Havana Things to Do Tips by draguza
Havana Things to Do: 558 reviews and 978 photos
This square is located in the city centre close to Havana Cathedral and the sea. Surrounded by plants, it is lined on all sides by marble benches. Curiously, the numerous lamps that light the square are not powered by electricity but rather gas, just like in times long past. During the day the square is frequented by second-hand booksellers and at night by a whole host of people, many of them attracted by the surrounding restaurants and bars.
Framed by majestic-looking early 19th-century buildings, this park (also known as Parque José Martí) dates back to 1903. It is a large park surrounded by some of Old Havana's finest restaurants and hotels, including the hotels Sevilla, Plaza and Inglaterra. There are many exotic trees and royal palms in a well-landscaped garden environment. Well lit and quite safe, many people come to sit and relax with friends, while enjoying a drink and listening to the music that drifts over from the local clubs and nearby theater.
Directions: In front of the Inglaterra Hotel and Gran teatro de la Habana...
Hemingway claimed this was "a good place to write," and the room (no. 511) where he wrote parts of For Whom the Bell Tolls is a shrine to the late author, featuring his typewriter and photocopies of some handwritten drafts and notes. The hotel is a popular stop on the tourist trail and a good base for exploring La Habana Vieja. The rooms are simple and somewhat spartan, but they are clean and comfortable, and most have high French doors opening to some views of the bustling streets. A few even have small balconies. Most folks love the compact old, iron-grated elevator running up the inside of the central staircase; however, it's woefully inadequate to meet demand, so if you're staying on an upper floor, you might find waiting for it frustrating. Breakfast is served on the rooftop patio under shady arbors with a wonderful view of the harbor and La Habana Vieja; this is also a great spot for a refreshing drink any time of day or night. The lobby bar is also popular, and features live piano music most of the day and much of the night
This oceanside pedestrian walkway stretches all the way from the Castillo de San Salvador de la Punta in La Habana Vieja to the Almendares River that separates Vedado from Miramar. No trip to Havana is complete without at least some time spent strolling and lingering along the Malecón, which is the social center for a wide range of Cubans. Throughout the day, you'll see children swimming and men fishing off the coral outcroppings that border the walkway, and at night, you're sure to see lovers entwined on cozy perches and groups of revelers all along the seawall.
The section fronting Centro Habana is perhaps the most picturesque, with the crumbling facades and faded paint of neoclassical and neo-Moorish buildings and apartments lining the avenue that separates the Malecón from the city. If you've got the legs and time, a walk from the Hotel Nacional to La Habana Vieja (or vice versa) is in order, and should only take you about 20 to 25 minutes
Havana has an active Chinese community which has spawned a good number of restaurants specialized in traditional Chinese cuisine. These private, family-owned establishments tend to be excellent in both quality and price, offering expeditious service to their customers. Diners can enjoy a full meal–apart from some of the more exotic choices on the menu–that will include a bowl of soup, fried rice, the main course and a drink at good prices.
Address: Habana Centro
Directions: Behind El Capitolio
Sitting on a high bluff overlooking the Malecón, this is Havana's signature hotel, and it's loaded with atmosphere. Two massive turrets loom overhead as you approach the entrance along its palm-lined driveway. The long, tiled lobby, with its high ceilings and heavy painted beams, is the heart and hub of this joint, and it's almost always bustling. The rooms themselves are large and well-appointed, although somewhat drab and showing their age. Some of the standard rooms have quite small bathrooms and no dressers with drawers. The suites and deluxe rooms are generally quite nice, however. Over half the rooms have ocean views, although only a rare few have private balconies. The hotel has a vast lawn area on its high bluff that opens out toward the sea. This is a great place to grab a table for a sunset drink overlooking the Malecón, with giant cannons protecting you on either side
Address: Calles 21 and 0
This prominent theater is located on the site of the former Teatro Tacón in the Paseo de Martí (Prado), in a building known as the Palacio del Centro Gallego. The façade of the neo-baroque building (constructed in 1914) is adorned with a stone and marble statue. There are also sculptural pieces by Giuseppe Moretti, representing allegories depicting benevolence, education, music and theatre. The García Lorca auditorium provides a magnificent stage for the Cuban National Ballet Company, as well as other dance and musical performances.
Directions: Diagonally opposit of 'Capitolio Nacional'
Built in 1929 to house the island's Senate and House of Representatives, National Capitol Building and with a dome that dominates the Havana skyline, this building looks rather similar to the Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington DC. Inside there is a statue of La Republica, the biggest indoor bronze effigy in the world. There is also an enormous and historic gallery called the Salón de los Pasos Perdidos (The Hall of Lost Steps); a 25-carat diamond that marks the exact centre of the city; and the headquarters of the Cuban Natural History housing the country's largest natural history collection.
Address: Paseo de Marti (Prado)
Directions: You can't miss it....
View of the City
The Morro Castle, or "El Morro" as it is most commonly known, is the first fort you'll come to after crossing under the harbor channel tunnel. Sitting on the point overlooking Havana's narrow harbor channel, it was built between 1589 and 1630 and served as an important line of defense against pirate attacks and naval invasions. In addition to its ramparts, barracks, and banks of cannons, El Morro has a series of exhibition rooms and minimuseums. You can walk the fort's ancient streets and even climb the still-functioning, 19th-century lighthouse here. El Morro affords excellent views of Havana and the curve of the Malecón, and there are several restaurants and bars here.
Me in front of the Cathedral
This is Old Havana's classic cathedral. The plaza fronting the cathedral and the church's baroque facade, with its asymmetrical towers, are the most visited attractions in La Habana Vieja. Inside, the cathedral is simple, almost to the point of austerity, thanks to a radical, 19th-century neoclassical makeover. Still, the vaulted ceilings, massive stone pillars, and modest collection of art and antiquities certainly make it worth a visit. Of these, the 17th-century wooden sculpture of Saint Christopher is quite interesting -- Despite the official visiting hours listed below, the church is frequently closed tight. If you're lucky, you might be able to attend Mass here at 9:30am on Sunday.
Address: Old Havana
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