24 Hours in Miami's Little Havana

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Azucar Ice Cream Company
©Isaac Arjonilla
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Little Havana rooster
©Isaac Arjonilla
8 am: Rise and Shine

Rise and shine like the colorful roosters that dot the streets of Miami's Little Havana neighborhood and which no doubt make the best spots for Instagram-worthy selfies.

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Little Havana
©VISIT FLORIDA
9 am: Breakfast Time

Grab a shot of Cuban coffee and toast from El Pub Restaurant or other cafeteria windows—ventanitas—to wake up like the locals. Pro-tip: The city's official coffee break time is 3:05 pm and is known as Cafecito 3:05.

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Bay of Pigs Monument
©Phillip Pessar/Flickr, Creative Commons
10 am: Tour the Monuments and Memorials

Tour the historic monuments including the Cuban Memorial Plaza, the 12-foot marble Bay of Pigs Invasion Monument (SW 13th Avenue/Eighth Street) and the bust of José Martí at Domino Park.

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Domino Park
©Isaac Arjonilla
Noon: Domino Play

Take in a game of dominoes at Maximo Gomez Park, aka "Domino Park," and sit with generations of Cubans who visit the park daily for camaraderie, to smoke cigars and engage in discussions of world politics. 

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Los Pinareños Fruteria
©Isaac Arjonilla
1 pm: Los Pinareños Fruteria

For that "only in Miami" experience, visit this open-air fruit stand on 13th Avenue for a thirst-quenching glass of "guarapo"—sugar cane juice—or shakes made from a variety of tropical fruits. Note: Cash-only stand.

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Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center
©Isaac Arjonilla
2 pm: Cubaocho Museum and Performing Arts Center

Get artfully inspired at this Cuban art gallery with works from 1800-1956, in addition to collections of cigars and 482 bottles of rum. At night, the center turns into a nightlife spot with live music and salsa dancing.

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Azucar Ice Cream Company
©Isaac Arjonilla
3 pm: We Scream for Ice Cream

Azucar Ice Cream Co. is an award-winning, neighborhood treasure serving Cuban ice cream. Ice cream flavors include sunset-colored mamey, creamy avocado with condensed milk and sweet pink guava.

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Bar Nancy's Walk the Plank
Courtesy Bar Nancy
4-6 pm: Toast to Happy Hour

Toast happy hour at Bar Nancy, a new cool, nautically-themed craft cocktail den. The rum-and-whiskey heavy menu of libations use the best local fruits, herbs and spices available for its infusions, bitters and tonics. 

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Tower Theater
©Isaac Arjonilla
7 pm: Catch a Flick

Just before sunset, head to the Tower Theater for a foreign—English/Spanish-language—or independent film. This old-time movie palace from the 1920s is a popular venue during the annual Miami Film Festival.

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Ball & Chain
©Isaac Arjonilla
10 pm: 1, 2, 3 ... Salsa!

Groove to everything from jazz to Latin pop to Afro-Cuban funk at this Ball & Chain. This iconic bar and lounge also serves shareable small plates of Cuban food, specialty cocktails and desserts. 

By Victoria Cervantes

Named after La Habana, capital of Cuba, Little Havana is the cultural center of the city of Miami. Recently designated as a "national treasure" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Little Havana is on the tourist radar of many in search of hearty Cuban food, Latin music and art in addition to monuments commemorating Cuban independence and other historic sites. 

The community spans from Fourth to 37th avenues (east to west), with its "Main Street" of mom-and-pop stores and independent businesses found along Calle Ocho—Eighth Street. The famed street is well known for hosting a variety of events including the annual Calle Ocho festival, monthly Viernes Culturales—Cultural Fridays—and more. Be aware that Spanish is, by far, the predominant language of the Little Havana neighborhood. 

To get the most of a quick trip, start on 16th Avenue and Eighth Street and walk east. Stroll a couple of blocks to find cigar shops, art galleries, restaurants and Latin-themed shops selling handmade wares and gifts that make perfect souvenirs.

Victoria Cervantes
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