If there’s one nontraditional Mexican holiday that gets Americans celebrating, it’s Cinco de Mayo. This “holiday” is just around the corner, and if you are looking to fiesta, we’re here to help you taste and savor a bit of culture.
Check out some of the best places to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Dallas-Fort Worth.
First, a quick lesson: Cinco de Mayo dates back to 1862 when the Mexican army claimed victory over France during the Franco-Mexican War's Battle of Puebla. But while people in the United States come out in droves to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, it is a minor holiday in Mexico.
For an event that is familia-friendly, visit the Dallas Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival, which includes marching bands, dancers, decorated floats and DJs. This celebration is presented by the Oak Cliff Coalition for the Arts and begins at 10 a.m. May 5 at the Oak Cliff Cultural Center. A kickoff ceremony starts at 9 a.m. oakcliffart.org.
Or, head to a free party at Traders Village on May 5 and 6. It features live music from 12 bands on three stages, plus food and other fun. Stay for ballet folklórico, music by David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, and even Fosforito the Clown. tradersvillage.com/grand-prairie.
Another family-friendly spot is popular Dallas restaurant José, which will celebrate both Cinco de Mayo and its first anniversary. José will have mariachis, DJ music and face painting. jose.mx.
Want to catch a free movie? The Dallas Farmers Market will be showing Pixar’s animated film Coco at 7:45 p.m. May 5. It’s a great movie for all ages. dallasfarmersmarket.org.
At Old Settler's Park and Recreation Center in McKinney, guests are encouraged to take blankets, chairs and picnic baskets for a free concert with performances starting at 9 a.m. May 5 by the Mariachi Caporales, Alma Salvaje Argentina and Folkloric Dancing. Get there early to attend a dance workshop at 8 a.m. mckinneytexas.org.
If you’re celebrating Cinco with your amor, head to Irving, where you can listen to smooth, heartfelt singing with Mariachi Los Camperos and the Irving Symphony Orchestra. This concert will take place at 8 p.m. May 4 at Toyota Music Factory. Tickets start at $39.50. livenation.com.
For those who want to ease into Cinco de Mayo, begin the day at 9 a.m. by attending Mindfulness and Margaritas at Mockingbird Station. A yoga and meditation class will be led by an instructor from CorePower Yoga. A kickboxing demonstration from 9Round follows. mockingbirdstation.com.
There’s no right or wrong way to nosh on Cinco de Mayo: You could pick a modern Mexican restaurant or a Tex-Mex spot. Or go find queso, if you love it. (Or don’t!) Here are a few restaurants serving up special events.
Start early: On May 2, Four Corners Brewing Co. is hosting Mezclar: A Celebration of Modern Mexican Fare. Chefs include Anastacia Quinones of the Cedars Social, Omar Flores of Whistle Britches and more. Tickets to the 21-and-up event cost $50. prekindle.com.
Or, head to El Fuerte - Fort Worth Taco Fest. The aim is “to bring people of different backgrounds and ethnicities closer together by promoting, celebrating, and honoring the cross-section of our cultures,” says Taco Fest’s website. “The taco is more than just a tasty treat -- it’s a way to remind us of the many things we have in common.” Tickets to the Panther Island Pavilion event cost $30-$50 and include unlimited taco samples. ticketfly.com.
Plano’s new food hall, Legacy Hall, is hosting an all-day party on May 5, with its dozen or so vendors serving cuisines of all types, Mexican fare included. There are seven bars, too, plus two additional pop-up bars selling $6 margaritas. Cha-cha-cha toward the new Box Garden, which has an outdoor stage that will feature several Latin bands, including Havana NRG. legacyfoodhall.com.
Or, head to Blue Goose Cantina for an all-day party with $5 taco plates, $5 margaritas and $3 kids' meals. The deal is good at all seven locations in D-FW. bluegoosecantina.com.
RJ Mexican Cuisine will not only sell margaritas featuring the colors of the Mexican flag, but it will also serve up a special-for-Cinco plate called the RJ Fiesta: chicken chile relleno with queso, two chicken enchiladas, a rib-eye taco, cheese quesadilla, red rice and choice of beans for $21. rjmexicancuisine.com.
If you find yourself in Frisco (or are a football fan and want to see the Dallas Cowboys’ headquarters, the Star), stop into Tupelo Honey Southern Kitchen and Bar. The pimento cheese nachos cost just a penny on Cinco de Mayo. tupelohoneycafe.com.
Where to find the best-priced margaritas
Stampede 66 is offering a kick-start to a fun-filled weekend with $6 margaritas all day on Cuatro de Mayo - May 4. While there, take a free taste of Espolon Tequila or Paula’s Texas Orange Liqueur. It’s a good place for snacking, too; happy hour runs 4-7 p.m. on May 4. stampede66restaurant.com.
For those who want to wait until the big 5 arrives, On the Border is ready to party all day, at participating locations. Find Cinco ’Ritas for $5 and Patron margaritas for $10. ontheborder.com.
Head to Fort Worth, where you can visit Pinstripes for $3 Margarita Italianos (that’s tequila, limoncello and a few other ingredients). pinstripes.com. Or try Dallas’ Design District, where El Bolero will be offering $5 house margaritas all day and a mechanical bull from 5 p.m. until close. Stay through dinnertime for a live mariachi band from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. elbolero.argconcepts.com.
Do you desire more than a drink? Head to Ten 50 BBQ to pair barbecue with $5 margaritas. Choose from the Ten50 margarita (Sauza Blue Tequila, orange curacao); mango margarita (Patron Silver Tequila, Cointreau, mango, basil); or Three Alarm Margarita (Herradura Silver Tequila, jalapeño, habanero, serrano syrup, Cointreau). ten50bbq.com.
Or, test out two of the most popular places for Cinco de Mayo specials: Chuy’s and Mattito’s. Chuy’s offers $1 off Coronas all weekend in all locations in D-FW. chuys.com. Mattito's in Lewisville starts early, at 2 p.m., with tequila tastings and a DJ. (Be sure to check out other Mattito's locations, as each restaurant will be hosting its own Cinco de Mayo festivities. Mattito's on Oak Lawn in Dallas is especially known for its Cinco de Mayo celebrations, which includes a Bob Armstrong queso eating contest.) mattitos.com.
Last but not least, who doesn’t love $1 margs? This is exactly what El Fenix is slinging at all of its restaurants on May 5. elfenix.com.