In the wonderful place of Hialeah, I discovered a hidden gem that has often been overshadowed by its neighboring city of Miami. Locals, however, will passionately attest that Hialeah offers a wealth of experiences and attractions that should not be overlooked. As one of the oldest cities in South Florida, Hialeah boasts a rich history and a vibrant culture waiting to be explored.
In the bygone days, Hialeah gained recognition for its thriving cattle farming and burgeoning aviation industry. The echoes of these legacies can still be witnessed today in notable places like the Amelia Earhart Park, where the city’s connection to aviation history is celebrated. Despite the devastating impact of a hurricane in 1926, which caused significant destruction, Hialeah has remarkably flourished. Today, it rivals Miami in terms of population and stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Orlando in terms of its shopping, dining, and entertainment offerings.
One aspect of Hialeah that particularly caught my attention was its emerging arts and cultural scene. The city is witnessing a renaissance, with local artists and cultural institutions creating a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere. From art galleries showcasing the works of talented individuals to theatrical performances that captivate audiences, Hialeah’s cultural scene is thriving and deserves recognition.
No trip to Hialeah would be complete without immersing oneself in the local shopping, dining, and entertainment options. The city has evolved into a hub of diverse culinary experiences, with restaurants offering a tantalizing array of flavors from around the world. Whether you’re craving authentic Latin American cuisine or seeking international delicacies, Hialeah’s dining scene has something for every palate.
Furthermore, Hialeah boasts a thriving shopping scene that caters to all tastes and budgets. From high-end malls featuring renowned brands to local boutiques offering unique finds, shopping enthusiasts will find themselves spoiled for choice. The city’s entertainment opportunities are equally impressive, with a range of options that cater to various interests and preferences.
Allow me to join you on your Hialeah trip with the 15 best activities and places you can explore while 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
I had the opportunity to visit the Bucky Dent Water Park in Hialeah, and it was truly a beloved destination for both children and adults. From the moment I arrived, I could feel the refreshing atmosphere that awaited me, offering respite from the scorching Florida heat.
The water park boasted a variety of attractions that catered to everyone’s tastes. There was a spacious public swimming pool, complemented by the thrilling slides that stretched over 30 feet in height. The exhilaration of sliding down those towering structures was unmatched. Additionally, there was a zero-depth swimming pool, which was a particular delight for those who preferred a more relaxed aquatic experience.
The locals were quick to point out the park’s unique advantage over larger water parks in Florida. Unlike those crowded places with never-ending lines for each attraction, Bucky Dent Water Park provided a breath of fresh air with shorter wait times. It was a welcome change, ensuring that visitors could make the most of their time without spending it in queues.
No matter your age, the water park had something to offer. From the youngest children to the young-at-heart adults, there was no shortage of entertainment. And after a day filled with fun and excitement, hunger and thirst were easily quelled with the snacks and drinks available on-site. It was a convenient way to recharge and satisfy any cravings that emerged throughout the day.
3. Leah Arts District
During my visit to Hialeah, I discovered the city’s thriving arts scene, which was gradually gaining recognition. A prominent contributor to this burgeoning cultural movement was the Leah Arts District.
This district captivated me with its stunning display of vibrant, colorful murals meticulously crafted by talented local artists. Each mural seemed to tell a unique story, breathing life into the streets and buildings. The dedication and passion of these artists were palpable in every stroke.
Furthermore, the Leah Arts District had taken upon itself the role of hosting arts and cultural events that showcased the remarkable artwork not only from Hialeah but also from the surrounding region. It served as a hub for artists to come together, share their visions, and ignite conversations among visitors.
I highly recommend checking the local listings to stay informed about the captivating events and exhibitions taking place during your visit to Hialeah.
4. AmerTec Building
As part of my time in Hialeah, I stumbled upon the remarkable AmerTec Building, which often fools passersby into believing it was crafted by the renowned architect Anton Gaudi due to its eccentric style and unique silhouette.
Contrary to popular belief, the AmerTec Building was not the brainchild of Gaudi himself. Instead, it once served as a woodworking workshop and furniture store owned by a company called Amertec-Granada Inc., which ultimately lent its name to the captivating structure.
