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The sidewalks cafes along the cobblestone street with their promise of coffee and delicate pastries are inviting me and my stomach for a closer look.
I’m not in Paris or Rome. I’m walking along the bricked street known as the oldest street in the United States. I’m walking past the sidewalk cafes along Aviles Street, St Augustine, FL.
Aviles Street St Augustine – off the beaten path
If you’ve never visited Aviles Street in St Augustine, then you’re in for a treat. Strolling along its brick-lined thoroughfare, reminds you of an artist colony in Madrid with its European – funky fresh appeal. So it shouldn’t be any surprise that Aviles Street is the center of the Art District in St Augustine.
Archival maps from 1570 show that Aviles Street existed making it the oldest street in the United States. In 2010, Archeologist dug up pieces of pottery on Aviles believed to date back to the 1600s – meaning that Aviles Street is also the oldest inhabited street in the United States.
Aviles Street was initially named Hospital Street. A colonial military hospital use to stands at what is now 3 Aviles Street (a replica of the original hospital stand there now.
In 2010, after years of neglect and decay, Aviles Street went through a period of revitalization. The street was rehabbed, and many of the shops, restaurants and art galleries on Aviles was given a much-needed facelift. The sidewalks were widened to make Aviles more pedestrian-friendly and to make way for sidewalk cafes.
Things to do on Aviles Street, St Augustine
Visit an art gallery or map maker– there are several art galleries, leather craftsmen shops, map makers, and jewelry designers along Aviles Street. Most of them you can find at the Hamblen-Holiday Building located at 11 Aviles Street.
On the first Friday of every month, St Augustine holds an Art Walk that features some of the artisans of Aviles Art District. The First Friday Art Walk is a cooperative open house that allows visitors to browse the latest art exhibits and enjoy refreshments. For more information on the First Friday Art Walk, click here.
Places to eat near Aviles Street
If you’ve never had Cuban food make La Herencia Cafe (4 Aviles Street) your choice for trying it for the first time. The interior of the cafe is eclectically Latin with a hippie flair. This cafe reminds me of tons of little mom and pop restaurants, that has fantastic food, that I’ve frequent in the Logan Square/Wicker Park area of Chicago.
If you’re looking for fine dining with waiters in tuxedoes, elegant flatware and champagne on ice then this isn’t your place. But if you’re looking for great, amazingly tasty food then make sure you stop by La Herencia for a bite.
I had the Roasted Pork dinner that included a delicious, flavorful heap of pork roast, a cup of black beans and rice and plantains cooked to perfection. Amazing. I’m embarrassed to say that nothing was left on my plate once I finished eating.
La Herencia is open from M-TH: 8:30 AM – 4 PM; Fri – Sat: 8:30 AM – 10:00 PM; Sun: 8:30 AM – 8 PM. Breakfast is served all day. La Herencia Cafe is a 1- 2 man (woman) operation so wait times can be a long if you come during the busy times. However, trust me when I tell you that it’s well worth the wait.
Bread – 10
Circuses – 6
* Bread = food rating 1-10
* Circuses = atmosphere, decor, customer service rating 1-10
Stay at a historic Inn
From outside on Aviles Street, Casa de Solana Inn belies its quiet elegance on the inside. The 10-room Inn welcomes guest with its old-world charm and gorgeous architecture.
Each of the ten guest rooms has a distinctive style. Amenities include a delicious breakfast and a social hour with wine served daily.
To book a room at the Casa De Solana Inn, click here
A visit to St Augustine should include a look at what’s happening on Aviles Street. Aviles Street is the heart of St Augustine’s art district and the home of the best Cuban Cafe I’ve had the pleasure of eating at since moving to Florida.
Are you looking for other stuff to do in St Augustine? Read my post, “Things to do in St Augustine this weekend that will make you say hmmm.”
Take a tour of St Augustine by trolley – read my review of Old Town Trolley Tours by clicking here.