Domino Park, also known as Maximo Gomez Park, is a landmark in Little Havana and marks the gathering place for the older Cuban culture in Miami as a place to go and play a game or two with friends. At all hours of the day you can find local retired residents playing a game of dominos as well as chess and checkers under shaded pavilions while drinking Cuban coffee and discussing Cuban politics The park is located on the corner of SW 8th Street, Calle Ocho, and 15th Avenue next to the Tower Theater and is open from 9AM – 6PM daily.
Maximo Gomez Park was officially constructed in 1976 to create an inviting area for everyone living on or close by Calle Ocho (SW 8th Street). The locals would bring milk crates, fold up chairs, and portable tables to play dominos across from the Tower Theater. It was the gathering spot for people to come play games and tell stories, which is ultimately where stories and culture was passed down to the younger generation. The tradition and location has remained the same for over 35 years but over the years money has been designated to beautify the area in an effort to retain the tradition.
The makeover of Maximo Gomez Park took place in 1983 because Miami wanted to invest in the meeting place for the people of Little Havana by providing adequate cover and amenities. Pavilions cover numerous playing tables, which are set up like they did in Cuba to allow maximum amount of tables to fit. Chairs surround the tables and a large mural is painted on the back wall, which is a representation of the Presidents from the American Nations that were part of the 1st Summit of the Americans in 1994 in Miami. A statue of Maximo Gomez, the man that fought against the Spanish at the beginning of 1900’s in Cuba and that the park is named after, is placed close to the action close to the tables.
The park hosts a lot of character. The walkways are decorated with dominos and lined with benches for spectators. There is an intensity and excitement in the air due to the extreme competitions taking place at the numerous tables occupied by mostly older Cuban men. The area around the parks hosts an abundance of local shops, restaurants, and stores. The Cuban tradition remains strong in Little Havana at Domino Park and is a great place for the local community to gather and spectators to visit. It is an experience you cannot recreate!
Circulo de Santiago de Cuba is Domino Park’s own domino club. The club is open to anyone that is from Santiago in Cuba. This social club meets twice a week to talk and play dominos.