Alcázar de Colón#3 in Best Things To Do in Santo Domingo
Once the home of Diego Colón, Christopher Columbus' son, this 16th-century viceregal palace (or residence of the governor/viceroy) was the nucleus of the Spanish court for more than 60 years. Inside, you'll find a museum housing an impressive collection of late medieval and Renaissance art. The house itself is also a work of art, featuring Moorish, Gothic and Renaissance touches.
Recent visitors praise this historic property, insisting that a tour of the Alcázar de Colón is a must for anyone who wants to learn more about the city's rich history. And be sure to pick up some headphones to take advantage of the museum's self-guided audio tours. Even though the headphone line can get a bit long on busier days, most travelers note doing this tour is well worth the wait.
Located along Calle Las Damas in the Zona Colonial, Alcázar de Colón is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You'll have to pay 100 Dominican pesos (or $2.21 USD) to enter.
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#1 Zona Colonial
Partially barricaded by stone walls, accented with baroque architecture and lying on cobblestone streets, Santo Domingo's Zona Colonial marks the area where Columbus settled in the New World. Visitors say it's definitely a must-see, considering the city's best known historic sites are located here. But this UNESCO World Heritage Site also shelters many hotels, bars and restaurants. Best of all, you can explore the area entirely on foot: For all that's crammed inside, there's really only 11 blocks worth of sights.
So where should you start? Perhaps the Catedral Primada de America, which is located near the heart of the zone (look for the statue of Christopher Columbus). From there you can trek a little farther west to Fortaleza Ozama, located along the mouth of the Río Ozama in the southeast quadrant. Next, walk along the Calle Las Damas (the oldest street, a pedestrian-only zone) to the Alcázar de Colón palace and museum.
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