Heart of Cuban culture in Miami!
Little Havnna - Calle Ocho, Miami's Cuban Hub!!!
It took us sometime to find this lively and vibrant Cuban cultural hub but OH are we glad we did! One thing I love most about living in South Florida is the level of diversity we have been exposed to. It's an ongoing joke that people that live in Miami are rarely from Miami. People come from all over the world to live, vacation, and retire in South Florida. This most definitely includes people from the Caribbean and South/Central America.
The Latin infusion in Miami is so prevalent but that's what makes this place soooo amazing! You get to learn about so many different cultures in this area and Little Havana happens to be one of those areas that immerses you into Cuban culture by giving you a taste of Cuban food, music, art, and traditions. Calle Ocho is one street in Little Havana that is densely saturated with cultural pride. It's such an incredible area that many tourists may miss. We surely did, we didn't find this place until we lived here for over a year so we were super stoked when we finally came across another Miami gem.
Matt and I spent the day on Calle Ocho and we mostly walked from one place to the next eating and drinking different authentic Cuban dishes. There are several restaurants, cafes, and desert shops to choose from. We'll have to visit a few times to try them all for sure.
El Pub Restaurant
One place we stopped by first was El Pub Restaurant . There was a ton of Cuban art and artifacts in the the restaurant to admire. I ordered a Cuban coffee (which will wake you right up 🤩 lol) and Matt had a yummy chicken empanada. It was delish!
Ball & Chain
We didn't want to eat too much in one place so next we checked out Ball and Chain. This place was so welcoming and had a very comfy patio in the back with lounge chairs and areas to commune and watch the live music show they have everyday during happy hour. We ordered two mojitos and a Cuban egg roll appetizer. There were so many things on the menu that I wanted to try but we were on a mission so again we practiced self control.
Next we headed to Azucar (Sugar) to get a taste of gourmet Cuban Ice cream. All I can say is Yum... just yum! 😋🍦 Versailles is another very popular Cuban restaurant nearby in Little Havana. We haven't tried this yet but we definitely plan to.
Maximo Gomez Park aka Domino Park is a very popular gathering spot for Cuban locals and families. This park was named after Maximo Gomez a famous soldier that fought for Cuban independence from Spain. Veterans gather here to smoke Cuban cigars, talk over the latest news, and play a game of Dominoes. It really is a laid back atmosphere and seems like home away for home for native Cubans.
One place we visited often for bi-weekly gatherings with our church family was CubaOcho museum. This museum is perfect for gathering with friends and family. They have a very impressive art collection as well as live music during the weekend and weekdays.
Another spot that is very popular for gatherings is Tower Theater. Owned by Miami Dade college, Tower theater hosts several cultural events, Cuban exhibitions, and performances on a monthly basis including Spanish and English speaking films.
Cultural Events & Festivals
There are also yearly cultural festivals that take place in Little Havana such as Carnival on Calle Ocho. This is one of the largest Hispanic events that takes place in South Florida with over a million attendees every year. There's food, dancing, and Latin vendors all over Little Havana. If you miss the festival this year there's no worries you can also attend one of the monthly Viernes Fridays aka "Cultural Fridays" every last Friday of the month. There are cultural art exhibits, live music, poetry jams, films, dancing in the streets, domino games and tours through this historic neighborhood. Its a great time!
Murals and Art
Even if you miss the yearly or monthly festivals, Calle Ocho has so many murals and art displays that it's like walking through a museum on any day of the week. So definitely bring your camera and gimbals when you go check out this vibrant neighborhood.
Thanks for stopping by! We hope you have a chance to check out the beauty and Cuban culture in Little Havana's Calle Ocho. It's definitely an eye opening cultural experience...
Until next time!
Peace, Love, and Luggage,
Matt & Britt
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