Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not the day Mexico celebrates its independence from Spain. That holiday is celebrated on September 16.
Instead, “Cinco,” as it’s colloquially referred to, is in honor of the the Mexican army's “unlikely” victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
But the holiday has come to mean a general celebration of Mexican-American culture, and for many of us, that means diving even deeper into our reverence of tacos, music, dancing, and tequila.
Presenting some of the best ways to get your celebration on, taco by taco, marg by marg:
Homi, our favorite homestyle Mexican restaurant, is putting out its annual lunch and dinner buffet, which is something they don’t typically do. You want this.
Friday, May 5, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
$10.95 for lunch, $12.95 for dinner
864 University Ave. W., St. Paul
Maya Cuisine, consistently one of the top local Mexican restaurants, is practically giving away the store for Cinco. Dollar beers, free guacamole with the purchase of chips (you might think that sentence is transposed, but it is not), $5 burritos, and $3 margaritas make up the specials list.
All day, Friday, May 5.
1840 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis
El Burrito Mercado restaurant and market will be at the center of the festivities of the annual West Side St. Paul Cinco de Mayo Festival (all along Cesar Chavez Street Saturday, May 6 - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) celebrating the day with outdoor tacos, elotes, live music, and DJs.
May 5, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and May 6, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
175 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul
You haven’t had good tacos until the ladies of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church have made your tacos.
Saturday, May 6, 11 a.m. ‘til gone. $3 each. (Our advice is to get there early.)
401 Concord St., St. Paul
Nico’s Uptown is hosting a “carnaval,” with an outdoor party including DJs, street food, and margaritas.
Friday, 3 p.m. to 10 p. m., and Saturday, noon to 10 p.m.
2516 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
Go to Boca Chica, St. Paul’s grande dame Mexican eating institution, for a full roster of festivities:
Friday, May 5:
Special lunch buffet, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. $10.25 per person.
Happy hour specials 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. including $4 house margaritas, $3 tap beers, and $5 select appetizers.
Mariachi band, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 6:
Live music and margarita specials throughout the day in the Boca Chica “entertainment garden” noon to 6 p.m., and more mariachi music 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
11 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul
Pajarito, the sleek new Mexican restaurant on West Seventh, will be roasting a whole pig and a whole lamb in their parking lot in partnership with Bad Weather Brewing. Beer, live music, and family-friendly festivities.
Friday, May 5, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
605 W. Seventh St., St. Paul
La Costa, billing itself as Minnesota's first-ever Mexican sports bar, has confirmed that it will be officially open for business on Friday, May 5.
Look to them for televised soccer, aguachile, and plenty of tequila.
194 Cesar Chavez St., Minneapolis
Go to a "Baja Deck Party" at Jefe Urban Hacienda on Friday, May 5, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. with live music, tacos, and the release of "Mexican Honey" beer by Indeed Brewery.
219 SE Main St., Minneapolis
Possibly the largest festival outside of St. Paul's West Side will take place outside of El Nuevo Rodeo on East Lake Street, with three stages of live music, tons of street food, and cerveza for days.
Sunday, May 7, noon to 8 p.m.
2709 E. Lake St., Minneapolis