Allow one hour for this walk along one of the most astonishing streets in the city.
From the Monumento del Maine , follow Calle 17 west toward the landmark 35-story Focsa (Calle 17 e/ M y N), a V-shaped apartment building built 1954–1956 as one of the largest reinforced concrete structures in the world. Following the Revolution it was used to house East European and Soviet personnel.
Continue west two blocks to Calle J. Turn left and after one block turn right onto Calle 19 to view the Gothic Iglesia San Juan de Letrán, which dates from the 1880s and has fine stained-glass windows.
One block west of the church is Parque Victor Hugo (Calle 19, e/ I y H). Circle the park counterclockwise, passing a monument to the 19th-century French novelist (author of Les Miserables) on the northeast corner. At the corner of Calles 19 and H is a memorial to Leonor Pérez Cabrera, mother of José Martí, with a letter to his dearly beloved mamá inscribed in metal. The southeast corner (Calle 21 y I) bears a monument to Bobby Sands and nine other IRA terrorists (“martyrs” says the plaque) who died on hunger strike in Crumlin Road jail, Northern Ireland, in 1981.
Return to Calle 17 and continue westward, passing the Instituto Cubano de Amistad con los Pueblos (Cuban Institute for People’s Friendship, Calle 17 #301, e/ H y I), occupying a palatial Beaux-Arts villa. One block west, call in at the equally magnificent mansion on the southwest corner of Calle H: The Casa de Juan Gelats, a spectacular exemplar of the Beaux-Arts style, was built in 1920 and today houses the Unión Nacional de Escritores y Artistas de Cuba (National Union of Cuban Writers and Artists, UNEAC, Calle 17 #351, esq. H, tel. 07/832-4551, www.uneac.co.cu ), which hosts cultural events and is open to the public.
Cross Avenida de los Presidentes and detour 20 meters uphill to the Escuela de Idiomas Abraham Lincoln (Presidentes, e/ 17 y 19) to admire a magnificent bronze statue of the former U.S. president in the front garden.
Venerable jagüey trees provide shade as you continue west along Calle 17 two blocks to the Museo de Artes Decorativas (Museum of Decorative Arts, Calle 17 #502, e/ D y E, tel. 07/830-9848, Tues.–Sat. 11 a.m.–7 p.m., entrance CUC3 with guide, cameras CUC5, videos CUC10), housed in the former mansion of a Cuban countess. It brims with a lavish collection of furniture, paintings, textiles, and chinoiserie from the 18th and 19th centuries. Upstairs, a boudoir is decorated in Asian style, its furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl.
At Calle C, turn right and head downhill one block to Calle 15. Turn left and visit the Galería Marianao (Calle 15 #607, e/ B y C, tel. 07/838-2702, Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m.), containing the 6,000-piece Art Collection of New America.
Return to Calle 17 and continue west four blocks to Paseo. Cross this wide boulevard. On the west side, on the left, is Casa de la Amistad (Paseo #406, e/ 17 y 19, tel. 07/830-3114), an Italian Renaissance mansion—Casa de Juan Pedro Baró—built in 1926 with a surfeit of Carrara marble. It’s no longer open to the public.
Continue two blocks west along Calle 17 to Calle 6 and Parque Lennon. Following John Lennon’s death in 1980, a gathering of Havana  bohemia took place at this small quiet park. In 2000, on the 20th anniversary of his death, a life-size bronze statue was unveiled in the presence of Fidel (who had previously banned Beatles music). Lennon, who is dressed in open-neck shirt, sits on a bench, his head slightly tilted, right leg resting on his left knee, with his arm draped casually over the back of the dark-green cast-iron bench, and plenty of room for anyone who wants to join him. The sculpture is by Cuban artist José Villa, who inscribed the words “People say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one,” at Lennon’s feet. By night, a spotlight denies him sleep. A custodio is there 24/7; he takes care of Lennon’s spectacles.
One block east, turn north one block to Parque de Lam (Calles 14 y 15), studded by a huge bronze statue by Alberto Lescay Merencio representing a human as a bird in flight — a universal element in the works of Cuban painter Wilfredo Lam.