Iconic Latin Neighborhood
ithout a doubt, part of what makes Miami such a special city is the vibrant Latino community. Over the past 50 years, immigration has been central in the city’s evolution from sleepy Southern town to high-vibe metropolis and today, about 70% of the city’s residents are of Latin American descent.
To put yourself in the epicenter of Miami’s rich cultural mix, look no further than a stroll along Calle Ocho in Little Havana. Just five minutes from Downtown, this fun and historic neighborhood has been lovingly established by several waves of immigrants— primarily Cuban refugees. Following the rise of Fidel Castro in 1959, hundreds of thousands of Cuban business owners fled the newly communist state, often leaving their wealth behind and starting over in Miami.
Despite the challenges of life in exile, this enterprising community did incredibly well for themselves, all the while contributing to Miami’s evolution into a great American city. To this day Little Havana’s happening mix of cafes, art galleries and nightlife remains a great source of pride, offering a unique glimpse into classic Miami.
Little Havana’s main street is where it all happens. You’ll know you’re in the heart of Calle Ocho when you see the iconic painted rooster statues, hear the salsa and merengue music pouring from shop windows, and breathe in the aroma of fresh Cuban coffee or arroz con pollo. Strolling along the seven block stretch between 12th and 19th avenues, you’ll find a beautiful array of shops and restaurants to explore, from authentic art galleries to old school eateries and expert cigar shops.
coffee bars SPECIALIZING IN TRADITIONAL-STYLE CUBAN COFFEE
Doubling as an open-air fruit market, at this 41-year-old mainstay you can order a Banana Batido milkshake spiked with Cuban coffee.
Founded in 1975, this Cuban cafe has been perfecting espresso for years and offers exceptional cortaditos and cafecitos.
opportunities to move to the music
A lively, intimate and authentic spot for dancing to live salsa and Latin funk, you can walk in here on any given night and see a world class act. With photos of classic singers lining the walls, the club effortlessly blends past and present and has even won the title “Best Latin Club in Miami.” Nights here go till 3am and rumor has it the mojitos are perfectly mixed.
Established in 1935, this iconic Cuban-style nightclub has been recently restored and revamped, offering craft cocktails and Cuban style tapas along with top notch musical acts that will have you dancing the night away. During the day, the back patio is a gorgeous place to stop for mojitos and live Latin jazz.
Every last Friday of the month, Little Havana comes alive—even more than usual. This monthly festival fills the streets with dancers and musicians, while galleries stay open late to host special exhibits and nightclubs bring in their best performers. Expect to see colorful costumes on parade around Domino Plaza, antique cars on display and plenty of street vendors.