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“A Glimpse of Miami as it Used To Be”
Review of Domino Park

Domino Park
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Little Havana Small-Group Walking Tour
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Private Tour: Miami City Sightseeing
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Ranked #38 of 356 things to do in Miami
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Reviewed 21 March 2013

Maximo Gomez Park - or Domino Park, as the locals call it - doesn't look like much of a park. There's no grass, it is enclosed in a cage-like fence, and it abuts a McDonald's. Inside are rows of all-weather tables and chairs bolted to the ground. Some of them are marked for chess, but most have built-in trays to hold dominos.

There is a booth with a guard in it near the entrance; it is marked "tourist information," but it is unclear what information he is able to provide. He keeps the sliding glass partition shut, so it's hard to ask him.

Signs are posted everywhere listing prohibitions: no eating, no drinking, no smoking, facilities are for club members only (it doesn't specify what club). Tourists are allowed in.

So, what was once an organic expression of the city's populace has devolved into a gawk-fest. The 30 or so mostly-aged players throw their bones (double-9 sets played with Cuban rules in teams of 2), and a charter bus pulls up to the curb and disgorges another batch of tourists who signed up for some "genuine Little Havana experience." It would be analogous to bringing buses of people to stare at the guys playing chess in New York's Washington Square Park (please don't tell me if they've started doing that since the last time I was there). When there are a handful of outsiders, respectfully observing a local custom, it's fine. When they outnumber the people they have come to see, it is sad.

So, swing by, check it out, but try to be subtle. The spirit of Little Havana is still here, but it is in danger of being drowned in a sea of touristas.

4  Thank Gordon13798465
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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90 - 94 of 208 reviews

Reviewed 14 March 2013

I've only actually been there once and liked it very much. Everyone was real friendly and were happy to chat with everyone.
I drive by here often and toot my horn and they always wave back.
It's mostly older Cuban folks playing dominoes a favorite pastime of Cuba.
This is little Havana area so there are a lot of little shops, and place you can have Cuban espresso.
For what it is, it's very nice.
It would be great if they expanded it a little more and include maybe some ping pong for the younger generations and a swing set for the kiddies.

1  Thank Yvonne A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2013

this is the right place where to go if u wanna see the old Cubans playing their favourite hobby: domino! according to our guide: this should had been a dangerous place above all if u took pictures thats why we were a bit worried when we got there but the welcome we received left us speechless.
so many nice and kind old Cubans that were playing domino and that invited us to take all the pictures we wanted (for free, of course) and who enjoyed telling us tales and stories about the past and their beloved Cuba.
great place

5  Thank Mark B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 December 2012

Long before Calle Ocho was a tourist attraction Cubans, many of whom knew each other from Cuba before the Castro brothers took over, were playing dominos "en caliente" at Domino Park. They concentrated so hard at besting their rivals of many years. Years later Calle Ocho got quite a bit of notoriety. Nowadays it's kind of sad in a way, to see busloads of gawkers dropped in front of the very small park for about fifteen minutes to stare at the players as though they are specimens. Their story is so much deeper than fifteen minutes can ever even hint at. Thirty years ago Calle Ocho was still the throbbing social pulse of Little Havana but today it's a shadow of its former self. Many of the Cubans have left the neighborhood and been replaced with other Hispanics with their own stories and history. Visitors from abroad and up North probably would not be able to see or hear any differences in the Spanish speaking inhabitants but to locals the differences in accent, tone, body language, etc. are are sure sign that the area is changing. My advice is to hop off the bus Gus and spend a couple hours walking (especially now in the cool dry season which lasts until May) and have a nice lunch. Bienvenidos!

2  Thank geoffbob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 November 2012

I enjoyed the domino Park, but an area for children to play should be added. I think of Lego land in Disney and wish that Domino park would be given for more activities so that maybe the youth could appreciate the elderly a little more. The park needs more color and style.

1  Thank g0ttahavefun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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