Little Havana Recreation & Parks

Spend an afternoon in a Little Havana park. We offer a variety of park experiences: find your peaceful oasis or great place to exercise.

In Jose Marti Park, see boats float down the Miami River, watch a baseball or basketball game, take a free yoga class, or go for a swim in the park’s swimming pool.

Meditate in the shade of the huge ceiba tree in Cuban Memorial Park. Watch a domino game and sip cafe cubano in Domino Park. Take a stroll along the calm shores of Sewell Park. Play tennis in Bryant Park. Fire up a BBQ grill in Henderson Park. Shoot hoops or play soccer in Riverside Park.

The ceiba in Cuban Memorial Park.

Cuban Memorial Park
SW 13th Ave. between SW 8th St. & Coral Way
Miami, FL 33135

Retired local planner Jose Casanova is one of the people who invested many hours in the planning of Cuban Memorial Park, a shady, tree-lined park with benches and monuments along the meridian of 13th Avenue, south of SW 8th St.

The huge trees in the park are ceibas, sacred in many religions including Santeria and Palo. The tree is honored in outdoor rituals as well as through the offerings laid among its thick, above-ground roots … don’t touch!

The park underwent significant improvements more recently, thanks in part to the efforts of Luis Palomo and the local (but now defunct) organization Friends of Little Havana (not to be confused with the current organization Friends of Little Havana).

E.G. Sewall Memorial Park
1801 NW S River Dr.
Miami, FL 33125

Sewell Park

Known locally as Sewell Park, this calm and quiet refuge gives easy access to the Miami river. It’s mostly free of organized activities and instead lush with a hammock trees, bushes and plants, including flamboyan (Royal Poinciana), oak and palm trees.

Sewell Park is a popular spot for a romantic picnic with a loved one or for meditation and relaxation that clears your mind. You may also see a Santeria practitioner visiting the park to give an offering to the river deity (Orisha) Ochun.

In the upper part of the park, near the parking lot, there’s a small playground and BBQ area actively used by local children and families. Walk through shady paths to the lower part of the park, along the river, for a large grassy area that goes right up to the rocky riverbank. Families and other groups enjoy bringing a soccer ball to kick around and some set up volleyball nets for a game.

The park has a canoe/kayak launch where some cast their lines to fish, and nearby (but closed to the general public) is property owned by the local Miccosukee Indian Tribe, with caves that were used by the Tequesta Indians many hundreds of years ago.

Ernesto Lecuona Park
900 SW 1st St.
Miami, FL 33130

Tiny Ernesto Lecuona Park is something of a mini-park or “tot lot”, with eight picnic tables available. The entrance is from 2nd Street, near the Manuel Artime Theater. The famous Cuban pianist and composer Ernesto Lecuona also has his own star on the Calle Ocho Walk of Fame.

Fern Isle Park/South Fork Park
2201 NW 11 St.
Miami, FL 33125
(305) 643-7145

This riverfront park has a focus on activities, from baseball and softball to basketball and tennis. It also has a playground for the kids and covered shelters for gatherings.

Henderson Park
971 NW 2nd St.
Miami, FL 33128
(305) 575-5264

Located near Clinica Penalver, Henderson Park has a soccer field, tennis courts, BBQ grills, a playground, and dance and music programs, and is also popular with skateboarders.

In 1937, Miami tennis star Gardner Malloy lost the Dade County Tennis Championship during a game played with Bobby Riggs at Henderson Park.

Jose Marti Park

Jose Marti Park
362 SW 4th St.
Miami, FL 33130
(305) 960-2945

One of the most popular parks in Little Havana is Jose Marti Park, named after the famous Cuban poet. The park also features a monument to Marti.

In 400 AD, the park site was a Tequesta Indian camp. In 1982, excavators found pottery shards, shell tools, projectile points, an Indian woman’s grave and other artifacts on this land. This site was also part of “Tent City”: the land that housed the many hundreds of Cuban political refugees who arrived in 1980 during the Mariel Boatlift.

The Miami river splits Jose Marti Park in half. The northwest side of the park has plenty of green open space and benches where you can sit and watch boats drifting down the river, play a game of dominos or chess, or take a free yoga class every Tuesday at 6 pm. At the southwest side is a year-round outdoor swimming pool and large playground with lots of colorful playground equipment, hugely popular with local children.

The entrance on the west side of the park is just across the street from some of the oldest buildings in Miami, and a hotel listed on the National Register of Historic Places (Roam Miami). Parking is available along SW 4th Avenue.

The southeastern side of the park has a Recreation Center, gym, basketball court, baseball/softball field, and many other spaces for activities. Parking is available near the eastern entrance to the park, under the I-95 Expressway, near the corner of SW 5th Street and 3rd Avenue (head north on 3rd Ave. past SW 5th Street and turn left into the lot).

