Adventures written by the VAMONDE Team
As Cuban exiles and refugees began to pour into Miami in the 60s, they settled in the Riverside and Shenandoah neighborhoods. The area soon became known as Little Havana and is regarded as the cultural capital of Cuban-Americans in the United States. Famous for its authentic Cuban food, relaxed coffee culture, Latin rhythms, and historical attractions, Little Havana has a lively and welcoming atmosphere.
Hear about the history and culture of Little Havana:
If you want to experience the atmosphere for yourself, head to Calle Ocho, the heart of Little Havana. This section of SW 8th Street between 11th Avenue and 27th Avenue is filled with bodegas, walk-up cafés, art galleries, cigar shops, and salsa clubs. As you reach the corner of Calle Ocho and 15th Avenue, take a stroll through Maximo Gomez Park to watch the locals banter with each other over dominoes or chess.
Between 12th and 17th Avenue, you’ll find stars embedded in the sidewalk, similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. These stars honor celebrities of Latin American descent who have had a significant impact on the local culture. Honorees include popular performers like Thalía, Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz, and Julio Iglesias. El Paseo de las Estrellas, or The Walk of the Stars, is a popular tourist attraction.
Other popular attractions in the area include: the Tower Theater where many Cuban refugees were first introduced to American pop culture; the monuments on Cuban Memorial Boulevard; the Bay of Pigs Museum; José Martí Park, named for the Cuban literary legend; and the Plaza of Cuban Patriots (or Plaza de la Cubanidad), whose well-known sculpture recognizes the plight of the balseros (rafters) fleeing their homeland.
Today, Little Havana is home to a decreasing number of Cubans and an increasing number of residents from other Latin American countries.
Cover image by Prayitno is licensed under (CC BY 2.0).