While the building has now been repurposed into a storage facility, its architectural marvel still draws visitors from far and wide. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to witness this extraordinary blend of design and engineering, which has rightfully earned its status as a cherished cultural landmark within the city.
5. Garden of the Arts
I had the pleasure of exploring the Garden of the Arts, a relatively new addition to the city’s park scene that quickly garnered a reputation as one of the most breathtaking open spaces in town. This park, reminiscent of a fusion between an art gallery and a museum, boasted a captivating blend of lush greenery, striking murals, intricate sculptures, and thought-provoking art installations.
One of the highlights of the Garden of the Arts was its magnificent amphitheater, which served as a venue for various concerts and live events throughout the year. Depending on the timing of your visit, you might have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the harmonious melodies or vibrant performances that reverberated within this vibrant space.
Furthermore, the park offered vast expanses of gorgeous landscapes that were truly a sight to behold. To fully appreciate the natural beauty of the surroundings, one could embark on a leisurely stroll along the numerous trails specifically designed for hiking or biking. These pathways provided an ideal means to explore the park at your own pace while basking in the tranquility and serenity of the outdoor environment.
The Garden of the Arts was undoubtedly a haven for art enthusiasts, nature lovers, and those seeking a peaceful escape from the bustling city life. Its harmonious fusion of artistic elements and lush greenery created a truly immersive and enchanting experience that left a lasting impression on me.
6. Stephen’s Restaurant
While Hialeah boasted numerous restaurants known for its Cuban cuisine and diverse array of ethnic bites, one establishment stood out for its rich history and unique charm: Stephen’s Restaurant. Having opened its doors to customers back in 1954, this eatery was a true testament to the city’s heritage.
Stepping into Stephen’s Restaurant was like entering a time capsule. The interior exuded a delightful retro ambiance reminiscent of the East Coast. The décor transported me to a bygone era, where the New York deli culture thrived. From the classic booth seating to the vintage decorations, the restaurant perfectly captured the essence of its roots.
When it came to the menu, Stephen’s Restaurant certainly did not disappoint. The tantalizing aromas and flavors of their signature dishes filled the air. True to its deli nature, the restaurant served up delectable treats like corned beef and traditional pastrami, each prepared with the utmost care and expertise. For those seeking a taste of classic Jewish cuisine, options like matzo ball soup, Reubens, and mac and cheese were available to satisfy every craving.
Indulging in the culinary offerings at Stephen’s Restaurant was an experience that resonated with nostalgia and an appreciation for time-honored flavors. The dishes not only delighted my taste buds but also provided a glimpse into the vibrant history of Hialeah and its cultural influences.
7. Hialeah Park
This iconic establishment, Hialeah Park Racetrack, which first opened its doors in the 1920s, held a special place in the hearts of locals and was considered a symbol of the city’s heritage. It was a place where legendary jockeys in the United States made their names, and its fame attracted notable personalities such as Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby.
However, over the years, the park faced its fair share of challenges, and sadly, its glory days gradually faded. Eventually, the racetrack was forced to close its doors, leaving behind a sense of nostalgia and longing among the community.
Fortunately, in 2013, a remarkable restoration project breathed new life into the Hialeah Park Racetrack. The iconic venue reopened its gates, offering visitors the opportunity to experience the thrill of horse racing just as it was in the days of old. The thundering hooves, the cheers of the crowd, and the electric atmosphere transported me back in time to an era filled with excitement and anticipation.
Beyond the racetrack, the Hialeah Park also featured a captivating casino, tempting those with a desire to test their luck. The venue was not only a hub for gambling enthusiasts but also a vibrant center for entertainment. Live music events were frequently held, infusing the air with melodies and creating an enchanting ambiance that complemented the thrill of the games.
Even if you’re not inclined to gamble, the Hialeah Park Racetrack remains an invaluable historical gem in Hialeah that should not be missed. Its revival, after years of closure, is a testament to the enduring spirit and determination of the city. As I walked through the gates and immersed myself in the rich heritage and captivating atmosphere, I couldn’t help but appreciate the significance and beauty of this cultural landmark.
