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Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in San Diego

It is officially May and that means one of our favorite holidays is here: Cinco de Mayo. For San Diego residents, this “start of summer” holiday is one that can’t be missed. Here is what you need to know about Cinco de Mayo in San Diego and tips for celebrating in style. 

The Origin of Cinco de Mayo in the US 

As you may already know, Cinco de Mayo represents a famous day in Mexico’s history. The year was 1861 and Benito Juarez was president. After years of borrowing money from European nations, the time had come for payback. President Juarez resisted the efforts of France to take over his country and gathered a troop of 2,000 Mexican citizens to fight the 6,000 French troops attacking Puebla de Los Angeles, in central Mexico. In the feel-good story of the century, Juarez and his men managed to defeat the larger and more powerful French troops on May 5th

Although the holiday was originally just observed in the Mexican state of Puebla, it soon spread across the country and then into the United States. This movement was fueled largely by the widespread migration of Mexican-American citizens who wished to celebrate their heritage by observing Cinco de Mayo. Today’s American celebrations of the Battle of Pueblo include a repast of Mexican foods, mariachi music, parties and even parades. 

Cinco de Mayo in San Diego 

Here in San Diego, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo.  

Cinco de Mayo music in Old Town San Diego

Balboa Park has plans for a full-blown event that includes music, dance, strolling mariachis, kids’ activities, arts and crafts vendors and plenty of food trucks for your taco and margarita fix.  For more information about Cinco de Mayo in Balboa Park follow this link.

Mexican mercado Balboa Park

Head to historic Old Town for a full weekend of fun, starting this Friday. Billed as the “largest Cinco de Mayo celebration on the West Coast,” you can expect to find lots of Mexican goodies at the Mercado while enjoying live entertainment, such as lucha libre wrestling, a lowrider auto show and plenty of Mexican bands.  

,” you can expect to find lots of Mexican goodies at the Mercado while enjoying live entertainment, such as lucha libre wrestling, a lowrider auto show and plenty of Mexican bands.  

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo at Home 

If you would rather stay home and entertain family and friends, there are lots of simple ways to get your luxury backyard oasis ready to fiesta.  

Colorful chairs, outdoor lights and a firepit are perfect for a Cinco de Mayo celebration in your luxury backyard oasis.

Start with the décor. Gather up Mexican blankets, serapes and other colorful textiles to drape across chairs, outdoor sofas and benches. Ceramic pottery filled with plants, flowers and even things like maracas, castanets and other fun items are right at home in your outdoor entertaining area. Sombreros and piñatas, while kitschy, are a great way to infuse the space with Mexican-inspired ornamentation. 

dining outdoors cooking fire table
An outdoor fire table allows you to cook up a storm for guests at your barbecue

Of course, a Cinco de Mayo party is the perfect occasion for which to fire up the grill and please guests with an impressive display of Mexican-inspired food. Go beyond the usual tacos and burritos and try your hand at making ceviche with grilled prawns, rice salad, chicken sopa, fruit salad and fried ice cream for dessert. Of course, you can’t go wrong with freshly made guacamole and salsa; instead of tortilla chips provide fried plantains, pork rinds and veggie sticks for dippers. 

Cinco de Mayo in San Diego is cause for celebration. Whether you decide to stay home and entertain or head to one of our City’s grand fiestas, be sure to enjoy the weekend.