Over the years Hialeah has often been overlooked in favor of other areas of Florida like Miami, but locals will tell you that there is much to enjoy in this city that is actually one of the oldest in South Florida.
In the days of old, Hialeah was known for its cattle farming and aviation industry and the legacies of these can still be seen today in places such as the Amelia Earhart Park. Much of Hialeah was destroyed in 1926 due to a hurricane, but today it almost twins Miami in terms of population, and is now know to rival Orlando in terms of shopping, dining, and entertainment opportunities. There is an emerging arts and cultural scene here, and many locals say that if you miss a trip to Hialeah while you are in Florida, then you are missing out on a whole lot.
Lets explore the best things to do in Hialeah:
1. Amelia Earhart Park
The Amelia Earhart Park is one of the best loved green spaces in the city, and with good reason. While many people in Florida want to flock to the beach, there is something to be said for some green grass and old fashioned park fun. The Amelia Earhart Park is covered with biking trails as well as a soccer field, and there is even a pony rink, a petting zoo, and a tree fort where you can unleash your inner child.
To add to all of this, there is a lake at the center of the park that stretches for over 90 acres, and if you love water sports then this is not to be missed, as you can try your hand at waterskiing, wakeboarding, and knee boarding here. The park is also an important part of American history, as it is named after the female pilot who left from Hialeah before taking her last ever flight from Miami.
2. Bucky Dent Water Park
Loved by children and adults alike in Hialeah, the Bucky Dent Water Park is just the place to come if you want to cool off in the Florida heat. There is a large public swimming pool here as well as the main water park.
There are slides here that stretch over 30 feet as well as a zero depth swimming pool, and locals here will tell you that this is a breath of fresh air compared to some of the larger water parks in Florida which often have long lines for the attractions.
The water park is perfect for patrons of all ages, and you can get snacks and drinks here if you are feeling hungry or thirsty after a day of fun.
3. Leah Arts District
Hialeah has a vibrant and distinct arts scene that is only just starting to make a name for itself and one of the reasons for this is the Leah Arts District.
The district is known for its gorgeous colorful murals that were painted by local artists, and the area is beginning to host arts and cultural events that promote artwork from Hialeah and the wider region.
Check the local listings to see what’s on when you are in town.
4. AmerTec Building
The AmerTec Building is often mistaken for a Gaudi building when people first glimpse it, thanks to its quirky style and distinct shape.
It wasn’t however designed by Anton Gaudi himself, but rather it used to house a woodworking workshop and furniture store that was owned by a company called Amertec-Granada Inc, which is how the building got its name.
The building is now a storage facility, but if you are in Hialeah then make sure you swing by and check out this amazing feat of design and engineering which is now a prize cultural landmark in the city.
5. Garden of the Arts
Garden of the Arts is one of the newest parks in Hialeah but it has rapidly gained a following for being one of the most beautiful open spaces in the city. The park is like a cross between an art gallery and a museum, and the greenery is punctuated by murals, sculptures, and art installations.
There is also an amphitheater here and depending when you visit there are concerts and other live events held here throughout the year. There are also swathes of gorgeous landscape in the park, and if you want to take in all the natural beauty here then you can explore by strolling along one of the many trails that are perfect for hiking or biking.
6. Stephen’s Restaurant
There are many restaurants in Hialeah, which has a reputation for its Cuban food and other ethnic bites, but for a little piece of history you need to come to Stephen’s Restaurant, which first opened its doors to customer in 1954.
The restaurant is actually more of a New York deli and it is still decorated in a retro style that evokes the East Coast, and you will find delicious treats such as corned beef and traditional pastrami here. You can also try other delicacies such as the matzo ball soup, Ruebens, and mac and cheese.
7. Hialeah Park
The Hialeah Park Racetrack was one of the most iconic parts of this city when it first opened in the 1920s, and many famous jockeys in the United States made their names here. Famous faces here included the likes of Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, but sadly the park suffered over the years and was finally closed.
In 2013 however thanks to a restoration project it reopened and now holds horse racing events much like it did in the days of old. There is also a casino on site if you fancy tempting Lady Luck, and there are often live music events held here as well. Even if you don’t want to gamble, this is one historical gem in Hialeah that you don’t want to miss.
8. Flamingo Plaza
If you fancy some retail therapy in Hialeah then you need to head to Flamingo Plaza, which is known as the place to come if you want to shop up a storm. Miami is famous for its antique stores, but Flamingo Plaza can more than hold its own as it is known for its thrift stores that are all located around the same area.
Here you will find vintage clothing items as well as antique memorabilia and even things like toys, books, and records, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. Leave plenty of time if you want to go hunting for buried treasure as you will find a wide variety of stores here.
9. Miami Lakes Park
Miami Lakes Park is another of Hialeah’s beloved green spaces, and comprises a park and a sports facility in the same place.
There is fun for all the family to be found here as there are playgrounds that are suitable for different age groups, and you will also find a baseball diamond here where you might get to see a game in action.
There are basketball courts available and you can find picnic areas all over the park if you want to relax with a bite to eat.
10. Hialeah Fountain
Hialeah Fountain is probably the closest thing that this city has to a national landmark, and many use it as meeting point in the local area.
The fountain sits in pride of place in the center of Hialeah and consists of an impressive two-tier fountain which is next to an arched bridge.
Around the fountain you will find grassy knolls that are perfect if you want to relax in the afternoon sun, and this picturesque part of Hialeah is also ideal for photo opportunities.
11. Amelia Earhart Mountain Bike Trails
The Amelia Earhart Mountain Bike Trails are well known for running all over the Amelia Earhart Park in downtown Hialeah and are perfect if you want to get out and about and do something active when you are in town.
The trails can be challenging in parts, although there are also more mellow routes for novice bikers, and all skill levels are catered for here. The trails run past the spectacular lake in Amelia Earhart Park as well as through lush areas of forest lands.
12. Epicentro Cafe
Hialeah is known for its high Cuban population, and with that in mind you certainly shouldn’t miss the chance to try the Cuban food here when you are in town.
Epicento Cafe is well known in the city for being a family owned establishment that has been here for years, and is open 24 hours a day, so you can come here at any time of the day or night if you are feeling hungry.
13. Tom Sawyer’s Play Area
If you visit Amelia Earhart Park, then you will definitely want to swing by Tom Sawyer’s Play Area at the same time. The play area sits on an island which is accessible from a bridge that begins in the park.
The island is known for being covered in pretty Cyprus trees and there are also oak trees as you venture further into the depths of the forest. The island is filled with play areas that make this the perfect adventure ground for children, and you can expect climbing areas, swings, and slides.
14. Bright Park
Bright Park stretches over 4 acres in Hialeah and although it is not one of the largest parks here, there are a great range of activities for those who choose to explore.
If you are travelling with a family then there are playgrounds for children of all different ages, as well as fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts that can be rented if you fancy a game.
There is also a public pool if you want to cool off in the Florida heat as well as walking trails that skirt around the park for those who are feeling more active.
If you ask a local about Chico’s, chances are that they will know exactly what you are talking about, as this cafe has been running in Hialeah for over 30 years.
It is open 24 hours a day meaning that if you get a craving for the food here then you can come whenever you want, and this is a well known spot for those who have been out on the town and fancy a light night snack.