San Diegans love Cinco de Mayo and perhaps the best place to celebrate the Mexican holiday is at Old Town State Historic Park – at least on this side of the border.
Each year, Old Town hosts one epic, three-day fiesta in honor of Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that commemorates the victory of the Mexican army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.
This year marks the 34th annual Fiesta Old Town Cinco de Mayo, and, in its signature style, the free, family-friendly shindig will feature live entertainment, including 40 bands, plus traditional ballet folklorico performances across several stages including at Conde Street and San Diego Avenue near Cafe Coyote, the Cosmopolitan Hotel stage and near Fiesta de Reyes.
A vibrant folklorico dance competition will take place in the heart of the park on both Saturday and Sunday.
For car enthusiasts, there's Low Rider Lane on the main stretch of the block party -- open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.-- where visitors can admire the cool, flashy wheels displayed in the annual car show.
Other activities on deck include historical demonstrations, Saturday Lucha Libre wrestling matches, face painting, a petting zoo, pony rides and crafts for the kids. Food, margarita and beer gardens, tequila tastings top off the celebration.
The fiesta goes down from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and again from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
On Friday, which is Cinco de Mayo, many Old Town eateries and bars will offer all-night Happy Hour and other specials. The band Zzymzzy Gypsy Swing will perform on the stage at the historic Cosmopolitan Hotel from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The Old Town Cinco de Mayo party is the largest event of its kind in Southern California and always draws a huge crowd. Parking is limited and the lots do fill up fast, so attendees may want to consider taking public transit, including the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System's trolley to the event.
The trolley's Green Line stops at the Old Town Transit Center located at 4005 Taylor St., which is only a few steps away from Old Town.
For more fiesta details, click here.