Things To Do This Cinco de Mayo Weekend in L.A. [5-5-2023 to 5-7-2023]

First Fridays 2022 Season: From Seeds to Psychedelics at Natural History Museum. Photo via NHM

Anyone else awaken to the sound of a torrential downpour? Just us? Well, either way, the good news is that things ought to (mostly) clear up as we hit the weekend. And you know what that means… LOTS to do!

For May 5 to 7 in Los Angeles, you can scope out First Fridays at NHM, a block party outside Grand Central Market, L.A. Taco’s Taco Madness, the 2023 L.A. County Fair, Scent Fair L.A., LitFest in Pasadena, Angel City Brewery’s 11th anniversary party, the Valley Asian Cultural Festival, the Great Big Family Fun Day at The Autry, and TONS of Cinco de Mayo food specials. Oh, and if you prefer to arrive by bus or train, make sure you check out our weekend guide to the best Metro-accessible to-dos on our radar.


Things To Do This Weekend

First Fridays at NHM -> Natural’s History Museum’s signature monthly series returns this Friday with an evening centered on the legacy of Asian pop-culture and the history of Giant Robot Magazine. There will be a special panel discussion featuring Giant Robot co-founders Eric Nakamura and Martin Wong, and a film screening of Artbound/Giant Robot: Asian Pop Culture and Beyond, co-presented by KCET. Plus you can catch outdoor sets by Arushi Jain and DJ ET IV along with cocktails and bites for purchase. Tickets are $20 for non-members. Runs 5 to 10 p.m. More info here.

First Fridays in Chinatown -> L.A.’s Chinatown stays open late for an evening of exploring the unique small businesses and contemporary art and culture spaces that make up the historic neighborhood. Taking place from 5-9 p.m. the public is encouraged to support local restaurants and cafes while perusing shops and art galleries. Get ready to dance, special musical guests will be spinning vinyl all night long in Chung King Plaza. More info here.

MADE in Beverly Hills -> This Thursday to Sunday, the four-day MADE Beverly Hills features 20+ home tours, educational programs, cocktail parties, and other special events that celebrate Beverly Hills architecture and design. Programing is a mix of free and ticketed events. More info here.

Skirball: Blacklist The Hollywood Red Scare -> Beginning this Thursday, the Skirball Cultural Center unveils its newest exhibition, Blacklist: The Hollywood Red Scare, which was originally created by (and is on loan from) the Jewish Museum Milwaukee. The exhibit examines the history and impact of Hollywood’s Red Scare frenzy, and the people caught in the crosshairs of The Blacklist. On view through September 3. More info here.

39th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival -> Starting this Thursday, the 39th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival (LAAPFF) pops up for a ten-day run featuring a robust lineup of programming that includes a kickoff party at the Japanese American National Museum, film screenings, special presentations and programing. Some events are free to attend, while other screenings run between $10-$15. More info here.

Scent Fair L.A. -> This Friday to Sunday, Scent Fair LA presented by The Institute for Art and Olfaction and Darin Klein & Friends comes the Craft Contemporary with a curated lineup of cutting-edge fragrance makers exhibiting their work, all paired with related programs and hands on workshops. The aromatic activities kick off with a preview night party ($35) on Friday, then ticketed events (some free, some up to $75 per person) continue through the weekend. More info here.

Night Dive at The Aquarium of the Pacific -> The Aquarium of the Pacific’s signature adults-only, after-hours series returns this Friday with a Cinco de Mayo edition of the event featuring food trucks, cash bars, DJs throughout the Aquarium galleries, art, and a live band performing on the stage in front of the Honda Blue Cavern. GA tickets are $29.95. Runs 7:30 to 11 p.m. More info here.

L.A. County Fair -> Beginning this Friday, The L.A. County Fair returns to Fairplex in Pomona for an enormous assortment of activities, musical performances, food and beverage offerings, and more. The fair runs on select dates through May 29 (mostly Friday to Sunday), with tickets ranging $5-$25 depending on date of admission. More info here.

L.A. Taco’s Taco Madness -> L.A. Taco’s annual extravaganza of taco tastings comes to LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes this Saturday with a tantalizing lineup of the city’s best taqueros, including Sonoratown, Villla’s Tacos, Tacos Don Cuco, Evil Cooks, GoGo’s Tacos, and more. Tickets range between $10-$70 depending on the number of prepaid food vouchers you get, and whether you want basic admission or early access. Event runs 5 p.m. to midnight. Get more info here.

