Classical Music & Dance
Teatro Nacional, Plaza de la Cultura (tel. 809/687-3191), is the major cultural venue of the Dominican Republic. The 1,700-seat theater is home to opera, ballet, and symphonic performances. The various presentations are announced in the newspapers, and tickets can be purchased at the box office daily 9:30am to 12:30pm and 3:30 to 6:30pm. Ticket prices vary, depending on the event, but usually range from RD$70 to RD$250.
Local young people flock to the dance clubs in droves around midnight. Even the hotel dance clubs cater to locals as well as tourists. Great dancers abound, so go and watch even if you're not as light on your feet as you wish. In most clubs, music varies from live to recorded. The big nights for live music are Friday and Saturday, when most clubs heat up, drawing their largest group of patrons.
Rolling the Dice
Santo Domingo has several major casinos. We view gambling here as a very minor attraction and find the odds that you'll haul away any serious money pretty much against you. Frankly, if gambling is your passion and/or obsession, you'd do better to plan a holiday in Puerto Rico, where casinos are bigger, splashier, and somehow, filled with a greater sense of optimism.
One of the casinos that's cited as big, fun, and splashy enough to keep a semi-addicted gambler entertained is within the Hispaniola Hotel, Avenida Independencia (tel. 809/535-9292), which is open daily noon to 5am, and which, frankly, is a lot more appealing and a lot better maintained than the hotel that contains it. It's also the site of occasional live concerts by famous bands, where no one objects if you end up dancing in the aisles.