Cita Shopping Centre, the mall that doesn't want to die
Updated: Sep 2
The Cita Shopping Centre is the other well-known shopping centre in Playa del Inglés, after the Yumbo. Inaugured in 1970, it has been the gay life epicentre in Gran Canaria for decades, and for this reason, it is still considered today as a part of the Maspalomas gay scene.
Called in spanish "Centro Comercial Cita", the Cita Centre hosted a big part of the gay life during the 70', the 80', the 90' and into the early 2000s. During its heyday, there was very intense gay activity on all floors.
Here is where we found several very popular terrace bars, such as Le Marlène or the cabaret show Westfalia, and also the gay book store and videoclub C Code. At the basement level, the most important attraction were The Construction, a huge gay sauna that was the first in the area, or the Chaps Club, one of the first leather and bear bars in the resort. We have to mention also many after-parties bars like the famous Cockring, which opened in the wee hours of the morning during the weekend and accompanied clubbers until midday in an ambiance of drugs, delirium, and techno music, which has now disappeared.
This is the story of a mall that doesn't want to die
As the Yumbo developed, the Cita gradually lost its importance, but today, it always gathers a good share of the night's sexual activity in the seaside resort. This activity is still concentrated in the basement level, where you can find many swingers bars, as well as the island's only and last adults theater, the Hot Scandal Cinema.
On the ground floor and on the upper levels, there are several erotic shops and fashion stores for men, including the famous Code Store boutique, specializing in swimwear, underwear, and beachwear. You'll also find bars opened by gays and frequented by a mixed clientele, straight and gay, and mostly German, without forgetting several massage parlors dedicated to the needs of gay people.
Since the 70', some gay institutions have still been there, like the famous Cafe Wien terrace, where every day many guys go to have a drink and eat a piece of cake after the beach, like for a traditional tea time.
Unfortunately, especially since the Coronavirus crisis, a large part of the shopping centre is now empty and many businesses are abandoned. The mall is struggling to raise its head. It's a strange sensation, like a walk in the recent past, already half dead and still half alive.
But apart from its commercial interest, the place is also curious for its old-fashioned architecture, typical of the "modern" spirit of the second half of the 20th century. It used to be very chic, but today there is nothing left of the glory and prestige of its early days. The mall is invaded by signs, the infrastructure is falling apart, and a supreme anarchy reigns in the corridors.
A furiously kitsch vestige of a recent past
Outside the mall, it is mandatory to walk around the buildings along the Francia and Alemania streets to admire the decorations, paintings and sculptures that represent various monuments in miniature, reproduced in cardboard paste, like the Triumphal Arch and the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Tower Bridge in London, the Tower of Pisa in Italia, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin... It is definitely worth the look and the photo. It looks like the entrance to some sort of amusement park !
In the central courtyard inside, you can also admire an old original Volkswagen car painted in pink. It is the symbol of the Cita shopping centre !
Finally, note that the men's toilets in this shopping centre are one of the busiest public spaces cruising spots in town. The merry-go-round is incessant !
This mall is really a curiosity to discover and, for all that, the place deserves the visit.