Break out the sambreros and put on your ponchos for Cinco de Mayo celebrations around Central California. Even if you’re not in college or are traveling with your family, partaking in the festivities that mark the Mexican army’s victory over French invaders in 1862 is an American tradition (ironically enough).
The Central Coast has a thriving and proud Hispanic community, so if taking tequila shots isn’t your
thing, use May 5 as an excuse to check out the beautiful landmarks built by Spanish and Mexican settlers before California joined the Union.
The Spanish named Monterey the capital of Alta California in 1776, and established a military base that still stands today. Taking a tour of the Presidio of Monterey is an enriching experience not just in Spanish history, but local history as well.
take you back to Mexican-occupied California. It was here that the American flag was first raised when war broke out between the U.S. and Mexico.
If you are looking for a Corona or margarita, stop by the celebration at Baja Cantina in Carmel Valley for live music, authentic food, and copious libations.
Simply walking down Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz will point you towards a Cinco de Mayo fiesta, but a few places are worth special mention. The Crow’s Nest is throwing its annual Cinco de Mayo Dance Party. Five dollars gets you inside, where a live band and flowing cocktails will keep you.
On Saturday, May 7, the small yet vibrant windswept town of Davenport, just 7 miles north of Santa
Cruz, is hosting its Cinco de Mayo Festival. It’s an all day affair put on by the Davenport Roadhouse Inn. Attractions include homemade Mexican food, a Mariachi band, a children’s carnival, and a raffle with prizes like a week’s stay in Puerto Vallarta. Muy bueno!
Also check out Cafe El Palomar at Harbor Beach for all day happy hour, all weekend long. This spot is a laid back beach cantina with great views of the surf and sand, not to mention the always popping beach volleyball courts. Hugely popular with the locals.
Margaritaville in Capitola hosts a Cinco de Mayo for the locals, but naturally welcomes its arms and bar to any out-of-towner that drops by. Capitola will have its share of revelers, but be no where near as rowdy as Santa Cruz and Monterey may get. Also, if you find yourself traveling on Thursday
afternoon/evening, think about stopping at The Whole Enchilada in Moss Landing, located right off of Highway 1. Great service and deliciouso authentic Mexican cuisine in an unpretentious setting.