You are never more than a few minutes walk from a shopping centre in Playa del Inglés. To be honest Playa’s shopping centres are showing their age; most were designed back in the 1970s and need a lick of paint. However, they are great places to visit for the huge choice of bars, restaurants and nightclubs they offer.
There are a dozen large shopping centres in Playa del Inglés and each one attracts a different crowd. These are the biggest and the best:
The Yumbo Centre
The Yumbo is the big daddy of Playa’s shopping centres. It has a split personality depending on when you visit. During the day, it is a huge, family friendly shopping centre crammed with restaurants and shops. There’s a market on the bottom floor most evenings.
As day turns to night Playa del Inglés’ huge gay community heads to the Yumbo. Many bars host evening singing, cabaret and drag shows. The atmosphere is friendly and cosmopolitan and you will always find a decent deal on booze. By about 11pm the families have headed home and the Yumbo’s gay nightlife kicks in. Go home if the sight of gay affection offends you (and have a good think about yourself).
If the Yumbo Centre was a person, it would be your flamboyant cousin that you love but can get on your nerves when he won’t go home at the end of the party. Go there for a huge choice of restaurants and bars, and for late night LGBT shenanigans..
The Cita Centre
One look at the Cita Centre and you have to wonder why the drugs the architect was on aren’t available any more. There’s a giant clown face, a car sticking out of the wall and even a couple of turrets. Inside the Cita is just as strange. It’s a maze of corridors and small shops and you are almost guaranteed to get lost. There are good shops and restaurants in the Cita Centre but finding them is a nightmare.
The Cita caters to a range of niche tastes, from wife-swap clubs in the basement to German folk music bars on the roof. Some people love the place and spend every night of their holiday there. Others take one look at the giant clown and choose another spot for dinner. That’s the beauty of Playa: There is always somewhere else to go just around the corner.
If the Cita centre was a person, it would be that strange but lovable uncle who wears odd clothes and smells a bit funny.
The Gran Chaparral
The Gran Chaparral is a sprawling open air centre popular with Dutch tourists. It has a couple of good British pubs and is a top spot for watching the football. It’s great on a sunny day (any day) if you fancy lazing around in the sun with a cold beer.
If the Gran Chaparral was a person it would be your sports-mad friend who never seems to do anything except have fun. Go there for the footy in the sunshine.
The Aguila Roja or Irish Centre
The Irish Centre is only little, but it has some of the most lively bars in Playa del Inglés. It’s also the best spot to get a full English breakfast the morning after the night before. Classy it ain’t, but the Irish Centre rocks on busy nights.
If the Irish Centre was a person it would your crazy Irish cousin. Go there for great bars and big breakfasts.
This is Playa del Ingles’ main drag and runs all the way through the resort. It hosts the annual Gay Pride parade and is packed with bars and restaurants offering everything from Balinese food to all-day breakfasts. Avenida Tirajana has seen better days in terms of nightlife, especially since the new Boulevard opened in next-door Maspalomas and Meloneras. However, Avenida Tirajana is still home to many of the best restaurants in Playa.
If Avenida Tirajana was a person it would be the boss you can’t avoid in the pub. But then he buys you a drink so everything is cool. Go there for its great restaurants and many bars.
The Kasbah and Plaza Shopping Centres
The Kasbah is a sprawling centre with restaurants and bars on the bottom floor and Playa’s hippest bars upstairs. The names seem to change regularly but the atmosphere is always the same: Loud music, free-flowing booze and plenty of dancing until the early hours. Next door is the sunken Plaza centre with yet more bars and clubs at the bottom.
The Kasbah and Plaza are where the young crowd hangs out and parties. Bizarrely, it is also the place where the oldies go for a waltz before dinner. Head to the central square in the evening if you don’t believe us.
The zone around the Plaza and Kasbah is the only part of Playa where you get pestered by touts trying to get you to visit bars in exchange for free drinks. If you go down this route, make sure you get your drinks as the touts have a habit of vanishing once you are inside. Most of the offers are terrible by the way: The free champagne costs a euro a bottle and those red or blue shots have next to no booze in them.
If the Kasbah was a person it would be the youngest person in the office: Full of energy and great fun to go out with, but irritating if you spend too much time with him. Go to the Kasbah to hang out with the youngsters
Anexo II is the imaginatively named strip of bars and restaurants down by the beach in Playa del Inglés. If there’s an area of Playa that needs a facelift, this is it. As well as a Hooters and a McDonalds is has tonnes of places that knock out cheap chicken and chips and standard tourist fare. There are also a couple of great restaurants on the drag.
If Annexo II was a person it would be an old friend who you only hang around with because he has a great house and a full drinks cabinet. Go there for good value food with great views.