Miami, Florida is a premier destination for those who like to vacation and enjoy sun and fun during their downtime. For these same reasons, many also make Miami their permanent home. However, you simply can’t visit or live in Miami without checking out the lively, vibrant Cuban heart of Miami, known affectionately as Little Havana.
Aside from being one of the best places to live in Miami, this neighborhood offers so much to do. In Little Havana, centered around Southwest Eighth Street, you’ll find all kinds of Latin-inspired restaurants, cigar shops, art galleries, rum bars, fruit stands, bakeries, music venues, and more.
The street itself is a colorful display of art and murals, with classic Cuban heritage motifs depicted in mosaic tiles near Domino Park, and Cuban legends decorating walls pretty much everywhere.
So, if you’re new to Miami and are wondering what to do in Little Havana, keep reading and we’ll tell you what to do in this cute neighborhood!
Experience the Walk of Fame at Calle Ocho
First stop is Calle Ocho. It means ‘eighth street’ and it’s the main strip in Little Havana. It offers the largest celebration of Latin culture not just in a Little Havana tour, but in the whole of the United States.
One of the many attractions of Calle Ocho is the walk of fame. Marked with pink marble stars, you might call it the Cuban version of Hollywood’s walk of fame. It features famous Latin American celebrities, including Celia Cruz––who was the first to be featured––as well as soap stars and singers from 1987 to date.
See the Roosters at Calle Ocho
Another Miami attraction along Calle Ocho are the Instagram-worthy Roosters. Painted in bright multi-colors, the Roosters are designed in deference to Cuban influence, Cuban culture and folklore. They represent power and strength. Once you see those Roosters along the Calle Ocho walk, you know that you’re officially in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood!
See the Cuban Memorial Boulevard
This attraction is a great way to learn a little bit more about Cuban history. The Cuban Memorial features monuments and statues of heroes, as well as the always-lit flame memorial. The statues and monuments refer to the Bay of Pigs invasion as well and it’s definitely a sight you won’t want to skip.
Visit El Titan de Bronze
Cuban cigars are famous across the world. When visiting Little Havana in Miami, you can watch Cuban cigars being made by cigar rollers live at El Titan de Bronze, which is the most popular of the family-owned Cuban cigar shops.
Watch while the masters work their magic, with tobacco leaves hanging overhead and their tools of the trade displayed on a table, including razor blades for slicing, and water for sealing the rolled joints.
Take a food tour
If you’re interested in touring the city with a proper tour guide, you can take a food tour of Little Havana. Talk about a foodie’s dream tour! You will be taken through rich Cuban history while filling your heart, soul, and stomach all at the same time. Some stops on Miami culinary tours include a fresh juice at Los Pinarenos Fruteria, a meal at El Pub, and a stint at Azucar Ice cream Company for something sweet to top the tour off. You’ll visit all the best restaurants in Little Havana on this tour, which will leave your mouth watering.
Visit the Fruit Market / Los Pinarenos
The oldest open-air market in Miami, Los Pinarenos is a family-owned fruit market. It offers fresh juices with rich Cuban flavor. Some juice specialties include a sweet sugar cane juice called Guarapo, and of course, you can’t leave without trying a Mamey apple milkshake.
Visit Ball and Chain
As one of the most famous restaurants in Little Havana, Ball and Chain is one-of-a-kind. It features new wave drinks and classic options designed by a highly-acclaimed mixologist.
Ball and Chain provides 80 hours of live entertainment every week under its pineapple-capped stage, typically jazz music, or even Pachanga on special days. The restaurant also offers a variety of snacks and meals, although Ball and Chain is most famous for its bar.
Visit the Versailles Restaurant
A must-try eatery in Little Havana, Versailles is considered to be the most famous Cuban restaurant in the world. It offers authentic Cuban food with flavors that instantly transport you right to Cuba. The design of the restaurant is inspired by the Palace of Versailles in France and includes a La Ventinita, a bakery, and the restaurant itself.
Visit Café La Trova
Café La Trova is a famous restaurant partly because of the taste and quality of the food, and partly because of the people who run it. It’s owned and operated by the James Beard Award-winning chef named Michelle Bernstein, her hubby David Martinez––notable chef and restaurateur––and of course, acclaimed cantinero Julio Cabrera.
