Top 10 Things to Do in Santo Domingo

Welcome to Santo Domingo, the vibrant capital city of the Dominican Republic. From its rich history to its beautiful beaches, there is something for everyone in this charming city. If you’re planning a trip to Santo Domingo, you won’t want to miss out on these top 10 things to do. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey to discover the best Santo Domingo attractions. We’ve curated a list of must-visit landmarks and local hotspots that will make for an unforgettable trip. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, the Santo Domingo city guide has something to offer for everyone.

So, let’s dive in and explore the top 10 things to do in Santo Domingo!

Discover the Historic Zona Colonial

The Zona Colonial is the heart and soul of Santo Domingo’s colonial history. A UNESCO World Heritage site, this beautiful neighborhood features well-preserved Spanish architecture, making it a popular spot for tourists and locals alike. Take a stroll through its cobblestone streets and immerse yourself in the history and charm of this stunning neighborhood.

There are several Santo Domingo attractions to explore in the Zona Colonial, including iconic landmarks, such as the Alcázar de Colón and its beautiful gardens, the stunning Cathedral of Santa María la Menor, and the grand Fortaleza Ozama, which overlooks the Caribbean Sea. Make sure to visit these must-see spots to learn about Santo Domingo’s rich history.

Zona Colonial Santo Domingo attractions

One of the best things to do in Santo Domingo is to walk along the streets of the Zona Colonial while taking in its vibrant culture. You’ll find local hotspots such as restaurants, bars, and street vendors selling a variety of goods, including Dominican souvenirs. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore this remarkable neighborhood!

Explore the Museo de las Casas Reales

As you stroll through the historic Zona Colonial, make sure to visit the Museo de las Casas Reales, one of the most popular Santo Domingo tourist attractions.

This Santo Domingo sightseeing spot is a renowned historical museum that showcases the architectural and historical significance of the colonial era in Santo Domingo. It houses a collection of artifacts, documents, and artwork that provides valuable insight into the city’s colonial past.

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about the rich heritage of Santo Domingo at this fascinating museum. Take your time exploring the exhibits and galleries, and discover the cultural significance of the Museo de las Casas Reales in the city’s history.

Museo de las Casas Reales

The Highlights of the Museo de las Casas Reales:

Exhibits Description
Artwork The museum houses a fascinating collection of colonial-era paintings, sculptures, and other works of art that offer a glimpse into the cultural life of Santo Domingo during that period.
Documents The Museo de las Casas Reales has a vast collection of manuscripts, maps, and other historical documents that are well-preserved and provide invaluable resources for researchers and enthusiasts alike.
Architectural details The building that houses the museum is a good example of colonial architecture, boasting an impressive facade and elegant courtyards that transport visitors back in time.

Visit the National Palace

The National Palace is an exquisite piece of architecture and an iconic landmark in Santo Domingo, complete with beautiful gardens surrounding the palace. Take a guided tour to explore the rich history of the Dominican Republic. Admire the grandeur of this historic building that serves as the official home of the President of the Dominican Republic. It stands tall as a testament to the political significance of the country.

As you take a stroll through the palace and its lush gardens, you’ll come across various architectural styles that blend together seamlessly. The palace’s elegant interiors take you back in time to witness its previous glory. Learn more about the important events that took place here and how it continues to play an essential role in Dominican politics.

National Palace

The National Palace is one of Santo Domingo’s most visited tourist attractions, and its historical importance makes it one of the top tourist spots in Santo Domingo. A visit to this captivating building is a must-do for any traveler visiting the Dominican Republic.

Enjoy the Vibrant Mercado Modelo

When you visit Santo Domingo, a trip to the Mercado Modelo is a must-do on your itinerary. This bustling market is known for its vibrant atmosphere and unique products that you won’t find elsewhere. The Mercado Modelo is the perfect place to immerse yourself in local Dominican culture as you browse through a wide variety of handmade crafts, jewelry, and local souvenirs.

If you’re a foodie, you’ll be delighted at the selection of traditional street food available. Try the famous empanadas or indulge in some delicious fried plantains. You can even find exotic fruits like passionfruit and guava. Whatever you choose, the Mercado Modelo is the perfect place to satisfy your cravings and explore new flavors.

