Most Americans think Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Saint Patrick’s Day or Fourth of July – but it isn’t either. The parades, fireworks, dances in the street and parties honor the courage of the citizen soldiers of the city of Puebla, who defeated a French army’s attack in 1862. The French came back two years later and brutally sacked Puebla, but only after its defenders had given their all.

Mexican immigrants, Americans of Mexican descent and anyone who likes Mexican food, Mexican music and Mexican beer (and tequila) may not all know exactly what they are celebrating, but celebrate they will come this Cinco de Mayo. Here are five of the best ways to mark that signature Mexican holiday in Boston.

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Cinco de Mayo Bash at the Royale
The Royale
279 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 338-7699
Date: May 4, 2018 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
The Royale is one of Boston’s premier music venues, and on May 4 this multi-level “mega-club” gets a head start on other Cinco de Mayo celebrations with live local and regional bands, professional DJs and other entertainers. The Royale strongly suggests buying tickets ahead of time, as this is one of their most popular annual events and despite their claim to being New England’s largest nightclub, they do have to comply with the fire code as to maximum attendance.

Seventh Annual Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl
MIJA Cantina and Tequila Bar
1 South Market St.
Boston, MA 02109
(857) 284-7382
Date: May 5, 2018 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Not that Bostonians need a reason to drink, but on May 5th they can claim they are doing so to honor Mexican history, culture and courage. The Seventh Annual Cinco de Mayo Pub Crawl starts at arguably the most Mexican of all bars in Boston, MIJA Cantina and Tequila Bar, located near Faneuil Hall. Participants are encouraged to drink Mexican beers – such as Dos Equis, Corona, Modelo, Pacifico and others, or to enjoy such signature Mexican concoctions like margaritas, sangria, or suenos, or stick with simple, straightforward shots of Tequila, of which there are many brands of varying price.

Participants can pre-register online or at MIJA or any one of the other participating bars starting at 11 am on the morning of the fifth. There are multiple starting locations, and wrist bands and maps are handed out so that groups can stick together along the crawl.

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The Painted Burro
Davis Square
219 Elm St.
Somerville, MA 02114
(617) 776-0005
For those who want to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in an authentic Mexican atmosphere, with traditional Mexican (not Texican) cuisine, it is hard to beat The Painted Burro, a charming little restaurant in Somerville’s Davis Square. Although across the river from central Boston, this place is just as lively as the crowded bars and restaurants in the big city – and the food is far better here than in most of those. They also have 100 Tequilas in stock and, even better, have certified Tequila experts behind the bar who will recommend the right Tequila to accompany a particular meal, or explain the different types, levels of quality and even history behind those Tequilas. Best of all, the price is right, as no entree costs more than $22, and many are far less expensive.
Related: Boston’s Best Bars To Celebrate Cinco De Mayo

Tenoch Mexican Food Trucks
3 Lewis St.
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 248-9537
Mexican food comes in two basic varieties: high cuisine meant for the dining table, and street food. The Tenoch Mexican Food trucks feature the latter, and they do it proud. Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo in the streets, and the Tenoch Food Trucks offer the food to go with it. They are famous throughout the North End, and while their three trucks are constantly on the move, they are almost always found outside the Aquarium, Haymarket and State Street stations. They also have brick and mortar restaurants in Medford, Somerville and at their flagship location on Lewis Street.

Seventh Annual Cinco de Mayo Boat Cruise
Provincetown II
200 Seaport Blvd.
Boston, MA 02110
(617) 755-9577
Date: May 5. 2018 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Boston is a harbor city, and Bostonians will jump at any excuse to get in a boat and go out into the harbor, down the Charles or along the shores. The Seventh Annual Cinco de Mayo Boat Cruise offers them just such an excuse and an opportunity, and to do so in an organized fashion, with people who share their desire to party on the water. The Provincetown II is a massive party boat with bars, dance floors and a DJ, and a crew dedicated to keeping a safe and steady ship. The party never stops on this boat, but the Cinco de Mayo evening cruise is known for being one of the best parties in the city on that date.
Related: Best Cinco De Mayo Events Near Boston

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