Cinco de Mayo 2014: 5 family-friendly ways to celebrate the holiday in Chicago

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. Over time, Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture, cuisine and music across the United States - and especially here in Chicago.

This year, Cinco de Mayo falls on Monday, May 5. But, in Chicago, a city with a large Hispanic community and vibrant Mexican neighborhoods, it's only fitting that the celebrations start on Friday, May 2 and last all weekend long.

Here are 5 family-friendly ways for you to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Chicago:

1. Attend the Cinco De Mayo Festival in Chicago's Little Village Neighborhood. The fifth annual event celebrates Hispanic families and the local Mexican community in Chicago. Over the course of the three-day event, you can expect to enjoy live music, food, and arts and crafts.  There also will be special activities for families and children throughout the festival, including a Radio Disney performance on Saturday afternoon.

Location:
26th St and Kostner Ave. (Little Village)

Dates/Times:
Friday, May 2, 6 - 11 pm
Saturday, May 3 and Sunday, May 4, 2 - 11 pm

Cost:
Free admission

2. Watch the Cinco De Mayo Parade along Cermak Road near Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. The Cinco De Mayo parade kicks off at noon. It heads west on Cermak Rd. from Wood St. to Kedzie Ave.

Location:
Cermak Rd. - Wood St. to Kedzie Ave.

Date/Time:
Sunday, May 4 at 12 pm

Cost:
Free admission

3. Visit the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago's Pilsen neighborhood. The museum promotes the art and culture of Mexico and Mexican people around the world. On Sundays, families can participate in gallery tours and create art together from 12 - 2 pm.

Location:
1852 W. 19th St.

Date/Time:
Open daily 10:00 a.m. - 5 pm; closed on Mondays

Cost:
Free admission

4. Try a new Mexican restaurant in Chicago's Pilsen or Little Village neighborhoods. It's common to see lines forming outside of the popular Neuvo Leon restaurant in Pilsen. To help tide you over while you wait for a table, be sure to stop by Xocoatl and grab a few churros filled with vanilla, chocolate, apple, Nutella or other delicious flavors.

In Little Village, my family likes to dine on classic Mexican dishes at Mi Terra.  Just be sure to time your meal to coincide with one of the mariachi band's performances.

Neuvo Leon, 1515 W. 18th St.

Xocoatl, 2214 S Wolcott Ave.

Mi Terra, 2528 S. Kedzie Ave.

5. Stock up on Mexican candies and party supplies at Dulcelandia and Dulceria Lupitas. Are you throwing your own Cinco de Mayo party? Then, you'll want to be sure to load up on all of the necessary supplies at one of the Dulcelandia and Dulceria Lupitas locations located across Chicago. You can get pinatas, candy, party decorations and more.

Dulcelandia, 3435 W. 26th St., Chicago (Pilsen) and 3855 W. Fullerton, Chicago (Logan Square)

Dulceria Lupitas, 1730 W. 18th St., Chicago (Pilsen) 

How do you plan to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with your family? Please share your holiday celebration plans in the comments below.

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