10 Things You Must Know About Little Havana, Miami – Before You Go!

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On our girls trip to Miami, it was important for me to see Little Havana in while we were there. I had just returned from Havana, Cuba the month before so I had to go see if there were any similarities to Havana, get some Cuban food, and walk around.

Little Havana is a Hispanic neighborhood located in the heart of Miami. You will find Latin music, food, and art when you visit. Visit famous spots like Domino Park where locals from the neighborhood will discuss politics and play dominoes. Little Havana is supposed to mirror Havana, Cuba, and is a part of the original landing spot of many Cubans who came to Miami in the 1960s. Now many immigrants from Latin America settle in Little Havana.

Where Is Little Havana?

We left our Airbnb and grab an Uber to Little Havana which is not far from Brickell. Littel Havana is only about 15 minutes from Miami beach so it is convenient for most tourist areas in Miami.

Rooster sculptures Miami 8th Street Calle Ocho Cuba Little Havana

My friends were hungry and tired so we did not get to see much while we’re there, but I was able to get a few snapshots of the heart of Little Havana, Versailles Restaurant, the Cuban Refugee Center and Domino Park. I am definitely going back to spend more time in this area. I also loved learning about Yoani Sanchez, the famous Cuban Blogger. There is a lot of Cuban History in the area.

Little Havana’s History

We approached a local cab driver to get more information on the area. He was from Colombia so he was very friendly and was eager to teach us about the area. As a result, we learned from him that Little Havana is a replica of Havana, Cuba.

Little Havana, Miami

Whether or not that is true, I am not sure I could see that from where we were. There may be some square or area that was made to look like Havana. I feel that the architecture can never compare to what Havana, Cuba has.

Is Little Havana Safe?

I am not sure I would be walking the streets of Little Havana too late at night. I definitely felt safe in Calle Ocho, the central part of Little Havana.

Little Havana, Domino Park

It is clear that tourism is alive in this area and there are not really any issues here. You do not really need to venture away from Calle Ocho, (SW 8th Street).

Top attractions In Miami Havana! Book Now

There Is A Little Bit Of Cuba in Little Havana, Miami

Just like the guy in the pink suit and pink car we saw in Havana, Cuba, we find a pink guitar and this fun character in Little Havana, Miami.

Little Havana, Miami

Music could be heard as we were walking down the streets of Little Havana. People can enjoy a meal and listen to authentic Cuban music while they are enjoying Cuban food.

Little Havana, Miami

The colorful artwork was even on garbage cans. I loved the Cuban culture in this area and you could feel the love of Cuba and their homeland. Calle Ocho also holds Cultural Fridays, as most Florida cities do, with the best of Cuban arts, culture and music. There is also the largest street festival in Miami, Carnival on Calle Ocho. The street festival is full of Latin music, colorful dancers and street performers.

Domino Park

Domino Park, Little Havana

Maximo Gomez Park, also known as Domino Park in Little Havana, is also known as a place for discussing politics and getting together with friends. During the day this park is filled with older Cubans playing dominoes and having a great time. This is one big reason to go back earlier in the day. I love to people-watch!

Must Try Activities In Havana, Miami

Domino Park, Little Havana

Cigars In Little Havana

You must experience a cigar in Little Havana. Using the same traditions as in Cuba, you will want to be sure to find a cigar shop to get hand-rolled cigars. I Little Havana you will find some of the most authentic Miami-rolled Cuban cigars, with age-old aficionados rolling cigars just like their fathers and grandfathers once did in Cuba.

Little Havana Cigar Factory

A Cuban Activist, Yoani Sanchez

Yoani Sanchez is a famous Cuban Blogger who received fame and international awards for her critical portrayal of life in Cuba under the communist regime. 

Mural for Yoani Sanchez

She left for Switzerland in her younger years. Eventually, Yoani wanted to continue her efforts in exposing what life is like in Cuba so she returned. Time Magazine listed her as one of the most influential people in 2008. Yoani practiced freedom of speech under a communist regime that would not allow it. Yoani had to send her articles and pictures to friends via email who would post the articles for her.

In 2011, Yoani published her first book Havana Real: One Woman Fights to Tell the Truth About Cuba Today. This is a compilation of four years of her blog in book form. She was unable to leave Cuba to promote the book. To combat that, she composed videos of her reading the book on flash drives and had them smuggled out of Cuba.

More political blogs started popping up in Cuba. As a result, these blogs were dependant on friends and strangers to help outside of Cuba to keep them alive. You can still find her blog here.

Latin Quarter Specialty Center

The Specialty Center is considered to be the heart of Little Havana. It offers dance lessons and other community activities for the Little Havana residents.

