31 AMAZING Things to do in Panama City [2020!]

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Panama City is a modern city in Panama that is framed by the Pacific Ocean and the fascinating man-made Panama Canal.

Its historic cobblestoned center, Casco Viejo, has many colonial-era landmarks and interesting architecture, with many bougainvillea-filled plazas that are lined with cafes and bars.

The Miraflores Locks offers views of ships traversing the canal, which is an essential shipping route linking the Atlantic and Pacific and an interesting feat of engineering!

Along with abundant wildlife, a sublime coastline and pristine waters – Panama City is the perfect destination for a beach vacation with loads of entertainment for the kids!

Here’s our guide to the many fun and exciting things to do in Panama City, Florida for those seeking out thrilling adventures or just some rest and relaxation!

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Panama City!

When planning your Central America trip to Panama City, the first thing you’ll need to figure out is where to stay, and with so many choices, we know this can be hard! We’ve narrowed it down for you with all our favorite places to stay in Panama City, from budget-friendly to luxury accommodation:

Luna’s Castle Hostel

The Coolest Hostel in Panama City

Luna’s Castle Hostel
Luna’s Castle Hostel is our pick for the coolest hostel in Panama City
  • Housed in a colonial mansion near the water’s edge
  • Blended historic Spanish architecture with laid-back backpacker vibes

This awesome Panama hostel is the perfect place to base yourself in Panama City. The international atmosphere makes it the perfect place to make friends, plus the unobstructed ocean views are perfect for ending off a long day of exploring!

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Plaza Paitilla Inn

A Great Budget Hotel in Panama City

Plaza Paitilla Inn
Plaza Paitilla Inn is our pick for a great budget hotel in Panama City
  • Amazing panoramic views of Panama Bay
  • Equipped with a business center and a gym

Plaza Paitilla Inn offers guests some of the most incredible views of the Panama canal for an affordable price. You’ll get to enjoy the outdoor pool and sun terraces as you gaze over the sights of the city and the bay.

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JW Marriot Panama City

Our Favorite Splurge Hotel in Panama City

JW Marriot Panama City
JW Marriot Panama City
  • 5-star hotel with a variety of on-site restaurants
  • Large pool and deck area to relax and unwind

This luxury resort in Panama City offers visitors 5-star accommodation with incredible views of the Panama Canal. If you’re looking to spoil yourself for your stay in Panama City, you’ll love the spacious modern rooms boasting private balconies and ocean views.

Check for Best Price

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We are obsessed with backpacks – we’ve tried them all! And our favourite carry on backpack in the WORLD is the Nomatic Travel Backpack. This backpack has revolutionized the backpack industry and will change the way you travel forever :) Check it out here!

• The 31 Best Things to Do in Panama City •

#1 – Hop-on-Hop-off Bus

Hop-on-Hop-off Bus
One of the best fun things to do in Panama City!
  • Enjoy a full-day of sightseeing in Panama City
  • See Panama City from the top-deck of a bus
  • Hop on and off as you choose!

The Hop-on-hop-off bus is a great way to see all the best sights of Panama City if you’re short on time and want a jam-packed day of sightseeing.

You’ll have the freedom to explore the attractions you choose while getting to see the city, as well as the 8th wonder of the world from a vantage point!

Guaranteed BEST Tour Price

 

#2 – Experience the Panama Canal

Experience the Panama Canal
Things to do in Panama City this weekend
  • Discover the world-famous Panama Canal
  • Walk the enchanting streets of Panama’s old quarter
  • Enjoy spectacular views of the canal

The Panama Canal is one of the main attractions in the city and makes the perfect place to spend half a day exploring.

Experience the streets of the old quarter while learning about the man-made canal, a true masterpiece in engineering!

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#3 – Explore a Caribbean Rainforest

Explore a Caribbean Rainforest
A very cool thing to do from Panama City
  • See an awe-inspiring Caribbean rainforest
  • Explore the ecological paradise
  • Witness the wildlife in their natural habitat

Travel to Colón to discover the Caribbean rainforest that 159 species of mammals, 98 species of reptiles, and 65 amphibious species call their home.

Observe the amazing wildlife, while enjoying the atmosphere and taking some incredible photos!

