Hialeah, a longtime home base for Miami’s Cuban population, lately is attracting a new crowd.

By Tom Austin
November 28, 2015
Courtesy Hialeah Park

Hialeah, Miami’s funky, historically Cuban neighborhood, lately has emerged as a new hipster hangout. The LEAH Arts District is an engine of edginess, a neighborhood of old warehouses destined for artists’ studios featuring street murals by Kazilla and Nicole Salgar. Throughout the year, it hosts occasional festivals, with music by Miami stalwarts like Oscar G, and food trucks from the likes of Ms. Cheezious coordinated by Burger Beast. And now, Hialeah has joined the Art Basel fray, presenting CLIMA—an Xavier Cortada solo art exhibit concerned with sea level rise and climate change—at the Milander Center for Arts and Entertainment, on view from November 30 through January 29.

For years, local fashionistas have scoured the Flamingo Plaza mall for bargains, with the Red, White and Blue Thrift Store being a particular favorite. Hialeah has plenty of old-school Cuban restaurants, too, like the classic Morro Castle, but breaking trend types are flocking to La Fresa Francesca Petit Café for French fare with a Cuban touch: the seared foie gras inside a Cuban guava pastry is pretty remarkable.

Hialeah is centered on the forever-beautiful Hialeah Park, a horseracing track and casino built in the 1920s that’s now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hialeah Park’s resident flock of flamingoes have given the complex Audubon Bird Sanctuary status: the flamingoes were featured in the opening credits of Miami Vice, and have remained an iconic attraction since.

Tom Austin is based in Miami and covers the Florida beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter at @TomAustin__.