While Cinco de Mayo is not the national day of Mexico (that's September 16), Mexican heritage and culture are widely celebrated at countless May events in DFW. For a truly authentic celebration, you'll need to travel to Peñón de los Baños, where according to Wikipedia, the Battle of Puebla has been re-enacted every year since the 1930s.
For better or worse, the Mexican culture that's been most widely adopted in this area is the kind that revolves around food and drink. If you want to raise a glass to the underdog Mexican army that bested a much better equipped French army in 1862, you'll have tons of opportunities to do just that on Thursday, May 5.
But eating tacos and drinking margaritas is far from the only way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Fiestas, (siestas?), mariachis, music, and parades are all Mexican traditions that enrich our local culture every day of the year. Check out this list (made up of five lists) for some of the many ways you can fiesta your own way on the fifth of May in Dallas, Fort Worth and several surrounding cities. If you can't get your fill of Cinco de Mayo May 5, check out a few more on Saturday and Sunday.
10 Big Parties on Thursday Night
Jaxon Texas Kitchen and Beer Garden, 311 S Akard St. (Downtown Dallas)
6 to 10 p.m. Thursday, May 5
The AT&T Discovery District is the perfect spot for a fiesta, and Jaxon Beer Garden is hosting some vibrant entertainment for the evening. The evening starts with a Mariachi band followed by folklorico dancers from the Ballet Hispanic of the Arts school. Piñata Protest, a Tex-Mex punk band will close out the night.
Taqueria La Ventana, 1611 McKinney Ave. (Downtown Dallas)
2 to 10 p.m. Thursday, May 5
This annual celebration has all the tasty tacos and margaritas you expect plus games, face painting, and a full schedule of live entertainment. DJ Sir Alex will start and end the evening, and in between you can watch Chihuahua dog races at 5 p.m., Aztec dancers at 6 p.m., and Tambora de Arranque band from 7 to 10 p.m.
Texas Republic Dallas, 5609 SMU Blvd. (Upper Greenville)
4 p.m. to close (2 a.m.) Thursday, May 5
At this party, you can win a free trip to Mexico, or swing at cash and prize piñatas at 6, 8, and 10 p.m. Come early for $1 tacos and margaritas from 4 to 5 p.m. or enjoy $2 tacos and multiple drink specials all day.
Bar Crawl Dallas, 505 North Good Latimer Expressway (Deep Ellum)
5 p.m. to midnight Thursday, May 5
Why limit yourself to just one party when you can join a bar crawl and multiply your fun by cinco? Start at Backyard Dallas and visit four more bars, each with a welcome shot and drink specials. Tickets are $25 (plus Eventbrite fee) or $20 when purchased in groups of four or more.
Longhorn Icehouse, 1901 W. Northwest Highway
4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Thursday, May 5
This free fiesta has all kinds of festive things including a miniature donkey appearance, mariachi music, and tunes from DJ Rob B. Drink specials like $5 Jose Cuervo drinks will also be offered.
Toyota Music Factory, 316 W. Las Colinas Blvd. (Irving)
6 p.m. Thursday, May 5
In addition to the main celebration in Texas Lottery Plaza, the more than 20 venues at Toyota Music Factory will all take part in this huge Cinco de Mayo fiesta. Mariachi Fuzion will perform on the outdoor stage from 6 to 8 p.m., and Pacheco Taco bar will host a taco eating contest from 8 to 9 p.m.
Downtown Duncanville, 100 S Main St. (Duncanville)
5 to 11 p.m. Thursday, May 5
Start with food and drink vendors, face painting and a bounce house at this free street party, then get ready for some great entertainment. Alegre Ballet Folklórico will perform traditional Mexican dances at 6 p.m., and DJ Serb starts spinning tunes at seven. Los D Barrio Grupo will take the stage at Main and Center from 8 to 11 p.m.
TK's, 14854 Montfort Drive (Addison)
4 p.m. to midnight Thursday, May 5
With a taco takeover, an outdoor margarita bar and a special Tex-Mex menu, your Cinco cravings will be satisfied at this comedy club and restaurant's celebration. You can also enjoy free live music from 4 to 6 p.m. and a comedy show with Mark Smalls at 7:30 p.m. A late night dance party with a DJ follows the show.