The Jose Marti Gymnasium (434 SW 3rd Avenue) draws regulars with its spacious indoor basketball court, dance studio (with spectacular views of downtown) and cardio/fitness room.

Jose Marti Park offers swimming classes, Zumba dance/exercise classes; art classes (for seniors), and English classes (through Miami Dade College). Kids meet here as a part of after-school programs, including the Miami Children’s Orchestra. The park also hosts a winter/spring/summer camp; T-ball; chess club; basketball, swimming and baseball teams; and water polo.

Events take place here all year long, from toy drives and food giveaways to a Halloween celebration and Jose Marti birthday celebration.

Maximo Gomez Park (Domino Park) (formerly Antonio Maceo Park)
801 SW 15th Ave.
Miami, FL 33135
(305) 285-1684

Before it was a park, this tiny plot of land on the south side of 15th Avenue and Calle Ocho was a scrappy dirt lot. It attracted domino players with its shade trees. When evening shadows began to fall, the neon lights of the nearby Tower Theater and a local market helped keep the games going.

Rene Janero and other recent arrivals from Cuba found comfort gathered around a rickety card table playing dominos and sharing stories about Cuba with other exiles.

Now an official park, what locals and tourists now know as Domino Park or “el parque Domino” is still the site for domino games. Although now the space is sheltered, players include men and women (and non-Cubans), and many people are participating, including locals playing card games and chess.

The official name of the park, Maximo Gomez Park, honors a hero of Cuba’s Ten Year’s War (1868-1878) and War of Independence (1895-1898) against Spain. A bronze bust of the Dominican-born Major General Gomez sits in the northwest corner of the park, which was previously named for another hero of the same wars (General Antonio Maceo).

Rene Janero

Players include Rene Janero (now in his ’80s) — the oldest player in the park and one of its founding players, Jorge (my domino mentor), and Armando or “El Chino”, who’s quick to tell you he won eight (Ocho!) domino competitions.

Many players have a cigar poking out of a guayabera pocket. Some are dressed old school style, complete with Panama hat and tailored shoes. Others are fine with a T-shirt and baseball cap.

Often someone will approach the table with a colada of café cubano, offering shots in tiny plastic cups. A player might share some warm lechon bought from the butcher at Colón supermarket down the street.

Although most published descriptions of the park imply that players spend most of their time talking about Cuba and Fidel Castro, this is not necessarily the case now. They talk about a variety of topics, like baseball, local politics and the game itself. And yes, the future of Cuba.

Thanks to players like Janero, the tradition continues. In the mid-’80s, before the park was officially designated, local merchants tried to put a halt to the gathering place, reacting to a crime wave and fears of drug dealing and vagrancy. Fortunately, the domino players and their allies succeeded in convincing the City of Miami to preserve their tradition and to create an official park. The park is for people ages 55 and over.

Riverside Park

Riverside Park
342 SW 7th Ave.
Miami, FL 33129
(305) 252-5900

Although this park was renamed for the late Cuban exile activist Jorge Mas Canosa, locals still refer to it as Riverside Park. It was one of the first Miami parks, built in the early 1900s.

Riverside Park is located in East Little Havana, near Flagler Street. It boasts a large, colorful and popular playground — a Boundless playground, specially designed to be accessible to children and family members with disabilities or limited mobility. It also has a basketball court and a space for playing soccer or baseball/softball (baseball for youth only).

Some Miamians remember it as the site where local legend Vicente Lopez started a baseball academy for local youth and coached baseball games. The baseball field remains well tended, and soccer leagues play there in the evenings.

In 1995, when the park was dominated by gangs, a local child was killed by a gang member’s stray bullet. A small memorial in the park honors the three-year-old, Bernabe Ramirez. A small memorial honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., too.

Shenandoah Park
1800 SW 21st Ave.
Miami, FL 33145
(305) 856-9551

Shenandoah Park is located in the neighborhood adjacent to Little Havana and sometimes considered part of Little Havana: Shenandoah. Like some other local parks, it has a basketball court, tennis court, pool, playground, fitness/weight room, and baseball/softball field. It is one of the only local parks to also have a racquetball court and a football/soccer field. The park hosts camps, youth sports teams and classes, too.

While visiting the park, stop at the beautifully renovated Shenandoah Library next door.

William Jennings Bryan Park
2301 SW 13th St.
Miami, FL 33145
(305) 643-7150

This 2-acre park five blocks south of SW 8th Street is on the border between Little Havana and its sister neighborhood called Shenandoah. The focus here is activities, particularly tennis. It hosts tennis lessons, a USA Team Tennis League and Tournament, USTA Florida Tournament, a senior tennis league and a summer tennis camp! A playground is on the site, and an acre of the park still offers green space.