Though Old Havana is full of cultural treasures from both the past and present day, there’s no denying that at times it can be overwhelming—with so many people, places to see, and things to do, the moment may come when you just need to relax! When that time comes around, don’t fret—head to Calle Oficios to continue enjoying this magical part of the city at a slightly more relaxed pace.
Running parallel to Calle Mercaderes and covering essentially the same distance, Calle Oficios is a much quieter option compared to its more famous and action-packed cousin. Nonetheless, it’s also a charmingly historic cobblestone pedestrian street with a variety of interesting places to visit for tourists—especially the artistically-inclined among them.
Let’s take a look at what this laid-back street has to offer:
Casa de los Artistas
Home to the studios of some of Cuba’s most renowned contemporary artists including Pedro Pablo Oliva and Roberto Fabelo, the Casa de los Artistas is an absolute must-see for any fans of art visiting Old Havana. Contemporary art shows from both resident artists and others are held on the building’s first floor, and though they’re changing constantly they are always worth a visit.
Museo del Automóvil
The Automobile Museum found on Calle Oficios is one of the coolest that Old Havana has to offer. Among its collection of nearly 50 classic cars and other vehicles, you’ll find the Oldsmobile once driven by revolutionary hero Camilo Cienfuegos and a 1905 Cadillac, the oldest car found on the island of Cuba today. If cars aren’t really your thing, the museum also includes an impressive collection of motorcycles as well as information about the general transportation history of the island.
Casa de la Comedia
Old Havana’s “House of Comedy” is a cultural institution that’s been presenting plays and other productions on and off since all the way back in 1778. Nowadays its purpose is to present new works by Cuban playwrights and is a pleasantly laid-back alternative to some of the more high-strung theatres found throughout this part of the city.
One final piece of information of note—if you reach the end of Calle Oficios and continue south, it won’t be long until you reach the Almacenes de San José, Havana’s largest and most-famous art and handicrafts market. If you’re looking for souvenirs of wide variety, this is the place to go!
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Although it has transformed considerably since its original construction in the late 18th Century, the Alameda de Paula in Havana is brimming with charm. This beautiful seaside walkway is fully lined with mature trees, benches, a fountain, and the domed Paula Church. When visitors are ready to take time away from other attractions, this can be one of the great places to sit down and pause for reflection.
The Alejandro Robaina Tobacco Plantation is one of Cuba's top tourist attractionsâhowever, you won't find any signs guiding you to its fields some 17 kilometres southwest of Pinar del Rio. Since it's a private enterprise, its plantation tours operate in something of a legal grey area; regardless, they come highly recommended. Though famed proprietor Alejandro Robaina passed away a few years ago, his farm continues to grow what is arguably the world's finest tobacco. Take a tour and find out why!
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