If you hear people talking about El Grito this week, don’t worry — it’s not some strange new weather phenomenon caused by global warming — it’s just time for Mexican Independence Day. El Grito refers to a famous speech made by Father Miguel Hidalgo on the night of Sept. 15, 1810, rallying the Mexican people to revolt against the Spanish government.
Mexican Independence Day is celebrated on Sept. 16 and Las Vegas is a popular place to party. The city always rolls out the red, white and green carpet for visitors with entertainment from Latin music artists and comedians, Mexican food and drink specials, parties and a big boxing match.
Here are our picks for celebrating Mexican Independence Day in Vegas this year:
Join the fiesta
The Linq, an open-air shopping, dining and entertainment district on the Strip, will be a hot spot for Mexican Independence weekend. We like to go big in Vegas and it doesn’t get much bigger than the world’s largest observation wheel, the High Roller. Things kick off Friday, September 12 at 7 p.m. with an opening ceremony to light the High Roller — all 550 feet of it — with the colors of the Mexican flag.
There will also be live entertainment at The Linq Fountain Stage starting at 7 p.m., followed by folkloric dancers and a strolling mariachi nightly. Latin Grammy Award nominee Los Claxons, a pop and alternative rock band, will perform on the Brooklyn Bowl stage at 8 p.m. on Sept. 14.
Following the concert, follow the cries of “¡Viva Mexico!” and “¡Viva la independencia!” to the El Grito ceremony, which will take place at The Linq Fountain Stage at 9:30 p.m. with a celebratory ringing of the bell by a member of the Mexican Consul.
Over at The Cosmopolitan this weekend you’ll find roaming mariachi bands and a margarita festival. We can’t think of a better way to toast Mexico than raising unlimited glasses of a tequila-based drink.
The Cosmopolitan’s inaugural Original Margarita Festival will run from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sept. 15, showcasing Las Vegas’ most celebrated mixologists and their signature margarita recipes. At the end of the event, the concoctions will be judged and the winner will be awarded an educational trip to Tequila, Mexico. That’s the kind of schooling we could get on board with. Guests will also be able to vote for their favorite creation.
Tickets for the Margarita Festival are $40. Each ticket includes entry from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. and unlimited margarita tastings.
Pass the fajitas and the tequila
We love Mexican food no matter what day it is and during Mexican Independence weekend lots of restaurants are making it easy for us to get our fill.
The Salted Lime at Aliante Casino + Hotel + Spa will celebrate Mexican Independence Day with a five-day fiesta Sept. 12 – 16. The Mexican cantina and eatery will feature half-priced chicken fajitas, $2 house margaritas, and Dos Equis beer with an Arta Tequila shot for $6. Everyone likes free stuff and the Arta Tequila promotions team will be handing out free samples and giveaways from 8 to 10 p.m. on Sept. 13.
Celebrate Mexican Independence Day in style Sept. 16 at Border Grill Las Vegas with their south-of-the-border inspired tequila dinner, featuring world-renowned premium Sauza Tequila. Guests will be treated to an authentic Mexican fiesta, complete with a multi-course dinner prepared by Executive Chef Chris Keating. Toast with handcrafted cocktails infused with Sauza, the originator of classic tequila. Tickets for the dinner are $75 and it runs from 6:30 – 9 p.m.
Chayo Mexican Kitchen + Tequila Bar at The Linq will celebrate Mexican Independence Day with a specialty menu Sept. 12 – 16. Executive Chef Ernesto Zendejas, a Mexico City native, has crafted an authentic menu of Mexican specialties, available exclusively for the holiday. Chow down on Mexican creamed corn, cochinita pivil tamales, chile en nogada and what sounds to us like the best thing ever – buñuelos. They’re basically fried dough balls served with mango ice cream.
You might as well pair some tequila with your dinner to keep things as authentic as possible. Choose from a selection of 50 tequilas from the bar or a signature cocktail like the Puncho Villa made with Tanteo jalapeño tequila, fresh lime juice, fresh watermelon and cucumber. After gaining some liquid courage, hop on the restaurant’s feisty mechanical bull.
Rhumbar at The Mirage will introduce a spicy new tequila cocktail on Sept. 16. The Beso Caliente, priced at $14, is made with Milagro Reposado Select Barrel tequila, Yellow Chartreuse, fresh lime juice, cilantro leaves, fresh jalapeño and sweet agave nectar and is finished with a sprig of cilantro and a freshly sliced jalapeño wheel. Caliente, indeed!
