May 5th will be a day of celebration in Los Angeles with the 150th anniversary of Cinco de Mayo. The holiday was first created by Latinos living in California when they heard the good news about Mexico’s victory against the French in Puebla, Mexico. The Battle of Puebla took place on May 5, 1862. Since that day, the city’s residents like to put on a party each year.
The best place to start your celebration is at the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, considered the birthplace of Los Angeles in 1781. It’s an easy walk from Union Station should you plan to take a train or subway. Stroll along the pedestrian-only Olvera Street to find authentic Mexican restaurants and vendor stalls selling everything from leather goods to artwork, clothing, imported crafts, candles, traditional Mexican wares and other colorful souvenirs. Visitors can enjoy fresh soups, salads, Mexican pastries, and rich coffee while sitting outdoors at the Café de Camacho. For south-of-the-border specialties, try El Paseo Inn, first established in 1930. It offers tortilla soup, tostadas and sizzling fajitas.
Local dance troupes will wear colorful costumes and perform traditional dances on Olvera Street for passersby. For a touch of history, Avila Adobe is the oldest residence still standing in Los Angeles and is open every day for viewing. Also see the historic Pico House (built in 1870) one block over on Main Street.
The celebration continues in other parts of the city, too. Discover incredible Mexican food along the world-famous Ventura Boulevard. First stop is at historic Casa Vega, which features a crispy beef taco that is a favorite with diners and celebrities alike. Next, head down the street to Loteria! Grill, owned by Chef Jimmy Shaw, who has been featured on NBC’s “TODAY” show cooking his famous chilaquiles.
Twenty minutes away (and after you’ve taken a Universal Studios tour), head on over for a Mexican feast at Camacho’s Cantina near the fountains at Universal CityWalk. The Cantina is expecting a big crowd and will serve up strong margaritas and delicious upscale Mexican dishes while patrons listen to live mariachi bands.