Little Havana in Miami is a very traditional Cuban neighborhood with an expressive Latin culture. Not long ago the place was not really a tourist district. Nowadays Little Havana is attracting more and more visitors. The Cuban culture, the food, festivals and the environment really makes you feel like you are in Cuba. Keep reading this article to know about amazing things to do in Little Havana, including tips of great places to eat and have an authentic Cuban coffee!
The place began to receive Cubans in the 60s and 70s, most of them due to the exodus caused by Fidel Castro’s regime. It is estimated that more than 500,000 Cubans fled to Miami in just the first 15 years of Fidel’s dictatorial government. Not so long ago, Little Havana did not have the prominence it has today in the city’s tourist itinerary. The neighborhood attracts more and more tourists each year in search of Latin culture, gastronomy, the famous Cuban coffee, cigars, typical festivals and other attractions.
Spanish is the predominant language in Little Havana. The most important avenue is called Calle Ocho (8th Street), where Little Havana’s main attractions are located, such as shops, cigars, bars, restaurants and art galleries. Below we list the best places to visit and things to do in Little Havana:
Things to do in Little Havana
1. Versailles Restaurant
Versailles Restaurant Miami is a typical Cuban place considered the most famous Cuban restaurant in the world. Versailles opened it’s doors in the 70s and quickly became a meeting point for exiled Cubans. Gradually, the place gained international notoriety, starting to receive celebrities from all over the world. Today it is flooded by tourists and the queues can get very long (be patient). The most interesting thing is that the restaurant continues to be visited by Cuban families and old Cuban people from long ago when the place was open and Little Havana was just a small local neighborhood. Despite being a very touristic area nowadays, the place has not lost its authenticity. Find out more about Restaurant Versailles and Little Havana by visiting the official website: https://www.versaillesrestaurant.com/
2. Azucar Ice Cream Company
After having a great meal at Versailles, have an ice cream at Azucar, famous for typical Cuban flavors. They are handmade ice creams with natural ingredients and inspired by Latin culture. Some are unconventional: Arroz Doce (sweet rice), Café con Leche (coffe with milk) and Guava (guava)! There are also Sugar Free options. More about Azucar Ice Cream
3. Tower Theatre Little Havana
The Tower Theater cinema is a true historical jewel and with preserved Art Deco architecture. It is located on Calle 8 right next to Maximo Gomez Park (next topic). It is a relic in Miami and one of the oldest symbols of the city. The theater was built in 1926 and gained prominence in the 1960s, promoting Cuban culture in Florida. In 1984 it was closed and thanks to Miami Dade College and the Department of Cultural Affairs of Miami-Dade County, the place was reopened to the public. Today the thatre is dedicated to foreign and independent films, outside the Hollywood circuit. Something very different and alternative! It’s like going back in time and watching a movie in an old theater. The theatre is small, but comfortable and, most important, very affordable. Find out more on the official website: https://towertheatermiami.com/
4. Maximo Gomez Park (The Domino Park)
It is in Parque Maximo Gomez that perhaps Cuban culture is most expressive. It is one of the main (if not the most important) things to do in Little Havana. The place is also known as Domino Park and is the spot where Cuban veterans gather to play domino. It is very interesting to watch the Cuban old timers get together to play really serious domino matches and talking about old stories. Gives you a kind of nostalgic feeling of the Old Cuba, from many years ago. It is like old cuba stuck in time.
At Maximo Gomez Park there is also an artistic mural made by Oscar Thomas with images of the presidents of the United States. The park was named after General Máximo Gómez, a Cuban revolutionary. More about Maximo Gomez Park – The Domino Park.
5. Calle Ocho Walk of Fame
Like the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame, Little Havana also has its own Latin Walk of Fame, located just outside Maximo Gomez Park. The sidewalk star collection is also known as Calle Ocho Walk of Fame and Hispanic Hollywood. The idea of the project was to honor some important Latin stars who contributed to the community and the traditions of the Cuban and Latin people in South Florida. The first star to have a name on the sidewalk was Celia Cruz in 1987. Celia Cruz was a famous salsa dancer.
6. Cuban cigar shops
Calle Ocho in Little Havana is also known as America’s Cigar Center. Most of the world’s premium cigars can be found in the different cigar shops on the avenue. Some stores allow you to see how they are produced and rolled up right in front of you. The most recognized store is the El Credito Cigar Factory, but there are many interesting stores to visit, even if you are not a cigar smoker: El Rey de los Habanos, El Titan de Bronze, Casa Felipe, Cigars from the Sosa Family, Cigars from the Art District and many others.
Watch the video below to see the cigar master El Credito making a cigar. Very interesting!
7. Viernes Culturales Little Havana
Viernes Culturales (cultural Fridays) is a popular festival in Little Havana, held on the last Friday of each month. The event takes place on Calle Ocho, between avenues 13 and 17, from 7 pm to 11 pm.
The festival brings a lot of culture, art and other typical exhibitions. Viernes Culturales expresses the multicultural diversity that South Florida offers. If you like art, domino games, cigar rolls or just love salsa dancing, don’t miss the festival. Find out more about the festival on the official website: http://viernesculturales.org/
Virtual Tour – Caminhe por Little Havana
Faça um tour virtual por Little Havana por meio das imagens abaixo. Arraste com o mouse para caminhar pela Calle Ocho: