10 Ways to Experience Little Havana in One Epic Day

Along Little Havana’s Calle Ocho and beyond, you’ll discover incredible Cuban cuisine, artwork, music, and entertainment. Whether you’re visiting from Nebraska, New York or maybe just North Miami, check out our guide on how to have the most amazing day ever en la pequeña Habana.

Morning

Breakfast and a Cafecito 

First you’ll want to fuel up for the day. That, of course, means sitting down at one of the many Cuban establishments in Little Havana. You’ll find buttery tostadas, scrambled eggs, croquetas, pastelitos, and strong cafe Cubano at places like the ever-popular Versailles, or the slightly lesser-known El Exquisito.

Observe Cuban Culture 

Playing dominos is a common Cuban pastime, and the tradition is alive and well at Maximo Gomez Park. Also known as Domino Park, folks gather at this public space daily to chat with friends, smoke cigars, and of course, play some bones. While it tends to be mainly older Cuban men, anyone who knows how to play is welcome to the tables.

Walk Among The Stars 

It might not be Hollywood, but Little Havana has its own Walk Of Fame. It’s here that you’ll find sidewalk tributes to many Latin notables including singers like Gloria Estefan and the unforgettable Celia Cruz, plus baseball player Sammy Sosa, and telenovela sensation Thalia.

 

cubaochocourtyard

Drop In For An Art History Lesson

Once you’ve got your fill on the street, your next stop should be the Cubaocho Museum, an art space that’s free and open to the public. While Little Havana has its share of art galleries (more on that in a bit), this is the only space in which you’ll find the works of important Cuban artists dating all the way back to the 1800s and all the way up to the Castro revolution. They’ve also got some contemporary works on display, but it’s the old masters that really bring folks in. You might also want to return in the evening as this is also a performing arts center where plenty of incredible music can be heard.

Afternoon

Grab Nicaraguan or Honduran Food for Lunch

At lunchtime, venture away from the inclination to grab more Cuban cuisine and instead, explore the foods of some of the other large populations of Latin Americans living in Little Havana: Nicaraguans and Hondurans. For Nicaraguan food,  head to any of the local fritangas like Pinolandia or Yambo. Gallo pinto, queso frito, and carne asada are all a must. If you’d prefer to dine on some authentic Honduran cuisine, hit up Los Paisanos or El Gallito, where you’ll find baleadas just like your mama used to make.

Catch A Ball Game or an Indie Flick

There are plenty of ways to spend an afternoon, but depending on what interests you , two great options are either going to see a Marlins baseball game or watching a movie at the historic Tower Theater. Currently run by Miami Dade College, the Tower Theater is a cultural neighborhood landmark dating back to 1926. These days, you’ll find plenty of independent movies (many of which are either in Spanish or subtitled in Spanish) to experience the theater’s splendor. But if you’re a sports fan, or prefer to grab a few beers and a hot dog with your entertainment, Marlins Park is where it’s at.

Pro-tip: Keep your eyes on the mega-fountain after a homerun.

 

The ice cream boutique is located on Calle Ocho in Little Havana and features unique flavors. Photo: Tomas Loewy
The ice cream boutique is located on Calle Ocho in Little Havana and features unique flavors. Photo: Tomas Loewy

Late Afternoon Pick-Me-Up 

After all the fun and excitement, you’ll want to stop by the Azucar Ice Cream Shop for a quick sugar rush. Azucar is notable for bringing interesting, latin-inspired flavors to ice cream, such as platano maduro (sweet plantain), guava, mamey, and cuatro leches (four milks cake).

Evening

Gallery Hop For Viernes Culturales 

If you happen to be in town on the last Friday of the month, you can stick around to check out Viernes Culturales, a neighborhood art walk and celebration. The local art galleries open their doors late to visitors while vendors and performers take to the street to show off for the public.

Mojitos at Ball & Chain.
Mojitos at Ball & Chain.

Dinner And Drinks 

If you’ve managed to work up enough of an appetite for dinner, start your visit to Ball & Chain with an order of Mexican-style roasted corn and queso frito, and then move onto the B&C roasted pork tacos, or the sliders (steak or chicken). Try the Calle Ocho Old Fashioned with tobacco infused bitters, or perhaps a Miami Mule, a refreshing mix of Ketel One and ginger beer as the musicians start up for the evening.

Late Night

 Hoy como Ayer. Foto: Pedro Portal.

Hoy como Ayer. Photo: Pedro Portal.

Dancing Like There’s No Tomorrow 

No evening in Little Havana is complete without hitting the dance floor. The best place for this? Hoy Como Ayer, where Latin performers pack the house almost every night. On the docket in the weeks to come are Ana Maria Perera, Grammy award-winning Amaury Gutierrez, and local favorites The Spam Allstars.

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