US Embassy


Arguably the world's most famous US embassy, this modernist seven-story building on the Malecón with its high security fencing first opened in 1953, but it closed abruptly in 1961 when the US and Cuba cut diplomatic relations. It reopened as the US Interests Section, set up by the Carter administration in 1977, and in July 2015 it was rebranded an embassy thanks to the political thaw instigated by the Obama administration.

In 2018 most of the staff were withdrawn due to a mysterious wave of alleged 'sonic attacks.'

The embassy faces the Plaza Tribuna Anti-Imperialista (also known as Plaza de la Dignidad), once a site of major protests directed against the US. The mass of flagpoles was put up by the Cubans to block out an electronic message board mounted on the former Interests Section that flashed up messages, or propaganda, depending on which side of the fence you're on (!).

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Vedado attractions

1. Edificio López Serrano

0.12 MILES

Tucked away behind the US Interests Section is this art deco tower, which looks like the Empire State Building with the bottom 70 floors chopped off. One…

2. Edificio Focsa


Unmissable on the Havana skyline, the modernist Edificio Focsa was built between 1954 and 1956 in a record 28 months using pioneering computer technology…

3. Monumento a las Víctimas del Maine

0.31 MILES

West beyond the Hotel Nacional is a monument (1926) to the 266 American marines who were killed when the battleship USS Maine blew up mysteriously in…

4. Gran Synagoga Bet Shalom

0.31 MILES

Cuba has three synagogues, serving a Jewish population of approximately 1500. The main community center and library are located here, where the friendly…

5. Museo de la Danza


Essentially a homage to Cuban ballet, this well-laid-out exhibition space in an eclectic Vedado mansion displays objects from Cuba's rich dance history…

6. Av de los Presidentes

0.42 MILES

Statues of illustrious Latin American leaders line the Parisian-style Calle G (officially known as Av de los Presidentes), including Salvador Allende …

7. Hotel Nacional

0.49 MILES

Far more than just a hotel, the Nacional, built in 1930 as a copy of the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, is a national monument and one of Havana's…

8. Hotel Habana Libre

0.58 MILES

This classic modernist hotel – the former Havana Hilton – was commandeered by Fidel Castro's revolutionaries in 1959 just nine months after it had opened,…