This post is brought to you by Chevy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Every year I grit my teeth through all the “Cinco de Mayo” *ahem* festivities that take place. It’s not that I mind people having a good time, I don’t. I mean, I am all for kicking back at the end of a long week and having a margarita. No, my issue? People have Cinco de Mayo all wrong.
Cinco de Mayo is NOT Mexican Independence day. Nor is it a day that is actually celebrated in Mexico. In fact, it’s only really “celebrated” in the town of Puebla because it is the day that the Mexicans won the Battle of Puebla against the French. So, instead, I thought, how great would it be to actually learn a little about Mexican culture and make Cinco de Mayo a day to immerse in Mexican culture? So, I partnered with Chevy who outfitted my family and I with a very smooth, roomy Chevy Malibu for the week, and we discovered local places here in Los Angeles, to learn and bask in Mexican culture instead of the usual “fiestas.”
Here are 5 places you can explore in Los Angeles to learn about Mexican culture:
Guelaguetza– 3014 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90006
I was introduced to this authentic Oaxacan restaurant a few years back by some friends. I tried Mezcal and chapulines for the first time (yes, I ate grasshoppers- and I loved it), and enjoyed a very fun evening out with friends. Since then, I have been back a few times but anytime I long for an authentic Mexican food experience, I run to this restaurant. My daughter loves the various “agua frescas” and my husband can’t get enough of their red mole. I’m partial to the seafood and the handmade tortillas. Not to mention the vibrant decor, and delicious Mexican candies sold at the cash register. Also, be sure to check out the shelves near check out- they have lots of handmade handbags, blouses and more. This is an experience you definitely want to enjoy.
Mission San Fernando Rey de España– 15151 San Fernando Mission Blvd., Mission Hills, CA 91345
In the Los Angeles School District, every 4th grader has to do a Mission project. This project entails researching one of the many missions established by Spanish missionaries to spread Christianity in the “new world”. There are many all over California, the one in Mission Hills is the fourth mission established in California (the first is a 3 hr drive in San Diego, if you are up for a day trip!). It is open from 9am-5pm daily (some holidays excluded) and it is absolutely gorgeous. They currently do have mass in the church twice on Sundays, but I urge you to visit and discover this beauty of a mission.
Mural Mile– On Van Nuys Blvd, in Pacoima, CA surrounding City Hall.
I grew up in two areas here in Los Angeles. Lincoln Heights (near downtown) and the San Fernando Valley. Los Angeles itself is know for it’s many murals and street art, but in the city of Pacoima, in the San Fernando Valley is where you can find murals by Latino artists celebrating Latino/Chicano culture. Each mural is stunning and have references to modern day pop culture (Danny Trejo has a mural!) to classic art like the image of Frida and La Virgen de Guadalupe. The great thing about these murals is that they are surrounded by small Latino owned stores and restaurants. Take a drive up, find a parking spot and walk from mural to mural. Check out the website too, because the community holds events around the murals often.
Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)– 628 Alamitos Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90802
There is no better way to immerse yourself in culture than through it’s arts. The MOLAA is located in Long Beach, CA and opened in 1996. I didn’t get to experience it as a kid, since I was a senior when it opened, but I love having the option of sharing this with my daughter. She can learn about our roots and explore the view of Latin American artists. This is a great way to spend Cinco de Mayo!
Find Unique Spots That Hold Special Cultural Events
This one is easy- explore and you will find many libraries, parks and places have events to learn about Mexican and Latin American culture. We just came back from Great Wolf Lodge in Anaheim, and they held a Dia de los Ninos event there. My daughter made her own pinata and enjoyed a special story time. Placita Olvera is a great option and they usually have some fun activities going on!
Where would you drive a Chevy Malibu to, to learn about Mexican Culture on Cinco de Mayo?