Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that celebrates Mexico’s victory over the French on May 5, 1862, during the Battle of Puebla, during which the French military greatly outnumbered the Mexican army. Stateside, it’s become a huge celebration of Mexican food and drink. But it’s also an opportunity to celebrate Mexican culture at large. After all, almost 15 percent of the D.C. metro area’s Hispanic population is Mexican. Here are some family-friendly fiestas.

Photo: Chad Cassin via Flickr

Creative Alliance
Artesanas Mexicanas, a group of women who are natives of Mexico and now live in Southeast Baltimore, will lead a piñata-making workshop and food tasting during the Southeast Anchor Library’s community event.

When: May 6, 12 p.m.
Cost: $5 donation
3601 Eastern Ave. (Baltimore, Md)

Paint a picture (it will last longer)
If your Cinco de Mayo weekend is booked solid, take the kids to the Mexican Cultural Institute any day during the week. The little ones will learn all about our neighbors to the south, while checking out some of the exhibits dedicated to creating an artistic dialogue between our two countries.

Open: Mon–Fri, 10 am–6 pm
Cost: Free
Mexican Cultural Institute
2829 16th St., NW

Anacostia Community Museum
Kids will get a tour of the museum’s current exhibition, Gateways/Portales, participate in a scavenger hunt and swat at a traditional piñata in the picnic area adjacent to the museum. 

When: May 5, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Cost: $5 
1901 Fort Pl., SE (Anacostia)

Running of the Chihuahuas
Hit the District Wharf to watch the sixth annual Running of the Chihuahuas, the smallest breed of dog, which is named after a Mexican state. About 100 dogs participate. They’re broken into groups and run along a 60-foot track. The winners get a cash prize. Other dog breeds are welcome to compete for other prizes in categories such as best dressed and best trick. There will be drinks, food and live music in addition to the races.

When: May 6, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free ($25 to enter a Chihuahua in a race)
600 Water St., SW

Put on your dancing shoes
Transforming the National Mall into a little slice of Mexico isn’t easy, but kids (and parents!) will go loco for the results, courtesy of the National Cinco de Mayo Festival. With live music, Jarabe demonstrations—a traditional folk dance—and plenty of Mexican fare, Junior won’t know whether to grab a taco, try his hand at maracas, or dance along to a Mariachi band.

When: early May
Cost: Free
National Mall (between 8th and 12th Sts.)





What are your family’s Cinco de Mayo plans? Tell us about them in the comments section below. 

—Stephanie Kanowitz and Hilary Riedemann