The Ten Best Things to Do in Hialeah

Let’s be honest — Hialeah is the butt of Miami’s jokes. But there’s more to the City of Progress than agua, fango y factoría. In fact, Hialeah is rich in history. It was the place to be in the Roaring Twenties and attracted the likes of Harry S Truman, the Kennedys, and Winston Churchill. Now it's becoming a draw for the arts.

Not only is Hialeah home to Telemundo — the second-largest Spanish television network — and the birthplace of KC & the Sunshine Band, among other greats, but in the past year or so, the city has also experienced a cultural renaissance that has brought life to the community. Though the new definitely appeals to a younger crowd, there’s the old too — things and places that capture the true essence of Hialeah.

So grab your GPS (you'll need it to navigate the street grid) and check out the ten best things to do in Hialeah.

10. Shop at Ñooo! ¡Que Barato! 
You truly haven't experienced Hialeah until you've entered Ñooo! ¡Que Barato! Located on the corner of Okeechobee Road and West 12th Avenue, this giant yellow building is a mecca of cheap Cuban goods (hence the name, which translates to, "Damn, That's Cheap"). Here, you can find everything from batas de casa, violetas perfume, and guayaberas to a life-size statue of San Lazaro, skinny jeans, and even Communion dresses. Catering to Miami's Cuban-exile community, Serafín Blanco opened his store in 1996 as a way to provide Cubans with a place they can shop for things they'd typically find on the island and purchase items they can afford to send back home. As the store's popularity grew, Blanco opened Que Caché, El Dollarazo, and Baby Caché, but Ñooo! ¡Que Barato! remains the essential spot for all your Cuban needs. As one Yelp reviewer put is, it's like walking into your abuela's closet.
Ñooo! ¡Que Barato! 1198 W. 23rd St., Hialeah; 305-884-8000;
9. Explore the Garden of the Arts 
Truly a hidden gem (it's located in the middle of warehouses and residences, in the shadow of the Palmetto Expressway), Garden of the Arts is a breath of fresh air. One of the first of its kind in La Ciudad Que Progresa, here you'll find murals and sculptures by Xavier Cortada, Alexander Mijares, Antonio Fortuna, and other renowned artists. Masterpieces aside, you'll also find paved walking trails and benches, a mini-amphitheater with an elevated stage (the beginning of a #BringLiveMusicToHialeah movement, perhaps?), and perfectly manicured grounds. 
City of Hialeah Garden of the Arts, 1700-1798 W. 76 St., Hialeah;
8. Catch a Show at Milander Center for Arts & Entertainment 
After undergoing a major face-lift in 2013, Milander Center for Arts & Entertainment (formerly Milander Auditorium) has become a cultural epicenter. One of the few art galleries the area, Milander has hosted several exhibits and concerts. Among them are the Women’s History Month showcase, in partnership with the Miami Urban Contemporary Experience and the Celia Cruz Legacy Project; Javier Cortada’s "Climaexhibit, highlighting climate change; PAMM’s Inside|Out Art Walk (which most recently hosted the Dark Flashlight Tour); and performances by Florida Grand Opera. Art and music abound here, but if you’d rather throw your own pachanga at Milander, you can rent out one of the banquet halls or the one-and-only rooftop terrace in Hialeah.
Milander Center for Arts & Entertainment, 4800 Palm Ave., Hialeah; 305-827-0681;
7. Party at Las Tabernas de Wancho 
Yes, there's nightlife in Hialeah, and Las Tabernas de Wancho is where it’s at. Located on the top floor of a five-story building right off the Palmetto Expressway, “el quinto piso mas rumbero en Miami,” or "the most lit fifth floor you'll find in Miami" — an honor bestowed by New Times — is the place to be in the City of Progress. The club features three rooms, each offering its own music genre. La Rumbateka plays mostly merengue and bachata; Club 5 "Blue Room," the most recent addition, is where you'll find the younger crowd getting turnt to hip-hop, reggaeton, and techno; and then there’s "La Fonda Paisa" Tropical Crossover. Reminiscent of the pueblo of Antioquia, this is where the true Colombianos party it up. Each room comes equipped with a disco ball and bottle service. 
Las Tabernas de Wancho, 2100 W. 76th St., Hialeah; 305-822-7833;
6. Place a Bet at Hialeah Park Racing & Casino
One of the oldest recreational facilities in South Florida, Hialeah Park Racing & Casino is a local institution. Opened in 1922 by aviation pioneer Glenn Curtis and Missouri cattleman James H. Bright, the park was a greyhound racetrack, operated by the Miami Kennel Club. In 1925, the Miami Jockey Club launched thoroughbred racing. Fast-forward several years and flocks of flamingos later, and the rest is history. In its glory days, Hialeah Park was visited by Winston Churchill, Harry S Truman, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, and Princess Grace of Monaco, to name a few political figures and Hollywood legends. Though the park was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, it remained dormant for many years. Hialeah Park saw a rebirth in 2009, when the park reopened for horse races. Slot machines were eventually installed, and in 2013, Hialeah Park unveiled a casino. Last year, Hialeah Park's outdoor stage and seating area — the Fountain Terrace — debuted, drawing musical artists such as Willy Chirino, Jo Mersa Marley, and Danay Suarez to the stage.
Hialeah Park Racing & Casino, 100 E. 32nd St., Hialeah; 305-885-8000;
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Laurie Charles
Contact: Laurie Charles