Tickets for the show are $25 for general admission and $40 for VIP. Food and drink are available for purchase, and all the other fiesta action is free.
Fort Worth Cinco de Mayo Bar Crawl, 2818 Morton St. (Fort Worth)
5 to 11 p.m. Thursday, May 5
Enjoy the best of Crockett Row and the surrounding area as you start this pub crawl at Kung Fu Saloon. With Live DJs at select venues and lots of exclusive drink specials, you'll be in the Cinco de Mayo spirit all night long.
El Chingon, 2800 Bledsoe St., Ste. 100 (Fort Worth)
3 p.m. close (2 a.m.) Thursday, May 5
El Chingon is Fort Worth's “Bad Ass Mexican” restaurant and I can't think of a better place to honor the bad ass 1862 Mexican army of Puebla. Winning at this event will be a lot easier though, with chances to smash piñatas filled with gift cards, candy and more at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. Celebrate with a Margarita flight or a popsicle-topped Bad Ass Madero to drink. Check out a taco stand at 6 p.m. and a live mariachi band from 9 to 10 p.m. in La Chingona, El Chingon’s intimate private event space. There's no cover charge before 6 p.m., and the party will continue with dancing and live DJs Ramzee and Aiden Brasher until 2 a.m.
Something a Little Different
If you want to celebrate that's not completely centered around drinking, you might like one of these offbeat options.
Floral Arranging Class at All Good Things, 404 West Eighth St. (Bishop Arts District)
6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, May 5
Sip on Tepetán cold pressed margarita mixers and Calirosa tequila while you enjoy an introduction to flower arranging at this fun event. Everything you need--vase, sheers, flowers, and more--will be provided, and you'll go home with a completed arrangement.
Cinco De Mayo Market at The Beeman Hotel
Shop from more than 20 local vendors and small businesses from Dallas, Texas while you sip and eat at this free-to-attend event. A special art exhibition from Ruth Menjarez and Robert Smith will be on display and music will be provided by DJ TraeNed.
Octavio Medellín: Spirit and Form at the Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 North Harwood St. (Dallas Arts District)
Plan a daytime trip to the Dallas Museum of Art (the museum closes at 5 p.m. on Thursdays) or plan a visit for the weekend to see the work of a noted Mexican sculptor. This retrospective exhibit is free, and gives you a chance to fully explore Medellín's work, which you may have seen around town in church windows, mosaics, sculpture, and more.
Tequila Cupcakes Decorating Class at The Mitchell Lofts, 3800 Commerce Street (Downtown Dallas)
If you don't think you like tequila, wait till you try it infused into cupcakes and frosting. The Cupcake Experience owner Ginger Taylor will teach you to style five different cupcakes, including one that looks like a taco. No experience is necessary and all supplies will be provided. Tickets are $40 plus service fee on Eventbrite, and yes, you get to eat the cupcakes!
Pup Crawl at The Paw Pad, 5201 White Settlement Road (Fort Worth)
5 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 5
Whether your doggie loves Mexican culture or just a fun night out, this event on Cinco de Mayo will have his or her tail wagging. Tickets ($10 + service fee on Eventbrite) include a souvenir cup and bag, giveaway entries, store discounts, complimentary food and drinks or specials, dog treats, and more.
Make Mine with Music
Cinco celebrations are not all mariachis and margaritas, although you'll definitely notice a theme in these special music events on Cinco de Mayo.
Selena Forever at Grandscape, 5752 Grandscape Blvd. (The Colony)
7 p.m. (Doors at 6:30) Thursday May 5, Free with VIP upgrades optional
Bidi Bidi Banda at Legacy Hall, 7800 Windrose Ave. (Plano)
6 to 9 p.m. Thursday May 5, Free.
Abraxas Texas Santana Tribute Band at Third Rail at Harvest Hall, 815 South Main St. (Grapevine)
7 to 10 p.m. Thursday May 5, Free general admission, $10 Reserved Seating
Dope House OG DJs in the Limbo Room at Ruins, 2653 Commerce St. (Deep Ellum)
10 p.m. Thursday, May 5. $15 in addvance and $20 at the door.