A must-have dish at Café La Trova is Bernstein’s croquetas, paired with a classic mojito. The entire experience is merely enhanced by the live music. It’s definitely a must-visit kind of place when you’re soaking in the Little Havana vibes!
For coffee lovers, this place is a dream come true. Cuban coffee is an experience in itself and you won’t be disappointed by a pit stop at Ventinita.
Cuban coffee is called Café Cubano, Caffecito, or Café con leche depending who you ask, and includes an espresso shot sweetened with whipped brown sugar and then topped with a thick layer of sweet cream. Suffice to say, you can’t really declare that you’ve been to Little Havana without trying this decadent coffee first.
Visit Azucar Ice Ceam Company
Known for its unique Cuban ice creams, boasting Cuba-inspired flavors like guava and cream cheese, sweet plantain, eggnog, rum-spiked, and more, you will be utterly charmed by the sweet treats to be found behind the doors of the Azucar Ice Cream Company.
Visit the Visitor’s Centre
It might sound like a no-brainer, but why not? The visitor’s center is essentially a souvenir shop that features everything from magnets and mugs, to T-shirts, to items wholly unique to Little Havana, including miniaturized roosters, dominoes, and more. The best part: the free shot of Cuban coffee that’s given to visitors. Who’s up for a little souvenir shopping?
Watch a movie at the Tower Theater
The Tower Theater was initially the only movie theater to show English language movies with Spanish subtitles in the whole of Miami. However, now it serves as a local theater that shows foreign language movies from Cuba, other Latin American countries, and even small-scale Miami filmmakers.
Shop at La Casa de los Trucos
La Casa de los Trucos is a costume shop that features a wide range of not just costumes, but also gags and joke accessories. You can get anything from pet and cartoon costumes, to movie and rockstar costumes. It sees its highest inflow of customers during the Halloween season, so you may have to wait in line for a bit if you opt to visit during that time frame.
Watch a live performance at Cubaocho
Cubaocho is a community center and art gallery that’s known for its live performances. Although music concerts and art festivals are the main events at Cubaocho, it also sometimes arranges special film screenings, book launches, drama performances, and more. The ambiance of the place is enhanced with Cuban artwork featured on the walls and a cigar shop and bar.
Explore art at Futurama
Futurama is the art spot to be in Little Havana. It includes a workspace, Cuban art gallery, and a studio all in one location. The exclusive displayed works that are featured are by hand-picked Cuban artists. Futurama is open on weekdays as well as during Viernes Culturales.
Sight-see at Domino Park / Máximo Gómez Park
Characterized by its clacking domino tiles, the Máximo Gómez park is a hub of Spanish social life. Retired Cubans have gathered in the park to drink coffee, play dominoes, and just hang out since 1976. This is also why it’s nicknamed the Domino Park, since people gather there to play dominoes.
Hangout at Marlins Park
Marlins Park is unique because of its architecture. It looks like a space station from the outside, yet looks like a normal park and stadium on the inside. It offers a fun family experience in Little Havana, as you watch a game and gorge yourself on good food from the stalls like burgers, skewers, tacos, obies, and more.
Watch Viernes Culturales
Viernes Culturales mixes art with fun and allows you to experience the best of both worlds. It’s an event that occurs on the third Friday of every month and has done so for the last 19 years. Viernes Culturales is organized along Calle Ocho, between 13th and 17th avenues.
The biggest featured attraction of Viernes Culturales is the live music and dancing, the art exhibits seen through gallery walks, as well as Pachanga, an old-school Latin genre of music marked by mischievous lyrics, plenty of beats, and a lively and festive style of dancing.
Go dancing at Hoy Como Ayer
Speaking of dancing, Hoy Como Ayer is an exclusive club that celebrates Latin music to the fullest. It combines the past with the present by fusing Salsa dancing and classic Cuban dance and music with Latin funk. If dancing is your thing, you won’t want to miss it!
In Little Havana, things to do nearby are everywhere. Whether you go left or go right, you’re sure to find something fun and intriguing to catch your attention!
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