Every year people throughout the US mark National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, when the contributions of Hispanic countries to the making of American art and identity are celebrated.

People whose families and ancestors came from South America, Central America, the Caribbean, Spain and Mexico celebrate their part in creating the rich and diverse culture of the US. Their work and influence is felt all over America, in every aspect of life from music to literature to sport, art and food.

The month has many significant dates starting on September 15, the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. This date commemorates these countries' declaration of independence from Spain in 1821. Mexico celebrates independence day on September 16 and Chile on September 18. Throughout the US and specifically in Hispanic communities there are special celebrations throughout the month. Here are some places with big plans over the next four weeks.

A woman dressed in a red dress strikes a pose during a Flamenco performance
GALA Hispanic Theatre in Washington, DC produces a wide range of performances for the Latino community © Tommy Barrios / GALA Hispanic Theatre

GALA Hispanic Theatre – Washington, DC

Founded in 1976, this bilingual theater company has thrived in DC. The theatre has put on more than 200 productions, from contemporary Latin American plays to original musicals and more.

While many productions are more geared towards adults, GALA also offers GALita — a program of bilingual productions for younger audiences. The theatre also has a matinee program for students, with affordable ticket prices, study guides for students and teachers, script printouts, and a post-performance talk sure to shed light on any questions from the kiddos.

For the month of September 2022, the theatre is staging Revoltosa, The Troublemaker a play from Spain about upturning traditions. 

Plan your trip to DC with your kids

 The Domino Park is a popular tourist destination in Little Havana to watch the elderly play domino.
 The Domino Park in Little Havana sees locals gather every day to play dominos © Fotoluminate LLC / Shutterstock

Little Havana – Miami

For a solid education on a variety of Latinx cultures, a trip to Miami is a must. But if you’re hoping to educate yourself on Cuban culture, you’ll want to head straight for Little Havana. This small, vibrant neighborhood is home to several popular Cuban places of interest, such as the Cubaocho Museum, Maximo Gomez (Domino) Park, and the Latin Walk of Fame.

You can also stop into any number of eateries in the neighborhood (including the ever-famous Versailles) so your little ones can experience authentic Cuban cuisine (delicious Nicaraguan, Mexican, and Honduran eateries are also present here). And finally, if you’re able, definitely visit during Viernes Culturales, a free art walk down Calle Ocho where your family can enjoy live music, dancing, galleries, and more.

Spend the perfect weekend in Miami

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125th Street in Harlem
El Museo del Barrio is located in Harlem © Dan Herrick / Lonely Planet

El Museo del Barrio – New York

There are few places where one can view over 800 years worth of Latinx art, but one such place is El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem. Created out of a collective frustration at the lack of Latinx representation in mainstream museums, the museum now features a permanent collection of more than 6500 objects that serve to spread awareness of the history and culture of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean.

The museum’s next large-scale exhibition Reynier Leyva Novo: Methuselah virtually reproduces the 6000-mile migration of a single monarch butterfly. The exhibit will begin online September 22 and open in person October 27, 2022 through March 26, 2023. 

Aside from their exhibitions, El Museo also offers bilingual programs, workshops and public lectures you can attend with your kids to further their education. Stay local afterwards and head to Cascalote Latin Bistro and make sure to order a glass of fresh watermelon juice - made on the premises, you will want to bottle it and bring home.

Plan a great New York City getaway

Roy E. Disney Center for Performing Arts, National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico USA
The architecturally beautiful National Hispanic Cultural Center in New Mexico © Alamy

National Hispanic Cultural Center - Albuquerque

This center, in one of New Mexico's most architecturally imaginative buildings, is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of Hispanic culture and arts. Located in the historic Barelas neighborhood, the center holds three galleries used for fine arts exhibitions, performances and salsa classes.

Visitors can currently appreciate a selection of work including the Tempo y Tiempo: 4 Photographers in New Mexico exhibit, featuring photographs from Frank Blazquez, Bobby Gutierrez, Pico del Hierro-Villa, and Ximena Montez. Stop off at Pop Fizz for an all-natural and organic Paleta, the cherry lemonade flavor hits the spot.

You don't have to be in New Mexico to appreciate the exhibitions from the NHCC. The center's many virtual offerings can be found here.

Maybe find a museum sleepover in one of these great cities

San Diego, Chicano Park murals under a blue sky
 Chicano Park murals in San Diego telling the story of the local Colombian community © Barrie Logan / Getty

Chicano Park – San Diego

Located in Barrio Logan, Chicano Park is a location of great significance to the Mexican-American community of San Diego. In the early 1900s, this area was a thriving, middle-class Latinx neighborhood, but because of a number of changes (including the construction of a major freeway), the barrio began to lose its appeal.

The land where the park now stands was once slated to become a highway patrol station, but local Chicanos put a stop to that and had the government create the park instead. Today, the park is home to numerous murals telling the story of Chicanos from Pre-Colombian times to the present, as well as the location for Chicano Park Day — a free celebration featuring music, art, food, cars, vendors, and more that is held in April.

Where will you go to San Diego with your kids?

GettyImages-614268096 copy.jpg
With one of the largest collections of Mexican art in the country, Chicago's National Museum of Mexican Art is worth a lengthy visit © Jeff Greenberg / Getty Images

National Museum of Mexican Art – Chicago

Located in the predominantly Mexican Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, the National Museum of Mexican Art is one of the top art museums in the nation spotlighting the work of Mexican and Chicano artists from Mesoamerica to the present.

You’ll have to spend a few hours (if not days) to take it all in; the artifacts from Michoacan, the posters of the Chicano Movement, the classic paintings and contemporary photography by Mexican and Mexican-American artists. Moreover, the museum offers learning opportunities for families, including a bilingual summer camp, weekend and after-school art programs, workshops and more.

Chicago is a great city to take your kids

Balmy Alley in San Francisco, California, USA.
Balmy Alley in the heart of San Francisco's The Mission © Enrique Moran / 500px

Calle 24 Latino Cultural District – San Francisco

While a trip to San Francisco’s Mission District would in and of itself provide a great education on Latinx culture, if you’re short on time, head straight to the Calle 24 sector. This 12-city-block-wide slice of the Mission is run by an all-volunteer group that aim to preserve the rich, cultural Latinx heritage of the area by advocating for local Latinx small businesses and speaking out against gentrification. After take them to La Espiga De Oro for a famous Mission burrito.

Take a tour of the area and you’ll run into several notable spaces like Cafe La Boheme (a Palestinian-founded cafe and now an artistic hub for Central American immigrants), the Brava Theatre (a company promoting theatrical works by women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA community) and Galeria La Raza (an art gallery and event space for workshops, poetry readings, and more).

It’s also home to Acion Latina (a nonprofit showcasing Latinx performing, literary and visual arts), plenty of panaderías (Latinx bakeries), restaurants (with cuisine from Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and more), parks, shops and vibrant murals.

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This article was first published September 2019 and updated September 2022

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