May 4 2012 by Claudia Kunkel
Cinco de Mayo! Here in the United States, it is a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. Ironically, the day is barely noted in Mexico. Commonly mistaken with Mexican Independence Day (which is September 16th), it is actually an observation of the day that the Mexican Army had an unlikely victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla. If you travel the country on May 5th, particularly in the Southwest, you are likely to find the kinds of festivals, concerts, and celebrations that rival those of St. Patrick's Day.
If you happen to find yourself in the Phoenix area, there is a great family-friendly celebration downtown that includes live bands, boxing, dancing and other entertainment, as well as plenty of food and drinks. Around town, there are many other celebrations as well. Visit Macayo's annual 'Cinco de Macayo' at the Depot Cantina; Aunt Chilada's Squaw Peak; the Enchanted Island at Encanto Park and the Chandler Cinco de Mayo Festival in Chandler.
Houston is also a great place spend Cinco de Mayo. Enjoy the floats, marching bands and all that the LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) Cinco de Mayo Parade has to offer. If you're more athletic, check out the 5k run in Bear Creek Park. Of course, there will be plenty of music and entertainment (not to mention food and drinks) at many of the Mexican restaurants and bars around town.
It is said that the city of Los Angeles, with its long Mexican heritage, has the largest Cinco de Mayo street fair in the world. Visit Olvera Street downtown for a traditional festival with mariachis, folklorico dancers, pinatas and other activities for the kids. Another great event will be when L.A. Live hosts a 'Battle of the Mariachis', a beer and margarita garden and plenty of Mexican food on Nokia Plaza.
Wherever you decide to spend Cinco de Mayo, if you're looking for a place to stay, you can be sure there's a Best Western nearby!