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By Megan Horst-Hatch

Chicago Cinco de Mayo Parade
Heart of Pilsen on Cermak Road and Wood Street, west to Marshall Boulevard
Chicago, IL  60623
(773) 843-9738

Date: May 6
Time: noon to 2 p.m.
Price: free

Get ready for a fiesta with food and fun at Chicago’s largest Cinco de Mayo parade. The multicultural, family friendly celebration takes place in the heart of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s triumph over the invading French army May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. It is often confused with Mexico’s Independence Day, which is Sept. 16. In Chicago, the parade is the focal point of a three-day celebration that kicks off May 4, with more than 110,000 people attending annually.

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What to Expect
Participants in previous parades have included marching bands, Chicago-area organizations, politicians and dancers. To ensure a good seat on the parade route, arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the start. The three-day festivities will also include live music, food vendors, dancing and carnival rides and games will be held at Douglas Park (1401 S. Sacramento Ave., Chicago).

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Getting There and Parking
Metered parking is available on Damen Street, south of 18th Street. If you travel by car, plan to arrive early, as the parade is a popular destination. Public transportation to Pilsen is also available. On the El, take the Pink Line to the 18th Street station. If you plan to travel by bus,  take the CTA 18 or 21. Metra’s BNSF Railway also has a stop in Pilsen at the Western Avenue station.

Where to Eat

Fogata Village
1820 S. Ashland Ave.
Chicago, IL  60608
(312) 850-1702

Hours: Mon to Wed and Fri – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thurs – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sat – 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sun – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Start your morning with breakfast at Fogata Village, which offers both Mexican and American specialties. While the menu includes cheeseburgers and Italian specials, its emphasis is on specialties from Mexico. Fajitas, pollo con mole and pechuga de pollo are among the dishes offered, and Fogata Village’s specialty is its enchiladas. Fogata Village also offers organic items on its menu, including a vegetable casserole and turkey burgers.

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Mi Tierra Restaurant
2528 S. Kedzie Ave.
Chicago, IL  60623
(773) 254-7722

Hours: Mon to Wed – 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Thurs – 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Fri – 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Sat – 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; Sun – 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Mi Tierra boasts a menu of authentic Mexican food, including tinga poblana (spicy shredded chicken or beef), carne asada (roasted meat), and mar y tierra (two giant shrimp and carne asada steak). Established in 1983, Mi Tierra features live bands every night. Its signature dish is the parrillada, which is a tabletop grill piled high with a variety of marinated and grilled meat. The restaurant also offers its own homemade margaritas and sangria.

Related: Family Guide to Chicago Brunches

Nuevo Léon Restaurant
1515 W. 18th St.
Chicago, IL  60608
(312) 421-1517

Hours: Mon to Sun – 7 a.m. to midnight

Opened in 1962 by the Gutiérrez family, Nuevo Léon Restaurant is a long-standing fixture in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood. The restaurant offers authentic Mexican dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Desserts and beverages include pan dulce and hot Mexican chocolate. Reservations are not taken, and credit cards are not accepted, but the food makes it all worth it.

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Where to Stay

Bridgeport Bed and Breakfast
3322 S. Morgan St.
Chicago, IL  60608
(773) 927-1122

Price: from $200 per suite/$45 per additional person

Boasting four themed bedroom suites that can each accommodate between four and six people, Bridgeport Bed and Breakfast is ideal for families or small groups. The bed and breakfast, located one mile west of U.S. Cellular Field and three miles southwest of Soldier Field and McCormick Place, offers rooms with a nod to its Chicago heritage. For example, the Sox Suite prominently features the Chicago White Sox logo. Complimentary lighted/gated parking is provided in the bed and breakfast’s lot, and Bridgeport offers limited minivan shuttle service to McCormick Place and local train lines.

University Quarters Bed & Breakfast & Suites
6137 S. Kimbark Ave.
Chicago, IL  60637
(866) 712-6166

Price: from $150

Featuring three guest bedrooms, University Quarters Bed & Breakfast & Suites is situated in an updated graystone one-half block from the University of Chicago campus, and is 15 minutes from the Loop. A continental breakfast is served, and guests are free to use the living room, which is stocked with periodicals and an LCD TV. Free parking is available, and the bed and breakfast is close to bus and train stops.

Related: Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, Shannon Rovers Style

Megan Horst-Hatch is a mother, runner, baker, gardener, knitter, and other words that end in “-er.” She loves nothing more than a great cupcake, and writes at I Love Trader Joe’s. Her work can be found at