When it comes to Cinco de Mayo celebrations, Phoenix knows what it's doing. The holiday has particular resonance in the United States, where General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín and his army's unlikely defeat of French forces at the Battle of Puebla in 1862 is heralded as an important moment in the American Civil War (celebrating its 150th anniversary this year). In the Battle of Puebla, the French were prevented from setting up shop in Mexico with the intent to disrupt the Union.
Phoenix's close proximity to the border assures that the town will be a flurry with Latin-themed shindigs from April 30 to May 7. But who's looking for a history lesson? We've got the scoop on the real dirt, all the hottest pachangas and fiestas going down. Mariachi music will ring out, and the tequila and cerveza will flow freely all across the Valley. Multicultural events will unite DJs, live bands, and even Spider-Man in celebration of all things Latino.
Get ready to live la vida loca, Phoenix.
Cinco de Mayo guide
— Jason P. Woodbury
Thursday, May 5
Ajo Al's Mexican Café
6990 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale
50-cent Cadillac margarita specials and 50-cent mini chimis. Call 480-998-1734.
4363 N. 75th St., Scottsdale
The Junkie Cinco Weekend Block Party (presented in conjunction with Spanish Fly) features Shwayze, Veragroove, The New F.O.s, and Chris Young on Saturday, April 30, and a dodgeball tourney on Sunday, when the winning team can earn $1000. 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Call 480-990-3000.
Arriba Mexican Grill
Five Valley Locations
Enjoy live entertainment, dancing, and giveaways from the Corona, Sauza, and Budweiser girls. Call 480-948-9969.
Aunt Chilada's at Squaw Peak
7330 N. Dreamy Draw Dr.
The Place to Be Sheen Event, featuring "Goddess Contests" and a Battle of the Bands, Zimis and the Chris Parker Project. 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. $10. Call 602-944-1286.
Baja Beach Bar
10050 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
Drink specials and more. Call 480-998-8845.
Baja Joe's Mexican Cantina
1927 N. Gilbert Rd., Mesa
Live mariachi from 3 to 6 p.m. $2 beer specials. Call 480-655-1828.
3702 N. 16th St.
Drink specials from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. No cover.
Blanco Taco (at The Borgata)
6166 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale
All-day happy hour, with select drinks and half-off food. Traditional mariachi music starting at 5 p.m., then hot beats from DJ E-House from 6 to 10 p.m.
Blue Agave Mexican Cantina
7000 E. Mayo Blvd.
Stop by for a set by mariachi band, Peligroso tequila, food, and drink specials, and a chance to win a seven-day vacation (lodging only). 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Call 480-419-6375.
Bonfire Grill and Bar
7210 E. 2nd St., Scottsdale
Fresh fruit margaritas — featuring Peligroso tequila — tacos, and tostadas. 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Call 480-945-6600.
7212 Ho Hum Rd., Carefree
Celebrate with a Mexican dinner buffet, and over 50 varieties of tequila, and a signature Apple Pie margarita. Call 480-488-8182 for reservations.
2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy., Ste 2105, Tempe
A variety of $2 to $5 food specials, $2 Dos XX Beers, and $3 Cuervo Margaritas, $4 Milagro tequila shots and poppers, live music and DJ from 9 p.m. to close. Call 623-939-2480.
Calico Jack's Cantina
6770 N. Sunrise Blvd., Glendale
Enjoy burros and huevos from 10 a.m. to noon, live music, DJs, Mexican dancers, mariachi music, the "Shake It Like Shakira" contest, dunk tank, enter to win a trip to Mexico, and say hi to the "Three Little Amigos." For VIP access, call 623-877-5225.
Canteen Tequila Bar/Fat Tuesday
640 S. Mill Ave., Tempe
Check out the Mexilenta! Cornhole Tournament and live sets from DJ V-EZ, DJ Johnny Knuckles, and DJ Diesel. $5, 8 pm. to 2 p.m. Call 480-967-3917.
15 E. 6th St., Tempe
Food and drink specials. 4 p.m. to close. Call 480-557-8226.
Cien Agaves Tacos and Tequila
7228 E. 1st Ave., Scottsdale
$5 Peligroso Silver shot special all day. Call 480-557-8826.
The Comedy Spot
7117 E. 3rd Ave., Scottsdale
Cinco de Mayo Comedy Show with comics Guillermo Robles, Larry Hernandez, Joey Miranda, and more. 5 to 9 p.m., $10. Call 480-945-4422.
