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Diversity is the theme that links Miami's urban lifestyle to areas rich in culture and tradition.

The official name is Southwest Eight Street but everyone knows it as Calle Ocho, the artery that keeps the heart of Little Havana beating. Cubans who fled the island in 1960 recreated their community west of Brickell Avenue, imbuing it with nostalgia for their heritage.

The vibrant neighborhood, home also to many residents from Nicaragua and Honduras, has a distinct Latin flavor with signs and billboards en español and music to match. Everything is authentic: from the fruit stands and cigar factories to the eat-at windows of the cafeterias where patrons passionately discuss politics.

Visit the area's quaint shops to find embroidered guayabera shirts, hand-rolled cigars and Latin music or explore gift shops offering unique items and Cuban memorabelia.

Cultural activities are blossoming along with art galleries, studios and theaters. Cultural Fridays take place the last Friday of each month along Calle Ocho and feature music, dance, poetry, visual arts and theater. The historic Tower Theater is alive with performances, cultural and educational programs and multicultural films while Teatro Ocho is home to Spanish-language theater.

Food plays an essential part of life in Little Havana from the anytime snacks of chicharones (fried pork morsels) to croquetas, pastelitos and sugary mouthfuls of merenguítos. Dining is infused with many cuisines. There are a variety of restaurants serving authentic Cuban dishes and delicacies and others serving traditional Spanish, Mexican, Peruvian, Colombian and Argentinean food.

Every March, thousands of revelers flock to the grand Hispanic street festival called Calle Ocho to celebrate the finale of Carnaval Miami. Little Havana is one of the best places to experience Cuban culture and Latin cuisine.

Little Haiti spans the old Miami neighborhoods of Lemon City, Edison Center, Little River and Buena Vista East with its heart at N.E. 54th Street between Biscayne Boulevard and North Miami Avenue. This bustling Creole-speaking community continues a traditional lifestyle amid stores selling familiar foods, spices and music.

There is more to Overtown than the Miami Arena. Before the highways sliced through the area, Overtown was a thriving center for Greater Miami's African-American community. Now, hidden between Downtown Miami and the civic center, Overtown is welcoming the restoration of buildings in the two block area designated as Overtown Historic Village. The Lyric Theater, once a venue for star-studded performances; the home of D.A. Dorsey, Greater Miami's first African-American millionaire; and the Greater Bethel AME Church celebrate Overtown's past as it looks to the future.

Liberty City's roots go back to the 1930s when people moved from Overtown. Nowadays, Liberty City's active African-American community spans the area from NW 12th to 19th Avenues and 62nd to 73rd Streets. Local artists display their talent and civic pride with colorful murals of African-American heroes, notably slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., decorating the exterior walls of buildings. The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center is a hub of activity within the local community. The five-building facility houses a black box theater, visual arts gallery and dance, art and music studios.

Since the time William and Mary Brickell (founding father and mother of Greater Miami and the Beaches) named a tree-lined thoroughfare after their homestead, Brickell Avenue has been associated with wealth and prestige.

Now the international banking and business center of Greater Miami south of the Miami River is taking on a new role as a vibrant place to stay, dine and reside. Luxury condominium towers, hotels and the tallest building in Florida are transforming Brickell Avenue’s skyline. And, instead of rolling up the sidewalks at night, Brickell is thronged after hours with residents and visitors dining in the area's fine restaurants or shopping in new neighborhood stores.

information provided by Greater Miami & The Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau -

Hialeah is a unique city in many respects. For starters, the city ranks number one on the list of American cities where Spanish is most spoken – as a matter of fact, 92% of the residents of Hialeah speak Spanish as a first language (so if you want to practice your Spanish, it isn't a bad place to go). The high Hispanic population means there are a lot of activities and attractions that won't be found, for example, in the middle of Minnesota. Opportunities to watch and play Jai-Alai abound, and you can regularly see Quinceanera celebrations as you pass by restaurants and community more about Hialeah



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