A street overflowing with flair and character: Miami’s Calle Ocho is a tiny district with a huge personality. You will experience a microcosm of Cuba in Calle Ocho, with all the vibrancy and rich Latin culture that entails.
Little Havana has been named a “national treasure” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Calle Ocho is the heart and soul of the neighborhood.
Discover more about this fascinating street in our ultimate guide to Calle Ocho.
How to Get to Calle Ocho
Calle Ocho is situated in the Little Havana neighborhood of western Miami, a 3 square mile hub of Cuban culture and history. Calle Ocho is the heart of the district, and the busy street cuts right through the center.
To reach the street from the airport, follow directions to exit 4, South LeJeune Avenue off the I-95. The Little Havana Calle Ocho address is on Southwest 8th Street; once you arrive, the neighborhood is easily walkable.
When is the Best Time to Visit Calle Ocho?
It’s hard to look past March as the best time to visit Calle Ocho: the weather is good, humidity hasn’t quite set in, and, of course, the Calle Ocho Festival occurs every year.
March is an excellent time to visit Calle Ocho, but anywhere between February and April works well. The crowds haven’t reached their overwhelming masses yet (bar, perhaps, during the festival week), and the temperatures are good without being oppressive.
Things to do in Calle Ocho
Calle Ocho is a street bursting with culture and creativity. There are several activities to keep you occupied on this small slice of Cuban life; we have named just a few of them.
Stroll Along the Walk of Fame
The Calle Ocho walk of fame is actually called the Walk of Stars, and much like its Hollywood counterpart, features the names of celebrated artists. In Calle Ocho, the stars are dedicated to Latin American artists which are often overlooked by mainstream media in the US.
One of the instantly recognizable names to newcomers in Little Havana is Gloria Estefan, the iconic Cuban singer. Others may not seem so familiar, but are equally treasured in Latin American communities.
Some of the names found on the Walk of Stars include:
- Celia Cruz (the first star honored on the walkway, back in 1987)
- Pablo Raúl Alarcón
- Julio Cesar Chavez
A Taste of Cuba
Restaurants, coffee house, pop-up street stalls; the entire stretch of Calle Ocho offers a taste of Cuban culture in Miami that you won’t want to miss.
Cuban coffee is world-renowned, and you can get a taste of it at its authentic best on Calle Ocho. Charming Cuban cafes line the street, competing for space with the rum and cocktail bars that equally draw in the crowds.
Cuban bakeries sell the famous pastries – guava is the traditional filling – though there are other, more substantial examples of Cuban cuisine on Calle Ocho if you’re looking for a full meal. The iconic Versailles Restaurant Cuban Cuisine is the perfect place to stop for a taste of authentic Cuban food.
Browse the Cigar Shops
Cuba is famous for a variety of things: coffee, old-timey cars, and rum not least of them. But one of Cuba’s most widely known exports is undeniably its iconic cigars.
On Calle Ocho, you can wander between cigar stores of your choosing, and there are several. The sophisticated Little Havana Cigar Factory is a popular store, but you are truly spoiled for choice on Calle Ocho. Family-owned El Titan de Bronze is another worthy option, while La Tradicion Cubana is also a great place to witness traditionally-made Cuban cigars.
In Calle Ocho, you get the chance to experience authentic, hand-rolled Cuban cigars without ever leaving the US. Famous brands like La Gloria Cubanas and Tatuajes can both be found in the street’s cigar shops.
You don’t have to be a smoker to admire the craft that goes into producing these cigars; it’s an art that deserves appreciating whether you plan on lighting up a cigar or not.
Visit Calle Ocho’s Domino Park
As a visitor to the area, Domino Park may seem like a strange place to stop. It’s a park with little in the way of gardens and greenery, but instead has a collection of tables, lined with people – typically elderly men – playing dominos.
But Máximo Gómez Park, which is affectionately known as Domino Park, is an insight into local culture, and an iconic part of the Little Havana neighborhood. Locals gather here to socialize, sip coffee, and play a few games – just as they have done for over 40 years. Spectators are welcome to watch the games take place; competition can quickly get fiery, and a crackling energy can often be felt between opponents during matches – heated words will be exchanged whether tourists are watching or not!
Admire the Street Art
No small part of Calle Ocho’s vibrancy and fun comes from the abundance of street art. Huge wall murals add a pop of color to the neighborhood, which often come in bright oranges, reds, and yellows.
A sense of whimsical fun is added by the appearance of roosters around Little Havana; the brightly painted statues have been cropping up in the neighborhood since the start of the ‘Rooster Walk’ project in 2002, which began as a way to celebrate the local culture.
Calle Ocho Festival, Miami
Music, dancing, and raucous fun: the Calle Ocho Festival marks an exuberant end to the wider Carnaval Miami. It is the largest Latin music festival in the United States, and features 15 blocks worth of performances, food stalls and partying.
The Calle Ocho Festival is a wild celebration of Latin and Caribbean cultures, with streets packed with performers dancing and singing, and foods sourced from all over the world. Though the festival is busy, it is still family-friendly. This singular day is the highlight of the calendar year in Calle Ocho; if you’re in Miami during the festival, you simply have to visit.
Calle Ocho Festival dates vary, but the festival usually occurs some time in March every year.
A Visit to Calle Ocho
Calle Ocho, Little Havana, Miami is one of the city’s most characterful streets. It offers a snapshot of Cuban culture that visitors are sure to be swept up in. From charming cafes to vibrant murals to salsa dances; a trip to Calle Ocho is an unmissable part of any visit to Miami.