Centro Havana is home to some of the most unique architecture that Havana has to offer. It's also a cultural hotspot with many enriching and unique spots to see. Below we've highlighted some of our favorites. Feel free to add to the conversation and share any that we missed!
1. Callejón de Hamel
One of the best reasons to visit this area near the University of Havana, is the wonderful rumba music by carnival street bands that starts every Sunday at noon and continues into the evening hours. This Afro-Cuban music is very hypnotic with its rhythmic chants and drum patterns. This fun location also has funky street murals and fascinating sculptures. A lot of the artwork was created by the renowned artist, Salvador González Escalona. Delicious food and artistic craft-wares are sold in the open-air bazaar as well. Callejón de Hamel is a very magical part of Havana Centro Cuba.
2. La Casa de La Musica
photo from iwona_kellie
If you love to dance to salsa music, this is the place for you. The massive dance floor really heats up in the evenings and that is when the fun really begins. Many of the big bands play here so you will get to dance to some terrific music. The live shows start at 4 p.m. and runs to 11 p.m. every day. There is no special dress code so come as you are. It's very easy to find and the cover charge is minimal. Food and beverages are reasonably priced.
3. The 'Cabildo Quisicuaba' Community Project
photo from mssolangeb
This is located in the Los Sitios neighborhood of Havana Centro Cuba. The name of this project, "Quisicuaba," comes partly from the name of free blacks who originally came from the southern part of Angolan Basin in the 16th century. The goal of the project is to restore the traditional folk culture by taking into consideration the cultural, spiritual, and material needs of the people who live there. You will be able to meet Cabildo Quisicuaba Community Project members to discuss and learn how African traditions and religion have influenced the society and culture.
4. San Cristobal Paladar
This charming restaurant offers traditional Cuban food. Upon entering the paladar (restaurant in a home) you will be transported back to Havana's colonial times. It has a very beautiful courtyard where you can relax and enjoy a delicious meal. The "Lobster Hemingway" is one of their most popular dishes. Don't be surprised if the San Cristobal Paladar's chef comes over to your table for a friendly chat. Besides the Cuban cuisine, cocktails and wine are available at very affordable prices.
5. The Malecon
If perhaps you are looking for a place to stroll around while visiting Havana then the Malecon is the place for you. The ocean views are spectacular, especially the crashing waves. There are pastel colored buildings from the earlier part of the 20th century to see and cafés to unwind in while you sip wine. Many local people fish from the seawall to catch their dinner. Don't miss the sunsets because they are sensational.