Get Yourself a Cuban Cigar!
Known as one of Miami's oldest and most vibrant neighborhoods, Little Havana is a place that is timeless and cherished by locals and tourists. As the city of Miami expanded over decades, so did this rich neighborhood. With the rise of Cuban refugees escaping Cuban in the mid-century, they migrated and chose to live in Little Havana, which was already home to Spanish speakers. It would grow to become the place for not only Cubans, but Hispanics in general.
Restaurant: Azucar Ice Cream
It’s typical for visitors to Little Havana to venture out for traditional Cuban cuisine, but it’s almost too easy to find a great place. What’s unique to the area is Azucar Ice Cream shop, home to delicious and handcrafted ice cream. They claim to be "Not your Ordinary Ice Cream Parlor" and that is absolutely for sure, especially with their unique sabores, or flavors. These flavors make our mouth's drool and our stomachs growl: Mamacita: Orange Blossom Almond Cake, Cafe con Leche- Cuban Coffee and Oreos, and 9 1/2 Caramels: Godiva Chocolate Caramels with Salted Caramel Ribbon. You simply cannot miss their bright and outlandish ice cream sign, which makes you want to say yes to ice cream even on a cool, rainy day.
Shopping: Little Havana Cigar Factory
It goes synonymous with the saying: When in Rome… and it's no different in Little Havana that you must visit a Cigar Factory. With its proximity to Cuba, the access to expert cigar-makers is simply amazing. It represents a local pastime that puts you in a relaxing state of mind. The Little Havana Cigar Factory specializes in cigars and cigar accessories. Stick around to talk to locals who have great stories of what it’s like to live in Miami or in Cuba.
Hotel: Tower Hotel
You couldn't find a better place to stay in Little Havana, Miami than the Tower Hotel. Dating back to the Roaring 20s, the hotel represents the exact ambiance of that time. Famous previous guests include Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. It's a bed and breakfast meets a boutique hotel, because you're in the middle of it all, but you feel like you're in the comfort of your own home in Little Havana.
To Do: Viernes Culturales / Cultural Fridays
You'll have to plan your trip just right in order to visit this event, but many will say it is worth it. Viernes Culturales / Cultural Fridays is held on the last Friday of every month and provides free Latin entertainment for locals and tourists. It is an arts and culture festival held on Calle Ocho, the main street of Little Havana. This event was created to recognize the importance of the neighborhood and culture. It is there where you'll find the true vibrancy of the city come alive with local music, dancers and street performers making it one festive evening!
To See: Watch Locals play Dominoes
You've seen it in classic films, but there is nothing like seeing it live. Little Havana is a mecca for older locals setting up a table outside to play a game of dominos. Usually accompanied by these local gentlemen is a fresh Cuban cigar. If you're looking around for cigar shops, you'll most likely see tables where locals are playing. Or, go to Domino Park where the best of the best are usually playing. If Dominoes isn't really your game, you can also try to beat one of the Cuban chess masters.
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