Avenida de los Presidentes (Calle G), with wide, grassy, tree-lined pedestrian medians, runs perpendicular to Calle 23 and climbs from the Malecón  toward Plaza de la Revolución . The avenue is named for the statues of Cuban and Latin American presidents that grace its length. (The busts of Tomás Estrada Palma and José Miguel Gómez, the first and second presidents of the Cuban republic, were toppled following the Revolution, as they were accused of being “puppets” of the U.S. government.)
First, admire the bas-reliefs that adorn the Monumento Calixto García at the Malecón. One block south, on your right, is the Casa de las Américas (Presidentes, esq. 3ra, tel. 07/832-2706, fax 07/834-4554, www.casa.cult.cu , Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–4:45 p.m.), a cultural center formed in 1959 to study and promote the cultures of Latin America and the Caribbean. Housed in an astonishing, cathedral-like art deco building, the center contains the Galería Latinamericano art gallery (Mon.–Thurs. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. and Fri. 10 a.m.–4 p.m.) and hosts concerts and cultural programs. Fifty meters south along Presidentes you’ll pass the Casa’s Galería Haydee Santamaría (e/ 5ta and G; closed for repair in 2009).
At 5ta you’ll pass the Hotel Presidente, an art deco high-rise dating from 1927. Across Presidentes, on the east side, is the headquarters of MINREX (Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores), the Foreign Relations Ministry, taking up two blocks including a beautiful neo-baroque building on the north side of Calzada (Calle 7ma).
At Calzada, detour west along 5ta for four blocks to Parque Villalón (5ta y D). On its southeast side is the Romanesque Teatro Amadeo Roldán  (tel. 07/832-1168), restored to grandeur as a concert hall. Next door is the headquarters of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba (Calzada #510 e/ D y E, Vedado, tel. 07/835-2952, www.balletcuba.cult.cu ). The facility is closed to visitors, but sometimes you can spot the dancers practicing.
Turn north onto Calle D and walk one block to Línea. On the far side, peek into the 19th-century Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (Línea, e/ C y D, tel. 07/832-6807), Vedado’s parish church colloquially called Parroquia del Vedado.
Exiting, head east one block along Línea to Presidentes. On the south side of Línea note the bronze statue of Alejandro Rodríguez y Velasco (Presidentes y Línea), a brigadier general in the Cuban Wars of Independence, atop a granite pedestal guarded by a bronze figure of Perseus.
Cross Presidentes to view the Museo de la Danza (Calle Línea #365, esq. Presidentes, tel. 07/831-2198, musdanza [at] cubarte [dot] cult [dot] cu, Tues.–Sat. 11 a.m.–6:30 p.m., CUC2, guide CUC1), in a restored mansion on the southeast corner of the junction. The museum has four salons dedicated to Russian ballet, modern dance, the National Ballet of Cuba, and other themes. Exhibits include wardrobes, recordings, manuscripts, and photographs relating to the history of dance.
From here, walk south along the central median. Ascending the avenue, you’ll pass statues to Mexican Benito Juárez (e/ 17 y 19), Venezuelan Simón Bolívar (e/ 19 y 21), Panamanian strongman president Omar Torrijos (e/ 19 y 21), and Chilean president Salvador Allende (e/ 21 y 23).
Cross Calle 23 and walk west one block to Calle F, where on the southwest corner of the junction the Monumento a Martin Luther King is a marble and bronze tableaux of the Afro-American civil rights leader.
Return to Presidentes and continue south (the park on the southeast corner of Calle 23 is colloquially named Parque de los Roqueros for the goths and roqueros — “rockers” — who gather at night in black leather, black eyeliner, and pink-tinted hair). The tree-shaded boulevard climbs two blocks to the Monumento a José Miguel Gómez (Calle 29), designed by Italian sculptor Giovanni Nicolini and erected in 1936 in classical style to honor the former Republican president (1909–1913). Beyond, the road drops through a canyon lined with giant jagüey trees, which form a glade over the road. Hidden from sight on the bluff to the west is the Castillo del Príncipe, built between 1767 and 1779 following the English invasion. The castle is off-limits as it is now a military zone and houses a prison.
Arriving at the junction with Avenida Salvador Allende, Zapata, and Avenida Rancho Boyeros, turn left onto Salvador Allende. After 100 meters, on the north side of the road, you’ll arrive at the once-graceful Quinta de los Molinos (e/ Infanta y Luaces), reached via a decrepit cobbled, gladed drive. The mansion, built between 1837 and 1840, originated as a summer palace for the captains-general and in 1899 was granted as the private residence of General Máximo Gómez, the Dominican-born commander-in-chief of the liberation army. It now houses the motley Museo de Máximo Gómez (tel. 07/879-8850; closed for restoration at last visit).
The quinta grounds now form the Jardín Botánico (Botanical Gardens, Tues.–Sun. 7 a.m.–7 p.m.). Following the Revolution, the once exquisite pleasure gardens of the governor’s summer palace were transferred to the University of Havana  and are now an overgrown mess littered with tumbledown statues, fountains, and grottoes with giant jagüeys and other trees twining around them, many with voodoo dolls and other santería offerings stuffed in their interstices.