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Unleashing Havana’s Hidden Gems: Top Cool & Quirky Things to Do!

Greetings, fellow travelers! Journeying Jack here, back with another exciting edition of Suitcase Stories. Today, we’re diving into the vibrant and colorful world of Cuba’s capital city, Havana. If you’re planning a trip to this enchanting destination, you’re in for a treat, as I’ve compiled a list of cool things to do in Havana that will make your experience truly unforgettable. From the rich history and culture to the lively music and dance scene, there’s no shortage of cool things to do in Havana. So, grab your mojito, put on your dancing shoes, and let’s explore the coolest things to do in Havana together!

Discovering Havana’s Vibrant Street Art Scene

If you’re looking for cool things to do in Havana, exploring the city’s vibrant street art scene should definitely be on your list. Havana’s streets are filled with colorful murals, graffiti, and other forms of street art that reflect the city’s rich history and culture.

Where to Find Street Art in Havana

One of the best places to start your street art adventure is in the neighborhood of Vedado. Here, you’ll find some of the city’s most impressive murals, including the famous “Fresa y Chocolate” mural, which pays homage to the Cuban film of the same name.

Another great spot for street art is the neighborhood of Jaimanitas, where artist Jose Fuster has transformed the entire neighborhood into a colorful mosaic wonderland. You can spend hours wandering the streets here, admiring the intricate tile work and whimsical sculptures.

The History of Street Art in Havana

Street art has a long and rich history in Havana, dating back to the 1960s when the government commissioned artists to create murals and other public art as a way to promote revolutionary ideals. Today, street art in Havana has evolved into a form of self-expression and a way for artists to comment on social and political issues.

Tips for Exploring Havana’s Street Art Scene

To make the most of your street art adventure in Havana, consider taking a guided tour. There are several companies that offer street art tours, which can provide you with a deeper understanding of the art and its cultural significance.

Alternatively, you can simply wander the streets on your own, keeping an eye out for colorful murals and other forms of street art. Just be sure to bring comfortable shoes and plenty of water, as Havana’s streets can be hot and humid.

In conclusion, discovering Havana’s vibrant street art scene is definitely one of the cool things to do in Havana. Whether you’re a fan of art or simply looking for a unique way to explore the city, you’re sure to be impressed by the creativity and talent on display in Havana’s streets.

Havana for 2 days

Savor the Flavors: Must-Try Cuban Cuisine and Drinks

When you’re in Havana, you can’t miss out on the delicious Cuban cuisine and drinks. From classic cocktails to flavorful dishes, there’s something for everyone. Here are some must-try items to add to your list of cool things to do in Havana:

1. Mojito Madness

Cool off with a refreshing mojito, a classic Cuban cocktail made with rum, lime juice, sugar, mint leaves, and soda water. You can find this drink at almost any bar in Havana, but for the best experience, head to La Bodeguita del Medio, a famous bar that claims to have invented the mojito.

2. Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja, which means “old clothes” in Spanish, is a traditional Cuban dish made with shredded beef, peppers, onions, and tomatoes. It’s usually served with rice and beans and is a must-try for any foodie visiting Havana.

3. Daiquiri Delight

Another classic Cuban cocktail, the daiquiri is made with rum, lime juice, and sugar. You can find this drink at El Floridita, a historic bar that was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway. The bar claims to have invented the frozen daiquiri, so be sure to try one while you’re there.

4. Tostones

Tostones are a popular snack in Cuba made from fried plantains. They’re crispy, salty, and delicious, and you can find them at street vendors and restaurants throughout Havana.

5. Cubano Sandwich

The Cubano sandwich is a staple of Cuban cuisine and is made with ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread. It’s a hearty and delicious sandwich that’s perfect for lunch or a quick snack.

These are just a few of the must-try Cuban cuisine and drinks in Havana. Be sure to add them to your list of cool things to do in Havana and savor the flavors of this vibrant city.

Havana for 3 days

Dance the Night Away: Havana’s Best Live Music Venues

If you’re looking for cool things to do in Havana, experiencing the city’s vibrant music scene should be at the top of your list. From salsa to jazz, Havana has a rich musical heritage that is celebrated in its many live music venues. Here are some of the best places to dance the night away in Havana:

1. La Zorra y El Cuervo

Located in the Vedado neighborhood, La Zorra y El Cuervo is a legendary jazz club that has hosted some of the biggest names in Cuban music. The club is hidden behind an unmarked door, adding to its mystique. Once inside, you’ll be treated to some of the best live jazz in Havana.

2. Casa de la Musica

Casa de la Musica is a must-visit for anyone looking for a true Cuban music experience. Located in the Miramar neighborhood, this open-air venue features live music every night of the week. From salsa to son, you’ll find it all at Casa de la Musica.

3. Fabrica de Arte Cubano

Fabrica de Arte Cubano is a unique cultural center that combines art, music, and nightlife. Located in a former factory in the Vedado neighborhood, this sprawling venue features multiple stages and galleries. You can catch live music performances, art exhibitions, and even film screenings at Fabrica de Arte Cubano.

4. El Floridita

No visit to Havana is complete without a stop at El Floridita. This historic bar is famous for its daiquiris and its association with Ernest Hemingway. But it’s also a great place to catch live music, with nightly performances by some of Havana’s best musicians.

Whether you’re a jazz aficionado or a salsa dancer, Havana’s live music venues offer something for everyone. So put on your dancing shoes and get ready to experience the rhythm of Cuba!

Havana for 4 days

Step Back in Time: Exploring Havana’s Historic Sites

Havana is a city steeped in history, and exploring its historic sites is one of the coolest things to do in Havana. Here are some of the must-visit historic sites in Havana:

Old Havana

Old Havana is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to some of the most impressive historic sites in Havana. Take a stroll through the cobbled streets and admire the stunning colonial architecture. Visit the Plaza de Armas, the oldest square in Havana, and the Castillo de la Real Fuerza, the oldest stone fortress in the Americas.

