Best Mexican Snack Shop 2019 | La Carreta de Lily | La Vida | Phoenix

When we visit Mexico, we take evening walks on the boardwalk along the beach. Those walks always include a snack or a treat — anything from ice cream to tacos. Food vendors are a staple in plazas and boardwalks in Mexico, and those evening treats are what La Carreta de Lily is all about. You can go for the fruit option — mango with chamoy, fruit cocktails, or strawberries with cream. There's ice cream in a variety of flavors, served on its own or as a topping. Or be adventurous and try the mixes like Tostito chips with Mexican-style street corn. La Carreta de Lily has the answer for your every sweet or savory craving.

Phoenix's only bilingual bookstore is a cozy space in a somewhat unlikely location on East McDowell Road near two gentlemen's clubs. Palabras Bilingual Bookstore is cool and neatly organized, featuring an array of books in English and Spanish, including fiction, children's books, memoirs, and books organized under sections like Women's Studies, Politics and Social Justice, Blind Date With a Book, and books mentioned in comedian John Leguizamo's Netflix special, Latin History for Morons. Besides books, the store features $2 comics in English and Spanish, as well as a collection of zines, prayer candles, tea, clothing, and more. It even has a rack of free books in the back. Works from selected authors and photographers are on display in certain sections of the store. In the front of the store, children and adults have a space where they can sit and read, while at the back there's space for groups to meet and discuss their personal stories or works they've read.

Dia de los Muertos, the celebration of life that honors ancestors and others who've gone before, gets transformed too often into just another holiday exploited for commercial gain. Cultural Coalition, an organization focused on indigenous arts and culture, presents a compelling counterpoint called Mikiztli. Its joyful gathering at Steele Indian School Park combines culture, creativity, and collaboration to powerful effect — bringing together diverse community members and elevating the role of tradition in contemporary life. People sing, dance, make crafts, explore art, and hear stories, even as they learn more about Native and Latino cultures, which are at the root of the Southwest experience we share today. The procession honoring the dead reminds young and old of all that's happened to make our lives possible, and of our own responsibilities for moving traditions and cultural understanding forward.

Outside of festivals, there aren't a lot of places where you can find Dia de los Muertos treasures. But the Arizona Latino Arts & Cultural Center has a gift shop where people can explore Dia de los Muertos traditions from sugar skulls to colorful, clothed skeletons called calacas. The shop carries candles, artworks, prints, decorative items, jewelry, clothing, books, and more. Many are made by local artists, and there's a wide price range that makes finding the right gift a bit easier on the wallet. This fun, festive shop is a wonderful place to find unique gifts or take visitors from out of town in search of souvenirs that reflect the Latino cultures at the heart of Phoenix.

It's hard to miss Antro on weekend nights, considering the Glendale dance club's name is spelled out in enormous, glowing blue letters adorning its exterior. Things get even more colorful inside, thanks to an enormous LED wall, dozens of colored spotlights, and various glow toys that crowds wave around while getting their dance on. It lights up the teeming mass of humanity that comes to Antro every weekend to move and groove — and the music that patrons are dancing to depends on the particular evening. Thursday and Friday nights, the club serves up salsa, merengue, bachata, and reggaeton, as well as the occasional live banda ensemble during the La Casa de Los Latinos party. On Saturdays, however, the soundtrack includes a mix of hip-hop, EDM, and Latin tracks. No matter the night, you can always find a crowd waiting outside Antro for the chance to dance, as well as score various drink specials, which will get anyone into the mood to shake their culos.

Mercado Mexico isn't a quick-visit kind of place. There's too much to see. This enchanting store sells imported goods from Mexico, Central America, and South America. There's a little bit of everything here: tiles, embroidered tops and dresses, wall art, dishware, Dia de Los Muertos decor, pots, metal yard statues, handpainted Christmas ornaments, cattle skulls, religious items, and much more. The prices are reasonable, but not cheap; these are artisan items, after all. We love to wander up and down the aisles, taking in the bright colors, fun designs, and beautiful craftsmanship, while we decide which treasures to take home this time.

When Mariachi Pasion perform, you feel their love of mariachi music come through every note as they play on violins, trumpets, and flute — plus the stringed vihuela and guitarron that help give mariachi music its distinctive sound. The size of the all-female band with roots in an Arizona State University music class has nearly doubled since they began in 2002. Today, there are 15 members delivering strong, crisp vocals that exude emotion, stirring those who hear them to clap, tap a foot, or dance along. They perform in all kinds of settings, from Crescent Ballroom to Desert Botanical Garden. And they touch audiences every time, making a beautiful statement about the power of music to forge connections and elevate the human spirit.

You're never too old to put on a blindfold and whack at a pinata. For birthday parties, barbecues, Cinco de Mayo, or any other festive occasion, we hit up one of Dulceria La Bonita's three Valley locations for pinatas and other party supplies. Pinatas come in a rainbow of colors in the traditional eight-pointed style, but there are also plenty of popular characters to choose from, including Transformers, Hello Kitty, Baby Shark, My Little Pony, LEGO, and Disney favorites. While you're there, you can browse a wide selection of Mexican cookies and chips; pick out party decorations and tableware; and buy candy to fill up your new pinata purchase.

In America, professional wrestling is considered to be, at best, a fringe pursuit enjoyed by neckbeards, or, at worst, trash culture meant for lowbrow types. In Mexico and other Latin America countries, though, it's known as lucha libre and is revered as an art form and cultural tradition stretching back almost a century. Masked luchadores, one of its best-known hallmarks, are considered to be superheroes, god-like beings, or a bit of both. It's been a draw for the Latino community everywhere, including in border states like Arizona. They're not the only ones cheering on the technicos (a.k.a. the good guys) and booing the rudos (or villains), as the higher-flying and faster-paced alternative to American-style wrestling appeals to people of other ethnicities, too. For proof, attend the matches put on by Lucha Libra Voz, one of the most popular promotions in the Valley. Heroes do battle against dastardly foes at nightspots and events like car shows and cultural festivals. We're certain you'll be cheering and jeering along with the rest of the audience in no time, cabron.

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