Mercadito at Red Rock Resort, one of the city’s newest Mexican restaurants, will celebrate Independence Day with specially created dishes and beverages. Available on Monday, September 15, Mercadito offers two exclusive dishes: chiles en nogada and huarache Mexicano – chile guajillo corn masa, black bean hash, cabbage, crema fresca and cotija cheese with either carne, pollo or pastor. Mercadito has also crafted a beverage fit for the occasion with La Gritona – tequila blanco, absinthe, lemon and basil.
Cabo Wabo Cantina, located inside Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, will offer a three-course prix-fixe menu of Mexican favorites Sept. 12 – 16. Executive Chef Tacho Kneeland’s specialty menu, priced at $39 per person, will begin with a choice between a bowl of Cabo Wabo’s tortilla soup or the Baja shrimp ceviche appetizer. For the main course, guests can choose between Sammy Hagar’s famous tequila shrimp or the chicken mole tamal. Diners will be treated to Cabo Wabo’s new dessert, the salted caramel fried ice cream. That definitely can’t be a bad thing.
Hussong’s Cantina, located inside The Shoppes at Mandalay Place, is dishing up week-long food and festivities. From Sept. 12 – 19, guests can enjoy short rib enchiladas, topped with a creamy poblano sauce and a creamy chile guajillo sauce for $18.95. As if one holiday isn’t enough, it’s also National Guacamole Day on Sept. 16 so you can celebrate both independence and the restaurant’s sweet and spicy mango-habanero guacamole.
Of course you’ll want to wash down all that food with some beer. Corona Extra bottles will be on special for $4 as well as $4 Corona Light draft 16-ounce pints and $20 Corona buckets. Hussong’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Mariachis will be on hand September 13, 14 and 16 to set the party off with song requests and mash-ups of classic rock hits and Latin serenades. Trust us, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard mariachis doing classic rock.
With a name like Tacos & Tequila you know this restaurant has to have something big planned for Mexican Independence Day. T & T will be serving food and drink specials Sept. 12 – 16. There will be a $5 menu from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. featuring items like fiesta nachos, habanero wings, flautas, Dos Equis bottles, Jose Cuervo shots and sangria. Tequila fans can toast with La Diabla, a cocktail made with Cazadores Resposado for $10 or a tequila flight for $13.
Head downtown for some bargains on beer and tacos. Park on Fremont is teaming with Dos Equis to throw a party for Mexican Independence Day. Enjoy $1 Dos Equis beers and street tacos for $2. Head outside to the patio for some themed surprises and try to crack open a piñata.
For more of our favorite Mexican restaurants in Vegas, click here.
The Main Event
It’ll be a battle for national pride when 11-time world champion Floyd “Money” Mayweather faces Marcos “El Chino” Maidana in a rematch Saturday, Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Their first meeting was a 12-round showdown that ended in a majority decision in favor of Mayweather.
Shake your bon bon
Music is an important part of any celebration and there will be several top Latin artists in town this weekend encouraging you to get up and show off your best salsa and merengue moves.
Latin pop star Alejandro Fernandez will return to the MGM Grand Garden Arena with his Confidencias World Tour Sept. 14. Fernandez, who channels Mexico’s rich tradition through his music, is one of the biggest-selling artists in Latin music history.
One of the most successful (and according to some of our female co-workers, most handsome) Latin artists in the world, Luis Miguel, performs at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace Sept. 12 – 15.
It’s Latin music stars galore at the Axis Theater at Planet Hollywood this weekend. Marco Antonio Solis kicks things off with a concert Sept. 12. Pop legend Marc Anthony heats things up with a show Sept. 13 as part of his “Cambio de Piel” tour. On Sept. 14 Emanuel & Mijares perform and the weekend wraps up Sept. 15 with Juan Gabriel.
Singer Pepe Aguilar will bring his traditional ranchera and mariachi sounds to the Pearl at the Palms Sept. 12.
He’s not a musician, but he’s just as entertaining. Known as the “fluffy” comic in a Hawaiian shirt, Gabriel Iglesias has been described as unbelievably funny and electrifying. Iglesias will perform at The Mirage Sept. 12 – 14 during Mexican Independence Day weekend for a mixture of storytelling, parodies, characters and sound effects.