- New York
- Puerto Rico
- Washington, D.C.
Visitors can learn about and honor this special heritage alongside locals, not just during Hispanic Heritage month, but throughout the entire year.
Hispanic and Latino cultures in the USA are vibrant, diverse and incredibly rich. Deeply rooted in tradition, Hispanic and Latino culture is honored during Hispanic Heritage Month, running from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 every year. The month is observed nationwide with festivals and events paying homage to these vital cultures. Celebrating Hispanic Heritage can’t be contained to only 30 days, though. Celebrations, neighborhoods and museums throughout the nation pay homage all year long.
Miami, Florida: “The Capital of Latin America”
In a city known for its cultural vibrancy, it’s no wonder that Miami’s thriving Hispanic communities love to celebrate. Every September, Miami’s white sandy beaches and blue waters acts as the backdrop to the Miami Beach Hispanic Heritage Celebration. Expect a day full of delicious food, carnival rides, live music and dancing, with a headliner performance at the Miami Beach Bandshell at night. The Miami Hispanic Cultural Arts Center, in the city’s Little Havana neighborhood, puts on live performances year-round from the Miami Hispanic Ballet and Cuban Classical Ballet of Miami dance companies. Nearby is the Gary Nader Art Centre, home to a large collection of art from contemporary Latino American artists and pieces from legends including Diego Rivera and Wifredo Lam.
Colorful mural celebrating Hispanic women in Miami
Los Angeles, California: Rich History in the City of Angels
California has the largest Hispanic and Latino population in the USA, partially due to its proximity to Mexico, its colonial history and its status as a cultural capital. The city was founded in 1781 on land now known as the El Pueblo de Los Angeles State Historic Park, where original buildings from the mid-1800s stand next to colorful murals, all surrounding a plaza where musical and theatrical performances are often hosted. The historic park also houses the LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes, a premier institution sharing the history, cultures and traditions of Latinos in Southern California. On the coast, the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach hosts the Baja Splash Cultural Festival annually in September. This two-day event features live music, crafts and dancing, with admission to the aquarium included in the price of a festival ticket.
Behind the scenes at El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, California
New York City, New York: Celebrations and Locations with Pride
More than a quarter of New York City’s population is Latino, with representation from every Latin American country found throughout the five boroughs. Every October, thousands of spectators line Fifth Avenue to catch the excitement of the Hispanic Day Parade, where colorful floats, lively music and performers celebrate the city’s Hispanic and Latino population. On the northern tip of Manhattan, the Washington Heights neighborhood is a renowned hot spot for Hispanic people and culture, including a section of it designated as “Little Dominican Republic.” Washington Heights has dozens of restaurants cooking up authentic Hispanic cuisine. The neighborhood is also home to the Hispanic Society of America Museum & Library, housing an extensive collection of art and archaeological finds, all to be enjoyed for free.
Chicago, Illinois: Film, Arts & Culture
Chicago is a city that loves to celebrate its people and their history. The city is home to several neighborhoods known for having large Hispanic populations, including Pilsen, which has served as an important community for Mexican immigrants for several decades. The neighborhood’s history is honored with family-owned restaurants serving delicious Mexican meals, free admission to the neighborhood’s National Museum of Mexican Art and the can’t-miss 16th Street Murals, 3.5 kilometers of artwork depicting Hispanic heroes and culture. At the nearby National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, exhibits tell the story of Puerto Rican heritage and the community’s cultural impact on U.S. society. All Latino cultures are celebrated at the annual Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, with performances taking place in theaters throughout the city for multiple weeks each September and October.
Viewing the colorful collection at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago
San Juan, Puerto Rico: Capital with an Honored Legacy
The U.S. territory of Puerto Rico celebrates its multifaceted Hispanic and Caribbean culture daily, with institutions and events honoring local heritage and educating visitors. The island’s vibrant capital, San Juan, was first settled in 1521 on land now preserved as the Old San Juan Historic District. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the area’s attractions include 16th century fortresses and churches open for tours, historic plazas and squares perfect for events, and multiple museums. The Museo de las Americas, located in a former army barracks, aims to lead the conservation and promotion of the cultural heritage of Puerto Rico and Latin America. Every January, Old San Juan is taken over by the largest festival on the island, Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian. The multi-day celebration fills the streets with live music, parades and art shows during the day, followed by concerts, parties and dancing lasting late into the night. In the modern downtown area of the city, the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico consists of 24 exhibition galleries displaying modern and historic artworks, including the territory’s national gallery, all for free admission.
Revelers take to the streets during Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian in San Juan
San Antonio, Texas: The Largest Majority-Hispanic City in the Nation
This Texas city was under Spanish colonial rule for over a century, then considered part of Mexico for the next decade. Remnants of this past remain today, like the famous Alamo (Mission San Antonio de Valero), one of five historic Spanish missions from the 1700s that have landed the city on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. San Antonio celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with events throughout the city, including El Grito Cultural Program and Civic Ceremony kicking off the celebrations every September 15. Delectable aromas and festive music fill the historic outdoor Market Square during this family-friendly event, ending with a live concert at night. The historic square also houses the Centro de Artes, a two-story exhibit space dedicated to exploring the Latino experience in the USA. Throughout Hispanic Heritage Month, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center puts on theatrical and musical performances, as well as educational programs honoring Chicano culture’s impact on Texas.
Father and son admiring history at the Alamo in San Antonio
Washington, D.C.: Preserving Heritage in the USA’s Capital City
Exciting things are happening in the nation’s capital when it comes to recognizing the Latino experience in the USA. Officially announced in 2020, the National Museum of the American Latino will be joining other Smithsonian Institutions on the National Mall. The museum will highlight important contributions of American Latinos in U.S. culture and history. The museum isn’t slated to fully open until 2024, but until then, the Molina Family Latino Gallery at the National Museum of American History will present exhibitions as the museum’s first physical presence. Directly north of the National Mall is the Columbia Heights neighborhood of D.C., home to locally owned bars and restaurants and a longtime Hispanic population responsible for cultural attractions like GALA Hispanic Theatre and the Mexican Cultural Institute. The American Film Institute hosts the Latin American Film Festival every year during Hispanic Heritage Month. The festival lasts for two weeks with dozens of movies being shown.