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Exploring Black Culture through Black-Owned Businesses in Miami

by Roslie L.
inside yellow and white theme bookstore wit seating

Step away from the neon lights of the Art Deco District and sun-soaked Miami beaches (don’t worry, they’ll still be there!) to experience the eclectic neighborhoods of this diverse city. Exploring the best black-owned businesses in Miami will give you the opportunity to experience the history and culture of the city while supporting locally-owned businesses.

Discover must-visit destinations that are rich in culture, provide valuable insight into Miami’s Black history, and are fun places to spend time in the city. From world-class restaurants to hidden hangouts to historical landmarks, let’s take a look at Miami’s Black-owned businesses and institutions that add to South Florida’s flavor.

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Black History Landmarks in Miami

It’s easy to forget what life was like 100, or even 50, years ago. Not long ago, our parents and grandparents lived a life that was a world away from what we know today. To get a deeper understanding of Miami’s Black history, there are a few key landmarks that are well worth exploring.

Historic Virginia Key Beach Park

Address‎: 4020 Virginia Beach Drive, Miami, Florida, 33149

Virginia Key Beach Park Signage and yellow and blue hut

More than a popular local hangout, this lively beach park is of historical significance in Miami. In 1945, civil rights activists protested the Jim Crow era laws that denied Black people the right to enjoy Miami’s beaches.

Following the protests, where Black leaders defiantly entered “white only” Haulover Beach, the local government responded by designating Virginia Key Beach as the first “colored-only” beach. It quickly became a popular destination.

After closing down in the 1980s, the beach was restored and reopened in 2008. It has since been maintained and remains a beloved tribute to the segregation era’s struggles and the Black community’s perseverance.

Virginia Key Beach Park now stands as one of the best parks in Miami and has some of the top things to do outdoors in Miami. Families and tourists alike come here to go for bike rides, jog, or attend one of the park’s yearly events or festivals. Ask any local and they’ll tell you that this is the great alternative to South Beach’s crowded shores.

Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum

Address: 480 NW 11th St, Miami, FL 33136

yellow building exterior of Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum

Before Miami’s integration, Overtown’s first Black police officers had the Black Police Precinct and Courthouse Museum building as their precinct station, which also served as a courtroom and jail for Black people. While the precinct closed in 1963, there is no better place to learn about Miami’s historic Black police department than a guided tour of the museum.

The guides are passionate and entertaining. The displays are provoking, and it’s a highly informative experience with documented stories and memorabilia from the era. You’re guaranteed to leave having learned so much more than expected.

If you’re interested in learning about the history of Black people’s plight in Miami, plan an hour to visit the museum and you won’t regret it. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, and admission is $10 per adult.

For more on Miami’s Black history, you’ve got to see the documentary program The Black Miami. You can watch it here with a 30-day Prime Video free trial.

Black-Owned Performing Arts and Culture Spaces in Miami

When it comes to events in Miami, there is a wide range of essential arts and culture spaces that won’t want to miss. For literary lovers, these couple of spots in particular will provide you with an unforgettable look at the unique talent on display in Miami’s Black community.

Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater

Address‎: ‎819 NW 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33136

white building with Lyric signage

Historic Overtown’s glamorous past life lives on through the Lyric Theater. A fixture of the neighborhood since 1913, the theater has seen performances from countless icons of Black history and the history of music as a whole – Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, and Sammy Davis Jr., to name a few.

It was so reputable that the Miami Metropolis dubbed it “the most beautiful and costly playhouse owned by colored people in all the Southland.”

The Lyric Theater closed for some time in the 1960s when construction of the I-95 interchange tore right through Overtown, displacing tens of thousands in the bustling neighborhood, effectively dimming the entertainment district.

Through the Black Archives History & Research Foundation’s efforts, the theater was restored and reopened in 2000. Fully revamped, it now holds a host of performances, from jazz concerts to comedy shows and art and history exhibits.

