Parque Vidal

Square in Santa Clara

A veritable alfresco theater named for Colonel Leoncio Vidal y Caro, who was killed here on March 23, 1896, Parque Vidal was encircled by twin sidewalks during the colonial era, with a fence separating blacks and whites. Scars of more recent division are evident on the facade of mint-green Hotel Santa Clara Libre on the park's west side: it's pockmarked by bullet holes from the 1958 battle for the city between Guevara and Batista's government troops.

Today all the colors of Cuba's cultural rainbow mix in one of the nation's busiest and most vibrant urban spaces, with old men in guayabera shirts gossiping on the shaded benches and young kids getting pulled around in carriages led by goats. Find time to contemplate the statues of local philanthropist Marta Abreu and the emblematic El niño de la bota (Boy with a Boot), a long-standing city symbol. Since 1902, the municipal orchestra has played rousing music in the park bandstand at 8pm every Thursday and Sunday.