Santo Domingo‘s Most Popular Neighborhood, known as Zona Colonial, is a must-see destination for any tourist visiting the Dominican Republic‘s capital city, as it offers a unique blend of history, culture, and architecture that will transport visitors back in time to the 16th century, when the city was founded by Spanish colonists as the first permanent European settlement in the Americas.

A Walk Through History

One of the best ways to explore Zona Colonial is by taking a leisurely stroll along its cobblestone streets, lined with well-preserved Spanish colonial-style buildings, many of which have been converted into museums, galleries, and shops. Visitors can start their journey at the Parque Colón, a large square named after Christopher Columbus, which serves as the centerpiece of the neighborhood. The statue of Columbus that stands in the middle of the square is a replica of the original, which was stolen by the French during their occupation of the city in 1805.

Catedral Santa Maria la Menor

One of the most impressive sights in Zona Colonial is the Catedral Santa Maria la Menor, located on the southern end of the Parque Colón. This is the oldest cathedral in the Americas, built by the Spanish in 1540, and it is a fine example of Gothic architecture. The cathedral’s interior is adorned with beautiful frescoes and sculptures, and it contains the tomb of Diego Columbus, the son of Christopher Columbus.

Museo de las Casas Reales

Another must-see attraction in Zona Colonial is the Museo de las Casas Reales, located on Calle Las Damas, the oldest street in the Americas. The museum is housed in the former palace of the Spanish governors, and it provides a fascinating glimpse into the life of the colonial elite. Visitors can see the opulent rooms where the governors lived and worked, as well as a collection of artifacts from the colonial period.

Palacio Alcazar de Colón

For those interested in architecture and history, the Palacio Alcazar de Colón, located on Calle Las Damas, is another must-see attraction. This palace was built by Diego Columbus, the son of Christopher Columbus, and it is a beautiful example of Spanish Renaissance architecture. The palace’s interior is decorated with frescoes and murals, and it contains a collection of artifacts from the colonial period, including furniture, ceramics, and textiles.

Parque Independencia

If you’re looking for a place to relax and enjoy the scenery, Parque Independencia is a great option. Located on the northern end of Zona Colonial, this park is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. It is filled with lush greenery and features a number of statues and monuments, including a statue of Juan Pablo Duarte, one of the heroes of the Dominican Republic’s independence.

Eating and Drinking

Zona Colonial is also home to a wide variety of restaurants, cafes and bars, serving both local and international cuisine. Visitors can try traditional Dominican dishes such as sancocho, a hearty stew made with meat, vegetables, and spices, or mangu, a mashed plantain dish often served with cheese. There are also plenty of options for those looking for a more international dining experience, with many restaurants serving Italian, Spanish, and Mexican cuisine.


For those looking to do some shopping, Zona Colonial has plenty to offer. Visitorscan find a wide variety of souvenirs and crafts, such as handmade cigars, rum, coffee, and chocolate, as well as traditional woven textiles and clothing. There are also many art galleries and shops selling paintings, sculptures, and other artworks by local and international artists.


In the evening, Zona Colonial comes alive with a vibrant nightlife scene. Visitors can enjoy live music at one of the many bars and clubs in the neighborhood, or catch a performance at one of the theaters or outdoor stages. For those looking for a more relaxed evening, there are also plenty of options for outdoor dining and drinks, with many restaurants and bars offering al fresco seating.


In conclusion, Zona Colonial is a must-see destination for any tourist visiting Santo Domingo. Its rich history, culture, and architecture, as well as its abundance of museums, galleries, shops, restaurants, and bars, make it the perfect place to spend a day or more exploring. Whether you’re interested in learning about the city’s past or simply want to relax and enjoy the scenery, Zona Colonial has something for everyone. I hope this article has inspired you to visit Santo Domingo’s most popular neighborhood and discover its many treasures for yourself.