The Lyric speaks to not only the Black community’s talent and artistry but also its unwavering nature in the face of cultural erasure. It is on our bucket list of things to do in Miami, and well worth it to catch a show if you can.

Libreri Mapou Bookstore

Address‎: 5919 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33137

Bookstore with arts and crafts on shelf

At the top of our list of things to do in Little Haiti is Libreri Mapou Bookstore. Founded in 1990 by Haitian playwright, poet, and activist Jan Mapou, this community staple has managed to preserve Haitian culture for decades.

Mr. Mapou’s inventory started with his own collection and now incorporates all kinds of books, including history, folklore, politics, and vibrantly illustrated children’s books by Haitian authors.

Besides being an absolute treasure trove of literature (you can find works in French and English), and one of the best free things to do in Miami, Libreri Mapou is a mini cultural center in itself.

When you step into this bookstore, you never know who you may run into. You will find artists and writers mingling with neighborhood families and sharing tales with tourists.

Live cultural performances, author readings, and gatherings discussing current events are common occurrences. If you’re looking for cultural events in Miami, be sure to catch a poetry reading or dance workshop.

Galleries and Museums in Miami

Some of our favorite Black-owned businesses in Miami are shining a light on the remarkable cultural contributions made by Black people from Miami and beyond.

N’Namdi Contemporary Miami

Address‎: 6505 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33138

Art buffs and collectors will enjoy the caliber of fine contemporary art this gallery has to offer. As a second-generation art dealer, Jumaane N’Namdi has a sharp eye for great design, evident in N’Namdi Contemporary’s diverse roster of well-established talent, often showcasing emerging artists. Miami is fortunate enough to have a branch of this highly respected gallery in our very own Little Haiti neighborhood.

Haitian Heritage Museum

Address‎: 4141 NE 2nd Ave #105C, Miami, FL 33137

Haitian Heritage Museum

Located in Miami’s trendy Design District, this small museum celebrates the art, culture, and heritage of Haiti.

Linking Haitians together and providing insight into the achievements of Haitian people and the culture, this facility is a mainstay of the community offering exhibits, programs, and events that are relevant to everyone, no matter what their ancestry.

If you’re interested in learning more about Haitian-American culture and the Haitian Diaspora specifically, the Haitian Heritage Museum is a wonderful place to immerse yourself. Haitian art, artifacts, music, films, and literature can all be found here.

Black-Owned Restaurants in Miami

The Magic City has some of the best food on the planet, and the Black-owned restaurants in Miami stand amongst the very best of the best. Whether you’re in the mood for classic Southern food, a taste of the islands, African cuisine, or good old-fashioned American grub, there are plenty of black-owned restaurants to choose from.

Smith & Webster Restaurant Miami

Address‎: 486 NE 167th St, Miami, FL 33162

Amongst the best of Miami’s Black-owned businesses and a local favorite, Smith & Webster Restaurant Miami has fantastic happy hours and classic American fare with Southern flair.

Famous for their craft cocktails (be sure to try the raspberry lemon drop!), they have elevated classics like oxtail lasagna, sweet potato soufflé, mouthwatering collard greens, and skillet mac and cheese.

Pack Supermarket and Cafeteria

Address‎: 8235 NE 2nd Ave, Miami, FL 33138

Pack Supermarket and Cafeteria exterior peach color building

Ask any foodie for the best place to get delicious fried chicken in Little Haiti, and they will likely tell you Pack Supermarket & Cafeteria. It’s far from fancy, but the fried chicken is really good, and when it’s served up with a side of plantains, there is nothing better.

Planning Tip: Love uncovering hidden gems? Be sure to grab our locals’ guide to the best restaurants in Miami.

Jackson Soul Food

Address: multiple locations

You’ll find one of Overtown’s best soul food just two blocks away from the Lyric Theater. Jackson Soul Food, a no-frills restaurant serving up classics such as fried catfish, grits, and even smothered liver and onions.

