Cinco de Mayo commemorates Mexico’s victory against France in the 1862 Battle of Puebla.
Throughout history, Cinco de Mayo’s importance has dwindled in Mexico but substantially grown in the US, as a way for Mexican-Americans to celebrate their cultural heritage and show off their pride.
Though the day has since been commercialized, it’s important to acknowledge and understand the origin of the celebration.
Here are 15 ways to spend Cinco de Mayo in NYC:
From tacos to tequila, it’s no secret that NYC is full of tasty Mexican restaurants that range from Michelin-starred to “hidden gems.” If you’re looking for somewhere to chow down a tasty empanada, or maybe want to sip on a new mezcal cocktail you’ve never heard of…there’s a place to do it! Get your tastebuds ready and head to one of our favorite Mexican restaurants for some Cinco de Mayo grub! Full list here.
2. Eat $1 tacos at The Ready Rooftop
Take advantage of one of the best happy hour deals in the city with $5 margaritas and $1 tacos at The Ready Rooftop from 12 pm – 3 pm on May 5. This backyard-themed rooftop bar is the perfect spot to have a fiesta, thanks to their vibrant atmosphere and gorgeous views of Manhattan. Plus, you can also enjoy brand new margarita towers that serve 20 margaritas for just $90, as well as a live mariachi band playing from 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm!
Where: 112 E 11th St
3. Dance to tech-house at Westend’s debut headline show
Get ready to dance to 6 hours of bass-thumping tech-house music at Superior Ingredients, where NYC artist Westend will be making his headlining debut alongside elrow resident Tini Gessler! You’ll be able to bask in the mesmerizing sunset of SI’s retractable rooftop while you move and groove to tracks like “Push to Start” and “Let Me Take You.” Plus, the venue will also be serving Cinco de Mayo specials, including chef-curated tacos, two-for-one tequila & mezcal drinks, and alcoholic slushies! The party goes from 4 pm – 10 pm! Learn more here.
Where: 74 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn
4. Walk around Stone Street’s Cinco de Mayo Street Festival
Meander on down to Stone Street this Cinco de Mayo to check out this full day, free-to-attend outdoor (and indoor) street festival on Stone Street in the Financial District! You can expect delicious Mexican street food, complimentary tequila and beer tastings, live music by a Mexican artist, raffles, a mariachi band, dance performers, and so much more! The festival attracts thousands of visitors each year, making it one of NYC’s biggest Cinco celebrations by far! Check out everything happening here.
Where: Stone Street, FiDi
5. Celebrate the rooftop season kick off at cloudM Rooftop Bar
Ascend 21 floors up to the cloudM Rooftop Bar when it opens on May 5 for the first time this year! They’re throwing an opening party to celebrate, and it’s set to include margarita pitchers, Mexican beers, a speciality cocktail menu, a DJ spinning Cinco de Mayo tunes, as well as Birria Del Toro Rojo, the popular Mexican food truck, serving rooftop grub all night (chips & guac/salsa, tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, + more). Make your reservation here.
Where: 189 Bowery
6. Spend Cinco de Mayo weekend at Fonda
Dining at Fonda is one of the best ideas you can have this Cinco de Mayo, especially because of their specialty food and beverage items. They’ll be serving everything on May 5 from Enchiladas Triple Alarma (soft corn tortillas filled with slow braised pork, covered with a super fiery five-chile sauce, white onions, queso fresco, crema, and cilantro) to Pato con Mole Negro Oaxaqueño (slow braised duck leg, creamy white rice, and Oaxacan black mole). Don’t forget about their cocktails too, like the El Nacho (mezcal infused with poblano peppers, italicus liqueur (bergamotto), Jalapeno agave, lime juice, black salt rim) which is pictured above.
They’ll also be hosting an ‘Ultimate Cinco Hangover Brunch’ on May 6th & 7th with a Breakfast Nacho special and a Bloody Maria cocktail! See menus and plan your visit here.
Where: 189 9th Ave
7. Stop by PHD Rooftop for the 11th Annual Cinco de Derby
Partake in the 11th Annual Cinco de Derby party at PHD Rooftop on May 6 from 2 pm – 6 pm. The day will be filled with delicious drinks, live entertainment, and exciting surprises, all while you enjoy both Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby! Guests are asked to dress in Derby attire and colorful outfits, all while you enjoy margaritas, listen to DJs, and of course watch the race! Learn more here.
Where: 355 W 16th St
8. Set sail on a Cinco de Mayo party cruise
Enjoy the warm Cinco de Mayo weather on NYC waters as you cruise and booze around the city! Hop onto one of these cruises and dance the night away, while you of course eat and drink some of the best Mexican cuisine you can find. Check out some of our favorite Cinco de Mayo party cruises happening below and buy your tickets now!
Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Cruise (May 6): Two floors of music and open bar + unlimited food and drink.
Cinco De Mayo Yacht Party Cruise (May 5): A late night party (11:45 pm – 3:45 am) full of music and drinks, plus first 100 attendees get a free sombrero.
Cinco de Mayo Holy Guacamole Yacht Party Cruise NYC (May 5): Expect chilled mojitos, flowing tequila shots, delicious chicken, steak, and shrimp tacos, beautiful springtime sun, and more!
