7 Local Things to See and Do on the Streets of Havana

Meandering down the streets near El Capitale.

1 | Look for the balconies. It’s easy to walk through Havana and be completely transfixed on what’s in front of you: intriguing alleyways and vintage cars cranking pass kids playing soccer. It’s there so much to take in. But look up and you’ll peeks of life above ground-level: women hang-drying laundry, old men sticking their heads out for huffs of cigars, and grandmothers cooking up what I imagine to be amazing pots of arroz con pollo.

Look up. Balconies with people above us.

Looking at me, looking at her.

Paintings line the streets of Habana Vieja.

2 | Find art, art and more art. From paintings on the streets of Habana Vieja, to political graffiti stenciled on old buildings, to modern galleries, Havana has an amazing art scene.

Anthony getting fan drawings.

“The Hulk,” Anthony was by far the local favorite among old ladies and enthusiatic girls. This was a fan portrait he got from an artist on our first day.

Cuban hero revolutionary leaders Julio Antonio Mella, Camilo Cienfuegos and Che Guevara painted on a wall in Havana, Cuba

A wall tagged with the faces of Cuban revolutionary leaders: Julio Antonio Mella, Camilo Cienfuegos and Che Guevara. Politics are a huge part of everyday Cuban life and conversation.

One of my favorite places to people-watch in Havana, the Paseo del Prado ( or just Prado) during sunset.

3 | Take a stroll though Paseo del Prado. Back in the day, the Prado was one of the wealthiest streets in Havana. The Capitolio and Parque Central are on one end of it, and during sunset, these buildings are picture-perfect.

Paseo del Prado leads to old-school luxury hotels and the Parque Central.

Pose provided by “Mama Sita” Maria.

Havana-Cuba-lunch

4| Try a meal at a very local restaurant. Places like these are government-owned, cheap, and meant for workers. The menu is a fantastic “eff-you” to foreigners (aka they do not cater to tourists, which I love.) There were only 2 things on the menu: chicken or pork. #keepingitreal

Architecture in Havana

5 | Check out the architecture. Since the days of Christopher Columbus, Cuba has been the center of invading cultures, and political and social movements. Havana’s facades are an assortment of all these influences. This building in particular is a one of my favorite examples of Moorish/ Arab influence. #artnerd.

"La Artista" Nina, catching birds on the corner of Cuba Street... in Cuba.

6 | Find “Cuba” in Cuba. Everytime I walk pass Cuba Street, the foreigner in me can’t help but take a picture of it.  Pictured: “La Artista” Nina.

Coco Cabs in Havana

7 | Pose with a coco cab. They’re meant for tourists, but seriously, can you resist? They’re probably one of the cutest forms of transportation I’ve ever seen.

 

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