Seeing new places is adventurous and fun, but it can also be overwhelming if you don’t know where to go. Here are the top things to do in Havana, Cuba. The number of things to see and things to do in Havana, Cuba will surprise you with its enormity! I couldn’t believe it when I first started researching before our trip.
Where to start is always a big question for me, and when you are traveling with kids, it’s better to have some sort of idea. But if you are traveling to Cuba with kids, it’s also super important to be flexible.
Best Things To Do In Havana, Cuba:
Now that it’s getting cold, most of us dream of warmer climates. Why not Cuba? Cuba has become a popular destination. In 2017, 4.6 million people visited this culturally rich country.
If you’re thinking about visiting this country, here are some of the best things to do in Havana, Cuba.
1. City Tour
I’m not a big tour person, although I do enjoy an occasional tour. This one turned out to be essential. Why? First of all, Havana is so big that you will spend tons of money on cabs taking you to some places and attractions that are way too far out of the way. With a tour, you get to visit them and also know which spots you are going to return to do a deeper exploration.
Some spots you get to visit:
Revolution Square and go up in the Presidential tower
Fuster’s House – a Cuban Artist’s house
Revolution Museum – Not really for kids younger than 14 years old
Capital Building and Central Park
2. Havana Vieja
You can literally get lost for hours here and won’t even feel the time go by. This was my absolute favorite spot and if I had time, I would probably come back over and over again. With plenty of parks and plazas, street musicians, Santorini women, and gorgeous architecture, your kids won’t get pissed that you are out and about all day here.
Old Havana, known to locals as Havana Vieja is one of the most touristy spots in Havana. You wouldn’t go to New York without visiting Times Square, well, Old Havana is the equivalent. Havana Vieja is so iconic, UNESCO has declared it a World Heritage site.
When you walk along Havana Vieja, you walk into a time capsule of neoclassical and baroque architecture styles. Not too mention this neighborhood is beaming with colorful buildings.
3. Havana Centro
This is the real Havana and where daily Cuban life is best experienced. Since there aren’t too many real stop-and-drop attractions, walking around the streets might get tiresome for your kids – quick. But get them to bear with you for at least one hour.
4. Callejon de Hamel
This tiny alleyway is located in Havana Centro, but is only really experienced on Sunday’s after 12 PM when the African culture comes alive with music, dance, and drumming. It’s also a place of art, and you can have your kids play while enjoying the local artist’s handiwork on the walls and buildings.
5. Vedado, Havana
This is the newer part of Havana and more modern. The buildings are taller and the streets are wider. Walking on the streets here can also get boring for the kids, but at least here you can use the Coppelia Ice Cream shop card, which is the most famous ice cream in Cuba and is actually a huge park where the kids can run around safely and content with their bellies full. Fun facts about Cuba: The Coppelia is amazingly huge, and your kid will love them
This is the famous boardwalk-like street. It’s actually a street that surrounds the entire Havana and where the waves crash daily as you look out onto the Caribbean Sea as you look out onto El Morro – the Fortress.
If you enjoy taking long walks along the beach, then El Malecon is an activity you cannot miss in Havana.
Think of El Malecon as a boulevard along the water that stretches over 5 miles. When taking a walk down this boulevard, you will experience some of the best people-watching.
You will find tourists enjoying the walk, locals hanging out after work, and lovers holding hands. Make sure you walk along the Malecon at sunset.
This is now leaving the main area of Havana and crossing under one of the main tunnels. This is more of a residential area, but if your kids need a serious break from walking and city viewing, you can visit the National Aquarium and have some fun time with dolphins and sea lions.
8. Plaza de la Catedral
You cannot leave Havana without visiting Plaza de la Catedral. This plaza features a stunning 18th century Catedral in the square. Tourists visiting Havana flock to see this stunning cathedral, which was once called “music made into stone.”
The plaza is not that large, so don’t expect to spend a lot of time here. You can spend some time sitting in the square and people watching.