Gt Garza at Slay House, 2625 Willowbrook Road (Northwest Dallas)
8:30 p.m. to close (1 a.m.) Thursday, May 5. $20
More Places to Eat, Drink and Fiesta
A pretty vast variety of Dallas-Fort Worth area bars and restaurants are offering specials or activities on Cinco de Mayo. Here are 10 more to consider.
- Do some good at Dillas Quesadillas. This local business will donate 10% of sales on May 5 at their Frisco, McKinney, Denton, and Plano locations to Minnie’s Food Pantry DFW.
- Watch a Chihuahua & little dog race at Truck Yard Dallas and The Colony while enjoying drink specials (Texican beer buckets and Luchador Spicy Tequila Shots),Tex Mex food trucks, and adult piñatas.
- Make it an adventure at Mexican Sugar in Plano and Las Colinas, where you'll find tequila tasting stations, live music, a shake and repeat, Nitro Margaritas and selfies printed on your cocktails.
- Head to Joe Leo Fine Tex-Mex for mariachi music, $20 buckets of Pacifico (all day), face painting, a Casamigos tequila tasting, and entertainment from DJ LUV SSIK.
- Eat all the tacos you want and more at the Cinco Buffet at your favorite Blue Mesa Grill location from 4 to 9 p.m.
- Try one of Greenville Avenue Pizza Company's specialty pizzas, the Pizza Dilla at any one of their locations for one day only on Cinco de Mayo.
- Meet characters from Coco and Encanto along with some food truck favorites at the Dallas Taco Fest on Cinco De Mayo at Lofty Spaces.
- Take part in a Block Party at The Realm Castle Hills with Mariachi Los Reyes de Dallas, a caricature artist, pop-up shops, face painters, a Mexican paper flower craft station, a bounce house, DJ Zario and more. At this free event, you can also try your hand at a dunking booth with a donation to North Texas Food Bank.
- Visit a rooftop Spanish bar for tapas, tequila and tunes at Rioja Rooftop Bar at Hotel Vin in Grapevine.
- Have a ball with an outdoor grill street taco experience and more food and drink specials at Chicken and Pickle in Grand Prairie.
Get Festive Again This Weekend
Parade & Fiestas at Oak Cliff Cultural Center, 223 Jefferson Blvd. (Oak Cliff)
Come for the welcome ceremony at 9 a.m., and the parade will kick off at 10 a.m. Check out DJs on stage from 10 a.m to 2 p.m., the awards ceremony at noon, and Teatro Dallas and Flamenco Fever at 1 p.m. It's all free!
Cinco De Mayo Weekend Bar Crawl at West 7th, 945 Foch St. (Fort Worth)
If a Thursday night bar crawl didn't quite make sense, you'll get another change on Saturday. Check in at 2 p.m. at Republic Texas on Foch Street for your T-shirt, refillable stadium cup, and map to the participating locations. Tickets ($25-$30) include one free drink and food and drink specials at all the participating venues.
Cinco de Mayo Weekend Fiesta at Legacy Hall, 7800 Windrose Ave. (Plano)
Head to Legacy Hall on Saturday, May 7 for Mexican food favorites at Chilangos Tacos, five different margarita flavors and a full line-up of entertainment starting at 1 p.m. Mariachi Rosas Divinas and Anita M. Martinez Ballet Folklorico Dancers will perform and plan on plenty of Salsa and Bachata music. All this fun is free, and you can extend the evening with a ticket ($10) to the Havana NRG concert in the Box Garden starting at 8 p.m.
5° de Mayo at Luna 23, 2425 West Walnut St. (Garland)
How does an all-you-can-eat Tlayuda buffet sound? Tasty, right? You can also enter a salsa eating contest, watch the kids have fun in a bounce house and groove to some rock en Español at this party from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 7. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door, and $10 for kids.
Mother's Day Serenata and Mercadito at Four Corners Brewing, 1311 South Ervay St. (The Cedars)
If you never want Cinco de Mayo to end, grab Mom and treat her to this specisl Sunday event. From noon to 5 p.m. the two of you (or the whole family) can enjoy Mariachis, music, good drinks, and small business shopping.