Spanish language, customs, traditions, beliefs, and art forms (music, literature, dress, architecture, cuisine, or others) are an integral part of the US culture and is imbibed in the lifestyle of its people. To recognize the achievements, influence, and contribution of the Hispanic American champions, the nation celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) every year.
Whether you are a local or a visitor, you will love exploring the Hispanic culture and becoming part of the celebration. However, going with the traditional choices like Los Angeles and New York City is not the only option. Here comes the list of lesser-known cities that you can add to your list of go-to places and for good reasons.
Hispanic cultural celebration in Illinois, Chicago
Pilsen, Little Village, and Humboldt Park are some of the notable places to explore the Latino culture. These spots are home to award-winning restaurants, iconic music venues, and sensational murals. Buildings in Pilsen feature massive paintings that reflect the love for arts. If you are in Pilsen on a Friday, gallery owners will delight you by keeping their galleries open for free. There are offbeat boutiques, hip eateries, and cool music venues standing alongside bodegas, panaderias, and family-owned restaurants serving authentic Mexican cuisine. The National Museum of Mexican Art is one of the favorite places for visitors. Its exhibits like textiles, folk art, prints, photos, and more reveal the in-depth artistic sense of its people. Illinois, the capital of Chicago, generally hosts the National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, where artists, students, veterans, educators, and other dignitaries are felicitated by the state.
Hispanic cultural celebration in Miami, Florida
A trip to Florida, particularly during National Hispanic Heritage Month, is a great way to explore the Hispanic culture and traditions. Many of its places have Spanish connotations or have been named after their Spanish explorer. Examples, Altamonte Springs (Altamonte is Spanish for “high hill”), Anna Maria Island (Ponce de Leon was said to have named the island for the queen of King Charles II, the sponsor of his expedition), Boca Ciega (Named for Boca Ciega Bay, Boca Ciega means Blind Mouth in Spanish), Boca Raton, Cape Canaveral, and Colombia County (Named after Christopher Columbus). Florida has a sizeable Hispanic population and Miami-Dade County has the highest percentage followed by Osceola and Hendry. Ybor City Visitor Information Center could be the best place to start exploring Florida. Collect a map, souvenirs, and advice. Popular places to see include National Historic Landmark District in Tampa, Ybor City Museum State Park, Tampa Sweethearts Cigar Company and J.C. Newman Cigar Company, and Hernando de Soto State Archaeological Site in Tallahassee.
Hispanic cultural celebration in San Antonio, Texas
Bexar and Harris Counties are the epicenter of Hispanic cultural celebrations in Texas. The Hispanic share of the population is 59% in Bexar and 62% in the latter. Casa Navarro State Historic Site, El Mercado, Dolores-Applewhite Crossing, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, Mexican Cultural Institute (Instituto Cultural De Mexico), The Founders Monument, Trabajo Rustico, the Institute of Hispanic Culture of Houston, and Ballet Hispanic of the Arts are some of the must-visit places in San Antonio to immerse in the Hispanic culture. There is no shortage of traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants.
Hispanic cultural celebration in Maricopa, Arizona
Maricopa is a county in the US State of Arizona with a Hispanic population share of 31%. The place hosts a series of events including reward felicitations, craft and art galleries, and entertainment concerts throughout the year to celebrate the Hispanic culture and the contribution of its people to society. Sonoran-style Mexican food is unique. It’s an approach to border cooking that differs from Tex-Mex, New Mexican, or Baja styles and is seldom found outside of Arizona. Sonoran-style flour tortillas are stretched paper-thin and cooked on a griddle producing small blisters that give them a smoky flavor. The city is also known for its amazing nightlife and has several dance clubs and bars.
Hispanic cultural celebration in San Bernardino, California
San Bernardino is a county in California and the share of the Hispanic population stands at 54%, which is higher than that of San Diego and Orange County with 34% each. Besides, the National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration that occurs annually, San Bernardino has a busy schedule when it comes to recognizing the Hispanic culture. Do not miss to visit the Hispanic Research Center and The San Bernardino County Museum which exhibits notable artistic pieces that delve into the culture. Other popular places to see in San Bernardino include First Original McDonald’s Museum, Silverwood Lake, Glen Helen Regional Park, Robert and Frances Fullerton Museum, and Fiesta Village Family Fun Park.
Hispanic cultural celebration in Salt Lake City, Utah
Salt Lake City in Utah is not just famous for offering world-class education but also for impeccable hospitality and age-old customs. Not just Salt Lake City, but the entire state of Utah is home to hundreds of thousands of Hispanic/Latino people. A trip to Salt Lake City enables visitors to usher in the authentic cuisine, energetic dance performances, live music, and a huge parade (though it was postponed for three consecutive years in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak) reflecting the beauty of Hispanic culture. Other places of interest in Salt Lake City are Temple Square, Natural History Museum of Utah, Utah State Capitol, Red Butte Garden, and Clark Planetarium.
Data credit: Pew Research Center