It’s October 30, which means you’ve only got one day left to set up your altar and start preparing to celebrate those of your loved ones who have passed to el mas allá. We also know that Day of the Dead could also mean throwing a tequila drenched party which ends in a skull make-up smudged-Catrina costume mess, and you know what, we we won’t judge you. Whether you’re with la familia, your community or friends, you will need a few essentials to make sure you celebrate this ancient holiday in all its vibrant and rich glory. Instead of letting you run around at the last minute, we’ve gathered some of the best shops and bakeries in your city where you can pick up sugar skulls, pan de muerto, incense, and anything else you’d need to properly honor your dearly departed.
Nestled within the historic Olvera Street in Los Angeles is Casa Bernal, a shop that holds almost as much tradition as its neighborhood. Casa Bernal has been owned by the Bernal family for over 60 years, and has offered L.A. the best one stop shop for regional clothing, folk art and all sorts of traditional knick-knacks. Need a sarape, charro suit and a paper mache skull? Casa Bernal has got you covered.
Lucy’s panaderia in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East L.A. has been serving up the best Mexican breads and pastries for over 40 years. And if the locals have kept them around, you know that their stuff is good. Pick up a batch of their seasonal Pan de Muerto for Day of the Dead and come back in January for the Roscas de Reyes. They are currently taking orders for Pan de muerto de canela and guayaba. Hallelujah!
Casa Bonampak is known for their extensive selection of papel picado which is the perfect decoration for an altar or a festive party. You can choose from dozens of varieties of Dia de Muertos banners and all sorts of sugar skulls for decor. You can also shop from their stock of paper marigolds, to complete your calavera look for the night.
You’re going to want to feed your visiting spirits from the dead and your toasty friends alike, so La Reyna Bakery in the Mission is your spot to hit up. La panaderia Mexicana is getting ready for Day of the Dead with constant fresh batches of pan de muerto, along with other Mexican pastries and treats like conchas, pan de huevo, pumpkin empanadas(um, yes) and more!
Panaderia Azucar is affordable and delicious and that’s all we really need from a bakery. They bake over 70 assortments of Mexican pastries daily along with tortas, tamales, cakes and cupcakes. They are celebrating the holidays along with us, making sugar skulls, pan de muerto and tres reyes bread.
This candy and piñata store traffics in nostalgia, offering Mexican dulces you don’t usually see in the States (think chili and tamarindo sweets, marshmallows in every color imaginable, peach-flavored ‘Pollito Asado’ lollipops, etc.) in addition to hundreds of artisan hand-made piñatas. They usually stock up on holiday themed supplies, so you can pick up some papel picado, sugar skulls and pinatas if you’re feeling frisky.
NEW YORK CITY
La Sirena has been showcasing the beautiful, unique handicrafts of Mexican folk artists and designers well over 2,000 miles from the fabled border. Long time friends of Remezcla, La Sirena is NYC’s go-to spot for all traditional Mexican goodies and they are always encouraging and fostering the Mexican and Latino community. They offer all the goodies you need, from clothing to lucha libre masks, calavera shotglasses, sugar skulls, papel picado, paper flowers and beyond!
Fuego718 is a folkloric-knickknack-hoarder’s dream come true and one walk inside and you’ll understand why. The shop is run by a Spaniard who has traveled the world, and has stocked his shop with homage to all Latin cultures, specifically Mexican. Magnets, pillows, shotglasses and photo frames of Frida Kahlo aside, you can find your pick in sugar skulls, marigolds and various Day of the Dead decorations. Don’t pass by this hidden gem in Williamsburg!
Bonus: Lopez Bakery in South Slope is a Mexican brunch spot with a bakery, so you can buy your dead bread and then head back after your tequila mess for some chilaquiles to cure your soul.
The Mexican population may not be very high in Miami, but that doesn’t mean that the rest of us don’t like to celebrate just the same(Cinco de Mayo knows no bounds.) Although traditional Mexican folk art stores seem to be few and far between, you can always hit up your local party supplies shops for vibrant banners and sugar skull motifs. The way to put your traditional spin on Dia de los Muertos is by serving some authentic Mexican breads and pastries, and by recommendation of Mexicanos en Miami, we suggest La Migaja Mexican bakery. They are one of the few spots nestled within the hundreds of other Latin American bakeries, and they serve just what you need: fresh baked pan de muerto and sugar skulls.