Getting Oriented

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Getting Oriented

Parque Independencia separates the Old City from modern Santo Domingo, a sprawling, noisy city with a population of over 2 million. Avenida Independencia is inland from the Caribbean and cuts through the neighborhood of Gazcue. This wide boulevard comes to an end at Parque Independencia, which is just west of the Zona Colonial. This park has rotating art (often replicas or poster art) and photography exhibits, too. These large "works of art" are lit up at night and hung on the wall that encircles the park. Miraculously, people respect what the city is doing here and it never seems to disappear in the night.

Within two blocks of this park, the Zona Colonial begins, with the end of Calle El Conde, a major pedestrian street that's lined with shops, restaurants, fast-food outlets, and Internet centers.

Zona Colonial. The 12 cobblestoned blocks of Santo Domingo's Colonial Zone contain most of the major sights in town. It's one of the most appealing historic districts in the Caribbean. The Zone ends at the seafront, called the Malecón.

El Malecón. Running parallel to Avenida Independencia, Avenida George Washington is more commonly referred to as the Malecón, the word for a seaside boulevard. Running along the Caribbean for nearly five miles, it has tall palms, cafés, high-rise hotels, and sea breezes. It begins at, and is considered part of, Gazcue.

Gazcue. Within walking distance of the Malecón and the Colonial Zone, this blend of residential and commercial areas has many houses from the 1940s and 1950s, when it was a wealthy residential neighborhood. Pleasantly shaded by trees, Gazcue is where the majority of the modern museums are concentrated.

Piantini. Northwest of Gazcue is Piantini, one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Santo Domingo. It's highly urbanized, with apartment towers and offices, as well as a number of fine restaurants and shops.

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