Centro León

Top choice in Santiago

This large, modern museum, built with the tobacco wealth of the León Jimenez family, is a world-class institution with an impressive collection of paintings that trace the evolution of Dominican art in the 20th century. There are three exhibition rooms in the main building: one focuses on the island’s biodiversity, Taíno history and cultural diversity; a second displays a permanent collection of Dominican art; and an upstairs room houses temporary art exhibits. The aviary and photography exhibition are out the back.

An excellent gift shop sells books on Dominican history, art, culture and food, and there’s an appealing cafeteria serving sandwiches and drinks. During the evenings, the center offers an ever-changing schedule of art-appreciation classes, art-house cinema and live music.

The Centro León is a few kilometers east of downtown. A taxi there will cost around RD$150, or pick up a Ruta A concho (private car that follows a set route; RD$20) along Calle del Sol – not all Ruta A conchos go as far as the Centro León, though, so be sure to ask.