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By published April 26, 2024

Each year, Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on May 5 in honor of an 1862 Mexican military victory over the French. Not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day (celebrated on September 16), Cinco de Mayo is the annual holiday that commemorates the Battle of Puebla, and is celebrated with parades, speeches and military reenactments in Mexico.

Celebrations in the United States began as an attempt to encourage Mexican immigrants to feel pride in their heritage in the mid-20th century. Today, this cultural celebration is an excellent opportunity for people of all racial or ethnic backgrounds to join in the festivities while acknowledging and honoring Mexican history and heritage. Read on to find out how you can join in on the fun, right here in the Chicago Southland!

Local fiestas

Fish tacos from Thornton Distilling Co.Beginning on Friday, May 3, the Village of Bridgeview will be hosting a Cinco de Mayo food festival. This multi-day event will feature live music, arts and crafts, a huge carnival, family-friendly activities and, of course, food! The festival will take place at 7325 W. 79th Street in Bridgeview. The festivities will take place May 3-5 and May 10-12. Individual or family tickets are available, along with additional information, on the Event Wiz website.

Sip and shop at the Dead Drop Handmade Market: Cinco de Mayo Edition at Thornton Distilling Co. on Sunday, May 5, beginning at 12:00 PM. Handmade, vintage and boutique items will be available for purchase. Plus, stay for dinner and enjoy some of the delicious Thornton Distilling Co. offerings!  Start with an order of chips n’ salsa and enjoy an entrée like barbacoa or fish tacos.

Head over to 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park on Cinco de Mayo for a huge dance celebration, featuring live performances and talented DJs! House, freestyle, Latin and alternative music will be on deck beginning at 2:00 PM. Tickets are now available for this incredible event! Get more information, including an entire list of scheduled performers and ticket pricing, on the event’s Facebook page.

Comida deliciosa

Looking for some tasty food specials? In Lansing, Kdulche Cafe will be serving their annual special: pozole verde! Be sure to stop in to celebrate this tradition any time from May 3-5 for this delicious especial treat, served with pride.

Be sure to stop by Chuck’s Southern Comforts Cafe in Burbank for delectable Cinco de Mayo specials. From 12:00 PM – 9:00 PM, Chuck’s will be serving food that’ll have your tastebuds dancing. Soups, appetizers, entrées and desserts will be available for dine-in, takeout or delivery. Ceviche, tostadas, tacos and chilaquiles are just some of the food specials on the menu! Finish off your meal with tasty coconut banana cream pie, Yucatan-style coconut pie or lime chess pie. Make your reservations today by calling 708-229-8700 and view the full Cinco de Mayo menu on Chuck’s website!

There are plenty of other incredible dining options throughout the Chicago Southland that will help you get into the Cinco de Mayo spirit!

Drinks from Fat Rosie’s Taco & Tequila BarFat Rosie’s Taco & Tequila Bar in Frankfort serves up delicious Mexican food year-round. Tamales, fajitas, chiles relleno, burritos and more are available to diners. Don’t forget about the drinks! Margaritas, sangrias and an array of cervezas are just some of the drinks on Fat Rosie’s menu. The full menu can be found online.

In Matteson, Fogon Contemporanean Kitchen is known for their delicious Mexican dishes and drinks, with a fusion twist! This fine dining experience is one that diners will never forget. Enjoy guacamole, pasta con pollo, camarones al ajillo and quesadillas. Fogon also offers yummy margarites and daiquiris, among other drink options. Check out the entire menu online!

Find tasty tacos at restaurants throughout the Chicago Southland, like At the Office Sports Bar and Grill in Crestwood, Coaches Sports Bar & Grill (inside the DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago Midway Airport hotel) in Bedford Park and Franklins Public House in Palos Heights. Be sure to check out all of the delicious dining options available at VisitChicagoSouthland.com/Dining!


A refreshing michelada from Rabid BrewingLooking for a refreshing cerveza? Check out local craft breweries and taprooms, like Rabid Brewing in Homewood, a woman- and Mexican-owned small business. Enjoy the delicious brews on tap, such as Morningstar, Jinxed or Horus Retribution. Try a hard soda, known as Fae Masquerade, or sip small-batch craft cocktails.

Plenty of other great brewery options include Blue Island Beer Company in Blue Island, Evil Horse Brewing Company in Crete and Flossmoor Station Restaurant & Brewery in Flossmoor. Get your beer fix at these breweries and more, which can be found at VisitChicagoSouthland.com/CheersandBeers!

Be at peace

Those seeking a more serene Cinco de Mayo experience can visit The Shrine of Christ’s Passion, just over the Illinois-Indiana border in St. John. This beautiful religious destination features 40 life-sized bronze sculptures, including two that showcase the vision of the Blessed Mother that Saint Juan Diego experienced in 1531, part of the new Our Lady of Guadalupe Plaza. A small, yet stunning chapel is also open to visitors.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Plaza at The Shrine of Christ’s Passion

However you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year, please enjoy responsibly!

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