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It's the next best thing to sneaking into Cuba. Practice your Spanish, drink café con leche, buy Santeria candles and view quirky architecture painted tropical colors. It's a lively urban scene, by day or night. Little Havana awaits, in downtown Miami.

WHEN TO GO?

Unless you want to melt to the sidewalk, visit when the sun is low on the horizon -- November through April -- when it's generally sunny, in the 70's or 80's. This allows you to avoid the rainy hurricane season.

 

GETTING THERE AND AROUND

Fly into Miami airport. Rent a car, or take a cab. Little Havana basically runs down SW 8th Street ("Calle Ocho") between 12th and 17th Avenues, south and west of downtown.

The more adventurous can get the number 5 bus from Miami center, or take the Metro Rail to the Brickell Station and catch a connecting bus. Helpful hint: avenues run north to south, streets from east to west.



BEST ATTRACTIONS

Little Havana is becoming a magnet for the young, the hip, the artistic. The last Friday evening of every month is "Viernes Culturales," with three venues of open artist studios, and a shuttle bus between the sites. The restaurants along Calle Ocho are all hopping, with music spilling onto the street. An outdoor, live music stage can be found next to the recently renovated, local landmark, Tower Theater (where first run films have Spanish subtitles).

The first Saturday of every month is "Surreal Saturday" at the experimental performance arena, Space 742 (Tel: 305-643-6611). From seven till midnight there are four featured performances of music, dance, theater and poetry inside, and a DJ artist scratching tunes outside. Just short of bliss when the moon is full. READ MORE


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