From Traditional Celebrations to Live Mariachis, These Activities Will Get Everyone in the Día de los Muertos Spirit
Not to be confused with the neighboring Halloween, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican tradition that is thought to unite the living with the dead on the first of November each year. Most traditionally, families create ofrendas (offerings) to honor and welcome their departed loved ones by decorating stations full of their favorite treats and gifts. Widely celebrated in San Diego, we’re running through the best traditional and new-wave events the city has to offer for Day of the Dead celebrations!
Celebrate Dia de los Muertos at Casero Taqueria
@localemag Stop by November 2nd at Casero Taqueria in #carlsbad to try these specialty cocktails for #diadelosmuertos #cbad #sdfoodies #sddateideas #localemagazine #sandiego #northcounty #sandiegotacos ♬ Un Poco Loco (From “Coco”) – Natalia Andrea
Take a bite of true Mexican tradition at Carlsbad’s Casero Taqueria, where wood-fired flavors and time-honored recipes collide to make the perfect setting for a Día de los Muertos celebration. Stop by this buzzy Baja-inspired restaurant for specials like the Ofrenda cocktail crafted with jalapeño-infused tequila, agave, lime juice and activated charcoal and the Rajas con Crema made with flame-roasted poblano chiles, onions, grilled corn, and cream topped with seared Oaxaca cheese. It’s the perfect warm-up for your table before your delectable main course of tacos or burritos arrives. On Nov. 2, be sure to join in on their Día de los Muertos festivities by bringing your photo of a late family member to add to their communal ofrenda.
Local Insight: The special of the month for October is a California Burrito, loaded with grilled steak, crispy French fries, guacamole, Mexican cheeses and salsa fresca. To view Casero Taqueria’s full menu, click here!
Known for honoring Mexican heritage, tradition and historical importance, Old Town San Diego is the ideal place for Día de los Muertos festivities. The beloved park comes alive to celebrate the Day of the Dead with face painting, crafts, entertainment and food! The primary focus of the event will be on the altars honoring those who have passed, which are displayed at over 40 local businesses, museums and sites. This celebration takes place Oct. 29-30, an early celebration of the holiday’s November date.
Returning to its original home in downtown Oceanside, join the 21st annual Dia de los Muertos on Oct. 23 at Oceanside’s city hall. Not only will traditional altars and offerings be on display, you will also find a Por Siempre Car Club with the trunks of cars displaying unique, colorful ofrendas. If you missed your chance to set up an altar of your own, an on-site chalk cemetery will also be available to those who would like to create a memorial for a loved one on the day of.
The little ones love sweet things, and it’s time to have them create one of their own. Get your kiddos celebrating in the sweetest way possible with a Create It! course at the local San Diego library at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 18. The hour-long workshop will walk them through the creation of their very own sugar skull and is hosted by Normal Heights’ local gallery, Back from Tomboctou. This one-of-a-kind workshop is designed to hone in on fine motor skills, creativity and of course, fun!
Iconic skulls and cornhole come together as one for this unique modern day-meets-tradition event honoring Día de los Muertos. Dirty Bags Cornhole and South Bay Baggers cornhole group will be hosting the event on Saturday Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Vogue Tavern Chula Vista; the first game kicks off at 11 a.m. With the top prize valued at $1,200 for the winning A-bracket team, those tosses aren’t to be taken lightly!
No Día de los Muertos would ever be made complete without a little mariachi. Savor the lovely sounds of the San Diego Symphony honoring Latinx music and culture at The Rady Shell on Sunday, Oct. 30 at 4 p.m. Listen to Grammy award-winning Mariachi Los Camperos, accompanied by the Grupo Folclórico Chiquina Palafox dancers, for a night of lively music, colorful costumes and a whole lot of culture. Stay tuned for traditional Día de los Muertos food and drink specials as well!
Shop Decor + Gifts at Artelexia
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Getting its start at the La Jolla Open Aire Market, Artelexia is now a staple in the North Park neighborhood, offering Mexican gifts, jewelry, home decor and gourmet food sourced from women- and Latinx-owned small businesses. Their collection makes its way everywhere; from Mexican craft capitals to local merchants right here in Chula Vista, find Día de los Muertos decor right in your neighborhood! When you stumble upon the eye-catching Mexican-style mural, you’ll know you’re in the right place.
Jaclyn is a sunshine chasing San Diego native with an extensive writing background. When she isn’t word-smithing, you can find her playing beach volleyball, skating the boardwalk, or on a rooftop enjoying a drink in the sunshine with her pals.