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9 Places Where You Can Honor Latinx History in the US


young Latinx people listen to music
Hallo, mein Name ist Alison!

Alison is a Chilean-American writer and content director from California living in Mexico City. As a former chef in professional kitchens from Ireland to Thailand, her passion is learning about culture through food, drink, and language. Between meals, she plays fútbol, rides Ecobici, and co-runs a consulting business focused on impact for NGOs and social enterprises.

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Hi, I'm Alison!

Alison is a Chilean-American writer and content director from California living in Mexico City. As a former chef in professional kitchens from Ireland to Thailand, her passion is learning about culture through food, drink, and language. Between meals, she plays fútbol, rides Ecobici, and co-runs a consulting business focused on impact for NGOs and social enterprises.

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In 2021 the Latinx population in the US reached 62.5 million, meaning that people of Latin American descent—from Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Guatemalans to Colombians, Cubans, and Dominicans—make up close to 20 percent of the United States’ population. Starting on September 15, many Latinx people in the US observe National Hispanic (or Latinx) Heritage Month. Here are nine places around the country where you can honor Latinx history in person.

Barrio Logan, San Diego, California

The entrance sign to Barrio Logan in San Diego.
Barrio Logan is one of San Diego's most historic Mexican neighborhoods. | Bildquelle: Roaming Panda Photos / Shutterstock

Home to much Mexican culture, from tacos to murals and more.

Literally bordering Mexico, the city of San Diego has plenty of rich Latinx culture to enjoy that goes beyond its beautiful beaches. Enter: Barrio Logan, a Mexican American neighborhood with residences dating back to the early 1900s. Today, it’s the epicenter of a vibrant food and arts scene. Tour Chicano Park to see stunning street art related to Chicano history, as well as visit craft breweries and enjoy local cuisine. (The park sits beneath the Coronado Bridge and has the largest collection of murals in the country.) For something stronger, try a tacos and tequila tour of Old Town, but certainly don’t skip the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park for the artistic and historical context of Latinx communities in San Diego.

Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA), Long Beach, California

A sculpture outside the Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) building.
MOLAA is at the forefront of Latinx art. | Bildquelle: christinebraganza / Tripadvisor

A must for people interested in contemporary Latinx art.

Want to see Latinx history in the making? The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in Long Beach is the nation’s only museum dedicated to contemporary Latin American and Latinx artists. Regular events include art workshops, pop-up vendors, film screenings, author and illustrator meet-and-greets, and Latin dance classes for both children and adults, while a strong partnership with Long Beach Community Colleges ensures a steady stream of young Latinx talent on display. Check the MOLAA calendar for upcoming exhibits and events.

Schomburg Center, New York City, New York

A photo about Black culture from the Schomburg Center.
The Schomburg Center is a hub of all things Black culture in Harlem. | Bildquelle: hrobinson1114 / Tripadvisor

Learn about Latin America's significant Black history ... and present.

Though terms such as Hispanic and Latinx should be inclusive of Black populations—research shows that every country in Latin America has significant Black communities—the word AfroLatino/a/x/e (afrodescendiente in Spanish) was adopted in response to their continued erasure.

At the Schomburg Center, learn about Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, a historian and activist of Puerto Rican nationality and African/German descent. An important figure in the Harlem Renaissance, he raised awareness of unsung AfroLatino and African American societal contributions, with his research forming the foundation of the Schomburg Center at the New York Public Library (NYPL) branch in Harlem, NYC. And after a day of learning about the culture, why not get hands on by taking a Latin American dance class?

Little Havana, Miami, Florida

A colorful building exterior in Little Havana in the heart of Miami, Florida.
Lively Little Havana is the epicenter of Cuban culture in Miami. | Bildquelle: Kamira / Shutterstock

A staple of the US' Latinx scene.

Another Latin American country with a large AfroLatinx population is Cuba. After the Cuban Revolution began in 1953, over half a million Cubans were exiled or migrated to Miami within two decades. Today, 2.3 million people of Cuban descent live in the United States.

To get a feel for Cuban culture in Miami, take a walking tour of Little Havana (which is, incidentally, the neighborhood to visit if you’re into drinks and dancing). There, try local eateries and sample authentic Cuban food and snacks such as empanadas, flan ice cream, croquetas, guava pastelitos, and Cuban coffee (an espresso shot with whipped sugar).

Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio

Paintings inside the Butler Institute of American Art.
Look for the portraits of Toussaint Louverture at the Butler Institute of American Art. | Bildquelle: Jeffrey F / Tripadvisor

For a glimpse into Haiti's revolutionary past.

Haiti, the Caribbean nation that shares an island with the Dominican Republic, is often erased from discussions of Latin America. (Like Brazil, it’s one of a few Latin American countries with a non-Spanish colonial past.) However, the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804)—a so-called “slave revolt” led by Toussaint Louverture, a formerly enslaved Black general—established Haiti as the first independent nation of Latin America. Fast forward to 1938, and American artist Jacob Lawrence painted a series depicting Louverture’s heroic life, which is now on display in the Butler Institute of American Art, Ohio.

Editor's note: Travel to Haiti is not recommended due to serious safety risks in this area. Please follow your government's guidance and travel advisories.

National Mall and Memorial Parks (NAMA), Washington DC

Friends enjoy the views from the National Mall and Memorial Parks (NAMA) in Washington.
Washington DC's National Mall is home to statues of many Latin American liberators. | Bildquelle: Lee Hoagland / Viator

Pay homage to Latin American liberators.

During the Wars of Independence (1804–1826), liberators across Latin America successfully freed most of the Spanish colonies in the Americas to establish independent nations, except for Cuba and Puerto Rico. The National Mall in the US capital honors such liberators as José Gervasio Artigas, Simón Bolivar, José de San Martín, and Benito Juárez by displaying statues gifted from Uruguay, Venezuela, Argentina, and Mexico, respectively. The nearby Organization of American States (OAS) complex also features the Art Museum of the Americas, which has been dedicated to modern Latin American and Caribbean art since 1976.

Pilsen, Chicago, Illinois

A girl dressed in traditional clothes, smiling for Mexican Independence Day in Pilsen, Chicago.
A young girl celebrates Mexican Independence Day in Pilsen, Chicago. | Bildquelle: Roberto Galan / Shutterstock

Chicago has long been a hub for Mexican-born people in particular.

Chicago has 670,000 Mexican-born residents, a large majority of which live in the southwest side of downtown Chicago, in a neighborhood called Pilsen. Originally a Czech neighborhood—perhaps the name gave it away?—a University of Illinois expansion caused a major relocation to this neighborhood and the area has since become a Mexican culinary center. Tour the Pilsen street art or immerse yourself in cuisine from the Mexican state of Oaxaca by taking a Mexican mole sauce workshop.

The Alamo, San Antonio, Texas

The Alamo in San Antonio, Texas.
The Alamo is one of San Antonio's most unforgettable sites. | Bildquelle: f11photo / Shutterstock

An unforgettable site with a fascinating past.

Remember the Alamo? This historic site in downtown San Antonio was founded by Catholic missionaries from Spain in the early 1700s and—whether you opt for a haunted ghost walk or a hop-on hop-off circuittouring the Alamo is a must-do for history buffs.

Don’t remember the Alamo? Let’s back up a little. It became a fort during the Texas Revolution (1835–1836), when the Mexican army fought for control against a rebel force of Anglo colonists and Tejanos (Texas Latinos). During the infamous Battle of the Alamo in 1836, the secessionist fighters succeeded in breaking from Mexico to establish the Republic of Texas, which would eventually be annexed by the United States. For Mexican Americans, this is a familiar story of how the redrawing of borders led to complexities of national identity.

Old San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico

People walk the streets in Old San Juan in the US.
Old San Juan is one of the most historic places in the US. | Bildquelle: Brian Feulner / Viator

One of the top places to learn about Latinx heritage and culture.

Though Puerto Rico is not a US state, boricuas are US citizens. To learn about boricua history, head to the colonial district of Old San Juan. The neighborhood has public plazas, churches, citadels, castles, and the governor’s palace, La Fortaleza, while historical structures built under Spanish rule have been the focus of major preservation efforts. Today, Old San Juan—aka la ciudad amurallada, or “the walled city”—features museums, shops, open-air cafés, restaurants, and colorful homes, so immerse yourself in the street scene on an urban art and cooking tour.

Explore more Latinx culture and history

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