Gomez Park, or Domino Park, along Calle Ocho in Little Havana
Little Havana is located just west of Downtown Miami. Also known as the Latin Quarter, it received its name by being a Cuban neighborhood from the 1970s until the 1990s, but now consists of many Central and South Americans. Its main drag is along 8th St or Calle Ocho, where authentic Latin shops and restaurants abound and the majority of the population speak entirely in Spanish. Each year, the neighborhood hosts the annual Calle Ocho parade, the largest street festival in the world. Although the area is far less dangerous today than in its past, don't wander into the neighborhoods late at night, particularly East Little Havana (east of 17th Ave) where high crime rates and gang activity is still a concern.
The easiest and most convenient way of getting to Little Havana is by car, where street parking is plentiful and affordable. However, public transit options also exist. MetroRail does not go through Little Havana, but there are a handful of bus routes that do.
The #37 and #42 buses come from Miami International Airport.
Tower Theater, 1508 SW 8th Street, ☎ (305) 642-1264. A prominent Art Deco landmark on Calle Ocho, airing movies subtitled in Spanish.
Gomez Park (Domino Park), Calle Ocho and 15th Ave. A small park at the intersection of Calle Ocho and SW 15th Ave, named in honor of Maximo Gomez, the commander of the Cuban troops during its War of Independence in the late 19th century. 15th Ave between Calle Ocho and 9th St is paved with a beautiful wavy brick pattern with images of dominoes, and there are domino motifs throughout the design of the park, which owe its influence to the large crowd of 55-year-old-and-up men who gather here every day to play this and other tabletop games. In case you're wondering: yes, they do card. Visitors, of course, are welcome to observe the greatest center of public street life in Little Havana.
Cuban Memorial Boulevard, Calle Ocho and SW 13th Ave.. The median along this boulevard is home to many statues and monuments, including an eternal flame burning in memory of the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961, a statue commemorating Bay of Pigs brigade member Nestor 'Tony' Izquierdo, a large relief map of Cuba with a quote by Cuban independence leader José Martí, and many others. If you look carefully at the massive ceiba tree located here, with its large, above-ground roots, you might see piles or bags of chicken bones, which are ritual sacrifices by practitioners of the Afro-Cuban religion of Santeria.
La Casa de las Guayaberas, 5840 Southwest 8th St., +1 305 266-9683 – A store where you can find guayaberas (a Cuban shirt that has buttons but a loose fit and pleats) for men and women. Ronald Reagan came to this store himself to buy a guayabera. Shirts can be bought off the rack or custom-tailored.
Lily's Records, 1260 SW 8th Street, ☎ (305) 856-0536, . Touted as Miami's most complete Latin music stores, this is one of five locations in Miami but the only one in Little Havana. The collection is large; it is a good place to find salsa music or a nice set of bongos.
Versailles Restaurant and Bakery, 3501 SW 8th Street, ☎ (305) 441-2500. A prominent gathering place and political forum for the Cuban-American community. The desserts here are delicious.
Los Pinareños Fruteria, 1334 SW 8th St, ☎ (305) 285-1135. An authentic Latin American open-air fruit market that sells fruit smoothies and coffee, but they are best known for their sugar cane juice.$3.