Things to do
Things to Do in Santo Domingo
A colmado in Santo Domingo
Get to Know the Coolest Things to Do in Santo Domingo (According to Local)
Santo Domingo is the perfect destination for travelers looking to experience the real Caribbean. Whether you want to explore the historic Colonial Zone on a bike tour, indulge in delicious chocolate treats, or experience the city’s evolving arts and theater scene, we’ve got you covered with this list of unique and fun things to do in Santo Domingo.
Zona Bici in Santo Domingo
Photo: Angel Rosario
1. Explore Zona Colonial on two wheels
Zona Bici is the top bike rental shop in Santo Domingo, offering guided tours and hourly rentals of comfortable, well-maintained bikes. Explore the city's historic Colonial Zone in a super fun and authentic way, covering more ground and seeing more sights in less time.
We recommend taking the tour, which comes with a knowledgeable guide sharing historical and cultural insights as you ride through the city's hidden corners, taking in views of the Caribbean Sea and visiting local parks and plazas, as well as centuries-old ruins and monuments.
In just two hours, you'll feel like a local, knowing all the best spots to eat, drink, dance, and shop. Zona Bici offers a variety of bike sizes and types to suit riders of all ages and skill levels, including tandems and tricycles. And when you're done exploring the city, stop by their shop for a cup of the city's best coffee and a selection of local craft beers.
Conveniently located down the street from Parque Colon or the Catedral Primada de America, Zona Bici operates from #217 Arzobispo Meriño Street every day from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Microteatro in Santo Domingo
2. Watch a 15-minute play in a 15 sqm theater
Located in the heart of the Colonial Zone, the Microteatro offers a unique and intimate theater experience. Watch 15-minute plays on a variety of creative themes, which change monthly, and enjoy delicious tapas and cocktails while you wait in their romantic open-air courtyard.
Founded a few years ago, this spot offers a brief and fun concept, with plays that are written and performed by Dominican actors and writers. The plays are only performed in Spanish, so it is best to have at least some familiarity with the language to fully enjoy the show. However, even without understanding the dialogue, the plays are highly entertaining and creative, offering a glimpse into Santo Domingo's evolving arts and theater scene.
In addition to the plays, this theater also offers dining, with a large bar area and various seating options. You can enjoy delicious tapas and other foods along with your drinks, making it the perfect spot for a night out with friends or a romantic evening with a loved one.
Microteatro is located on the corner of Calle José Reyes and Calle Salomé Ureña. They are open in the evenings and tickets for a show cost around DOP $300 pesos. Check their website for more info
Santo Domingo Botanical Garden
Photo: Angel Rosario
3. Visit the Santo Domingo Botanical Garden
Escape the hectic city and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of a natural oasis right in the middle of Santo Domingo. As the largest of its kind in the Caribbean, the Santo Domingo Botanical Garden has over 60,000 botanically classified species, representing eight different ecosystems from across the country.
Strolling through the lush greenery you can experience the stunning variety of plants and flowers on display. Don't miss the serene Japanese Garden, where you can take in the breathtaking view and capture the perfect photo for your Instagram feed.
The garden also offers plenty of other attractions to explore, including the Herbarium, the Ecological Museum, and the Endemic Plants area. Whether you're a nature lover or just looking for a peaceful escape from the city, this is a great destination to visit. Bring your camera, some water, and a hat, and prepare to be enchanted by the beauty of this incredible garden.
The Botanical Garden is located on Avenida República de Colombia. You’ll need to take public transportation or an uber to get there, which will take around 30 minutes (depending on traffic). The entrance fee is DOP $200 pesos which includes a ticket for a tram ride around the park.
Kahkow Experience in Santo Domingo
4. Make your own chocolate at KahKow
Indulge your sweet tooth at this exciting spot, where you can create your own delicious chocolate treats and learn about the history and art of chocolate-making. As a museum, store, and factory all in one, KahKow offers a range of interactive activities for visitors to enjoy.
Start your visit by making your own chocolate, choosing from a variety of shapes, flavors, and toppings to create your own unique confection. And for something truly unique, try your hand at making your own soap using cocoa butter with your choice of aromatic oils.
KahKow is a delightful and fun experience for chocolate lovers, offering the chance to treat yourself to something sweet.
To find KahKow, head to Calle Las Damas in Zona Colonial. They’re located in a charming old building right across the street from Fortaleza Ozama.
A colmado in Santo Domingo
5. Discover a slice of Dominican life at a Colmado
Looking for a lively spot to pick up essentials or socialize with locals in Santo Domingo? Look no further than one of the capital city’s many colmados. At first glance, you might think of it as just a local convenience store. In reality, the colmado is a phenomenon that offers much more than just groceries - it's a central gathering place for the community - often acting as a canteen, social space, and even a bar or karaoke club at night.
You'll find them on street corners all around the country, with some estimates suggesting that there is one colmado for every 188 inhabitants. In other words, finding one in Santo Domingo is easy, as they’re pretty much on every city street..
However, if you're having trouble finding a colmado, just listen for the sound of blasting salsa, merengue, or bachata music. These small shops are a hub of activity, and their loud music can often be heard from blocks away.
Not only will you be able to pick up any essentials you need, but you'll also get a glimpse into the social and cultural life of the community while drinking a cold beer. You might even be lucky enough to catch a game of dominoes or join in a karaoke session.
Farmers market in Chinatown, Santo Domingo
Photo: Anton Lau
6. Sample gourmet street food and exotic fruits in Chinatown
For an experience out of the ordinary in Santo Domingo, we highly recommend the buzzing farmer's market on Avenida Duarte. Every Sunday, Chinatown comes alive with the sights and smells of exotic delicacies.
Feast on homemade dumplings and sample an array of spices at the market stalls. You can also pick up some local produce, such as sweet oranges, passion fruit, and exotic varieties like Guanábana (soursop) and Limoncillo (Spanish lime). Or how about trying the fresh catch of the day at one of the many fish stalls?
Remember to bring cash if you plan on buying anything, as most of the vendors don’t accept credit cards. If you want to learn more, read our guide to Cash, Costs, and Money Saving Tips in the Dominican Republic.
If you’re around the Alcazar Colon in the Zona Colonial, the Chinese market is only five blocks of walking distance on Avenida Duarte - between Avenida Mella and Calle Benito Gonzales.
Written by Diego Angeles King.
Published January 2022.
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