In San Diego, Cinco de Mayo is always a big deal – especially at Old Town State Historic Park, where a free, festive fiesta is held every year in celebration of the Mexican holiday.
This year, the weekend-long event – now in its 31st year – kicked off Friday with an all-day Happy Hour at participating Old Town restaurants. On Sunday, the party continues with loads of entertainment from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday at four live music stages spread throughout Old Town.
The music stages include the Café Coyote Stage at Conde Street and San Diego Avenue, the Fiesta de Reyes Stage in the heart of the park, the Dos XX Beer Garden Stage on San Diego Avenue, between Henry and Twiggs streets, and the Children’s Stage between Harney and Congress streets.
Live entertainment will include mariachi bands, singers and folklorico dancing.
In addition to the various stages, live music will also be featured at Barra Barra Saloon and Cosmopolitan Restaurant & Hotel.
The fiesta will also boast a Low Rider Car Show, two cantina beer gardens a high-end tequila sampling area and a children’s play area. Drink and food specials will be offered throughout the weekend too at more than 10 participating Old Town San Diego restaurants.
Also, vendors will line San Diego Avenue, uniting for a bustling “mercado” where attendees can buy an array of handmade treasures and trinkets – from leather pouches and clothing to jewelry.
While the lively outdoor fest can certainly be enjoyed on foot, attendees can also hitch a ride on a stagecoach along the streets. And, although Old Town has ample parking, this event does draw a large crowd so attendees may want to consider taking the Trolley to the event and hopping off at the Old Town Transit Center at 4005 Taylor St.
By the way, the celebration will continue into Monday – on actual Cinco de Mayo – with more live entertainment at the Fiesta de Reyes Stage from 2 p.m. through midnight.
For more information on this jam-packed party, including a full, stage-by-stage entertainment schedule and details on drink and food specials, visit the Fiesta Old Town website.
Now, for those who’d rather celebrate Cincode Mayo at home this year, you also have plenty of options.
Like many local eateries, Old Town’s Casa Guadalajara caters (see video above), so you can host a Mexican feast at home. Since we’re in San Diego, after all, stay-at-home revelers can also pick up some carry-out from thousands of taco shops and restaurants around the county.
This could include carry-out from two local eateries recently listed in a round-up from “The Daily Meal” of the “Best Tacos in America”: Mariscos El Pulpo on Market Street, where the octopus tacos come highly recommended, or Las Cuatro Milpas, where the shredded pork taco appears to be a fan favorite.
Or, as a San Diegan well-versed in the art of making tacos, you could always pick up a few ingredients from the grocery store and make your own tacos at home.
Of course, don’t forget the margaritas.
A classic margarita can be made using this popular recipe: 1.5 ounces of tequila, half an ounce of triple sec, one ounce of fresh lime juice, some sour mix, ice and salt or sugar on the rim, if that’s your preference.
Happy Cinco, San Diego!