It’s Cinco de Mayo, and Detroit is going to be celebrating. For those who don’t know, Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday celebrating an 1862 victory in battle of ill-equipped fighters of Puebla over the invading French. The holiday has become a major display of pride for Mexican-Americans, and the vibrant community of Detroit will be providing some fantastic events around the city.
For anyone who wants the most authentic Cinco de Mayo experience, you have to head down to Mexicantown. Located in Southwest Detroit, Mexicantown has a rich and storied history. Latinos first settled in the area in the 1920s where a diverse ethnic community arose with many varied immigrants. Things were not easy for the community, as anti-immigrants movements of the Great Depression and highway construction threatened to damage Southwest Detroit. Despite this, the community grew and thrived throughout these early years, finding work in the surging automobile and manufacturing industries.
Unfortunately, Mexicantown was not spared from the race riots of 1967, as buildings were damaged and the neighborhood was disintegrated by business losses, gang violence, and falling property values. These problems remained through for decades, until a new wave arrived in the late ’90s. Buoyed by a surge of Latino immigration to the area, more than doubling the population, Mexicantown began to turn around. With $200 million of investment since the period, the disrepair of the area has been replaced by new housing and business.
If you come to Mexicantown today, there will be many places to join in this rich culture on one of its most celebrated holidays. Going to one of the area’s famed Mexican restaurants would be an excellent way to start off an evening. Mexican Village, among the oldest Mexican restaurants in the area, will be serving traditional Mexican fare in its old-style hacienda building. If you’re in the mood for tamales, Evie’s Tamales is a must. Atmosphere is fantastic in El Zocalo, located in the over 100-year old People’s State Bank with ornate Aztec imagery throughout. For those night owls check out Xochimilco, always popular and serving up delicious tacos until 2 a.m.
For those looking for a “Fiesta,” Los Galanes will be throwing a street party all day from 11 a.m. onward. Salsa Detroit will be presenting Salsa Fiesta 2011 at Sangria Sky Club with extensive drink specials and Latin music all night.
If you have never had the chance to take in the greatness of Mexicantown, then there would be no better time visit than today during this vibrant celebration. Take it in, have a few margaritas, and have an amazing time in this amazing Detroit neighborhood!