The Compound Grill
7000 E. Mayo Blvd.
Celebrate Cinco with a performance by Grupo Libertade, which blends the Afro-Brazilian styles of samba, samba reggae, samba Afro, ijexa, coco, and maracatu into a perfectly danceable mix perfect for the holiday. 6 p.m., $12. Call 480-585-5483.
Desert Botanical Garden
1201 N. Galvin Pkwy.
Avant Garden will be outfitted for Cinco with a full-cash bar, food, tequila tasting and live music from Bata, and jazz from DJ Rani "G."
Four Valley locations
Dos Gringos will feature music, food specials, prizes and DJs at each of its locations.
El Hefe Supermacho Taqueria
& Majerle's Sports Grill Old Town
4425 N. Saddlebag Trail, Scottsdale
New clubs El Hefe and Majerle's Old Town team up to bring three nights of music, beer specials, and the Pacquiao/Mosley UFC fight on Saturday night. Thursday, May 5, features music from Kelley James, Kings of Recess, DJ Masta Monk, DJ Soulman, and DJ Circle. Friday, May 6, features DJ Steel, New FO's, DJ Soloman and headliners Unwritten Law. Saturday, May 7, features Kings of Recess, DJ Cutswell, DJ Diesel and an appearance by Benji and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte. $8-$13, call 480-945-56200.
Six Valley locations
$1 shrimp tacos, $2.50 Corona/Corona lights, and $3 margaritas at all locations. Call 480-239-7243.
15406 N. Maricopa Rd., Maricopa
Live entertainment and $1 PBRs, $6 Red Bull and Grey Goose, and other specials.
Haus Murphy's German Restaurant
5739 W. Glendale Ave., Glendale
A culture cross of tastes with the German-Mexican Fiesta Special: German-Mexican carne asada schnitzel stuffed in poblano pepper with Mexican cheeses, topped with ranchera sauce, rice and beans with tortillas. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m. $11.95. Call 623-939-2480.
2610 W. Baseline Rd., Tempe
Vil Vodka presents Rock N Roll Cine, Cinco de Mayo style, with Cheech and Chong films and $3 Dos Equis. 8 p.m. Call 480-820-7117.
1371 N. Alma School Rd., Chandler
Iguana Mack's will feature a sombrero making contest on April 28, and on May 5, live Patio music from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. No cover until 7 p.m. Call 480-899-6735.
Juan Jaime's Tacos and Tequila
2510 W. Chandler Blvd., Chandler
$5 Peligroso Silver shot special all day. Call 480-821-5826.
Matta's Grill & Cantina
1033 N. Dobson Road., Suite 101, Mesa
$5 Peligroso Silver shot special all day. Call 480-964-7881.
9425 W. Coyotes Blvd., Glendale
Irish I Was Mexican celebration: $2 Dos Equis, $3 dollar margaritas, and $4 jalapeño poppers all night. You could win $500 for mastering the "Cross the Border Sack Race." Free entry before 9 p.m. Call 623-872-0022.
4848 E. Cactus Road, Scottsdale
Mexican food, crafts and dancing. 7 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. $12 per hour for two children, $8 per child per hour, $3 per hour additional siblings. Call 602-788-2445.
La Piñata Mexican Restaurant
3330 N. 19th Ave.
The oversize sign at La Piñata will point to food and drink specials from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Call 602-279-1763.
7328 E 2nd St., Scottsdale
This Scottsdale cantina will feature a live mariachi band, margarita specials, and a taco bar. Call 480-946-2256.
2534 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
This popular Scottsdale eatery will offer a $24.95 per person menu, with rarely found north of the border treats. Call 480-994-1799.
7000 N. 16th St
$5 dollar deals on tacos, burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, or tortas. Starts at 5 p.m. Call 602-371-0111.
Macayo's Mexican Kitchen
10 Valley locations
Each Phoenix-area Macayo's will serve up 16-ounce margaritas for $5 as well as combos for $5.55, in addition to featuring DJs, live music, mariachis, face painters, and other events. Call 602-264-6141.
1044 E. Camelback Rd.
Live Cuban band at 8 p.m., specials on 1800 Tequila, happy hour 'til 6:30. Call 602-277-1749.
7919 E. Thomas Rd.,
$2.50 Mexican beers, $3 Cuervo, and music by Hans Olsen. Call 480-990-1114.
1019 E. Indian School Rd.
Summon forth your inner dancing queen for Freaky Mona's Disco Dance Party, featuring the Knee Deep Experience. Best '70s costume wins $500. 7 p.m., $10. Call 602-265-4842.
