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By: Shayne Benowitz

One of Miami’s many vibrant and culturally rich neighborhoods, Little Haiti is home to the destination’s Haitian community. Pay a visit to this lively neighborhood to discover authentic Creole cuisine, Haitian bookstores, a Caribbean marketplace and a thriving cultural center. In recent years, Little Haiti has seen an influx of artists and other creative types, who’ve brought with them contemporary art galleries, hip restaurants and a bustling food hall. Read on for your insider’s guide to this dynamic neighborhood.

Little Haiti Mache Ayisyen Building
The Little Haiti Mache Ayisyen Building is an arts center and museum

Culture & History in Little Haiti

The Little Haiti Cultural Complex is an arts center and museum showcasing Haitian painting, sculpture and crafts. It also offers classes ranging from ceramics to Afro-Caribbean folk dancing. The center’s 300-seat theater is a popular location for live music and dance performances.

Little Haiti Cultural Complex Market
Local artisan goods and produce at Caribbean Market Days

Next door, local craftspeople sell their goods during special events at the Caribbean Marketplace, a modern replica of Haiti’s colorful Iron Market. Check the calendar for Caribbean Market Days, held periodically on Saturdays. On the third Friday of each month, the Little Haiti Cultural Complex hosts Sounds of Little Haiti, an Afro-Caribbean party where all are welcome to immerse themselves in Haitian culture through live music, transporting visitors to the streets of Port-au-Prince.

Libreri Mapou bookstore in Little Haiti
Purchase rare Creole-language books at Libreri Mapou bookstore

Libreri Mapou bookstore is another one of Little Haiti’s cultural gems. Founded in 1986 by Jan Mapou, a Haitian playwright and activist, the shop offers a selection of rare books in French, Creole and English. Subjects range from folklore and sociological studies to novels and language and grammar books. It’s a great place to linger, checking out the vast number of titles as well as the selection of international newspapers from as far afield as Port-au-Prince and Paris.

Haitian Heritage Museum
Haitian Heritage Museum highlights Haiti's rich cultural heritage

Near Little Haiti, in the Miami Design District, the Haitian Heritage Museum is committed to highlighting and preserving Haiti’s rich cultural heritage through art, historical artifacts, music, film and literary works. Designed as a mecca for people both inside and outside the Haitian diaspora, the museum is a hub for educational and community programming. Recent exhibitions have highlighted important Haitian figures including Toussaint L'Ouverture, the leader of the Haitian independence movement, and abstract artist Charles Philippe Jean-Pierre.

Sweat Records interior
Sweat Records is an indie record shop owned by local DJ Lauren "Lolo" Reskin

Dive into the Music & Arts Scene

Sweat Records is more than a locally owned indie record shop – it’s also a longtime community gathering place. You’ll find a treasure trove of records curated by founder Lauren “Lolo” Reskin (who’s also a local DJ), from old school hip-hop to rock, experimental, metal, folk and punk. The shop also hosts a slew of live events, ranging from music to comedy shows, and boasts an onsite vegan coffee shop.

The perfect place for a gallery crawl, Little Haiti has become a hub for Miami’s contemporary art scene. Stop by Emerson Dorsch, one of Miami’s original gallery trailblazers – it’s committed to a core group of local artists. Nearby, Nina Johnson gallery’s focus is on design and sculpture, representing both Miami-based and international artists. And Laundromat Art Space is an artist-run studio and exhibition space (in a reclaimed laundromat, naturally) that always has something new and thought-provoking on display.

Little Haiti's Chef Creole dish
Chef Creole's menu features signature Haitian recipes

Where to Eat

For an authentic taste of Haiti, look no further than Chef Creole, which features signature Haitian recipes with a focus on seafood, courtesy of beloved longtime owner Chef Wilkinson “Ken” Sejour. The restaurant’s cuisine showcases traditional Caribbean flavors in dishes such as whole fish, seafood criollo stew and platters of fried lobster, shrimp and fish, as well as the Haitian staple, pork griot.

Whether you choose a table in the cozy dining room, cocktails at the bar or a spot on the inviting back patio, Sherwood’s Bistro & Bar is an excellent place for a delicious meal. This convivial hangout in Little Haiti is popular with local artists. Try the lobster tail sandwich, served on a baguette with bacon, which pairs nicely with an Island Breeze, made with Caribbean rum and tropical fruit juices.

Manjay shrimp dish
Sample modern Caribbean cuisine at The Citadel's Manjay restaurant

The Citadel is a unique creative space in Little Haiti that combines food hall delights with maker-driven retail and a rooftop lounge for live music. Be sure to hit up the diverse food vendors – grab a coffee from Vice City Bean, sample modern Caribbean cuisine from Manjay or southeast Asian treats from Lil’ Laos, and don’t skip the frozen treats from Frice Cream. This is a gathering place that celebrates Miami’s diverse creative community.

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