Cinco de Mayo is wildly popular in Anchorage, and it’s a celebration of the victory of the Mexican army over the French in 1862. However, like many Cinco de Mayo events in the U.S., there’s also a big focus on Mexican cuisine and tequila. Every year, Carnival at Tequila 61 makes a big splash with their authentic dishes, cocktails, and live music. A lunch special until 4 p.m. is served on the patio, followed by a carnival with elotes, churros, tamales, and a variety of other food stations.

Of course, you’ll also have access to plenty of high-end margaritas, imported Mexican beer, agua fresca, and an impressive selection of tequilas and mezcal. Enjoy a live DJ at 9 p.m. followed by a hot pepper eating contest, taco eating contest, and Mexican bingo. It all goes down at 445 W. Fourth Avenue with no cover charge.

A Party Weekend

When Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday, you know the parties will be intense. Don Jose’s features a mariachi band and the chance to score 30,000 Alaska Airlines miles in a raffle. The fiesta begins at 7 p.m. at 2042 E. Northern Lights Boulevard.

There’s also the party at Gallo’s where music, food, and plenty of freebies are the trifecta of the night. There’s a chance to win a getaway to Mexico, too. The event spans from 11 a.m. until midnight at 8311 Arctic Boulevard and 8615 Old Seward Highway. Both locations offer free cover.