Whether you’re a recent immigrant, a third generation Mexican-American, or from anywhere in the world, you’ll know that Mexican-American neighborhoods and other ethnic enclaves always add character to a city.
Here are 10 Mexican-American neighborhoods you can always count on to find delicious food, items from Mexico, art, or even cultural activities year-round and in the U.S.
1. Placita Olvera (Olvera Street), Los Angeles, CA
Image Source: Walktropolis
Nestled in the middle of Union Station, Little Tokyo and Chinatown this is the perfect Mexican-American neighborhood for anyone in L.A. Because of its location, tourists can get to it easily and you can find awesome food, Mexican items, and clothes. On weekends and on occasional weekdays you can check out Aztec dance groups, mariachis, and the sounds of Son Jarocho, a distinct musical style from Veracruz.
Olvera Street preserves its 1930s style and is committed to keeping this particular period of Los Angeles history alive. Many of the vendors are descendants of the original owners.
2. Plaza Fiesta, DeKalb County, GA
Image Source: AJC
Located near the Atlanta area, Plaza Fiesta is a large business complex representative of Mexican and Mexican-American culture in Georgia. You can find clothes, Mexican items, great food, and the Plaza hosts various cultural events. It’s also a great place to watch Mexican fútbol matches, as Atlanta hosts many of Mexico’s games in the Georgia Dome and tickets regularly sell out. Though it’s more a huge shopping center, the many cultural events, great authentic food, and mariachi concerts make it feel like its own self-contained neighborhood.
3. La Villita (Little Village), South Lawndale, Chicago
Image Source: Escuela de Rancho
La Villita had once been an Irish-American neighborhood, but became steadfastly Mexican in the 1970s. It’s now known as the “Mexico of the Midwest” and is host to the largest Mexican Independence Day parade in the country. However, local Mexican-Americans have made huge political gains and the district is represented by Ricardo Muñoz.
4. Santa Ana, CA
Image Source: Snip View
Santa Ana, CA is about 40 minutes south of LA via freeway. It’s a Mexican-American stronghold full of restaurants, shops and even cultural centers that cater to the Mexican-American demographic. You can find panaderías, Mexican restaurants, and an Artist Village near the Civic Center.
El Centro Cultural de México is one of the most respected and well-regarded Mexican-American institutions in the city. The center provides Aztec dance lessons, son jarocho classes, and hosts cultural events year-round, including the largest and oldest Día de los Muertos celebration in Orange County.
5. Downtown, San Antonio, TX
Image Source: The Alteza
One could say that all of Texas is influenced by the city’s Mexican-American immigrants, and San Antonio is no exception. Much of downtown San Antonio contains remnants of the city’s Mexican-American history, and traces of times when Texas was its own republic. Mission San Juan Capistrano, the San Antonion River Walk, and La Villita are located on or near the downtown area.
La Villita in San Antonio preserves a lot of Mexican and Mexican-American culture through the arts, and one can find jewelry, pottery, and imported folk art.
6. North Little Rock, Arkansas
Image Source: Wikimedia
Mexican-Americans and other folks of Latino descent have slowly begun moving into the South. Most Mexican-American immigrants live in North Little Rock, where one can find many restaurants, taquerías, grocery stores, and the Mexican Consulate. With such a large Mexican-American population relative to the rest of the South, it’s one of the few cities besides Atlanta, GA with its own Univision local channel.
7. Mexicantown, Southwest Detroit, MI
Mural at Mexicantown-Image Source: Model D
Mexicantown has been an establishment in Detroit since the 1940s and is considered to be one of the only thriving areas of Detroit, which has seen itself decline over the recent years. This part of Detroit is decorated with bright, colors, murals, and is considered to have the largest amount of restaurants per capita in the city.
Immigration and tourism have been the driving force behind Mexicantown’s growth. This part of Detroit is one of the few in which one can find prickly pears, and Mexican handicrats. This side of Detroit is also known for its Day of the Dead, Cinco de Mayo, and Posadas parades.
8. Mecklenburg, Charlotte, NC
Hispanic Heritage Museum-Image Source: Arts and Science Council
The east side of Charlotte, NC is quickly becoming a Mexican-American stronghold in the South. Because of the growth of the Mexican-American and Latino population over the years, this part of the city now contains many restaurants and bars that cater to the city’s local Mexican-American population.
The neighborhood celebrates Hispanic heritage month and the Levine Museum, a local artistic landmark is currently hosting the ¡NUEVOlution! Exhibit until October 2016, as part of an educational dialog that seeks to teach the South about how it’s being shaped by Latino immigration.
9. Meadows Lane, Las Vegas, NV
Image Source: Nevada Business
Though many focus on the Las Vegas gambling and nightlife, Meadows Lane is a humble part of Las Vegas that caters to its Mexican-American residents. This is the part of Las Vegas in which one can find 24 hour Mexican restaurants and clothing stores that sell cowboy boots and guayaberas. The local Mexican grocery store, Cardenas Market, has become such a landmark that prospective Nevada politicians even campaign there to try to attract Latino voters.
10. South Park, Seattle, WA
Image Source: Seattle Globalist
South Park is a Mexican-American neighborhood that still has a trace of the Italian immigrants that lived there before it became what it is today. 14Th Street is full of Mexican sit-downs as well as food trucks, and bakeries.
South Park residents also put together an event called Fiestas Patrias, in which various Latin-American countries celebrate their independence days, showcase traditional dances, display local art, and play folk music. There are even Lucha Libre matches for those who enjoy this sport.
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XpatNation is a Social News and Lifestyle magazine, focusing on the insights and experiences on ex-patriots living in The United States. XpatNation brings together the voices, thoughts, perceptions and experiences of the people of the world who have made the USA their home. Using their insight and unique understanding of the global world we live in to discuss culture, lifestyle, Geo politics and the day to day on-goings of this proud and powerful nation.