This popular neighborhood in Miami keeps the Cuban culture alive for being one of the local communities that takes in generations of dissidents, whose contributions to the development of our city can be noted in the professional, political and cultural spheres as well as in the aromas and flavors of the Cuban traditional food. The Latino culture in this area, inhabited by more than 90,000 people, is deeply ingrained. Most of Little Havana’s locals are Cuban or of Cuban descent, yet we may find people coming from Colombia or the Dominican Republic.
Along the emblematic Calle Ocho you can experience the Caribbean flavor and rhythm. Here you can find the main stores and restaurants. Nightlife venues and tobacco factories are part of the many attractions Little Havanna has to offer.
The tour through Calle Ocho must be done on foot in order to not only discover its spots but also its people, each carrying within the essence of Cuba; the best thing about touring on foot is the possibility of having a word with the locals, which lends itself to a unique and, certainly, very enriching experience. The most interesting thing about Little Havana’s main drag is that it has its own Walk of Fame honoring distinguished Cuban artists, including Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, among others, who pursued career and life opportunities outside Cuba.
On the last Friday of each month Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays) take place, where art, food and music blend together to bring its attendees a exceptional and unparalleled night. Live music, dance, poetry, stage plays, cinema (in the Tower Theater) and historical tours throughout the city are some of the activities of this open-air festival that preserve the Cuban culture in the area. If you want to play some dominoes then the Máximo Gómez Park, better known as Domino Park, is the best spot, one where the past and future of Cuba is daily discussed by the denizens of Little Havana.
Within the range of flavors Little Havana has to offer you may find typical dishes of the island such as ropa vieja (Spanish for “old clothes”), ripe plantains, moros (similar to rice and beans), palomilla a butterflied beefsteak, masita de puerco (basically fried pork chunks), vaca frita, the Cuban sandwich, tostones, which are twice-fried plantain slices, the mojito a traditional Cuban highball and the cortadito, a characteristic espresso coffee shot of the locality. And for hotter days, the guarapo is the best option: a refreshing drink elaborated with sugar cane juice. Little Havana is one of the quaintest parts in the area and the personality of its people makes it one of the most vibrating places in Miami.
You can find Little Havana in Zone 4 of Miami Smith’s map. It is delimited as follows.
North: Dolphin Expressway
South: The Roads, Shenandoah
West: West Flagler