Little Havana, Miami

The Versailles Restaurant

The Versailles Cuban Cuisine restaurant is away from the center of Little Havana, so we had to grab another Uber to get there. The restaurant is the most famous Cuban restaurant in Miami. Once we arrived, there was a line going out into the parking lot. However, it was a well-oiled machine so it did not take long to get seated.

Versailles Restaurant

The Versailles had a slight diner-like feel to it. But the food was excellent. The service was no-nonsense and efficient. The food was authentic with HUGE portions! I enjoyed the Lamb Shanks which were flavorful and delicious.

Versailles Restaurant

As we gobbled up our food we decided this was the best dinner we have had on the trip. But of course, the Cuban coffee was AMAZING!

Mojito at Versailles, Little Havana, Miami.

Lamb Shank, Versailles Restaurant

Cuban Coffee, Versailles, Miami

The Cuban Refugee Center

In response to the number of Cuban refugees seeking asylum from Castro’s regime, the Cuban Refugee Center is also known as the Freedom Tower. The US government established it in 1961.

Cuban Refugee Center, Miami, Florida

The Cuban Refugee Center offered support to Cubans in the form of medical, employment and educational services. In addition, it also helped to relocate Cubans out of the area.

To do research about the Miami Freedom Tower, I went to the University of Miami website and found archives located in their library. You can view the whole collection of photos here. 

University of Miami Archives photo of a Family at the Cuban Refugee Center. The copyright and related rights status of this material is unknown. For additional information, please visit: http://merrick.library.miami.edu/digitalprojects/copyright.htm
This photo from the University of Miami was labeled the Hernandez Family. The copyright and related rights status of this material is unknown. For additional information, please visit: http://merrick.library.miami.edu/digitalprojects/copyright.html
Man standing at the entrance of Freedom House. The copyright and related rights status of this material is unknown. For additional information, please visit: http://merrick.library.miami.edu/digitalprojects/copyright.html

Can you imagine being the first refugees to land here in Miami? I imagine it was easier for the others who came here later knowing some friends and family were here. 

I definitely want to revisit Little Havana during the day when I have better light and more time to people watch.

Have you been to Little Havana, Miami? Tell us all about it!

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126 responses to “10 Things You Must Know About Little Havana, Miami – Before You Go!”

  1. Charlene Avatar

    I have never been to the Miami area – or to Cuba! But you make it sound like a great place to visit.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I hope you get to see it soon some day Charlene!

  2. Cindy Moore Avatar
    Cindy Moore

    I’d love to visit! It would give me a good feel for Havana Cuba it looks like.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Yes if you want a taste for Havana, Little Havana is a great place to start.

  3. Sandi Avatar

    Cuba is fascinating to me. I can’t get my Hubs to agree to go, going to have to grab some girl friends to make the trip.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Maybe he will be willing to start in Little Havana Miami!

  4. Jane Avatar

    What a comprehensive guide! Its a prelude to visiting Cuba. Love the street vibes and the food looks delicious. I must admit, I haven’t tried a Cuban dish and it’s on my list.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      You will love it then. And you have the rest of Miami to explore as well.

  5. Alice Avatar

    I have heard of Little Havana but really didn’t know much about it. Thanks for the information.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thank you for looking, Alice! I hope you get to go there one day.

  6. Kendra Avatar

    What a fun and yummy destination!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thanks Kendra! Little Havana is definitely different.

  7. Santana Avatar

    Is it sad that the only way I’ve heard of Calle Ocho prior to this is from listening to Pitbull? 😂

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Haha, no. At least he is making younger people aware!

  8. Leeandra Avatar

    This looks like a great place to visit.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It is a nice little stop while you are seeing the sights in Miami.

  9. Suzan Avatar

    This is an area definitely on my list of must visits! Thanks for sharing your wonderful insights!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thank you Suzan! I hope you make it soon!

  10. Maya Avatar

    How interesting. I have been to Miami before, but never knew about this place, will definitely keep this in mind for the next time.Thank you, for sharing all the great info !

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It is a great time especially if you like Cuban music.

  11. Carmen Avatar

    I didn’t realize that there was a place called Little Havana in Miami. I always just called all of Miami “Little Cuba”. Haha. Now I’ll have to go back. Love the Cuban food there!

  12. Liz Avatar

    I’ve been to Little Havana a few times, they have a great ice cream shop, Azucar! It’s super cute. And Ball and Chain, which is a night club… the best. Loved it down there.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I wanted to check out some of the dance spots but I was with other people and not in control of where we went. I will definitely check it out the next time I am down there.

  13. Jennifer Morrison Avatar
    Jennifer Morrison

    I don’t think I realized this area was a part of Miami. It is so beautiful and looks like it has so much history, and of course wonderful dining.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Everyone definitely needs to go once to Little Havana. There is a lot of history there.

  14. Debbie Avatar

    The sights, activities and food that you described, make me want to go!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Awesome! I can’t wait to hear about your trip to Little Havana!