2701 E. Indian School Rd.
Enjoy the jukebox, free pool until 7 p.m., drink specials and more. Call 602-956-8998.
Three Valley locations
Live music will dominate each of location, with Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers scheduled to rock Old Town, Metalhead playing the Peoria location and Chuck E. Baby taking the stage in Mesa. Noon to 2 a.m. $10. Call 480-946-7258.
All Valley locations
Live music will dominate each of the Valley "Cinco De Sandbar" celebrations, with music from Catfish Mustache, The Wiley One, and Todd and Ethan at the Peoria location, KWSS Morning Infidelity broadcasting, Another Day & the Walkmen at Chandler, and Island Magic and the JJs Band at the Phoenix location. Drink specials and games at each location.
San Felipe's Cantina
Three Valley locations
San Felipe's Cantina will be getting into the fiesta spirit with live music, DJs and drink specials at their Valley locations. 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Snaggle's Pizza/Horse & Hound
1320 E. Broadway, Tempe
Enjoy a $10 bucket of Coronas and Dos Equis, and a jumbo 18-inch taco pizza for $15. Live battle of the bands. Event runs all day, with no cover charge.
16848 E. Avenue of the Fountains
Flamenco Por La Vida featuring Brio Flamenco will perform from 6 to 8 p.m. Call 480-816-5316.
Sparky's Old Town Creamery
510 S. Mill Ave., Tempe
Cool off with a spicy free scoop of dark chocolate raspberry-habanero ice cream with any purchase. Call 480-921-6228.
Spotted Donkey II
8220 N. Hayden Road, Ste. C111, Scottsdale
The namesake spotted donkey will be on hand for petting and pictures. Live mariachi will accompany drink specials and Mexican cuisine. Call 480-922-1400.
Sun Up Brewing Co.
322 E. Camelback Rd.
Mexican food specials from 11 a.m. to close. Call 602-279-8909.
5835 N. 16th Pl.
2-4-1 pricing on all Corona, Pacifico, and tequilas all day. Call 602-277-7775.
Three Margaritas Mexican Restaurant
4717 E. Bell Rd.
Live mariachi music, DJ Chuy, and food and drinks specials from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Call 602-867-1967.
Three Valley locations
Top Shelf will be offering live music at the Peoria and Phoenix locations, with beer and margarita specials at all locations.
Three Valley locations
Valle Luna Chandler will host Soul Persuasion, from 6 to 10 p.m., while a DJ will be spinning dance music inside. Valle Luna on Cave Creek Rd will be serving "Pepe's famous street pork tacos," and will have plenty for the kids, including face painting and balloons. Happy hour from from 3 to 7:30 p.m. at this location. Valle Luna on West Bell Road will feature an outdoor fiesta, with trivia and chili-eating contests, and live music from Nineball. $10, with free appetizer buffet.
Via De Losantos
9120 N. Central Ave.
Celebrating over 40 years of Cinco de Mayo celebrations, this eatery will feature a live mariachi band. Call 602- 997-6239.
Four Valley locations
Spicy eats and drinks at Z Tejas' four Valley locations. Call 866-598-3527.
Friday, May 6
Donna Jeans Libations
6676 W. Bell Rd., Glendale
The Eastside Jets, featuring Robert "Frog" Camarena from Frank Zappa's Ruben and the Jets and the Mothers of Invention performs. 10:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. $3. Call 480-466-3870.
Los Lobos at Talking Stick Resort
9800 E. Indian Bend Rd., Scottsdale
Los Lobos will bring their Latin sound to Talking Stick Resort for a special post-Cinco show. 7 p.m., $50. Call 480-850-7734.
Rips Ales & Cocktails
3045 N. 16th St.
Rockabilly band Curse of the Pink Hearse release their new album, joined by Blue Moons and Acapulco Five-0. 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., free. Call 602-266-0015.
Saturday, May 7
Chandler Cinco de Mayo Festival
Chandler Public Library Courtyard
22 S. Delaware Place, Chandler
Does your pup got what it takes to win the big race? The Cinco de Mayo Celebration honors the Hispanic community's contributions to the city of Chandler. The festival also features the Chihuahua Races and the crowning of the King and Queen Chihuahua, in addition to live entertainment, food, arts and crafts.
Fiesta de Mayo Celebration
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West Side Sports Complex
99th Ave. and McDowell, Avondale
On May 7 and 8, radio stations Nueva 105.9 Recuerdo and 106.3 La Kalle 100.3 will be on hand for a day of food, drinks and fun. 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., free to the public. Call 602-441-2294.