About This Festival
One of the best ways to celebrate spring in Miami, Florida, is with Carnaval. The city may not need the excuse to party, but Latino Miami doesn’t hold back with its 10-day fiesta: Carnaval Miami, which culminates in Calle Ocho—a 23-block street festival in Little Havana.
Load up on feel-good music from salsa to merengue, get a belly full of delicious treats, and walk all the calories off in a grand spring fling. You can be responsible when you get back home.
Miami Carnaval and Calle Ocho
The Calle Ocho festival is one element of Carnaval Miami. Carnaval on the Mile, the weekend before, is a two-day art festival on the Miracle Mile in Coral Gables. Attendees , enjoying the work of more than 120 artists, hearing music from three states, and tasting food and drink creations from local restaurants. The entire combination of events—Carnaval on the Mile and Calle Ocho—help raise funds for the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana to accomplish service programs in the community.
Calle Ocho Festival Events
It may drive the organizer in your crew crazy, but at Calle Ocho, all you have to worry about is walking 23 city blocks, listening to great music and eating amazing food. Certainly, the beverages count as well, but you can see how simple it all is. That’s how life should be.
Additional events during the entire festival of Carnaval Miami and Calle Ocho include a Miss Carnaval Miami pageant, a Carnaval Miami run, cooking contest, domino tournament, golf classic and soccer games. The events generally take place during the two weekends (and week in between them), however the pageant and run are often before the major festivities begin.
Calle Ocho Culture
Little Havana is the best-known neighborhood for Cubans in exile, but it’s also home to Hondurans, Nicaraguans, and other immigrants from Central America and the Caribbean. The neighborhood’s main street is SW 8th Street, or Calle Ocho in Spanish. It’s a one-way street packed with coffee shops, cafes, bakeries, beauty salons, mercados and art galleries.
Here, you’ll also find the Cuban Memorial Plaza, a collection of statues in the middle of a street median. The seven monuments commemorate the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion, Cuban independence fighter Antonio Maceo, anti-communist figure Tony Izquierdo, the Virgin Mary, and include a huge raised map of the island of Cuba.
Sightseeing at Carnaval Miami
It’s hard to see a city during a festival, because you don’t usually get quite the sense of place you do when everything’s just day-to-day normal for the community. Check out Little Havana either before or after the fiesta, and see how the spirit carries through every day.
Don’t just stay there, however. Miami is full of worthwhile things—from beaches to nightclubs to Art Deco architecture, as well as some amazing people watching. Add on some time to drive through the Florida Keys, and you’ll see how Miami strings Florida beach cultures together and then dials it up more than a few notches.