8. Flamingo Plaza
During my time in Hialeah, I discovered the ultimate destination for retail therapy: Flamingo Plaza. This vibrant shopping district quickly garnered a reputation as the go-to place for a shopping extravaganza. While Miami was renowned for its antique stores, Flamingo Plaza proved to be a formidable contender, boasting an array of thrift stores conveniently located within the same area.
As I delved into the heart of Flamingo Plaza, I was greeted by a treasure trove of possibilities. Vintage clothing items adorned the racks, whispering tales of past eras. Antique memorabilia graced the shelves, each piece carrying its own unique history and charm. Moreover, the plaza catered to every collector’s dream, offering an eclectic assortment of toys, books, records, and countless other curiosities. It was a haven for those with a penchant for nostalgia and a desire to unearth hidden gems.
Exploring Flamingo Plaza was an adventure in itself, as I meandered through a diverse range of stores, each brimming with its own distinct character and offerings. From quaint boutiques to bustling emporiums, the plaza offered an abundance of options to suit every taste and preference. To truly immerse oneself in the experience, it was essential to allocate ample time for this retail odyssey, allowing for thorough exploration and the chance to discover truly remarkable finds.
9. Miami Lakes Park
Miami Lakes Park, a cherished green oasis that seamlessly combined a park and sports facility within its grounds.
Miami Lakes Park offered something for everyone in the family, making it an ideal destination for a day of fun and relaxation. The park boasted playgrounds tailored to different age groups, ensuring that children of all ages could delight in the various play structures and activities. Watching the youngsters immerse themselves in laughter and play brought a sense of joy to the atmosphere.
Within the park, I discovered a bustling baseball diamond where the spirit of America’s favorite pastime came alive. If you were lucky, you might have caught a live game in action, witnessing the passion and skill of the players as they competed on the field. The energy was palpable, and it was an experience that truly encapsulated the spirit of sportsmanship.
For those seeking an active endeavor, Miami Lakes Park featured basketball courts where one could engage in friendly matches or hone their shooting skills. The sound of dribbling balls and the cheers of players echoed throughout the air, creating an atmosphere charged with enthusiasm and friendly competition.
Amidst the vibrant activities, the park also offered numerous picnic areas, allowing visitors to unwind and enjoy a leisurely meal surrounded by nature’s beauty. These designated spots provided a serene and inviting ambiance, perfect for gathering with loved ones or simply taking a moment to savor a delicious bite to eat.
10. Hialeah Fountain
Nestled in the heart of the city, the Hialeah Fountain held a special place in the hearts of residents, serving as a recognizable meeting point within the community. Its majestic presence commanded attention, serving as a focal point of pride and admiration.
The fountain itself was a sight to behold, boasting an impressive two-tier structure that captivated onlookers with its graceful water cascades. Adjacent to the fountain, an arched bridge added an element of charm and elegance to the surrounding scenery. The combination of the fountain and the bridge created a picturesque setting that evoked a sense of tranquility and serenity.
Surrounding the fountain, lush grassy knolls provided a perfect escape for those seeking relaxation under the warm afternoon sun. These inviting spaces invited visitors to recline, unwind, and bask in the natural beauty of the surroundings. It was a haven for moments of respite and a chance to appreciate the simple pleasures of life.
As I explored the area, it became evident that the Hialeah Fountain was not only a place for tranquility but also a magnet for photo enthusiasts. The picturesque landscape and the fountain’s striking architecture served as a captivating backdrop for capturing memorable snapshots. It was a haven for capturing cherished memories and celebrating the essence of Hialeah’s beauty.
11. Amelia Earhart Mountain Bike Trails
I also had the opportunity to explore the renowned Amelia Earhart Mountain Bike Trails, which spanned across the vast Amelia Earhart Park. It was the perfect choice for those seeking an active adventure and an opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.
The trails meandered through the park, offering an exhilarating experience for biking enthusiasts of all skill levels. While some sections of the trails presented thrilling challenges, there were also more relaxed routes tailored to accommodate novice bikers. It was a testament to the inclusivity of the park, ensuring that everyone could partake in the joy of biking, regardless of their experience level.
As I pedaled along the trails, I was greeted by breathtaking scenery at every turn. The trails took me past the magnificent lake that graced the heart of Amelia Earhart Park, its serene waters mirroring the surrounding natural splendor. The lush forest lands provided a picturesque backdrop, immersing me in the tranquility of the wilderness. The rhythmic sound of my tires on the trails harmonized with the gentle whispers of the breeze through the trees, creating a sense of harmony and unity with nature.
