If during your trip you want to discover the real Miami Little Havana in Downtown Miami, it is the perfect place to start. Miami’s Cubans are especially proud of this small neighborhood in southern Florida that represents its history, culture and lifestyle like no other in the United States. Spending a day in Little Havana is like making a trip to Cuba and it is an experience that we certainly recommend.
Little Havana Welcomes You
SW 8th Street, better known as Calle 8, is the most characteristic street in Little Havana. On Calle Ocho in Miami, everything revolves around Cuban culture and lifestyle. Little Havana is something like the ideal example of the American dream that many Cuban immigrants and refugees want to live in the states. Although most Cubans have long since lived in Little Havana and have moved to the Coral Gable, Hialeah or Kendall to the south, Little Havana has become home to Latino artists and those who still enjoy the low prices of old rentals.
The purest Caribbean flow
From SW 12th to 16th on Calle Ocho there are numerous cigar shops and bars with Caribbean music. I recommend you go through the Little Havana Cigar Factory & Lounge (1501 SW 8th Street, Ecke 15th Avenue), to see what is an authentic selection of Cuban cigars. Although in Miami, because it is the USA, you cannot buy authentic cigars imported from Cuba, these, made by hand, are almost as good as the originals (or so they say). Other interesting points in the world of Miami cicadas are El Bronzw Titan (1071 SW 8th Street) and The Cuban Tradition (1336 SW 8th Street).
If you want to buy gifts and souvenirs with the best of Miami and Cuba I recommend you go through Havana to Go (1442 SW 8th Street).
Essential: the Domino Park in Little Havana
In the corner of SW 14th Avenue you can enjoy a little of the daily life of the authentic Cubans of Little Havana and dry here we find one of the most typical and characteristic things of Miami, the domino. Yes, I dominate. Every Sunday they meet here the neighborhood veterans gather to play and it is a most interesting and surprisingly fun activity to watch them. The advantage of those who speak Spanish is that we can even enjoy talking for a while with the participants, lovely as only Cubans know how to be. If you see photos of the park taken in the 70s, you will see that little has changed, for the majority of men gathered here, playing dominoes is already a tradition of decades that ensure they will continue to enjoy as long as health allows. Curious and interesting!
Das Tower Theater
Something like half a block west of the Dominos Park is the Tower Theater – a cinema that for many years was the only one in Miami to project American films with Spanish subtitles. Nowadays it is possible to watch movies in original version here, often also Spanish-speaking feature films.
Calle Ocho Walk of Fame
Another of the most curious things about Calle Ocho is its walk of fame. In the image and likeness of the Hollywood Walk of Fame here we find tributes to the most outstanding Cuban artists. As in LA, on Calle Ocho we can see stars on the ground with the names of artists (actors, singers, journalists …) such as Celia Cruz, Thalia, Jose Luis Rodriguez “El Puma” or Cristina Saralegui.
Memorial Boulevard in Little Havana
The majority of Little Havana’s tourist attractions are located on Memorial Boulevard, between SW 12th Street and SW 17th Street. It is best to start the tourist route at the corner of Memorial Boulevard with SW 13th Street. Upon entering the Boulevard you will see something like a burning torch called “the eternal flame” located on the Brigade 2506 Memorial. This flame is always lit in memory of those killed in the Bay of Pigs invasion in the 60s. Walk from here on the Boulevard until you reach the monument to Jose Martí and Antonio Maceo, where you will see a statue of the Virgin Mary and a map from Cuba.
The Ceiba tree and Jose Martí
Just a few meters away we find the great Ceiba tree located right in the center of the Boulevard. For the followers of Santería, a typical Cuban religion, this is a very special point, if you look closely you can see chicken bones hanging from their branches or clothes of the other way around, habitual sacrifices for the gods. Santería is the main religion of the African-American population of Cuba and worships the god Orishas and some of the Catholic saints. If you are interested in this topic, a good idea is that you go through one of the neighborhood herbalists where you can buy religious items for the practice of Santeria. Botany Negra Francisca is the most important store dedicated to this type of products (1323 SW 8th Street).
The Bay of Pigs Museum
This small museum is free of charge and offers a very complete exhibition on the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. If you like history this is undoubtedly a must on this trip through the Little Cuba of Miami (1821 SW 9th Street ).