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Watch How Cigars Are Rolled in Miami's Little Havana

If you got to the monument, you’ve arrived at the place where Miami’s Cuban Exile experience began. No one even calls it Eighth Street anymore. It’s simply, and symbolically, referred to as Calle Ocho, the spot where the first Cuban refugees clustered when they first arrived, and settled, and expanded. It used to be part of a neighborhood called Riverside, where the refugees found cheap places to rent. They opened businesses and, yes, the rest is Miami history.

Southwest Eighth Street from 17th Avenue east to 4th Street

The Cuban influence has made way for other incoming exiles, but the Cubania is still the strongest element of the street at the heart of Little Havana.

You can find Cuban-themed products from cigars to fine art, sip a cafecito at an open-front cafeteria window, stock up on T-shirts and tchotchkes, and pose for a selfie with one of the giant gallos — boldly painted rooster statues — adorning the street. And don’t leave without stopping by Domino Park at the corner of 16th Avenue to see the folks playing fast and furiously fun rounds of Cuba’s favorite pastime. Trust me, those raised voices and thundering smacks! of the domino tiles are all part of the merriment — usually.

By Carlos Harrison. Image courtesy of Miami's Little Havana. Special thanks to for this story reprint


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