Routes through the city
View of the Vegueta neighbourhood, with the cathedral in front of the backdrop of a regatta / Photo: Marcos de Rada. The city has its origins in the colonial district of Vegueta, where both the religious, political and administrative power was concentrated. Today, the remaining witnesses of this past are the Casas Consistoriales, the cathedral, and the bishopric, all around the Plaza de Santa Ana. The area still conserves its early layout and a majestic atmosphere which inevitably takes us back to centuries past. Its stately homes now house the major museums and cultural and educational centres.
On the other side of the Guiniguada, immediately outside the original city, emerged the commercial area of Triana. Pedestrianised since several decades ago, the street that gives the area its name proudly shows off its busy collection of shops and conserves some good examples of modernist architecture, in particular the buildings located at the intersection with Calle Constantino, the Gabinete Literario and the Plaza de Cairasco.
When, in the 19th century, the walls defending the city from the pirate attacks were pulled down, the city was effectively freed of its restrictive corset. New spaces were developed, including Arenales - which rose up over the what used to be an arenal, or sandy area - the Ciudad Jardín - known in other times as the 'barrio de los ingleses', the neighbourhood of the English - in the rationalist style and housing the Doramas gardens and the Alcaravaneras beach, extending to the port.
The area of Santa Catalina and La Isleta is the result of the construction and development of the Puerto de La Luz y Las Palmas port, dating back to the end of the 19th century.
The city of leisure
Concert in Santa Catalina park / Photo: Marcos de Rada. The cultural offering of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is wide and varied. Theatre, cinema, opera, concerts, visual arts and dance fill the calendars of our cultural centres, and our nightlife offers an equally impressive choice of activities. At certain times of year, cultural events such as the Film festival or the Theatre and Dance Festival are organised by the city council. And of course there is always carnival and the other popular fiestas, and in particular those celebrating the founding of the city, the fundacionales, which coincide with the celebrations dedicated to San Juan.
Here, all tastes and interests are catered for. Visitors can choose from a wide range of artistic performances, an enormous variety of gastronomic treats, casino games, nightclubs, dance halls, bars, pubs and open-air terraces, and all in a climate that makes being outside in our streets and squares a pleasure practically any day of the year.
Leisure and show areas
The neighbourhood of Vegueta, which during the day is the concentrated centre of the history, tradition and culture of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, reveals a different side of itself at night - busier and dedicated to leisure, and above all to gastronomy. Between the market and the cathedral of Santa Ana there are a multitude of tascas, bodegones and restaurants offering everything from traditional island fare to nouvelle cuisine and dishes from overseas. These nightspots are also enchantingly adapted to the historical architecture of the area.
The fun steps up a gear in the Triana neighbourhood. The area around Monopol - Cairasco, Pasaje de San Pedro, Peregrina and Perdomo - is a throng of people drawn here by the different styles of live music and the nightclubs. From Cuban music and salsa, to jazz, hits from the 1980s or the current chart anthems - here there is a little of everything, without forgetting of course the great food and open-air terraces.
But the epicentre of the nightlife of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is in the port area, around the Santa Catalina park, Mesa y López and Las Canteras. This area has held a special attraction for the locals for decades, with more and more establishments of every kind appearing over the years.
The commercial city
Market of Pilar Nuevo / Photo: Marcos de Rada. The city inherited its commercial charm from its long trading tradition. Some of its streets, such as Malteses, still hold memories of those traders who, arriving from every corner of Europe, made Las Palmas de Gran Canaria the centre of their business world. Today, the streets and shopping centres of the area are still too strong a temptation for many shoppers to resist.
Open commercial areas
Triana, Pedro Infinito, Mesa y López and Santa Catalina-Puerto are the city's main commercial areas, as well as authentic meeting points for its people. A stroll through these areas reveals the trading tradition and the mixture of cultures that has characterised Las Palmas de Gran Canaria since its very beginnings.
Shopping and leisure centres
The commercial offering of Gran Canaria's capital was considerably enlarged back in the late 1990s with five new shopping centres - Siete Palmas, El Muelle, Monopol, La Ballena, Las Arenas - which together offer a complete shopping experience, with the biggest national and international brand names, as well as a varied selection of leisure options, from cinemas to open-air terraces, restaurants and bars. The shopping centres have also become popular destinations for fun lovers.
In the food markets you can find meats, fish, fruit, vegetables, medicinal herbs, spices, flowers, bread, sweets, dairy products and all sorts of provisions. Some of them even offer prepared meals and frozen foods. They have bars, cafés and churrerías, as well as workshops for shoe and clothing repairs, jewellery and watches. There are also clothes, shoes and bags on sale. In short, whatever you need, you'll find it here.
These street markets provide an ideal complement to the city's other shopping options. They are an alternative combining leisure with shopping, and are held every Sunday morning around Vegueta, Triana and Santa Catalina park.
»More information at: www.laspalmasgc.es