Tres Souls at Union Station -> As part of Metro Arts Presents, Tres Souls brings an afternoon of nostalgic bolero music to Union Station’s ticket concourse this Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. The L.A-based trio will serenade Angelenos with a special ambient performance referencing the golden age of Mexican Cinema (think: 1940s to 1960s). The music is free to enjoy for weekend commuters and passersby alike. More info here.

Street Food Cinema -> The largest outdoor cinema series in SoCal continues on Saturday with a screening of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever at L.A. State Historic Park. As with all SFC events, expect a lineup of local food trucks before the screening plus live bands, audience games, themed photo ops, and artisanal vendors. Tickets start at $22. More info here.

Self-Care Yoga at CAAM -> Meditation instructor Constance Hartwell returns for another free 60-minute yoga flow session at California African American Museum on Saturday. All levels are welcome to attend, but be sure to bring your own mat and water. Runs from 11 a.m. to noon. More info here.

Multicultural Arts Festival -> Non-profit Elevate Burbank hosts a Multicultural Arts Festival this Saturday featuring performers, artists, musicians, local food trucks, art show, food trucks, a kids’ area, and select local vendors and nonprofit organizations sharing resources for the community. Free to attend. Runs 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. More info here.

Cinco de Mayo at The Rose Bowl -> On Saturday, Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a free family festival at The Rose Bowl featuring a community marketplace, live entertainment, sport activities and movie screenings. Free to attend. More info here.

2nd Valley Asian Cultural Festival -> Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month this Saturday with the 2nd Annual Asian Valley Cultural Festival at Pierce College in Woodland Hills, hosted by the West Valley – Warner Center Chamber of Commerce. The event flyer promises food, music, dance, shopping, children’s activities, and more. Free admission. Runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info here.

3rd Annual Make Choice a Piece of Cake Fundraiser -> This Saturday, &GatherForGood brings together a citywide lineup of talented pastry chefs and bakers for a fundraiser for non-profits, Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP) and Plan C. The public will have over 40 beautiful cakes to win by Cake Walk, slices of cake for sale, craft cocktails, artisan coffee, music by Boogie Boudreaux (KCRW) and more. Runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Redbird in Downtown L.A. Tickets start at $25. More info here.

Desert Hearts Festival -> Head to the Coliseum this Weekend for house and techno sets from TIGA, Skream, Dusky, Claude VonStroke and dozens more. The concert runs 2 p.m. to midnight on both Saturday and Sunday. Tickets start at $79. More info here.

LitFest Pasadena -> LitFest Pasadena returns for a weekend of dynamic literary talks, workshops, readings and panel discussions and interactive literary experiences. Free to attend on both Saturday and Sunday. More info here.

Unique L.A. Market -> On Saturday and Sunday, explore over 150 of LA’s best indie brands and artisans during Unique L.A. at California Market Center. Tickets start at $15. More info here.

Great Big Family Fun Day -> This Saturday and Sunday, SoCal Moms takes over the grounds of The Autry Museum in Griffith Park for a massive family-friendly festival. Expect a lineup of storytelling, live musical performances, rides, crafts, and more. Tickets range between $5-$10. More info here.

AAPI LA Market at Smorgasburg LA -> Smorgasburg is highlighting Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month by celebrating AAPI vendors and inviting special pop-up guests to the weekly Sunday market. More info here.

Angel City Brewery Anniversary Party -> Angel City Brewery marks their 11th anniversary this Sunday in the Arts District with an afternoon affair featuring two new releases (Srirachelada and Miche Verde) on draft, plus a massive pinata sculpture, live mariachi, and DJ-spiun tunes. The event runs from noon to 7 p.m. Admission is free. More info here.

Pasadena City College Flea -> The Pasadena City College Flea Market is free and open to the public every first Sunday of the month. Taking up multiple lots of the campus, vendors sell a variety of things including antiques and collectibles, to rummage sale-type items. More info here


Metro-Accessible To-Dos

Want to skip the traffic jams and parking headaches? Every Wednesday we collaborate with our friends at L.A. Metro to create a guide to the best Metro-accessible events happening throughout the county for the coming weekend. Go Metro with a few of our top picks below:

CD14 Cinco de Mayo at Grand Central Market -> This Friday, Council District 14 and Grand Central Market team up to shut down Broadway between 3rd and 4th Streets for an all-day block party celebrating Cinco de Mayo. Expect live music and mariachi, plus guests can see what’s on offer at GCM for DineL.A. or swing down to Grand Central Market Bazaar on the lower level. Block party festivities take place from 2 to 9 p.m. Free to attend. More info here.

