25 Jul You’ll love this day trip to ‘Calle Ocho’ in Miami — trust me
- Julio Poletti, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
There’s a little pocket in Miami as concentrated with flavor as a spoonful of adobo seasoning. Calle Ocho, (SW 8th Street) in the middle of Little Havana, is that place. The flavors, the personalities and the charm stretch from SW 10th Street to SW 19th. If you’re looking to explore a new neighborhood or area in Florida, and you’ve already done day trips in West Palm Beach, inspiring Lake Worth or kid-friendly Jupiter, then this one is for you. Sure, things can get rowdy and hot very quickly (keep reading), but it’s all part of Calle Ocho’s magic.
Before the adventure, a little history: Calle Ocho was once the heart of the Cuban exile during the Fidel Castro regime in the late 1950s. Today, it’s a melting pot of many other nationalities with more ethnic flavors like empanadas, arepas and avocado ice cream.
There’s also more live music like salsa, cumbia and merengue. And there’s tons of art and murals from international artists. If you’re a foodie, this street makes it easy to try different flavors because, like most things on the strip, the restaurants are right next to each other too. This is great because you can see a lot of things without much walking.
BEFORE YOU HEAD OUT:
- Take the Brightline or Tri-rail to Miami, and then take a shared-car service to Calle Ocho. Free parking can be hard to find.
- If you drive and you can’t find a free parking spot, you’ll need to download the Parkmobile App. You can only park for two hours, and the app will remind you to add money before the time is up.
- A lot of people didn’t speak English when I went. If you think you’ll need translation, pay for a guided tour. Call the Miami Culinary Tours at 786-942-8856 or the Art Deco Tours at 305-814-4058.
- If you’re looking for the perfect day, visit on the last Friday of the month. This is when the street celebrates Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays), which is a block party with music, food tents, art, vendors and more from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- “El Festival de la Calle Ocho” should be on your calendar. This is the largest Hispanic festival in Little Havana. This annual event attracts more than a million guests and features eight stages with live music, vendors, food and more. It can get crazy.
LET’S EXPLORE CALLE OCHO:
Starting point: Put this in your GPS: 1548 SW 8th St, Miami
CARBS AND SUGAR OVERLOAD
Why do carbs have to be so delicious? It would be difficult to dine in Calle Ocho if you live a carb-free life. Nor would anybody understand you when you share that about yourself. There are many options in Calle Ocho. From flaky empanadas to savory guava and cream cheese pastries, Colombian pan de bono and more. Most breakfast snacks here are starchy and full of carbs and are usually accompanied by extremely sweet café con leche or a sugar-filled natural juices.
Restaurants in Calle Ocho open between 7:30 to 8 a.m.
Some other breakfast items to keep in mind when ordering are sandwiches like the Media Noche, Cubano or Pan con Bistek. For breakfast options, click on this list and map.
Calle Ocho has its own share of giant rooster sculptures begging to get their pictures taken. And they do. You’ll see people posing next to these pieces of art all day, so take out your camera and snap away.
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