Hialeah gets a bad rap.
Yes, it can be unrefined, overcrowded and hot as hell. Rush hour traffic there is bad enough to shatter the mind of even the most patient driver.
But Hialeah does have its charms, which the city reveals slowly and subtly, like a woman adjusting her faja after eating too many zingers at the Ale House.
The truth is, if you look carefully you’ll find Hialeah is much more than just “agua, fango y factoría.”
Leah Arts District
Maybe it’s not as trendy or popular as its fancy cousin Wynwood, but we love it anyway. And listen, the Leah Arts District boasts 30 murals and counting. Last month, it served as base camp for 305 Day. The best part? There’s tons of parking and hardly any tourists, so you can explore at your leisure.
Leah Arts District, 1450 E. 11th Ave., Hialeah
The Hialeah Flanigan’s
Tumbleweed onions and all night happy hour specials? Hell yes. Especially when there’s a game on? Plus, if you grew up in Hialeah you can always count on running into friends, enemies and former flames. Because if Hialeah is the Serengeti of South Florida, Flanigan’s is the main watering hole.
Flanigan’s: 1550 W 84th St., Hialeah
So many rinconcitos!
There’s El Rinconcito de Santa Barbara, which supposedly has the best mofongo in Miami. There’s also El Rinconcito Peruano and El Rinconcito Latino (not to be confused with El Rinconcito Super Latino III in Cutler Bay). This list goes on and on. Each rinconcito is a great dining alternative for nights when you don’t feel like hitting up Flanigan’s, the Ale House, or its stepsister, the Carolina Ale House.
El Palacio de Los Jugos
Don’t start with the purist crap. We know this Palacios isn’t the original, but it’s just as good. It’s really hard to screw up un jugo de guarapo.
El Palacios de los jugos: 1275 W 49th St., Hialeah
You can find things really cheap
Super cheap. So cheap there are places actually named Ñooo Que Barato. Don’t want to splurge on a Rolex but still want to stunt? Pick up an Ice King at Ñooo Que Barato. It’ll cost you under $10, and it works! Valsan is another favorite, so beloved its slogan is “Los que vienen no se van” (“those who come here never leave”). That’s because Valsan is the retail version of Dante’s Inferno; once you make it past the first gate, you risk getting lost down a windowless rabbit hole of incredible bargains and bizarre shopping finds.
Ñooo Que Barato: 1198 W 23rd St, Hialeah
Opa Locka Hialeah Flea Market
If you didn’t find it at Valsan, you’ll probably find it here. You can browse produce, clothes, Brazilian fajas, unsolicited words of wisdom from every abuelita working a kiosk and possibly even a genie in a lamp. If Valsan is the retail version of Dante’s Inferno, the Opa Locka Hialeah Flea Market is the bargain hunter’s version of the Upside Down.
Opa-locka-Hialeah Flea Market: 12705 NW 42nd Ave., Opa-locka
Parades – lots of parades
Hialeah has the most spirited Miami Heat fans. As long as we win, you can count on an impromptu street parade along 49th Street. Anyone can join in — just bring your pots and pans and something to hit them with. Then there’s the Jose Marti Parade, the Three Kings Parade, etc. Casuelas are optional for those.
Become bilingual whether you want to or not
It’s an easy place to learn Spanish because literally everything is in Spanish. If you’re a total gringo, don’t worry — you’ll be greeting friends with “Que bola, acere” faster than you can say “Ñooo, que barato.”
La Fresa Francesa
You don’t have to drive down to Brickell or Miami Beach to have a romantic European dinner. Head to La Fresa Francesa Petit Café, and you’ll feel like you magically teleported to a tiny Parisian bistro where you can eat a guava crepe instead of a guava pastelito.
La Fresa Francesca: 59 W. Third St., Hialeah
It’s the safest place to be during a hurricane
If you’re San Lazaro, that is.
Breadman Miami’s croqueta cake
Is it just an Instagram fad, or is the croqueta cake here to stay? All we know is it’s delicious.
Breadman Miami: 804 W. 20th Ave., Hialeah
They’re baked in a pizza oven and better than Publix subs (*gasp*). Before you call blasphemy, try them yourself and tell me otherwise.
Sarussi Subs: 9836 SW 40th St., Miami
Cuban pizza at Polo Norte
No place in Miami does Cuban pizza like Polo Norte. Cuban pizza is a ton of dough heaped with a ton of cheese and tomato sauce. And of course, you’ve got to follow it with some ice cream. Prepare your digestive tract accordingly.
Polo Norte: 2050 W 56th St., Hialeah
Because Hialeah has green spaces, too.
Hialeah Park: 100 E 32nd St., Hialeah
Hialeah is a great place to find a husband
Don’t waste your time trying to find love in a South Beach nightclub. If you’re looking for a man with a hint of Latin macho swag combined with a solid moral upbringing and strong familial values, head to the City of Progress and hit up The Bend or old reliable Flanigan’s. Everybody in Broward is doing it.