GO METRO: Take the B or D Lines to Pershing Square

Pedal Power: A Mobility Festival at Ivy Station -> This Saturday, hop off the Expo Line at Culver City’s Ivy Station for a free family festival featuring a bike skills course for kids, a community ride, music, food, and plenty of bike friendly vendors/partners on hand including Walk ‘n Rollers, CC Pride Ride & Rally, Bike Culver City, CicLAvia, LADOT, and more. Runs 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Get more info here.

GO METRO: Take the E Line to Culver City station

L.A. Made at Central Library -> Beginning this past December, the Los Angeles Public Library launched a series of 150 days of activities and events to mark their 150th anniversary. On Saturday, the months-long countdown concludes with an afternoon of standup comedy at Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium featuring L.A.-based comedians Jesus Trejo and Chris Estrada. The set starts at 1 p.m. and is free to attend, but RSVPs are recommended. More info here.

GO METRO: Take the A, B, D, or E Lines to 7th Street / Metro Center Station

For more Metro-accessible ideas, read our full the Metro weekend guide here.

Dining & Drinking

The Mi Vida Dulce Cocktail at Toca Madera. Photo credit Zak Freeze.

Toca Madera -> Visit the modern Mexican restaurant in West Hollywood for Cinco de Mayo to enjoy specialty cocktails such as a red, white and green Mi Vida Dulce made with avion reposado, horchata agave, agave, lime, coconut, cinnamon sugar. Sultry fire dancers and live DJs will keep the partying going well into the night. Guests should also come hungry, the Toca Madera team is cooking up a number of specials for the night including Lobster Enchiladas and Birria Quesadillas. Happening from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. More info here

KA’TEEN -> Chef Wes Avila’s coastal Mexican restaurant is celebrating Cinco de Mayo with a decadent off-menu ​​Lobster Mole Almendrado. Available just for one evening, the poached lobster is served with mole poblano, flowering herbs, tortillas and salsa. The night will also feature cocktail specials, a DJ and fire dancers. Reservations are available via Resy. More info here


Tallulah’s -> This Friday, Tallulah’s is throwing a fiesta from 4 to 10 p.m. Situated along the Pacific Coast Highway, the restaurant is setting up food stations outside that include a satellite bar, taco cart and Mexican street fruit cups; plus a DJ will spin tunes between 6 to 9 p.m. Reservations are highly recommended to guarantee a spot, but walk-ins are available at Felix’s Bar, Tallulah’s cocktail lounge. More info here

Gracias Madre West Hollywood -> Plant-based oasis Gracias Madre will host a pop-up margarita garden from 3 to 9 p.m. this Friday to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. The pop-up goes beyond cocktails with live mariachi performances, beats by DJ Vick Jagger, raffle prizes, photo opportunities, $7 bites and even spirit-free cocktails. Tickets are $30 each and can be purchased via Eventbrite. More info here.

Schmitty’s -> Cinco de Mayo drink specials at the WeHo bar includes $7 Micheladas, a watermelon lollipop inspired Piruleta de Sandía Cocktail for $10 and a tequila infused Mexican candy shot with a chamoy sauce rim for $5. A taco cart will be set up and DJ Josh Peace will start spinning at 9 p.m. More info here.

Trejo’s Tacos -> On Cinco de Mayo, head to Trejo’s Tacos La Brea and Hollywood Cantina locations to meet Danny Trejo. Agua frescas and margaritas will be flowing, alongside a variety of tacos, fried chicken burritos, nachos, and more. Trejo’s Tacos will also offer happy hour at their La Brea, Santa Monica, and Hollywood Cantina from 3 to 5 p.m. with $5 taco plates, $2 off beers, $10 nachos, and $8 house margaritas. Danny himself will make an appearance at Trejo’s Tacos La Brea between 4 to 5:30 p.m., and Trejo’s Tacos Hollywood Cantina from 6 to 7:30 p.m. More info here.  

Angry Egret Dinette -> Chef Wes Avila’s Chinatown diner is offering a few specials for Cinco de Mayo. Available all day, diners can get a trio of chicken pastor tacos for $10, chips and fresh guacamole also for $10 as well as their regular menu. Drink specials for the day include $5 Taco Truck Lagers and $8 Micheladas. More info here

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