My work schedule is different each day and requires travel within the city, which means I have a lot of random free time to explore. I often end up at a mall in between classes; no one minds that I am walking around aimlessly, and they are great places to people watch. Malls here are social hubs, where capitaleños eat, see movies, shop, and take care of personal business. It seems that there are many malls and few shoppers. Here are six malls that I have been to, in no particular order, here in Santo Domingo, and my quick ratings.
1) Blue Mall
Blue Mall intimidates me due to the sheer luxuriousness of the stores inside. They do have a few banks and phone stores inside which makes it very convenient if you have to take care of business (for example – paying my expensive phone bill). While FROOTS in the food court offers delicious salads and smoothies, (I had a greek salad and a Mango smoothie) most of the stores are out of my price range. Hard Rock Café is on the fourth floor, and you can also go to Chili’s, so if you’re looking for an American experience, Blue Mall is a great place to start.
Ambiance: 3/5 The mall is beautiful and large, but scarily empty.
Shopping Options: 2/5 Overall, the stores are overpriced.
Dining: 3/5 Some decent options but not much variety. Points for the restaurants like Hard Rock.
Acropolis, just a few blocks from Blue Mall, is slightly more affordable. This mall stands out due to its boat-like façade, and the bar Docks, which, true to its name, appears like a dock. You can also try Hooters if you’re feeling more adventurous.
Ambiance: 3/5 Similarly to Blue Mall, this shopping center is very cool but mostly empty. There are vacant storefronts which changes the demeanor of the mall.
Shopping Options: 3/5 Nice variety of stores and services.
Dining: 3/5 Not many options in the food court, but there is a bar, Docks, as well as a few chain restaurants.
My all-time favorite spot to pass the time. Conveniently located by a Metro station, Agora really has everything: a huge selection of restaurants at the Food Garden on the top level; a theater; a Jumbo supermarket; and a wide variety of shops, including Forever 21, Zara, and hair salons.
Ambiance: 5/5 As far as malls go, this one is bustling, music playing at the right volume, and plenty of seating.
Shopping Options: 4/5 Decent selection of clothing and shoe stores, as well as snacks.
Dining: 5/5 For mall food, the top floor has a good selection and ample seating.
Across the Avenida Kennedy from Agora Mall, you can find the more humble Galeria360. Equipped with a theater, shops, a La Sirena supermarket, and food court, Galeria 360 is less overwhelming than Agora but still has the same options.
Ambiance: 3/5 The mall is much smaller and therefore manageable.
Shopping Options: 3/5 A good assortment, but not many options for shopping.
Dining: 3/5 A decent food court with a good variety.
The expansive Sambil is equally empty. Visitors are greeted at the entrance by a massive fishtank. Sambil is as impressive as it is depressing. Perhaps it was the time of day that I visited, so I will try again on a weekend.
Ambiance: 2/5 Super empty and super huge.
Shopping Options: 2/5 It seemed vacant to me. Again, I need to go back.
Dining: 3/5 Huge food court with many options.
6) Novo Centro
Novo-Centro isn’t really a mall, but it does have a lot of offerings. I wouldn’t quite say it lives up to its slogan of “Lo Tiene Todo” (it has everything). It is more a business center, with a huge tower with offices for major internationals. Novo Centro has wifi, restaurants along the ground level, places to exercise (yoga studios, crossfit, and a gym), and also a fine arts cinema which plays movies from around the world.
Ambiance: 3/5 Great for sitting quietly with wifi. As a business center it is great.
Shopping Options: 1/5 Not much shopping.
Dining: 2/5 There are chain restaurants on the ground level and snacks in the Fine Arts Cinema, but no food court.
What are your favorite malls in Santo Domingo? Leave a comment.