The Amelia Earhart Mountain Bike Trails were not merely a recreational outlet; they were a gateway to a world of adventure and exploration. The park’s dedication to providing a diverse range of trails catered to the varied interests and abilities of visitors, ensuring that everyone could find their own path to enjoyment.
12. Epicentro Cafe
One establishment that stood out in particular was Epicento Cafe, a cherished family-owned eatery that had stood the test of time. Its doors had welcomed patrons for years, and its reputation as a culinary gem in the city was well-deserved.
What made Epicento Cafe truly exceptional was its around-the-clock service, ensuring that no matter the hour, a delectable Cuban feast was always within reach. Whether day or night, if hunger struck, Epicento Cafe welcomed diners with open arms.
As I stepped into the cafe, a warm and inviting atmosphere enveloped me, immediately making me feel at home. The scent of rich aromas filled the air, enticing my taste buds and igniting a craving for the authentic flavors of Cuban cuisine.
The menu at Epicento Cafe was a celebration of Cuban culinary delights. From classic Cuban sandwiches bursting with savory fillings to flavorful rice and beans, each dish was a culinary masterpiece. The succulent roasted pork, tender ropa vieja, and mouthwatering picadillo were just a few of the tantalizing options that awaited me.
The attentive and friendly staff at Epicento Cafe further enhanced the dining experience, providing exceptional service that made me feel like part of the family. Their genuine passion for their craft and dedication to preserving the essence of Cuban cuisine was evident in every dish they prepared.
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
During my visit to Bright Park in Hialeah, I discovered a hidden gem spread across 4 acres. While not the largest park in the area, it offered a delightful array of activities for those seeking exploration and recreation.
For families traveling with children, the park featured well-designed playgrounds catering to different age groups. The little ones could frolic and enjoy the swings, slides, and other play equipment, while older kids could engage in more adventurous activities. The availability of diverse play areas ensured that every child found something suited to their age and interests.
Sports enthusiasts had ample opportunities to indulge in their favorite activities. The park boasted fields where friendly matches or impromptu games could be enjoyed. Additionally, there were basketball and tennis courts available for rental, providing an ideal setting for friendly competitions and spirited matches.
Escaping the Florida heat was made easier by the presence of a public pool within the park. Visitors could take a refreshing dip, enjoying a respite from the sweltering temperatures while creating fond memories with family and friends.
For those seeking an active experience amidst nature, the park provided winding walking trails that encircled the area. These scenic pathways allowed visitors to immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the surroundings while engaging in a leisurely stroll or invigorating jog.
Chico’s Cafe had gained such popularity among the locals that it became synonymous with the neighborhood itself. It was a place that held a special spot in the hearts of Hialeah residents, and its reputation preceded it. Chico’s Cafe, a beloved establishment that has been a staple in the community for over 30 years.
One of the standout features of Chico’s Cafe was its around-the-clock operation. It was a haven for food enthusiasts who craved a delectable meal at any time of the day or night. Whether it was the early morning hours or late into the night, Chico’s Cafe welcomed patrons with open arms, catering to their cravings and desires.
The cafe had earned a reputation as a go-to spot for those who had been out on the town and were in need of a satisfying late-night snack. Its 24-hour availability made it a haven for night owls, party-goers, and anyone seeking a tasty treat after a long evening of festivities. Chico’s Cafe became a sanctuary where hungry revelers could indulge in delicious food to satisfy their post-night-out cravings.
Stepping into Chico’s Cafe, I was greeted by a warm and inviting atmosphere that buzzed with energy. The aroma of freshly cooked meals wafted through the air, tantalizing my senses and igniting my appetite. The friendly staff and cozy ambiance made me feel right at home, as if I were a regular customer returning to my favorite spot.
The menu at Chico’s Cafe boasted an enticing array of options that catered to various tastes and preferences. From mouthwatering sandwiches to savory snacks, there was something to appease every craving. Whether you desired a hearty meal or a quick bite to satisfy your hunger pangs, Chico’s Cafe had you covered.