum to-dos, bar bashes, and happenings at historical sites. Put your dancing shoes on and dance for...
Santa Ana: ¡Entrada Gratis! is one of the happy headlines of this highly popular weekend-long festival, but there are several others from a performance by Ninel Condes to Flamenco and Cha Cha dance presentations. Note that the festival is on May 6 and 7, and opens at noon each day.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Hecho in LA: Taco Madness: A cornucopia of expertly constructed tacos will be the big draw, but the Micheladas and craft brews from Golden Road are sure to create a queue or two, too. It's an evening, 21+ party at La Plaza de Culturas y Artes.
Olvera Street: The history-lovely thoroughfare is always a hub come Cinco de Mayo, and 2017 will not be an exception. Music, margaritas, enchiladas, a host of shops and sights, and more will give May 5th at Olvera all the emotion conveyed by a cancione played on a single accordion.
Lucha VaVOOM: The outlandish, humorous, audience-passionate masked wrestling extravaganza is as much a part of a Los Angeles Cinco celebration as a beautifully made margarita, on the rocks, with lime salt. The Cinco de Mayan bouts take place on May 4 and 5 at the Mayan Theatre, while the Cinco de Mayo Spectacular enters the ring on Saturday, May 6.
Citadel Outlets: As Cinco de Mayo is on a weekday, many people may find that they have to work or even work a bit late, to end the week. But some fun times are extending into the weekend, like the free dance and music performances at the 5 Freeway-close shopping center. A taco cart will be on the grounds, too, in case you need a quick and thematic nosh. Be there May 6 and 7.
¡Fiesta at Fig! If you happen to be downtown on May 5, near the corner of Figueroa and 7th, and it is early in the day, say around noon, saunter over to this shop/eat scene for mariachi tunes from La Victoria, five-buck margaritas, and more holiday-ready doings. Loteria Grill will have a pop-bar on site, too.
Bowers Museum: A gorgeous dinner at Tangata on May 5 will include "...cuisine inspired by Frida Kahlo's personal favorite dishes..." A chance to make flower headdresses, and hear live tunes, and tour "Frida Kahlo: Her Photos" "...with Frida herself!" all make for a museum-marvelous, art-tastic take on Cinco de Mayo's traditions of food, art, memory, and music.
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens: The emphasis will be on classic Mexican eats, all weekend long, at the Patio Grill. Book a lunch, then wander the vast spread of shrubs and succulents and roses, which are going to town on the blooming front as May begins. As for the aforementioned eats? Think tacos and tequila.
Big Sunday's Cinco de Mayo Happy Hour: You're likely familiar with this all-May-long volunteer effort; you may have even pitched in yourself in the past. Want to help a fundraiser with a Cinco vibe? Make for 6111 Melrose from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, May 5 for Big Sunday's "Emergency Fund Lemonade Stand." It's a kind way to help out while observing the holiday spirit.