Destination Guide to Little Havana in Miami

Little Havana, Miami FL
Little Havana, Miami

Abuelitos playing another intense game of domino in Domino Park. Photo by School of Education, University of Miami.
Abuelitos playing another intense game of domino in Domino Park. Photo by School of Education, University of Miami.

By Monk Media
Updated by Sarah Cavicchi


A cultural hub created by Cuban immigrants, Little Havana, Miami is 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.


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 ’70s or ’80s. This allows you to avoid the rainy hurricane season.


The easiest way into Miami is to fly into Miami International airport. From there you have lots of transportation options. You could 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.

Or you could be a bit more adventurous and take public transit. There’s always the Metro Rail, but that will only get you as far as Brickell Station. You can catch the number 6 bus from Miami center which will take you past Brickell and right through SW 8 Ave and W Flager Street. Helpful hint: avenues run north to south, streets from east to west.

El Credito cigar shop and factory.
El Credito cigar shop and factory.


This neighborhood is becoming a magnet for the young, the hip, the artistic. The last Friday evening of every month is “Viernes Culturales,” with multiple 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 Miami Dade College acquired local landmark, Tower Theater.

Maximo Gomez Park, or rather Domino Park as it’s known locally, is one of the main meeting places in the area. Daily,

Cuban locals, mainly men, gather to play intensely heated tournaments of dominoes and chess. Trash-talking retirees mixed with the intense flurry of clacking domino pieces on the board can be quite a sight to behold.

El Credito Cigar Factory (1100 SW 8th Street) welcomes both the cigar aficionado and the novice to the oldest cigar factory in the United States. Tours run Monday through Friday, giving you the chance to watch their artisan’s hand roll cigars. Or you can smoke one of their signature brands in lounge chairs.


The (former) home of Elian Gonzales (2319 NW 2nd Street), is a ten-minute walk from the center of Little Havana. The house is no longer occupied by the Gonzalez family, but the area in front of the house and along its fence is an evolving and improvised shrine to the young Cuban boy.


Urban acrobatics on a Little Havana street.
Urban acrobatics on a Little Havana street.

Calle Ocho Festival

The main drag is host to a week-long festival every year in March, celebrating Hispanic Culture in the traditional Latin street festival style.

24 blocks of Little Havana are closed off to traffic to make way for the celebration. There’s dancing, food and drink, and up to 30 stages set up with live entertainment.

In 1988, this was the site of the world’s longest Conga line, still in the Guinness Book of World records today!


Hotel Urbano
Tel: 305-854-2070

This contemporary boutique accommodation is located in Brickell, the financial district, a heartbeat away. Sleek and modern decor covered with a beachy color aesthetic reflects just the right type of urban feel for Miami. Because of its distance from the South Beach area, rates remain affordable, especially for a four-star hotel.

Casa Panza, great Cuban eats in Miami.
Casa Panza, great Cuban eats in Miami.

The Miami River Inn
Tel: 305-325-0045

A gated oasis, a short drive east on Calle Ocho toward downtown Miami. A series of four renovated historic houses, with gardens and a swimming pool, sit nestled on the west side of the Miami River.

You get a glimpse of the water from some of the third-floor rooms. It’s like a little piece of Key West in the city.

La Camaronera (1952 W Flager Street) is a family-owned Cuban style seafood joint that doubles as the local fresh fish market.

Try the Minuta sandwich – deep-fried yellowtail snapper, complete with the tail attached according to the butterfly style cut, on a Cuban bun with onions and ketchup.

The Bollitos de Carrita, that is black-eye pea fritters are also a popular concoction. Authentic Cuban flavor, affordable prices, and they even let you pick out your cut of fish!

Calle Ocho, 8th Street, Little Havana.
Calle Ocho, 8th Street, Little Havana.

Another excellent bargain for the discriminating palate is El Atlacatl, at SW 17th Ave, serving foods of El Salvador. Not to be missed are the pupusas — cornmeal pancakes filled with cheese served with a side of pickled cabbage and a piquant red salsa.

There’s a different soup featured each day of the week. If you’re lucky enough to catch the shellfish soup, it’s an extra special treat.



Consider a detour north to Little Haiti.

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