Southwest Eighth Street, which runs from the edge of Brickell near Biscayne Bay straight west into the Everglades, is for many reasons considered the heart of Miami. In the latter half of the 20th century Little Havana grew up around it as hundreds of thousands of Cubans fled Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
Today, as the Cuban population dwindles in comparison to an influx of new immigrants from around Latin America, Calle Ocho remains an important part of the fabric of Miami. Restaurants and galleries open on the last Friday of each month for Viernes Culturales. The night often coincides with an epic Critical Mass ride that covers about a mile of Calle Ocho, with revelers cheering on thousands of cyclists. While nearly every regional cuisine from Central and South America can be found somewhere along this stretch, there are plenty of noteworthy, non-Latin eateries. If you're ever driving along (probably stuck in traffic) jonesin' for something other than a pan con lechon, arepa, cachapa, pupusa or sancocho, all is not lost.