From the Museum of the Revolution to Old Havana, we are sure you will know all about Havana’s main tourist attractions if you are planning a trip here.
While Cuba’s capital tailors to tourists exceptionally well, it’s also nice to explore some of the attractions that only the locals know about!
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some hidden gem attractions that you may not have considered while planning your Cuban adventure.
Plaza de Armas
4MR2+349, La Habana, Cuba
This is a fascinating local market, where you may be able to pick some treasured finds, such as original poster prints, vintage vinyls, antique jewelry, old books, and much more. If you want to hunt down a first-edition book or add a record to your collection, Plaza de Armas is your best chance of doing so.
From the moment you step foot onto Plaza de Armas, you will feel like a local! From couples whispering sweet nothings to one another on bright white benches to people bustling and going about their local trade, this is an excellent way of soaking up the culture in Havana and grabbing a bargain in the process.
La Casa del Arbol
Villegas #302 entre Teniente Rey y Lamparilla, Habana Vieja, Cuba
Although La Casa del Arbol can be found in the heart of Habana Vieja, it is definitely a hidden gem! It is essentially a house that opens its doors to local rock musicians from the area, and their fans, of course.
As this is a place that really does attract a local crowd, finding information online is not easy. The best way to find out about any events that are happening is to check with a local in Café Dandy or Clandestina.
In Cuba, word of mouth is still much more popular and effective in comparison to online advertising.
La Casa del Arbol is on Facebook, which is another good way of finding out what is going on at the time. However, the posts are in Spanish, so do keep this in mind.
Centro cultural Antiguos Almacenes, Avenida del Puerto, Habana Vieja, 10100 La Habana
Next, if you are a fan of street food, music, and/or art, you need to add Antiguos Almacenes to your list of places to visit.
This is a warehouse that is filled to the brim with vibrancy, life, and color. From the moment you walk through the doors, you will feel the buzz of trading, hear the live bands, and smell the delicious freshly cooked churros.
However, what makes this place truly special is the unique artwork that is on display. The artists tend to be the ones sat selling as well, so you will be able to find out more about them and ask them about their works.
Museo del Chocolate in Havana
4MQ2+255, Amargura, La Habana, Cuba
Don’t let the name fool you; this isn’t much of a museum. While there is a collection of tools and ingredients, people really come to Museo del Chocolate to try the chocolate. There is no point in denying it!
You will be surprised by the sheer collection of tasty chocolates on offer. Every chocolate sold in-store has been created and cooled before your eyes. You are then given the option to select from a whole host of varieties that come in all sizes, and shapes, from a small cigar to a dolphin leaping out of the sea.
You cannot visit Museo del Chocolate without trying the hot chocolate. It is the most decadent and thick hot chocolate you will ever try.
Plus, with local prices, it is really not hard to see why Museo del Chocolate is so popular.
Bertolt Brecht Cultural Center
Calle 13 Esquina I, Vedado, Plaza de la Revolucion, Ciudad de la Habana, 258, La Habana 10400, Cuba
If you are looking for incredible local bands and talent that will play more than Reggaetón and salsa, we highly recommend that you check out the events on the calendar at Bertolt Brecht Cultural Center.
This venue attracts a great local crowd, with most shows starting at around 11 pm. You can expect amazing bands and artists, ranging from Telmary to Interactive.
One of Cuba’s oldest settlements, Guanabacoa is located on the fringes of Havana. It is an industrial location that is one of the chief centers of African-Cuban culture in the whole of the country.
The local museums and centers here often host Santerian religious ceremonies, customs, traditions, and dances.
Some of the local attractions you will find in this part of Cuba include the Wemilere African Roots Festival, the Municipal Museum, and the Jewish Cemetery.
This is a beach that lends its name to the Bay of Pigs, a 1961 C.I.A.-supported invasion of Cuba.
While the natural landscapes and beaches here are certainly beautiful, understanding the Cuban side of the story is definitely the main draw.
Situated in the Matanzas province, Playa Giron is home to a museum that explains how invaders were defeated in less than three days.
This is a great way of understanding the history and culture of Cuba, and how it has become the place it is today.
From the moment you step onto the cobbles, you will quickly see why Obispo Street is Havana Vieja’s main street.
You can shop until you drop here, as there are so many different stores to select from, ranging from family-run souvenir stalls to shops selling designer brands.
There are some fantastic kitsch restaurants and bars, where locals spend their time listening to afro-Cuban bands and live salsa.
El Bosque de La Habana
Almendares River, Havana, Cuba
Below the bridge on Calle 23 and along the banks of the Río Almendares, you will find El Bosque de La Habana, which is a welcomed oasis of fresh air and greenery in the center of the bustling city.
You will find a children’s playground, a small outdoor performance space, known as the Anfiteatro Parque Almendares, an antiquated miniature golf course, and much more at the lower park. This is called Parque Almendares and is situated closer to the bridge.
Parque Metropolitano is to the south of the bridge. You can expect enormous trees, shrouded by hanging vine curtains. It is certainly the wilder and more bewitching of the two.
El Bosque de La Habana is definitely a beguiling spot. A number of paths wind their way through the greenery, between the river and the road. It is not uncommon for Santeria ceremonies to be performed here either.
Playita de 16
Calle 14 # 105, Havana 11300 Cuba
Playita de 16 is an exciting albeit offbeat spot in Havana. You will find it in Miramar, which is a neighborhood that houses a number of embassies and is known for being a bit on the posh side.
A small beach, Playita, is located here. A lot of locals go for a quick swim and drink in this part of Havana.
You will find a number of tiny bars, known as barcitos, where you can grab a soda or beer with the locals.
Plus, it is one of the best locations to watch the colorful Cuban sunset.
While Soroa may be incorporated in one or two Cuban tour guides, it does not get all of the love and attention it deserves.
It is situated in the province of Pinar del Rio, which is not too far from Havana.
An incredible biosphere reserve, it is home to El Salto, a truly spectacular waterfall.
There are plenty of other attractions to keep you busy as well, including more than 200,000 specimens of 700 types of orchids from various corners of the world.
You can also view the Castle in the Clouds, which is a construction that resembles a medieval castle, as well as an 820-feet observation point that provides majestic views of the Rosario mountain range.
4JQ6+2W2, La Habana, Cuba
Last but not least, if you are looking for somewhere traditional to dine, Los Primos is a great option.
You can enjoy traditional Ropa Vieja in the most stunning setting; on a porch with banana trees surrounding you!
Aside from this Cuban classic, you can slurp homemade lemonade and the best milkshakes you will find in Cuba. The Batido (milkshake) de Mamey or Guanaba both come highly recommended.
This is a place where locals love to eat, and the prices are pretty low. Because of this, it does get a bit crowded at lunchtime.
We hope that this has given you a better insight into some of the attractions and areas in Havana that you may not have heard about or considered.
There are plenty of hidden gem attractions in Havana, which can give you a different perspective on the city. After all, it is nice to embrace the true culture of an area and immerse yourself in the traditional side of it.