Rich history, exceptional art, vibrant graffiti, live music that excites people, and real Cuban food galore in Miami's Little Havana district. Vibrant paintings, memorials to past and present warriors, elderly men enjoying dominoes while discussing politics, and smoking rollers hard at work among the ever-present fragrance of Cuban coffee pervade everything in Little Havana. This vibrant area, rich in history and flair, is a must-see on any trip to Miami and carries much of a Cafecito-fueled wallop to return to over and over again.
Little Havana is a neighborhood with something for all, whether visitors are searching for a fun night out away from the hordes of Miami Beach or want to jazz up their Miami trip with some cultural events. One thing is certain there will never be a dull moment here and visitors will fall in love with Cuba here in Miami.
Let's Explore Some Cultural Landmarks
Little Havana has quite a number of cultural events and landmarks which offers the opportunity to learn about a new culture while traveling.
Miami-Dade College's Tower Theater
Built in 1926 and converted into an Art Deco treasure in 1931 for the Wometco Cinema network, this historic theatre was a famous neighborhood theatre with Saturday morning special screenings. When Cuban refugees first arrived in Little Havana in 1959, they were delighted with the theater's gleaming steel spire. Tower Theatre was the very first theatre in Miami to offer Spanish subtitles in the early 1960s. The theatre is now owned by the City of Miami and operated as an art-house by Miami Dade College, specializing in foreign language movies having English subtitles and English-language movies with Spanish subtitles.
Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center
Visitors to Little Havana should pay a visit to the Cubaocho Museum & Performing Arts Center, an acclaimed museum and bustling gathering area where art, live musical performances, and dancing coexist. From the 1800s to 1956, the museum houses a rare and remarkable collection of Cuban art. The Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center exemplify the authenticity that visitors to Little Havana seek to find.
Calle Ocho, a bustling strip dotted with eateries, bakeries, fruit vendors, clubs, cigar shops, and music and art facilities influenced by the Latin culture, is the epicenter of the Cuban community in Miami. Frescoes and other works of art adorn the street, the majority of which reflect Cuban icons. Thousands and thousands of Cubans arrived in Miami shortly after Fidel Castro seized office in Cuba in January 1959 and first lived in this neighborhood, which became a kind of "Plymouth Rock" for the newcomers. More than 28 enterprises along with Southwestern 5th and 15th streets had changed hands between Anglo to Cuban control by 1962.
The Walk Of Fame
The Calle Ocho Walk of Fame also called the Latino Walk of Fame and Hispanic Broadway stretches from 12th to 17th avenues and features pink marble stars set on the sidewalk. It was sanctioned by the town in 1988 as a distinct walk of fame particularly commemorating Latinx superstars. Calle Ocho's Walk of Fame, like the Hollywood Walk of Fame in LA, honors solely Latinx musicians and entertainers with connections to South Florida. Visitors can pose for photos with celebrities who have shaped the community, like Celia Cruz star was the first to be added in 1987, as she was the diva of Cuban salsa music and dancing.
Viernes Culturales, or Cultural Fridays, is a once-a-month celebration of local art, music, and heritage that sweeps across Little Havana on the third Friday of every month. Calle Ocho transforms into a massive Pachanga, or street celebration, from 13th to 17th streets, with local businesses transforming into galleries showcasing domestic and global artists. Meanwhile, food vendors, craft merchants, and music stages expand to finish the evening with the finest of Little Havana across the avenue. If tourists are in the vicinity on the third Friday of any month, Viernes Culturales is the perfect spot to be not just in Little Havana but across Miami.
Maximo Gomez Park
Participating in or watching an outdoor game of domino is among the most Miami activities visitors can do. Maximo Gomez Park, popularly known as Domino Park, is located just around the street from the Walk of Fame. It has been a gathering place for neighborhood Cubans and now all local residents for over 35 years, and everyone is welcome. Anyone who wants to sit there and watch for a while can do so on the park's domino-decorated tiled pathways and chairs.
Let's Eat Up
The authentic Cuban cuisine is among Little Havana's main draws. Warm croquetas, savory pastries, and the Cuban espresso that drives Miami can be found at one of the many "ventanitas," or walk-up storefronts. Versailles Restaurant, which has been providing Cuban food and coffee since 1971, is among the most famous. It's a great place to meet locals who congregate outside at the walk-up booths and taste Cuban dishes that are worth finding.
Chef-driven establishments such as Café La Trova, owned by Miami's famed Chef Michelle Bernstein, and the newly redesigned Sala'o, which serves inventive meals and has a great cocktail menu, can also be found in Little Havana. Casa Tiki, a tropical cabana pub with a Latino spin on Polynesian culture, is a newbie in the neighborhood. During happy hour, sit at the thatched-roof lounge and sip exotic cocktails from interesting cups; check the program for upcoming events such as comedy acts. Finish the night with Azucar Ice Cream Shop, a small artisanal business specializing in Cuban flavors.
Little Havana is a Miami neighborhood that is so much more. This vibrant neighborhood is packed with music, art, color, and cuisine and is a must-see for visitors to Miami.