What to see in Santo Domingo

Santo Domingo is the capital of the Dominican Republic. Its streets are filled with history and culture, making it a must-visit destination on your next trip to the Dominican Republic. That’s why at Runaway Experiences, we’ve prepared a list of places to see in Santo Domingo.

“La Capital”, como le llaman los dominicanos, es la ciudad más poblada del Caribe. Due to its high historical value, we believe it’s a city that must be visited at least once in a lifetime. So pack your bags and come discover the charms of Santo Domingo with us.

Colonial Zone

Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo

First, we have the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. Popularly known as the Colonial Zone, it is the oldest urban nucleus of the city. It was the first European settlement in the Americas, which is why it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990.

The best way to discover this walled city is on foot or by bicycle. This way, you can explore its picturesque streets, which still retain the charm of 16th-century Spanish architecture.

Wikipedia's photograph

However, nowadays the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo is more than just colonial-era buildings. Its streets host all kinds of cultural activities; for this reason, its space is a popular meeting point for locals and tourists alike.. Additionally, you can find incredible restaurants and various bars where you can enjoy the nightlife.

If you’d like to book a tour to the Colonial Zone, you can do so by clicking on this link.

Spain Square

View of Spain Square.

Spain Square is undoubtedly one of the most romantic places in Santo Domingo, known for its architectural beauty and historical significance. Surrounded by colonial buildings that now house shops, bars, and terraces, it’s certainly perfect for relaxing and savoring local cuisine.

Generally, this square hosts many cultural activities and concerts. During your stay in Santo Domingo, you definitely can’t miss a visit to Spain Square. Without a doubt, it will captivate you from the very first moment.

The Primatial Cathedral of the Americas

Cathedral of Santo Domingo

The Minor Basilica of Saint Mary of the Incarnation, known as the Primatial Cathedral of the Americas, as its name suggests, is the first cathedral built in the New World, by order of Pope Julius II in 1504.

This Gothic-style building with ribbed vaults still stands today at the heart of the colonial city and is the most important site for religious ceremonies in the country. Its majestic architecture and rich history make it a great tourist attraction that you definitely can’t miss.

The Ozama Fortress

The Ozama Fortress

At the mouth of the Ozama River stands this grand historical monument, built by the Spanish in the early 16th century. It is the first military construction in the New World, with a medieval appearance and a central tower standing at 21 meters in height.

It is the first military construction in the New World, with a medieval appearance and a central tower standing at 21 meters in height. Inside, you can also admire the original cannons from the era that were used to defend the city against invaders. Don’t miss the opportunity to explore this historical gem.

The Alcázar of Columbus

The Alcázar of Columbus

It was built during the colonial era by order of King Fernando as a gift to Diego Colón, who was the governor of the island at that time. However, power struggles on the island left the Alcázar in ruins, which were later restored.

Today, its walls house the most popular museum in the colonial zone, and one of the most architecturally interesting. Immerse yourself in the history of this palace, and be captivated by the legacy of the Colón family as you uncover the treasures hidden within.

Ruins of San Francisco

Ruins of San Francisco

The ruins of San Francisco are a historical treasure of the city of Santo Domingo. This majestic 16th-century structure are the remnants of what was once the San Francisco de Asís convent. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ruins bear witness to the island’s colonial past.

Let yourself be transported to a bygone era full of mystery and charm, as you uncover the secrets that these ancient walls guard so closely.

El Conde Street

Corner of El Conde Street

Known as the oldest pedestrian street in the Americas, this charming street is an iconic location in the Colonial City. As you stroll down El Conde, you’ll be able to appreciate the colorful facades of colonial houses, the adorned balconies, and the traditional shops selling a wide variety of handmade products. Along your journey, you’ll also come across cafes, restaurants, and bars where you can savor authentic local cuisine while enjoying the typical atmosphere of Santo Domingo.

El Conde is that place where history blends with everyday life, offering you a unique experience filled with charm and tradition. That’s why this iconic street couldn’t be left out of our list of places to see in Santo Domingo.

Malecón of Santo Domingo

photo from godominicanrepublic

The Malecón of Santo Domingo is a seaside promenade that embraces the Caribbean Sea and becomes the vibrant heart of the city. From there, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Santo Domingo, where modern skyscrapers contrast with the colorful colonial houses of the Colonial Zone.

Additionally, along the Malecón, you can find a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs where you can enjoy the lively nightlife of Santo Domingo.

Whether it’s for a leisurely stroll, enjoying a meal with a sea view, or soaking in the nighttime energy, the Malecón of Santo Domingo is an emblematic place that will steal your heart with its charm and vitality.

Botanical Garden

"Photo from the official website of the Botanical Garden of Santo Domingo

The National Botanical Garden of Santo Domingo is an oasis in the midst of the city, spanning over 200 hectares, and it houses a vast collection of native and international plants. Inside, you’ll discover various themed gardens where you can appreciate the different endemic species of the Dominican Republic.

In addition to its botanical value, the garden features recreational spaces such as lakes, fountains, and picnic areas, making it the perfect spot to enjoy a relaxing moment in nature. If you’re a nature lover, or seeking a break from the city’s hustle and bustle, we invite you to explore and discover the charms of this beautiful place.

the Columbus Lighthouse

Columbus Lighthouse

Finally, on our list, we have the Columbus Lighthouse. This imposing monument in Santo Domingo pays tribute to Christopher Columbus, who discovered the island, and it is also the largest lighthouse in the world.

Inside the lighthouse, there is an exhibition featuring a replica of the sarcophagus where it is believed that the remains of Christopher Columbus rest. The monument also features an art gallery, exhibition halls, and auditoriums that offer an enriching cultural experience.

The Columbus Lighthouse has become an important pilgrimage site and a symbol of the historical and cultural heritage of the Dominican Republic.

We hope that our guide of places to see in Santo Domingo has been helpful to you. We invite you to discover all the excursions we have for you in Punta Cana by clicking on this link Runaway Experiences.

What to see in Santo Domingo

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