Havana, Cuba is jam-packed with interesting history, culture, architecture. and art, and you won’t want to miss it on your Havana trip. Be sure to check out some of these museums and art galleries in Havana to get a taste of this vibrant city’s beautiful culture and fascinating history!
Museums and galleries in Havana are incredibly diverse, so no matter what your taste is — be it literature or war history or more traditional artwork — you’ll probably be able to find it in Havana. Here are some unique museums and art galleries in Havana, Cuba, perfectly suited to whatever your interests and preferences may be!
Currency Note: 1 CUC equals about 1 USD. For more information on understanding Cuban currency, exchange, and using international credit and debit cards, read: TRAVELING TO CUBA AS AN AMERICAN: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW. (The currency information is relevant to you even if you aren’t American!)
1) For the History Buff: Museum of the Revolution
Located in Old Havana, this building was once the Presidential Palace up until Batista left power. After the Revolution, it became the Museum of the Revolution, and now houses exhibits dedicated to Cuban history from the 1950s up until the country’s post-1959 history. You’ll also find some portions dedicated to to pre-revolutionary Cuba, including the 1895-1989 War of Independence against Spain.
The building itself is grand, and the interiors are no less disappointing. Be sure to visit the Salon de los Espejos (a Hall of Mirrors reminiscent to that of Versailles).
Museum tickets cost 8 CUC, and an extra 2 CUC for a guided tour. Hours are from 9:30am-4pm.
2) For the Hemingway Fan: Finca Vigia
If you, like many other travelers to Cuba, are interested in following the footsteps of Hemingway, you won’t want to miss a visit to Hemingway’s old home, which has been made into a museum. It’s located a bit outside of Central and Old Havana, so you’ll either need to take the metro bus P-7 (Alberro) or get a taxi.
The villa is set on a hill in San Francisco de Paula, with lovely views and windows you can look into to get a glimpse of Hemingway’s life while in Havana. The interior has remained largely untouched since his death, with books scattered in bathrooms and by bedsides, a large record collection, and trophy animal heads.
Museum tickets cost 5 CUC and hours are from 10am-4:30pm Mon-Sat.
3) For the Crafty Type: Perfumerie Habana 1791
Set in a beautiful 18th century manor, this perfume factory and shop is a really fun alternative to the typical art museums and galleries on Old Havana. The scents used in the perfumes here are all inspired by historic Cuban flowers, spices, herbs, and other quintessentially Cuban fragrances. Ask for a tour (or bring a translator) to get background on the scents, learn a bit about how the perfumes are made, and then even craft your own combining your favorite scents to bring a bit of Cuba home with you.
And men, you won’t need to feel left out. This Perfumerie has tons of delicious unisex scents reminiscent of some of your favorite colognes. Never worn cologne before? Well this seems like the perfect reason to start.
4) For the Art Gallery Lover: Art Galleries on Mercaderes Street
Art enthusiasts will love wandering down Mercaderes Street and popping into some of the many small galleries lining the street, often set in stunning historic colonial homes. Most of the galleries are free to enter, and showcase local artists, artists from their Central American neighbors, or historic collections.
These galleries are nice to stop into even if you’re not a huge art buff, because the artwork is incredibly diverse — from Mexican folk art sculptures to colorful installments to old war artifacts — and because entry is free, you can leave whenever you want without feeling obliged to stay longer.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start, try the Museo Nacional de la Cerámica Contemporánea Cubana (funky ceramic statues), the Armory April 9 Museum (an interesting armory museum), and the Museo del Automóvil (vintage cars). You can easily spend a few hours wandering down this street (as well as the two streets that run parallel to Mercaderes, as they also have a few nice galleries) and exploring the galleries!
5) For the Progressive Art Enthusiast: La Fábrica de Arte Cubano
Possibly one of the most remarkable places to visit in Havana, this art gallery sits inside an old oil factory in the Vedado neighborhood. Fábrica de Arte features a huge variety of art, including graphic design, dance, photography, cinema, fashion, architectural design, theater, and music. The only thing as impressive as its entertainment selection is the really incredible modern industrial interior architecture.
In the evenings Fábrica de Arte turns into a night club, with long queues, DJs and live music, and often live performances on the stage.
Even if you aren’t typically a fan of art museums, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a museum, gallery, or exhibition in Havana that fits your particular interests. Be sure to check out some museums and galleries in Havana, Cuba to get a deeper look into the country’s vibrant and fascinating history and culture!
For more information on traveling in Cuba, check out these posts:
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Any other museums or galleries to add to the list? Leave them in the comments below!