They serve generous portions and have an extensive breakfast menu that is available all day.

Planning Tip: Love soul food? Grab our guide to the Top 10 Miami Soul Food Restaurants Serving an Authentic Taste of the South.

Naomi’s Garden Restaurant & Lounge

Address: 650 NW 71st St, Miami, FL 33150

wooden doorway entrance to Naomi's Garden Restaurant & Lounge

One of the best Caribbean restaurants in Miami, Naomi’s Garden Restaurant creates food that crosses cultural borders. The portions are hefty, the food is flawlessly seasoned, and it all comes at a reasonable price tag. What more could you ask for?

Naomi’s has some great vegan options, and anything you order here will likely turn out amazing, but among their excellent fare, the jerk chicken is a real winner!

The ambiance is laid in a casual back-patio setting. Come here during weekend evenings to take in live performances while you dine.

World Famous House of Mac

Address‎: 1951 NW 7th Ave Suite 190, Miami, FL 33136

World House of Mac takeout food on a table

Though owner Chef Derrick Turton is a graduate of a culinary arts program with some experience in the industry, it was his time managing Pitbull (yes, that Pitbull) that pushed him to create the World Famous House of Mac

Turton’s talent for culinary fusion was evident even to his famous clientele, and he eventually created the House of Mac’s rich menu of fusion soul food and Caribbean food. 

You can find practically any mac and cheese variation here – vegan, jerk chicken, surf and turf, you name it.

Planning Tip: Looking for more black-owned restaurants? Grab our complete guide to Black-Owned Restaurants in Miami.

Nigerian Restaurant in Miami: Moji African Restaurant

825-827 NW 119th St, North Miami, FL 33168

Moji African Restaurant is one of the few West African restaurants in Miami. They specialize in serving the best Nigerian cuisine. In addition, they are the only African nightclub in South Florida, offering live music entertainment on the last Friday and second Saturday of every month.

Our top picks: This is the place to try African staples like egusi (made from ground seeds) and fufu (made from boiled cassava, plantains, and yams).

Black Cultural Events in Miami

On top of the fabulous array of Black-owned businesses in Miami, you’ll find a packed event calendar that shines a light on the talent from across the Black community.

Jazz in the Gardens

Every year, Miami Gardens hosts a weekend festival called Jazz in the Gardens, which celebrates jazz, soul, and classic R&B and showcases the cultural diversity, and artistic excellence of the Black community.

Don’t miss out on your chance, as tickets go fast.

American Black Film Festival

The ultimate celebration of black artistry in film, the American Black Film Festival, showcasing content created by people of African descent and primarily featuring themes related to the Black experience.

The annual event offers an impressive selection of film screenings, discussion panels, masterclasses, live entertainment, expos, and parties. You can always expect a wholly enriching and educational experience centered on the Black community and its contributions beyond South Florida.

Ways to Support Black-Owned Businesses – South Florida and Beyond

Looking for ways to support Black-owned businesses in Florida? Here are a few of the essential Black-owned business resources.

Black-Owned Businesses in Miami: Final Thoughts

Historic Lyric Theater building side with flag faces

Miami is a unique and diverse city, with a vibrant multicultural atmosphere. To fully experience all that the city has to offer, it’s worth exploring beyond the city center. By doing so, you’ll discover many historic districts and culturally rich Black-owned businesses that play an integral role in making Miami the dynamic city that it is today.

Want to see more of Miami off the beaten path? Grab our guide to Insider’s Guide to 15 Popular Miami Neighborhoods Worth Visiting.


Black History in Miami: 10 Historic Landmarks to Explore

From Budget to Luxe, An Insider’s Guide to the Best Hotels in Miami at Every Price Point

Unleash Your Taste Buds with These Must-Try Black-Owned Restaurants in Miami!

Little Haiti Caribbean Marketplace: A Taste of Miami’s Authentic Island Culture

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Miami Black-Owned Business and Black Culture

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