  15. Amy Avatar

    Little Havana is a great place to go and visit. The culture is so alive there! As a Floridian, we can easily visit as we please. Last time we were there we found this great little bar and spent the entire night smoking cigars and drinking scotch.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      That sounds awesome! I would love to do the same!

  16. Chelsea Avatar

    The food looks so good and I’ve always wanted to go! Pinning it to my travel board!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thanks Chelsea! I hope you get to Little Havana soon!

  17. Alyssa Avatar

    I’ve been to Miami a bunch of times I haven’t gone to see all of Little Havana but I’ll be sure to check these out! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      At least spend a couple of hours to check out the park and shops. Maybe get a bite. It is something everyone needs to see at least once!

  18. Ramae Hamrin Avatar
    Ramae Hamrin

    Wow, that looks like a great time! I’m a bit ashamed to say I know nothing about Cuban culture, but I would love to learn more by visiting Little Havana! How is Cuban coffee different from a typical fair-trade organic one from a health food store? That mojito looks amazing too. It was fun to take a virtual tour through your post, Tricia!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thanks for looking Ramae! I only drink Cuban coffee so I have no idea the differences with those other coffees. I will have to ask the next time I am in Cuba.

  19. Alexis Farmer Avatar
    Alexis Farmer

    Love everything about this post! The pictures, the cultural background. Would absolutely devour that food

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thanks Alexis! The food was pretty good. Versailles has a line out the door most nights.

  20. Maggie Avatar

    i had never heard of Little Havana but now I am adding it to bucket list! Great article!

  21. Douglas Jasper Avatar
    Douglas Jasper

    That was such an interesting read. I hope that we will get to both Havanas too one day.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I hope so too! There is so much to see!

  22. Marianne Avatar

    Have never been as far south as Miami… but it’s on the list! I’d go just for the food! Lol

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      The food is awesome in Miami. You will love it!

  23. Jordan Avatar

    Looks like this was a great spot for a Cuban feel without being in Cuba. I love Cuban food, so would definitely make sure to stop and eat here if visiting. Thanks for the helpful info!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thank you for stopping by Jordan. You will not regret visiting Little Havana!

  24. Danielle Ardizzone Avatar
    Danielle Ardizzone

    I just watched an episode of Jack and Ozzy Osbourne exploring Cuba. I had no idea there were so many interesting sights to see and things to do!

  25. Jill DeMasi Avatar
    Jill DeMasi

    What a cool place to visit! I have been to Miami but never made it to that section. I will have to go next time and check it out because I love Cuban food!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      You will have a great time! Let me know how it goes Jill!

  26. Lisa Manderino Avatar
    Lisa Manderino

    Wow, I would really like to read that blog about life in Cuba. It is eye opening what it is like to live under Castro’s regime.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Agreed. She is such a strong woman to go back to Cuba. It shows a strong love for her country.

  27. Mrs d Avatar
    Mrs d

    Love this post! Little Havanna was my favourite part of our trip to Miami! I’m glad you like it too, just wish I had seen this post before I went. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Oh, I am so glad you enjoyed it! My favorite part is the music!

  28. kmf Avatar

    I would love to visit Little Havana… Miami is so beautiful and looks like my kind of place.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I love Miami too! It is such a friendly place for the big city!

  29. Eva Keller Avatar
    Eva Keller

    This looks like a cool place to visit. I’ve been to Miami and lots of places around it since I lived in Florida for awhile, but I’ve never really experienced anything in Miami, like I wouldn’t be able to tell someone what to go do in Miami. I’m taking my husband for the first time later this month though.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Oh wow! I can’t wait to take my husband too. He is a native Floridian and always bypassed it to go to the Keys!

  30. Sara Avatar

    This looks like such a neat place to visit in the US. Your pictures make it look like you traveled outside the country.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Well it is very colorful!

  31. Cindy Avatar

    I have been to Miami many times but never to this area. What a great area to visit.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I had not either. I was glad to finally get there.

  32. Noelle Avatar

    Very informative. Beautiful photos!

  33. T.M. Brown Avatar

    Sounds like you had yourself another amazing adventure. Though I’m sure there’s a distinct difference between the little Havana and Cuba itself, I’m sure you will never forget your time in Miami. The food looks great and there appears to be so much history right there to explore.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Yes, very different. Cuba is like stepping back into time.

  34. Katie Avatar

    Your photos are gorgeous! Loving everything about this post and Little Havana.

  35. Dennis Avatar

    I think it’s pretty cool how you can get such an authentic taste of Cuba right here in the states! I hope to get to Miami someday soon, and this will have to be a must visit!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Can’t wait to hear about it, Dennis!