Cinco de Mayo Party Cruise (May 5): Grab your amigos and hop on board this 2-deck vessel. Mexican cuisine and drinks available for purchase.
9. Take in skyline views at SUMMIT One Vanderbilt
Grab some views of the picturesque Manhattan skyline when you head to SUMMIT One Vanderbilt on Cinco de Mayo! Aside from the great angles of NYC, you’ll be able to sip on margaritas and enjoy mariachi music from 9 pm – 10:30 pm on the 93th floor. Guests are invited to come early so they can experience the jaw-dropping views of the 91st and 92nd floors before seeing the band one floor up. Learn more here.
Where: 45 E 42nd St
10. Devour a margarita tree at Haven Rooftop
Up for a Cinco de Mayo challenge? Head to Haven Rooftop in Midtown to order on one of their Margarita Trees, a spectacular display of tequila-infused goodness and cascading margarita branches that are ready to be plucked and savored. Share the joy with your friends, snap some Insta-worthy photos, and enjoy the refreshing taste of tequila, tangy lime, and hints of salt on this boozy masterpiece! It’s priced at $75. Learn more here.
Where: 132 W 47th St
11. Get a free taco at Market Bar at CITIZENS Food Hall
Stop by Market Bar at CITIZENS Food Hall in Manhattan West to claim a free taco courtesy of Tastemade Me Tacos! In order to receive your taco you must purchase one of their Don Londres tequila cocktails! It’s all going down on Cinco de Mayo, May 5.
Where: 5 Manhattan West
12. Sip on $5 Mango Margaritas at Clinton Hall
To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, NYC hotspot Clinton Hall will be hosting a special Happy Hour at all locations! You can expect $5 Happy Hour drinks including the Mango Margarita and various Mexican beers, as well as Happy Hour food specials including Snackritos, Tacos, Quesadillas, Corn Riblets and Nachos.
Where: Find your location here
13. Escape to Tulum-inspired Gitano Island
Take a journey to this Tulum-inspired restaurant on Governors Island, and an enjoy a Cinco de Mayo “getaway” like never before! You’ll be able to immerse yourself in their 27,000 square-foot palm tree jungle while you dine on delicious food like the Baka Kampchi Tostadas and “La Gringa” Al Pastor Tacos, as well as tequila and mezcal drinks like the Jungle Fever Punch Bowl and Kisses in the Car. Plus, did we mention there’s gorgeous views of Lower Manhattan from every table? The restaurant opens May 4 and you can make an early reservation here.
Where: 125 Carder Rd, Governors Island
Be among the first of the season to cruise on NYC’s only floating Mexican restaurant! La Barca Cantina is kicking off their season on May 4, offering Mexican-inspired street food and of course, lots of tequila. Trips on the Hudson River take off multiple times throughout the day. See more here.
Where: Pier 81 (W 41 Street & 12th Avenue)
15. Try a Don Julio-infused flavored ice cream from Tipsy Scoop
Celebrate Cinco de Drinko with Tipsy Scoop and Don Julio! On Friday, 5/5, the ice cream shop will be giving away 100 free scoops of Margarita Sherbet infused with Don Julio Blanco at each of their 3 NYC locations. The event starts at 2 pm and is first come first serve, with a limit of one scoop per customer (aka first 100 customers). The flavor will also be available for purchase all Cinco de Mayo weekend! Learn more here.
Manhattan – 217 E 26th St
Brooklyn – 270 Metropolitan Ave, Brooklyn
Long Beach – 891 West Beech St, Long Beach, NY
16. Attend the reopening of Tacocina in Domino Park
On May 5, waterfront restaurant Tacocina will be reopening for the summer in Domino Park! They’re getting ready to introduce a brand new menu featuring tacos, quesadillas, tostaditas, nachos, and more. Plus, there will also be tasty housemade cocktails, like the Tamarind Mezcal Margarita, Pineapple Margarita, Carajillo, and Michelada, which are perfect to sip on as you overlook the East River.
Plus, there will also be an opening day partnership with Señor Lechuga Hot Sauce, with limited-edition menu items like the Pork Pibil Taco (Señor Lechuga’s .003 Pineapple, Garlic and Reapers hot sauce, and topped with a sweet and spicy Pineapple Habanero Salsa). Learn more here.
Where: 25 River St, Brooklyn
17. Cinco de Mayo at EDGE
Visit one of NYC’s premier outdoor sky decks this Cinco de Mayo and enjoy sky-high Manhattan views, festive bites, a specialty Cinco de Mayo ice luge, a Mariachi Band, and more! Guests of EDGE will be able to partake in a full day of festivities and celebrations, including trying out the Blend Your own Margarita Bikes, a specialty ice luge that will be available all day. Plus, a mariachi band, Mariachi Sol Aztecas, will be performing from 12 pm – 2 pm alongside a live DJ later on in the night from 6 pm – 9 pm. Learn more here.
Where: 30 Hudson Yards
18. Cinco De Mayo Celebration at Francis Martin Library
Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the Children’s Room of Francis Martin Library, where there will be an afternoon of crafts, games, and music to celebrate the holiday!
Where: 2150 University Avenue, The Bronx, NY (May 5 from 3 pm – 5 pm)