9. Ride a Vintage Car
If you’ve seen pictures of people who have traveled to Cuba, then you’ve probably seen them ride in a vintage car.
When you visit Havana, you will feel like you’ve stepped into the 1950s with all those vintage cars. So you can’t visit Havana without riding in a 1950s vintage convertible.
You can rent one of these cars outside of the Museum of the Revolucion or Hotel Inglaterra.
10. Have an Authentic Cuban Cigar
While in Havana, you have no excuse to not smoke an authentic Cuban cigar. The best part is you can enjoy these everywhere.
And if you’re not a smoker, there’s no reason why you can’t pretend to smoke one for the pictures.
11. Drink a Hemingway Cocktail
The famous American writer, Ernest Hemingway loved Cuba. In the 1940s, Hemingway married his wife Martha, and they settled outside of Havana. He purchased Finca Vigia and lived there for twenty-five years.
If you want to walk in the footsteps of the famous writer, then you must drink the “best daiquiri in the world,” his words.
El Floridita is a famous spot located in Havana Vieja. When you visit El Floridita, order the Hemingway Daiquiri and test it for yourself.
12. Tour a Cigar Factory
Remember when Cuban cigars were prohibited and banned. What better way to feel like a rebel than by touring a Cuban cigar factory in Havana.
Get a first look at how these iconic cigars are made. These tours are quite popular, so make sure you book far enough in advance.
13. Museum of Fine Arts
Cuba is a country of artists, so you can’t leave Havana without visiting the Palacio de Bellas Artes or also known as the museum of fine arts for tourists.
This art museum has the largest art collection in the country. Here, you will find some of the most famous artists, such as Raul Martinez and Guillermo Collazo.
14. Plaza de la Revolucion
Plaza de la Revolucion is the perfect place for political enthusiasts. It’s no secret Cuba has a politically tumultuous past. And in Plaza de la Revolucion, you can observe front row the different branches of government.
The Plaza also features a large mural in honor of Che Guevara with the phrase “Always Toward Victory” or “Hasta la Victoria Siempre.”
Don’t leave Cuba without a visit to the Plaza de la Revolucion.
15. Playas del Este
When you’re ready to take a break from the bustle of Havana, head over to relax on the beach at Playas del Este.
This set of beaches is merely 11 miles outside of Havana. The quietest and most relaxing beaches include Playa Tarara and Bucuranao.
On the other hand, Guanabo and Playa Boca Ciega will have a lively and high-energy atmosphere.
16. Check Out the Street Art
You don’t need to go to a museum to enjoy art while visiting Havana. There’s plenty of street art to go around.
If you want to also enjoy crafts done by locals, you can visit places like La Fabrica de Arte Cubano or Pisoclabis Bazar-Cafe. You will be able to find some great art created by new and seasoned artists.
17. Enjoy Some Salsa
If you feel like absorbing as much of the culture of Havana as possible, you have to dance to some salsa, even if you’re not a great dancer.
You can find salsa practically anywhere in Havana. Even if you don’t dare to dance, you can still watch the locals dance while you sip on a Mojito or a Cuba Libre.
18. Eat at Paladares
When in Havana, you must try one of the many Paladares. The term “Paladares” refers to an independently-run or family restaurant. These restaurants are often located right below big houses.
Most families who own Paladares live in a section of the house. These restaurants have some of the most authentic cuisines in Havana.
There are plenty of things to do in Havana, Cuba. This guide will get you started, but once you get there, let loose and enjoy what this city has to offer.
Are you ready to embark on your next trip? Check out our hotel reviews to find the best one.
Each area of Havana can keep you busy for days. So if you can only do half a day of actual exploring you can always go to the National Hotel of Cuba which has a great view of the Sea, the Malecon and the Fortress, and still enjoy Havana but with your kids happy too. There are things to do in Cuba for everyone.
What other fun things to do in Havana? Let me know in the comments.
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