12 Attractions in Hialeah, Florida

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Hialeah is a vibrant city located in Miami-Dade County, Florida. With a population of over 233,000 residents, Hialeah is known for its Cuban influence and culture. From historic sites and museums to shopping centers and nature parks, Hialeah has plenty to offer visitors and residents alike.

This article will highlight 12 of the top attractions that make Hialeah a unique destination in South Florida. Whether you’re interested in learning about history, experiencing nature, shopping till you drop, or simply soaking in the Cuban atmosphere, you’ll find something that piques your interest on this list. Keep reading to discover some of the best things to see and do in Hialeah.

Amelia Earhart Park

Spread across 515 acres, Amelia Earhart Park is one of Hialeah’s greatest outdoor attractions. The park features a large freshwater lake filled with fish and covered with water lilies. Visitors can go fishing along the pier or rent paddleboats and kayaks to explore the waters. For those who prefer staying on land, the park has over 7 miles of multi-use trails ideal for walking, jogging or biking amidst the shade of oak and pine trees.

Kids can enjoy playing on the large playground or participating in a ranger program to learn about local plants and wildlife. With its peaceful lakeside setting and abundance of recreational activities, Amelia Earhart Park is an ideal spot to enjoy natural beauty without leaving the city.

Hialeah Park Racing & Casino

Hialeah Park Racing & Casino is one of the oldest attractions in Hialeah, dating back to 1925. Known for its majestic architecture style reminiscent of Mediterranean resorts, the park is one of the most distinctive racing facilities in the country. In its early days, the facility was host to famous thoroughbreds like Seattle Slew and Affirmed.

After stopping hosting races in 2001 and later reopening in 2009, today Hialeah Park features exhilarating quarter horse racing from November through May. The park also offers Las Vegas-style slot machines within the historic clubhouse. During racing season, guests can enjoy a meal at one of the trackside restaurants while placing bets and watching the races. Year-round, visitors can tour the grounds to see the iconic architecture at their own pace. With racing, casino gaming, dining and more, the 96-year old Hialeah Park continues as a prominent local attraction.

Taco Rico Tex Mex

When visiting Hialeah, sampling authentic Cuban cuisine is a must. One of the top local restaurants serving classic Cuban dishes is Taco Rico Tex Mex, a colorful establishment specializing in Mexican fare with Cuban flare. The extensive menu features tacos loaded with thinly sliced roasted pork, beef stewed in tomatoes and peppers, and chicken marinated in lime and garlic.

Other specialties include sandwiches stuffed with hickory smoked ham, roasted pork or cheesesteak along with empanadas bursting with savory fillings. Taco Rico also offers Cuban tamales wrapped in cornhusks and platanos, fried sweet plantains that perfectly complement any meaty Cuban dish. To wash it all down, try the cafe con leche sweetened coffee or any of the thirst-quenching fruit juices. With its festive vibe and mouthwatering selection of Cuban comfort foods, Taco Rico Tex Mex is arguably one of the best places in Hialeah to experience authentic Cuban cuisine.

Westland Mall

As the largest mall in Hialeah, Westland Mall offers visitors over 100 stores for a full day of shopping in the heart of the city. Westland Mall features popular anchor stores like Macy’s, JC Penney and Sears along retail shops specializing in clothing, jewelry, shoes, electronics and home goods. For hungry shoppers, the mall also has a sizeable food court with eateries like Subway, Villa Pizza and Panda Express.

The surrounding area includes big box stores like Target, Ross, Best Buy and Marshalls to extend your shopping extravaganza. When you’ve finally hit your credit card limit, stop by Flanigan’s Seafood Bar & Grill across the street from Westland Mall to unwind over happy hour drinks and appetizers. With an abundance of retail therapy options, Westland Mall makes it easy enjoy an action-packed shopping adventure in Hialeah.

Milander Center for Arts and Entertainment

For insight into Hialeah’s Cuban roots, Milander Center for Arts and Entertainment transports visitors back in time through artistic performances. This cultural center hosts a lineup of events showcasing traditional Cuban entertainment like live music and dance. You may catch a local salsa band with an infectious groove or an elegant Spanish flamenco show filled with the passion of duende.

The center also plays classic Cuban films monthly, inviting movie lovers to see iconic movies free of charge. In their art gallery, guests can peruse rotating exhibits from local Hialeah artists specializing in varied mediums like paint, sculpture and photography. Visitors can even take free classes at Milander Center to learn basic salsa steps or Spanish words and phrases. Whether you have an appreciation for Cuban art, music and cinema or simply want to experience authentic culture during your Hialeah visit, Milander Center offers an enriching glimpse into this vibrant city’s heritage.

Sweetwater Branch Library

For some quiet indoor fun in Hialeah, head to the Sweetwater Branch Library located within Sweetwater Park. This public library has an expansive collection of books to satisfy all reading interests including the latest bestsellers, Cuban literature and journals detailing Hialeah’s local history. Bibliophiles will delight browsing the shelves to discover new page-turners or brush up on their Spanish language skills with bilingual children’s books.

Along with traditional print materials, the Sweetwater Branch Library has computers, free Wi-Fi access, audiobooks, movies and more. The library frequently hosts educational programs like computer classes teaching seniors technological skills and English classes for non-native speakers. During your Hialeah visit, drop by this community library to get lost in a good book or utilize the library’s plethora of free resources.