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#4 – Discover the Embera Indian Village

Discover the Embera Indian Village
A very interesting thing to do in Panama City!
  • Witness the traditional lives of the village people
  • Travel in traditional dugout canoes
  • Get to swim under a waterfall in the midst of the rainforest

Enjoy a fascinating excursion to the Embera Indian village and get a glimpse into the lives of the people that live there.

Get the opportunity to meet the village’s chief and enjoy a delicious lunch of fish and plantains skillfully made by the Embera women!

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#5 – Take a Boat to Monkey Island

Take a Boat to Monkey Island
Great thing to do in Panama City with kids
  • Admire the Panama Canal on a boat to Monkey Island
  • See ships navigating the canal
  • Witness the monkeys and different species of animals

Experience the great engineering feats of the canal as you travel along on a boat to Monkey Island.

See the monkeys in their natural environment while enjoying a fun day out and about on the Panama Canal.

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#6 – Explore the City

Explore the City
One of the best things to do in downtown Panama City!
  • Spend a day exploring the best of the city
  • See the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Casco Viejo
  • Marvel at spectacular architecture

Admire the amazing city of Panama as you see the views from Ancon Hill, learn about the Miraflores Lock and watch ships maneuver down the canal.

You’ll get to wander through the Punta Culebra open-air museum and discover a bit of the canal’s history.

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#7 – Hike Chagres National Park

Hike Chagres National Park
One of the best active things to do in Panama City!
  • Enjoy a nature walk in a tropical rainforest
  • Discover a waterfall hidden from civilization
  • Enjoy a refreshing swim at the waterfall

Chagres National Park is just an hour away from Panama City and makes the perfect day trip out of the city and into nature.

Enjoy the natural scenery while you hike through the rainforest to discover a waterfall and enjoy a refreshing swim!

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#8 – Cruise on Gatun Lake

Cruise on Gatun Lake

  • Travel to a secluded region of the lake
  • Cruise past lush rainforests
  • Enjoy an exciting boat adventure!

A cruise on Gatun Lake allows you to really experience the splendor and excitement of the jungle and get to secluded parts of the lake.

Cruise along the unique ecosystem of Gatun Lake to enjoy a day of sightseeing from the water of the famous backside of the canal.

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#9 – Discover the Local Culture

Discover the Local Culture
One of the best cheap things to do in Panama City!
  • Leave the city behind for a day
  • Explore Soberanía National Park, Lake Gatun, and the historic Panama Canal
  • Visit a local indigenous village

Breathe in the fresh air as you leave the city and travel down Panama Canal’s famous Culebra Cut and head towards Soberania National Park, Lake Gatun, and the Chagres River.

Enjoy the wildlife and amazing birds of the National Park before discovering a traditional village and getting to know about the lives of the locals!

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#10 – Taste the Flavors of Panama

Taste the Flavors of Panama
Foodie? You’ll love this one!
  • Explore the old town on a food tour
  • Taste mouth-watering specialty dishes
  • Sip on the world’s best coffee!

Spend an evening getting to taste the best of Panama as you wander through the streets of the old town admiring the scenery.

You’ll get to visit an incredible seafood market as well as some of the most popular bars you’ll find in Panama City!

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#11 – Go on a Snorkeling Adventure

Go on a Snorkeling Adventure
Adventure lovers will enjoy this!
  • Enjoy some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean
  • Experience the amazing coastline
  • Have fun on Panama’s best ziplines and canopy tour

If you’re looking for an adventurous day out, then this is the perfect thing to do in Panama City. Head to the Caribbean for a day in the water and in the sky!

You’ll get to enjoy some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean before heading into the jungle for a fun zip-lining experience!

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#12 – Tour the Miraflores Locks

Tour the Miraflores Locks
Architecture fan? You’ll love this
  • See where huge ships pass through the canal
  • Visit Casco Antiguo and learn about the historic French colonial center
  • View the exhibition hall at the Miraflores Visitor Center

The Miraflores Locks is a fascinating place to visit for all architecture and engineering fans, as you’ll get to see how the massive ships unsuspectingly pass through.

Spend some time at the Miraflores Visitor Center to learn about the history of the area and its changes over time.