  36. Monica Avatar

    The food and scenery look beautiful. I’ve always wanted to go to Cuba. This looks like a great alternative right in the US.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Yes, I can’t wait to go back!

  37. Kirsten Avatar

    I’ve always wanted to take a trip to Miami! It looks so fun!!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Can’t wait to hear about it when you go!

  38. Dee Avatar

    I love little Havana! I had some great coconut flan when I went a few years ago.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      The flan is amazing! My Cuban friends have flan cookoffs!

  39. Kathryn at QuestFor47.com Avatar

    So cool! I’m all about that guy with the pink guitar. Love how the Cuban culture has such an impact on South Florida.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Me too, Kathryn. Thanks!

  40. Mary Avatar

    Wow, I find this post fascinating because I grew up in an area of NJ with a large Cuban population. I love the old pictures from the Cuban Refugee Center. I didn’t know it existed. So interesting! I would love to visit there one day, for sure.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I can’t wait to hear about it, Mary!

  41. Tonya Mickelson Avatar

    I’ve never been to either place. I just have to say that the coffee looks amazing!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I am not a coffee drinker at all, but I will always drink Cuban coffee!

  42. Shar Mower Avatar
    Shar Mower

    Wow this trip looks so amazing! I love all of your pictures… They make me want to visit here soon!

  43. Maria Avatar

    I’ve been to Miami multiple times but I never visited here. Now I want to visit.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It was definitely one of the best parts of the trips!

  44. Arianny Rodriguez Avatar

    I love these photos! Can’t wait to get there one day.

  45. Clarissa MIller Avatar

    Looks like such a fascinating place to visit! Thanks for showing us why we should go.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      My pleasure, Clarissa!

  46. Sarah Avatar

    That’s so interesting. I’ve never been to Cuba, or the fake Havana either. I like the little Elton John man though!

  47. Carrie Avatar

    This looks amazing! The photos are gorgeous! I’m going to have to visit now!

  48. Kathy Phillips Avatar

    This looks amazing. I love the artwork. The food pictures from Versailles look so good. Thanks for sharing.

  49. Jennifer Avatar

    This looks so neat! I have never been to Cuba or Miami, but I love Florida! On my next trip I will have to head to Miami to also experience a little of Cuba!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Miami was a nice surprise. I can’t wait to go back!

  50. Rosanna Avatar

    I don’t know if I will ever make it to Havana, Cuba, but I hope to visit Little Havana someday.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It is a totally different experience. Hope you make it!

  51. Julie Avatar

    We love to visit cultural areas like this. I know my hubby would love the Cuban sandwich!!

  52. Laura Avatar

    Cuba is on my list. I had no idea about Little Havana in Miami. We are going to Florida in December to visit National Parks. I will make sure we spend some time in Little Havana. Your pictures are great!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Can’t wait to hear about it, Laura!

  53. Christa Avatar

    I’ve never been to Miami, but this place looks really interesting!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I was pleasantly surprised at how nice the city was!

  54. Shirley Avatar

    What great fun! It looks like I need to add Little Havana to my bucket list.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Can’t wait to hear about your trip!

  55. Christa Avatar

    I love Little Havana. I’d love to visit Cuba one day and do my own comparison! Beautiful pics!

  56. Missy Avatar

    We have not been yet. I love learning about people and culture.

  57. Amie Lara Avatar

    I’ve never been to Miami, but if I do go I will make a point to visit Little Havana. Plus, a Mojito is always a good choice!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Isn’t that the truth!

  58. Holly Bird Avatar

    What a wonderful trip! Love the pictures and the journey! Than you for sharing this!!

  59. Pam Avatar

    Wow – you do a great job of sharing this area. It makes me want to book a trip. I’ve heard of Domino park and I would love to see that. Plus, I love a good mojito!

  60. Nicki Avatar

    Interesting part about the blogs having to be sent out to be posted. Where there is a will, there is a way!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      I was really glad I looked her up. I almost ditched the picture and something nagged at me to look up her name.

  61. Linda Avatar

    I’ve never been to Havana Cuba, or Little Havana in Miami either. You pics and stories are def inspirations. Love the pink guitar and the bow tie in the beginning of the blog. I’d love to see the pink Cadillacs in Havana someday.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      You will love it! Let me know when you get there. I can not wait to see your photos!

  62. Cynthia Mackintosh Avatar

    I have been to Miami, but that was a long time ago. It truly is a whole new world there. I remember visiting Calle Ocho when it was going on. Would love to take a drive there from where I’m at.

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      It is a really nice city. You will not regret making a stop there.

  63. Laura G Avatar

    I love the name of the article! And I heard amazing things of the Versailles restaurant! I am definitely due for a Cuban sandwich next time I am down in Miami!

    1. Tricia Snow Avatar

      Thanks Laura!! Let me know how it goes when you get there!

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