Make sure you bring cash with you as it’s the only way to pay for items. Bargaining is also part of the fun, so don’t hesitate to negotiate the price with vendors. With so much to see and explore, the Mercado Modelo is a great place to spend a few hours in Santo Domingo.

Mercado Modelo

Shopping Tips

To make the most of your time at the Mercado Modelo, here are some shopping tips:

  • Visit in the morning to avoid the crowds.
  • Be mindful of your belongings as pickpocketing can happen in crowded areas.
  • Bring cash as most vendors don’t accept credit cards and ATMs can be hard to find.
  • Bargain with vendors for a better price but be respectful and keep it light-hearted.

Relax at Playa Boca Chica

If you’re looking for a relaxing day by the beach, Playa Boca Chica is the perfect destination. Located a short drive from Santo Domingo, this idyllic beach features pristine white sands and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Sunbathe under the warm Caribbean sun, take a dip in the refreshing waters or indulge in water sports activities like snorkeling and kayaking.


The beach is lined with local vendors, offering refreshments, snacks and souvenirs to visitors. Don’t forget to try some of the fresh seafood delicacies served in the beachfront restaurants. A true beach paradise, Playa Boca Chica is a must-visit attraction for anyone seeking some fun in the sun.

Playa Boca Chica

Playa Boca Chica at a Glance

Location 10 km east of Santo Domingo
Size 1.5 km long
Activities Sunbathing, Swimming, Water sports, Snorkeling, Kayaking
Facilities Vendors, Restaurants, Bathrooms, Showers
Best Time to Visit December to April

Discover the Museo del Hombre Dominicano

If you’re interested in the cultural heritage of the Dominican Republic, a visit to the Museo del Hombre Dominicano is a must. The museum’s focus is on the indigenous and African roots of the country, and it contains displays that showcase traditional arts, crafts, and customs from diverse Dominican cultures. Its exhibits include both pre-Columbian and contemporary objects, which are excellently presented, providing amazing insights into the people’s beliefs, customs, and traditions.

Located in the heart of Santo Domingo, the Museo del Hombre Dominicano is a fantastic attraction. Its exhibitions include explanations of the religious beliefs of the Taino, the Dominican Republic’s original inhabitants, as well as details of the customs and technologies of the African slaves who were brought to the Caribbean islands. These exhibits provide an in-depth look at the roots of Dominican identity and is a great way to enhance your knowledge about the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Museo del Hombre Dominicano

What to expect at the Museo del Hombre Dominicano:

  • An emotional and thought-provoking journey through the cultural history of the Dominican Republic.
  • A wide range of exhibitions featuring traditional dress, music, and crafts from the diverse cultures of the country.
  • An in-depth explanation of the symbolism and significance of objects used in religious practices, such as the altars and amulets of the Taino Indians.

Experience the Nightlife in the Malecón

The Malecón is the perfect place to enjoy the vibrant nightlife of Santo Domingo. As you stroll along this scenic waterfront promenade, you’ll be surrounded by stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. The Malecón is lined with an array of restaurants, bars, and clubs, each offering a unique atmosphere and experience.

For a taste of the local culture, head to one of the many establishments playing merengue and bachata music. Dance the night away and soak up the energetic atmosphere of this popular social hub.


From the casual beachfront bars to the stylish nightclubs, there’s something for everyone on the Malecón. Whether you’re looking to grab a casual drink or dance until dawn, this iconic promenade has it all. So make sure to include a visit to the Malecón in your Santo Domingo city guide when planning what to do in Santo Domingo.


If you’re planning a trip to Santo Domingo, this travel guide has highlighted the top 10 things to do in the city. From exploring the historic Zona Colonial to enjoying the vibrant nightlife on the Malecón, Santo Domingo offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Museo de las Casas Reales to learn about the city’s colonial past or relax at the picturesque Playa Boca Chica. With its rich culture, history, and beautiful beaches, Santo Domingo is a must-visit destination. Use this guide to plan your trip and make the most of your time in this captivating city.