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#13 – Enjoy Isla Grande Beach

Enjoy Isla Grande Beach

  • See the colonial city of Portobelo
  • Relax on the white sands of Isla Grande Beach
  • Swim in the crystal clear waters

Spend a day relaxing on a stunning private beach with snow-white sand and swimming in the beautiful waters.

Once you’ve had enough sunshine, enjoy a walk around the island on the Isthmus of Panama and visit the local shops around the area.

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Heading to Panama City? Save some money with our guide to the coolest hostels in Panama City!

#14 – Visit Cobra Adventure Park

Fun for the whole family!

  • Have fun at a small beachside entertainment park
  • Enjoy the exciting roller-coasters
  • Enjoy a game of mini-golf

The Cobra Adventure Park offers families a riveting day of entertainment, with amusement rides that the kids will love!

Enjoy a game of mini-golf or make the most of the fun games available in the Arcade, all alongside the beach!

 

#15 – Get Wet at Shipwreck Island Waterpark

A ‘cool’ thing to do in Panama City in winter

  • Enjoy 3 million gallons of water in one fun park!
  • Slide and splash or relax in the water
  • Enjoy the tropical setting

Shipwreck Island Waterpark offers so much water to have fun splashing about in! There are loads of rides and pools to enjoy and many kids’ attractions.

It’s the perfect place for families or friends to spend time together near Panama Beach and enjoy some great food and refreshing drinks.

 

#16 – Coconut Creek Family Fun Park

A great family day out in Panama

  • A tropical island-themed park
  • Enjoy cascading waterfalls and a lake
  • Find your way through a giant labyrinth

The Coconut Creek Family Park offers something for the whole family and guarantees a fun day out!

With so much to keep the kids (and adults) entertained, you’re sure to be coming back for more fun!

 

#17 – Panama City Beach Winery

A great experience for wine lovers

  • Taste wines from a tropical winery
  • Discover citrus, berry and fruit wines
  • Enjoy the daily wine tasting

Panama City Beach Winery has won many national and international awards and is the only tropical winery in Bay Country, Florida.

Don’t miss out on the daily wine tastings where you’ll get to enjoy the flavors of citrus, berries and fruits in their delicious wines!

 

#18 – Visit the Brass Tap Pier Park

The perfect place for a pint in Panama City!

  • Choose from over 150 craft beers
  • Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere
  • Enjoy daily specials and live music

This is the perfect place to enjoy a pint while you watch the game or simply enjoy the ambiance and good company!

With a variety of craft beers from around the globe and tasty food to appease your appetite, you’re guaranteed a good time.

 

#19 – Enjoy a Game of Golf

  • Choose from the many golf courses in the area
  • Enjoy the scenery of the courses
  • Challenge yourself with new terrains

Panama City is home to a variety of golf courses in different settings where you’re able to play a challenging game with great scenery.

You can also choose to go for some golf lessons or simply enjoy hanging around the club and having a few drinks.

 

#20 – Visit Camp Helen State Park

  • Learn about the ecology of the park
  • Enjoy the pristine beaches
  • Walk the trails through the dunes

On the western border of Panama City Beach, you’ll find this gem of an ecological park that is often overlooked!

Surrounded by water on three sides, this ecological wonder has many trails and pristine beaches to explore while learning about its ecology.

 

#21 – See Exhibits at Ripley’s Panama Beach

  • Discover fun, weird exhibits
  • See eye-catching artwork
  • Enjoy Ripley’s 7D theater!

Ripley’s Believe it or Not Odditorium is where you can let your senses run wild and let the kids have a field day!

There are many weird and wonderful exhibits on display, with artwork and interactive games all around to celebrate 100 years of Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

 

#22 – Splash Around at the Aqua Park

A fun day in the waters of Panama City Beach!

  • Visit an exciting floating attraction
  • Enjoy inflatable slides and trampolines
  • See the largest coastal dune lake in the world!

Aqua Park is a Panama City Beach activity located at the Grand Lagoon, and offers a fun day out in the sun!

You’ll find inflatable slides to sweep down into the waters and trampolines to jump high and make the most splash!

