Visit these Havana Hotspots to Mingle and Meet the Locals
Cubans know how to have a good time. Having fun is a simple affair and as these following six spots attest, it can happen anywhere – in the street, on a wall or in a park. Simple throw together friends, sip a coffee or two, and the conversation will flow. Add a sunset, live music and a cocktail and the same relaxed and welcoming park will transform into a happening, evening party. Wherever you go, whatever the time, all these places are be sure to entrance, engage and entertain. We selected these Havana Hotspots for you to mingle and meet the locals.
Plaza de Armas
This book market is quintessential Havana, considered by many to be the centre of the city and certainly the oldest plaza. Second-hand booksellers have permanent shelves as they sell books next to architectural gems such as the Palacio de Los Capitanes Generales, a baroque building running the length of the western side of the square.
There’s the 16th century colonial fort Castillo de la Real Fuerza and near the central fountain lined with palm trees you’ll discover a statue of the Cuban patriot, Cespedes. Besides books, there’s not much to find and it’s also a reprieve from restaurant touts. Casual cafes and restaurants line the perimeter and nearby gardens offer tranquil spots to peruse newly purchased wares.
Named after the monuments honouring come of Cuba’s former presidents and historical figures is the impressive Avenida de los Presidentes. Its four lanes of traffic have a wide central median filled with grass, benches and ornately pruned trees that heave with young people after the sunsets. The wide promenade, known locally as Calle G, is a great spot to relax and people watch, especially at night when the youths congregate in droves.
A popular meeting spot, the mostly student filled crowds enjoy the night air, bringing their own instruments to play some music or visiting the nearby restaurants, bars and cafes that are open late.
From the Havana Harbour in Old Havana to the Vedado neighbourhood 8km away runs a massive sea wall, the iconic Malecon. With locals swimming and fishing the waters, this broad stretch of ocean-side boulevard is heaving with people on the weekends, making it a great way to people watch and pass the time. Thousands flock to the Malecon at night for the cool reprieve of the salt air.
Locals and tourists alike come to sit on the wall, play music, and talk with their friends and drink. Catching a sunset with the water reflecting off the ocean and buildings is especially beautiful.
La Rampa is a hopping spot. Aka Ave 23, this busy road is the epicentre of the Vedado neighbourhood, with a hotel, university and cinema ensuring a constant flow of traffic. You’d be remiss to not hit up the enormous Coppelia, an ice cream parlour with lines out the door and around the corner. With bars and cafes scattered throughout the area, the parks and esplanades fill up with people at night who come out to social and have fun.
Another fine plaza in Old Havana, the old but beautifully Plaza Vieja makes it marks as a popular destination both day and night. Well-restored buildings ranging from Baroque to Art Nouveau encircle the space, along side it’s many bars, restaurants, cafes and even it’s own brewery. With music playing and children everywhere, this is yet another bustling hot spot for people watching. You can’t miss the stunning stained glass windows on the western side.
Calle Obispo, a narrow and car free stretch of road is made for a midnight stroll or an afternoon meander. Linking Central Park with Plaza de Armas, this strip includes Hemingway’s residence for seven years, the Hotel Ambos Mundos as well as his watering hole El Floridita. Live music and throngs of people make for a constant lively ambiance as you wind your way past art galleries, cafes, shops, restaurants and a wide array of striking architecture.
Whether you want to visit one of these Havana Hotspots, or plan on hitting all six, you’ll need a comfy place to lay your head and recover from all the dancing, walking and good times. Book a Casa Particular in Havana easily, selecting which part of town you prefer and other important details. Our wide range of options ensure every budget and preference can be accommodated.