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Experience the Ballet Folklorico in Santo Domingo. (Photo: Lebawit Lily Girma)

Culture + Style

Santo Domingo’s Best Live Music Venues

One of Santo Domingo’s biggest draws is its appreciation for live music. Merengue and bachata dominate, as well as son and salsa. But live rock and jazz also feature regularly.

You can catch a performance almost any day of the week in La Capital, across a variety of venues that take you from dancing under the stars to modern concert halls and restaurants.

Here are our best picks.

Grupo Bonyé

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Grupo Bonye performs in Santo Domingo. (Photo: Lebawit Lily Girma)

Grupo Bonye’s weekly Sunday evening outdoor concert is part of Santo Domingo’s cultural fabric. Held on the dramatic, multilevel ruins of the San Francisco Monastery, this free salsa, son, and merengue concert unites locals of all ages and walks of life.

They gather under the stars on a makeshift dance floor and twirl to the band’s rhythms, surrounded by historical ruins. You don’t have to dance — many come just for the music and the spectacle. Grab a table for your group, or hang out at one of the surrounding bars and colmados. The show runs from 8–10pm.

Ballet Folklórico Nacional

The Ballet Folklórico Nacional Dominicano puts on one of the best cultural dance shows in the Colonial City, and it’s free. Every Friday and Saturday evening from 8-10pm, the group performs on Plaza España, dressed in colorful costumes.

You’ll witness and learn about the traditional dances and rhythms of the DR’s various provinces, each bearing cultural influences from Africa and Europe. The group’s performance is one of the week’s highlights. Be warned: You’ll get pulled onto the dance floor at the end of the show, along with the rest of the audience.


If you prefer to have a meal with your music, Jalao is a solid pick. Smack in the heart of the Colonial City, you’ll hear live merengue echoing out from its stage on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Well-heeled locals flock here to feast on their favorite Dominican dishes and burn it all off afterward on the dance floor in the middle of the restaurant.

Casa de Teatro

This historic arts and music venue dates back to the 1970s. During any given month, Casa de Teatro hosts art exhibits, concerts, movie festivals, and an in-house jazz concert series that runs during the summer.

Even if there’s no performance scheduled, head to the bar and lounge to mingle with fellow creatives.

JetSet Club

A Santo Domingo institution, JetSet Monday nights is when you can catch live performances every week, featuring a major Dominican merengue or bachata artist. Anthony Santos, Toño Rosario, and Raulín Rodríguez are just a few from the long list of artists who have performed here since 1973.

Book a table with bottle service for a special occasion, or just stand and dance all night long.

Hard Rock Live Santo Domingo

Located inside the upscale Blue Mall, also home to the JW Marriott, the Hard Rock Live concert venue hosts international and Dominican artists year-round, representing a variety of genres.

Check the schedule of performances during your visit. Before the show, dine at SBG Café, grab a cocktail at Vertygo 101, or browse the mall’s designer stores.