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Haitian Art is displayed throughout the Cultural Center | Jake Mathai/Wikipedia Commons
Haitian Art is displayed throughout the Cultural Center | Jake Mathai/Wikipedia Commons
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Get Your Haitian Culture Fix In Little Haiti, Miami

Picture of Laurence Kidd
Updated: 9 February 2017
Miami-Dade county is a remarkable melting pot, full of different cultures and ethnicities. In fact, South Florida in general can be characterized as having one of the most diverse populations of the entire United States. Some of the most profiled groups in Miami, whose influences can easily be perceived on a daily basis, include the Caribbean, Latin American, and Central American cultures. These groups have all contributed to South Florida’s amazing cultural montage through their commitment to upholding their native forms of art, music, cooking, and much more. Here, The Culture Trip takes you to Little Haiti, a lively neighborhood in Miami where you are sure to encounter friendly people, beautiful artwork, and sensational music.
One of the many wall murals on 2nd Avenue | Wikipedia Commons
One of the many wall murals on 2nd Avenue | Wikipedia Commons
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Haiti Cultural Center

If you’re visiting Little Haiti for the first time, then the first place on your list should be none other than the Little Haiti Cultural Center. This cultural hub, which functions both as an art gallery and as a community space, frequently puts on first-rate shows of contemporary art by Caribbean artists. It has exhibited the works of noted Haitian artist Edouard Duval-Carrié and photos from Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Carl Juste. We recommend that you take time to wander the two buildings that make up the complex. One houses the art exhibits, educational classrooms and black box theater while the other is occupied by administrative offices and the fabulous Magic Piano—painted by rock star artist David LeBatard.

Little Haiti Cultural Center. 212 NE 59th Terrace, Miami, FL, USA, +1 305 960 2969

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Libreri Mapou Bookstore

With more than 3000 titles in French, Kreyol, and English, Libreri Mapou has been the center of Haitian literary culture in Miami since 1986. If you want to be completely immersed by the different elements of Haitian culture, then make your way to 5919 NE 2nd Ave. Here, in the heart of Little Haiti, the halls of Libreri Mapou are often accompanied by the live drumming of percussion students from the music school across the street and the back area is usually reserved for the rehearsals of the dance company Sosyete Koukouy. Not only are there thousands of rare books available for sale; visitors also are delighted to find paintings by Haitian artists and larger-than-life photos of folkloric dancers and musicians covering the walls.

Libreri Mapou. 5919 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL, USA, +1 305 757 9922

Caribbean Marketplace

After a morning of touring the Culture Center and checking out the Mapou bookstore, you might want to head to the Caribbean Marketplace next door for a bit of shopping. Open Thursday through Sunday, the market is designed as a replica of the Iron Market in Port-au-Prince, the architecture and vibrant colors are a visual marker that you are in the heart of Little Haiti. Looking for an authentic Haitian souvenir to take back home? You’re in luck; the Caribbean Marketplace is strewn with handmade goods, fine art, jewelry, collectibles and fashion apparel.

The Caribbean Marketplace, Little Haiti | Averette/Wikipedia Commons
The Caribbean Marketplace, Little Haiti | Averette/Wikipedia Commons
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Chez Le Bebe

If you want a true Haitian meal after a busy morning in Little Haiti, we’re here to tell you that it doesn’t come more authentic than Chez Le Bebe. Eating good food at an unbeatable price, the locals here have made it part of their daily routine to grab a bite at Chez Le Bebe. The menu is short and sweet, so just pick the type of meat or fish you want and place your order. Each plate comes with rice, beans, plantains, and a salad; all for under $10. However, don’t come here in a hurry, everything is prepared fresh and there might be a little bit of a wait due to the heightened popularity of this establishment.

Chez Le Bebe. 114 NE 54th St, Miami, FL, USA

Fifi’s Record Store

Having been around for decades, Fifi’s Record Shop is ideally situated in ‘Ti Ayiti’, a part of Little Haiti that is always buzzing with activity, mainly due to its musical presence. Fifi’s is a tiny shop that has spent the past 30 years selling music, ever since Florence Charles, known as Fi, first opened the shop.The layout of the store is simple; there’s a middle aisle with shelves and counters on either side, both packed floor to ceiling with CDs, including the classic albums of Shleu Shleu and Le Scorpio. Newer artists such as Misty Jean and Djakout Mizik also feature prominently on Fifi’s record shelves.

BNLH (Big Night in Little Haiti)

If you are lucky enough to visit Little Haiti during the third Friday of the month, then be sure to cancel all plans and prepare to party well into the night at the famous Big Night in Little Haiti festival. Organized by the Rhythm Foundation, this community celebration draws hundreds of curious travelers and eager locals; anyone looking for a night of art, food, ‘kompa’ music and dance performances.

Big Night in Little Haiti | Rara Lakay/Flickr
Big Night in Little Haiti | Rara Lakay/Flickr

Churchill’s Pub

And finally, any trip to Little Haiti simply isn’t complete without a visit to the legendary Churchill’s Pub on 55th Street. If you’re heading there on a Friday or Saturday night, then you’ll surely be tempted to stay for a concert, sip on a strong drink or two, and dance the night away. This venue has been a integral part of the Miami music scene since 1979, offering their stage as a place for local bands to jump start their careers.

Churchill's pub is a popular hangout for the residents of Little Haiti | Phillip Pessar/Flickr
Churchill’s pub is a popular hangout for the residents of Little Haiti | Phillip Pessar/Flickr