Baseball is the most exciting spectator sport in Santo Domingo. Two separate professional teams, Licey and Escogido, play in the winter professional league between mid-November and early February; games are at Estadio Quisqueya, Máximo Gómez and Kennedy. Tickets are generally available on the night of the game, or you can purchase in advance on Wednesday for the weekly Sunday games at locations across the island – see local newspapers for up-to-date ticket purchasing locations. Though more and more Dominican major-leaguers are opting out of the winter season, you’ll still find a few famous Dominican players along with some of America’s top minor-league prospects.

Most foreign visitors find cockfighting, the other local obsession, less easy to stomach, but it’s a central part of Dominican culture. The city’s grand Coliséo Gallístico, Zona Industrial Herrera, Av Luperón just south of the Autopista Duarte, practically transforms this traditionally rural pastime into something of an upper-class diversion; indeed, semi-formal dress is required. There are plenty of other, smaller venues spread across the city’s outer barrios, but this is by far the best place for visitors to come.

Finally, the entire city is dotted with pool halls. The best places to shoot a few games are the second-floor halls that you’ll find along El Conde – though as with most male-dominated Dominican hangouts, the atmosphere is hyper-macho.

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