El Morro Castle

El Morro Castle is a 16th-century fortress that sits at the entrance to Havana Bay. It was built to protect the city from pirates and is now a popular tourist attraction. Take a tour of the castle and learn about its fascinating history.

Revolution Square

Revolution Square is one of the most iconic sites in Havana. It is home to the José Martí Memorial, a towering monument dedicated to the Cuban national hero. The square has been the site of many historic events, including speeches by Fidel Castro.

Museum of the Revolution

The Museum of the Revolution is housed in the former Presidential Palace and is dedicated to the history of the Cuban Revolution. It is one of the coolest things to do in Havana for history buffs. The museum has an impressive collection of artifacts, including weapons, uniforms, and documents.

Hemingway’s House

Ernest Hemingway lived in Havana for many years and his former home, Finca Vigía, is now a museum. The house has been preserved exactly as Hemingway left it and is filled with his personal belongings. It’s a must-visit for fans of the author and anyone interested in Cuban history.

Exploring Havana’s historic sites is one of the coolest things to do in Havana. From the cobbled streets of Old Havana to the towering monument in Revolution Square, there is so much to see and learn about in this fascinating city.

Havana for 5 days

Hidden Gems: Unique and Off-the-Beaten-Path Experiences

If you’re looking for something different to do in Havana beyond the usual tourist hotspots, then check out these hidden gems that offer unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences.

1. Fusterlandia

Located in the Jaimanitas neighborhood, Fusterlandia is a whimsical and colorful art installation created by Cuban artist Jose Fuster. The entire neighborhood is covered in mosaics and sculptures, making it a truly unique and Instagram-worthy destination. It’s definitely one of the cool things to do in Havana that you shouldn’t miss.

2. Callejon de Hamel

Callejon de Hamel is a vibrant alleyway in the heart of Havana’s Centro Habana neighborhood. It’s known for its Afro-Cuban art and music scene, with colorful murals and sculptures lining the walls. On Sundays, there’s a lively street party with live music and dance performances.

3. Necropolis Cristobal Colon

If you’re a fan of history and architecture, then a visit to the Necropolis Cristobal Colon is a must. This massive cemetery is the final resting place of many famous Cubans, including poets, politicians, and musicians. The elaborate mausoleums and sculptures are a testament to the city’s rich cultural heritage.

4. Fabrica de Arte Cubano

The Fabrica de Arte Cubano is a multi-disciplinary art space housed in a former cooking oil factory. It’s a hub for contemporary Cuban art, music, and culture, with exhibitions, concerts, and performances happening every night of the week. It’s definitely one of the cool things to do in Havana for art lovers.

5. Playa Jibacoa

If you’re looking for a beach that’s off the beaten path, then head to Playa Jibacoa. This secluded beach is located about an hour outside of Havana and offers crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches. It’s the perfect spot for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

These hidden gems are just a few of the many cool things to do in Havana that are waiting to be discovered. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore the city’s unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences.

Havana for 6 days

Shop Like a Local: Havana’s Most Authentic Markets and Boutiques

If you’re looking for cool things to do in Havana, shopping like a local should definitely be on your list. Havana is home to a variety of markets and boutiques that offer unique and authentic shopping experiences. Here are some of the best places to shop like a local in Havana:

San Jose Market

Located in the heart of Old Havana, San Jose Market is a must-visit for anyone looking for a truly authentic shopping experience. This bustling market is filled with vendors selling everything from handmade crafts and souvenirs to clothing and jewelry. Be sure to haggle with the vendors to get the best prices.

Almacenes San Jose Artisans’ Market

Another great market to check out is the Almacenes San Jose Artisans’ Market. This market is located in a former warehouse and is home to over 100 vendors selling a wide variety of handmade goods. You’ll find everything from pottery and paintings to leather goods and textiles.


For a more modern shopping experience, head to Clandestina. This boutique is located in the trendy Vedado neighborhood and offers a unique selection of clothing, accessories, and home goods. Everything in the store is designed and made in Cuba, making it a great place to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs.

Habana 1791

If you’re looking for high-quality, locally-made perfumes and colognes, Habana 1791 is the place to go. This boutique is located in a beautiful colonial building in Old Havana and offers a wide selection of fragrances made with natural ingredients.

La Casa del Habano

No trip to Havana would be complete without a visit to a cigar shop. La Casa del Habano is one of the best places to buy cigars in Havana. This shop offers a wide selection of cigars, including some of the best brands in Cuba.

Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, handmade crafts, or high-quality fragrances and cigars, Havana has something for everyone. So, put on your walking shoes and get ready to shop like a local!

Havana for 7 days

And there you have it, fellow travelers! My top picks for cool things to do Havana-style. From the vibrant streets of Old Havana to the sultry sounds of salsa dancing, this city truly has something for everyone. As Journeying Jack, I can assure you that these Suitcase Stories are just the beginning of the countless adventures that await you in this enchanting city.

So, whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply looking to immerse yourself in the rich culture of Cuba, you’ll find no shortage of cool things to do Havana. As you explore the city’s colorful streets, dance the night away, or savor the flavors of authentic Cuban cuisine, you’ll be creating your own unforgettable Suitcase Stories.

In conclusion, my fellow wanderers, I hope this guide to cool things to do Havana has inspired you to embark on your own Cuban adventure. Remember, the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. So, pack your bags, put on your dancing shoes, and get ready to experience the magic of Havana. Until our next journey, this is Journeying Jack, signing off from Suitcase Stories. Happy travels!

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