The heart of Cuban life in Florida is the vibrant commercial strip in Little Havana called Calle Ocho, or Eighth Street. This bustling neighborhood is southwest of downtown Miami between 12th and 17th avenues.
Calle Ocho is the epicenter of an ethnic explosion that includes immigrant communities from around the world. One of the many highlights is the authentic Cuban cuisine. Restaurants serve up seafood paella, succulent marinated pork, and hearty beans and rice.
Visitors can also sample the cuisines of Peru, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and myriad other Latin lands. Tourists and locals alike dote on the neighborhood's trademark hand-rolled cigars, merengue and salsa music, and chess and dominoes games. Then there are the celebrations!
The last Friday of each month is known as Viernes Culturales, or Cultural Friday. This Latin street party showcases Cuban music, dancing, street performers, food, and local artists. In March, the Calle Ocho Festival is one of the world's largest free festivals, drawing more than one million people.