Here’s what Cinco de Mayo isn’t:
1) Mexican Independence Day (which is September 16);
2) an excuse to appropriate Mexican culture or perpetuate offensive stereotypes.
What does that leave us with? Well, a lot. You can attend a cultural event with food and live music. You can sip a pint at a Latinx brewery. You can dine at one of the Twin Cities’ many fine Mexican establishments, plenty of which are offering Cinco de Mayo specials.
Just skip the sombrero.
Restaurants & bars
A standby since 1964, Boca Chica will be serving Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. 'til 2 p.m. For $14.95 per person, feast on enchiladas, huevos con chorizo, an omelette bar, and more. 11 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul; 651-222-8499; bocachicarestaurant.com
Head to Northeast to chow down on the street tacos by chef Jose Alarcon that just earned a Best Of nod from City Pages. Centro will open for brunch at 10 a.m. on May 5 and is offering drink specials all day. 1414 Quincy St. NE, Minneapolis; 612-345-5527; popolvuhmpls.com/centro
El Burrito Mercado
Swing by the patio for festivities from May 3-5, including live music, a DJ, an elote eating contest with cash prizes—and of course, food and margaritas. Prefer to celebrate at home? The mercado carries all the ingredients you’ll need to cook up a feast, and the full-service deli is stocked with scratch salsas, tamales, salads, and more. 175 Cesar Chavez St., St. Paul; 651-227-2192; elburritostp.com
Homi Restaurant Mexicano
The homestyle Mexican restaurant is holding their annual Cinco de Mayo buffet on May 4 and 5. It will feature an array of dishes from the menu, with lunch for $10.95 per person and dinner for $12.95 per person. 864 University Ave. W., St. Paul; 651-222-0655; homirestaurant.com
A special Cinco de Mayo combo will be available all day on May 5: A burrito, can of soda, chips, and salsa for $10, cash only. Add a marg for $3 or a beer for $2 (your choice of Corona, Modelo Especial, or Dos Equis Lager). 1840 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis; 612-789-0775; mayacuisineusa.com
Finnegans Brew Co.
At first glance, a Cinco de Mayo celebration at an Irish brewery seems a bit questionable, but Finnegans has collaborated with Latinx brewery La Doña Cervecería to create Infierno de Mayo, a Helles lager. Release party festivities for the beer—the first collab brew for both La Doña and Finnegans—are May 3-5, with live music and smoked pork shoulder from the Elliot Park Hotel. 817 Fifth Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-454-0615; finnegans.org
La Doña Cervecería
Over at La Doña, the launch of Infierno de Mayo will be celebrated from May 3-5 with DJs, entertainment, and tacos from Flagsmash. Saturday will also feature a May the 4th Star Wars party and salsa dancing lessons starting at 9 p.m. for a $10 cover. On Sunday, look forward to three-on-three futbol on the patio from noon to 4, classic Latinx films, and Millennial Loteria (a 21st-centurty riff on the popular Latin American game of chance). 241 Fremont Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612-315-4613; dameladona.com
Cinco de Mayo West Side
The family-friendly event will be held on Cesar Chavez Street in St. Paul on May 4 from 9:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Expect cultural entertainment, a car show, jalapeño eating contest, food, and live music. A parade starts at 9:30 that morning and features floats by local community organizations and Mexican dancers and performers. cincodemayosaintpaul.com
Cinco de Mayo Minneapolis
Celebrate outside El Nuevo Rodeo from noon to 8:00 p.m. on May 5, with an after party indoors from 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. The lineup includes three stages of live music, food vendors, beer gardens, and kids’ activities. cincodemayominneapolis.com