Baboon Forest Amusement Park

Thrill seekers visiting Hialeah with kids in tow should check out Baboon Forest Amusement Park, an animal-themed adventure park offering fun for the whole family. Baboon Forest features carnival rides like roller coasters, a Ferris wheel and merry go rounds along with exciting animal shows throughout the day. Guests can catch performances like a comical monkey show, tropical bird encounter or gator wrestling demonstration.

When you need a break from the excitement, let kids burn energy climbing the three-story jungle gym, playing mini golf or shooting at the arcade. Baboon Forest also has Kangaroo Café serving American classics like hamburgers, chicken fingers and fries to refuel the entire family. With animals, rides and games galore, this small amusement park tucked away in Hialeah keeps kids entertained for hours while adults embrace their youthful spirit.

Grapeland Water Park

Cool down from Miami’s sweltering heat by spending a day at Grapeland Water Park, located within Milander Park in the heart of Hialeah. This vibrant water park offers refreshing pool attractions like body flume slides sending riders through tunnels at high speeds, a lazy river for leisurely floating and dumped bucket soaking everyone nearby.

When you’re ready for ocean waves, head over to the park’s massive wave pool generating crashing surf. Young children can splash safely at the interactive water playground with mini slides and dumping mechanisms. Grapeland Water Park has lounge chairs when you need a relaxing beach break along with a full bar serving up fruity cocktails and ice cold beer. With guest admission under $15, Grapeland Water Park offers hours of wet and wild fun at a wallet-friendly cost.

Flamingo Plaza Shopping Center

Shopaholics visiting Hialeah will want to browse the stores at Flamingo Plaza Shopping Center, an open-air shopping hub with various retail shops and eateries. As one of the oldest shopping centers in Hialeah with 60 years of business, Flamingo Plaza has staple shops like Marshalls, Dollar Tree and Payless Shoes alongside local businesses specializing in wedding gowns, perfumes, clothing and alteration services.

Hungry patrons have their choice of Cuban cuisine at Versailles Restaurant famous for garlicky chicken and succulent roasted pork or grabbing a cafe con leche at Santy Café brewing rich espresso. While exploring the plaza’s mix of chain retailers and family-owned shops, don’t miss strolling through Los Pinarenos Fruteria produce market overflowing with colorful fruits and vegetables. For an authentic Hialeah shopping experience alongside locals, Flamingo Plaza offers one-stop shopping convenience off the tourist trail.

John F. Kennedy Library

History buffs visiting Hialeah can dive into the city’s past at John F. Kennedy Library, A vibrant museum and cultural center commemorating former president John F. Kennedy and his historical impact locally and abroad. This 20,000 square foot complex houses artifacts from Kennedy’s presidency along with archived photographs and video footage that transports guests back in time to the 1960s Camelot era.

Visitors can view relics like a piece of the Berlin Wall that fell during Kennedy’s term or see Jacqueline Kennedy’s iconic pink Chanel suit spattered with JFK’s blood post-assassination. Exhibits rotate annually so guests can see different aspects of Kennedy’s life with each visit. The library also hosts seminars, book signings and guest lectures related to politics, leadership and human rights – values Kennedy personified. By exploring JFK Museum in Hialeah, visitors can reflect on Kennedy’s lasting legacy beyond his presidential years.

Goodlet Park

Nature lovers visiting Hialeah should make time to explore Goodlet Park, a quaint green space featuring walking trails circling a sparkling lake filled with ducks, turtles and fish. As you meander along the park’s paved pathways under a lush canopy of oak trees, stop to admire the vibrant gardens overflowing with colorful blossoms. The park often hosts yoga classes in the great lawn where participants breathe in the fresh air and soak up the tranquility of their lush surroundings.

Kids can burn energy at Goodlet Park’s playground equipped with slides and climbing structures designed to look like locomotives to complement the park’s railroad history. If you’re lucky, you may even spot the namesake William Goodlet’s 1907 private railcar displayed beside the lake. Whether you want somewhere peaceful to read a book, scenic backdrop for photos or an easy nature walk without leaving the neighborhood, Goodlet Park charms guests with its lush landscape in the heart of Hialeah.

Hialeah Sculpture Park

Art enthusiasts visiting Hialeah should allocate time to wander through Hialeah Sculpture Park, an eclectic green space showcasing provoking contemporary artwork among the landscapes. This lush park displays over 800 thought-provoking sculptures from international artists that transform the space into an outdoor gallery.

As you explore the expansive grounds, stand beneath Eduardo Chillida’s massive Basque sculptural work weighing 37 tons or walk inside Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Chromointerference where color shifts around you. Hialeah Sculpture Park also has an indoor pavilion to view additional exhibits protected from the elements. Whether you’re an art aficionado or simply enjoy intriguing works designed to make you think, Hialeah Sculpture Park offers a culturally-enriching opportunity to discover bold, imaginative installations around every turn. The park provides free admission so all visitors can access the world-class artwork.

Conclusion

Known as the “City of Progress”, Hialeah is a thriving municipality filled with fascinating history, cultural attractions and recreational activities catering to families, couples, shoppers and outdoor enthusiasts. The 12 attractions highlighted in this article represent some of Hialeah’s iconic sites, but only skim the surface of all this wonderful city has to offer visitors.

From experiencing the Cuban influence that permeates restaurants and cultural venues to learning about impactful leaders like John F. Kennedy who helped shape Hialeah’s landscape, there are endless treasures waiting around every corner.

Whether you come to relax at a scenic nature park, soak up some sun at a waterpark with slides and wavepools or simply stroll through historic districts to enjoy the charming architecture, Hialeah invites you to stay awhile to uncover everything that makes it one of Florida’s most dynamic cities.

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