 

#23 – Get Trigger Happy at the Shooting Range

  • Learn skills at Bay County Shooting Range
  • Rent a shotgun in a safe environment
  • Learn about gun safety

Bay County Shooting Range is the place to be if you’re interested in renting a shotgun and perfecting your aim.

The safe environment allows you to really learn new skills around gun safety and shooting techniques with targets.

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#24 – Get Lost in a Mirror-Maze

One of the more unique things to do in Panama City!

  • Find yourself in a house of mirrors
  • Enjoy the light and sound extravaganza!
  • Embark on a maze mirror challenge

Enjoy a bit of a challenge as you try to walk through the house full of mirrors without touching a single mirror.

This 1700 square foot room poses a challenge to anyone who enters its doors and is a complete sensory experience in Panama City.

 

#25 – Rent a Bike Along the Beach

  • Enjoy cycling along the sugary-white sands
  • Access to trails and beaches
  • Have fun on a bike

Rent a bike from Bike the Beach PCB, located near the Pier Park at the Snappy Turtle and spend a day adventuring on wheels!

Another of the fun Panama City Beach things to do – find lots of trails to explore and get to see the pristine white sand beaches along the way.

 

#26 – Enjoy Water Sports

  • Panama City is the perfect place for water sports
  • Go boating, fishing, parasailing or diving
  • Enjoy the crystal clear waters

Make the most of the Panama City Beach attractions as you head out onto the water for some adrenaline-pumping activities.

Panama City offers some of the best diving spots in the Caribbean and offers many other water sports to get out and active for a day.

 

#27 – Dine on Fresh Seafood

  • Enjoy some memorable dining in Panama
  • Unparalleled sea views
  • Taste fresh and delicious seafood

Panama City Beach is often referred to as the seafood capital of the South and offers so many seafood restaurants and markets to choose from!

One of the best things to do in Panama City Beach, Florida is to sample the local delicacies like blackened snapper, chargrilled grouper and seared mahi-mahi.

 

#28 – Meet Mermaids at Sisters of the Sea

  • Enjoy seafood with a twist
  • Kids will love meeting pirates and mermaids
  • Taste award-winning dishes

Sisters of the Sea and Dive Bar is the place to go in Panama City Beach to have some delicious seafood while the kids are entertained.

The kids will get to swim with mermaids and play with pirates while the adults dine on some of the best seafood around.

 

#29 – Listen to Live Music

One of the best free things to do in Panama City

  • Find live music to suit your tastes
  • Watch world-famous bands performing
  • Check the events calendar to find what’s on

Panama City Beach has no shortage of good live music to choose from. With open-air festivals and live local bands performing, there’s something for everyone.

Find out what’s on and spend an evening in Panama City Beach enjoying the sounds of live music with a great atmosphere!

 

#30 – Visit Aaron Bessant Park

The newest addition in Panama City!

  • Discover a state-of-the-art amphitheater
  • Enjoy the scenery of the manicured park
  • Walk along the looping trails

Aaron Bessant Park is a beautiful new park located adjacent to Pier Park and offering scenic walks to enjoy as well as an open grassy area.

It’s a great place to bring along a picnic and enjoy a day in the park with greenery all around and well-manicured lawns.

 

#31 – Go on a Sailing Cruise

Very romantic for couples

  • Enjoy the waters on a catamaran
  • Have some fun in the sun
  • Learn about the local sea-life

Heading out onto the clear waters on a fully-equipped catamaran with a snack-bar and dedicated crew is a fun and romantic way to spend time in the sun.

You may even get the chance to spot some dolphins along the way and learn about the sea-life, or go snorkeling for a glimpse of the underwater world!

 

Conclusion

Along with Panama City Beach’s powdery white beaches lined with incredible family attractions and crystal clear waters, Panama is home to a host of fun outings and activities to quickly fill the itineraries of any traveler visiting its pristine shores.

From watersports to aqua parks, cruises to jungles, the abundant coast of Panama City is an outdoor adventurers dream and a kids’ paradise!

You won’t fall short of things to do in Panama City Beach with so many Panama City

attractions and activities to keep the whole family entertained.

Now that you’re armed with a guide on what to do in Panama City, the only question left is what are you waiting for?! The perfect beach-holiday destination awaits!

***Disclaimer*** Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, One Weird Globe will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going :)

Clair Ricketts
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