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Live Like a Local: Your Winter Resident Guide to Panama City’s Vibrant Hubs and Hidden Gems

Forget the snow shovels and ditch those winter blues. Trade chilly mornings for balmy breezes and sunshine in Panama City, Florida! Here’s your winter resident guide to Panama City so you experience the city like a local this winter, from exploring charming historic districts to discovering hidden treasures and indulging in all the delights this vibrant community has to offer.

Embrace the Charm in two of Panama City’s Historic Neighborhoods

Historic St. Andrews

Enjoy the laid-back vibes of Historic St. Andrews, once a fishing village and an early site for mining salt. Stroll the streets lined with colorful murals, browse unique shops filled with local art and treasures, sip a latte at a cozy coffee shop, and dine at one of the many local restaurants. Don’t miss the St. Andrews Marina, where bobbing boats create a picture-perfect scene, and hop on a dolphin tour for an unforgettable adventure.

Downtown Panama City

This eclectic district buzzes with a contagious energy. Explore hidden alleyways adorned with vibrant murals, discover contemporary art galleries, and catch live music at trendy bars. Fuel up with a delicious brunch at a sidewalk cafe or wander through the bustling Panama City Farmers Market, bursting with fresh produce and local goodies. You can even stay directly in Downtown at Panama City’s only waterfront hotel. Hotel Indigo offers stunning views of St. Andrews Bay and is in a walkable distance to the shopping, dining, and things to do in Downtown Panama City.

Find Your Paradise in the Parks

Oaks by the Bay Park

Embrace the tranquility of this waterfront haven. Relax on colorful Adirondack swings under the shade of moss-draped oaks, enjoy panoramic views of St. Andrews Bay, and marvel at the “Old Sentry,” a centuries-old heritage oak guarding the park. Take a scenic walk on the dune walkovers and breathe in the salty air.

Asbell Park

For a touch of urban oasis, escape to this gem, nestled along Beach Drive. Sprawl out a picnic blanket on the grassy lawns to soak up the sun. Sink into one of the colorful wooden Adirondack swings, and enjoy the gentle breezes coming off of Caroline Lake and St. Andrews Bay. Take a walk along the shoreline. Join a vibrant sunset yoga session or simply stretch out and savor the breathtaking sky ablaze with color.

Dive into the Heart of Arts and Culture

Explore Local Art Galleries

Immerse yourself in Panama City’s thriving arts scene. Explore the Panama City Center for the Arts and the Gallery on Beach Drive, both showcasing free exhibitions by talented local artists. Don’t miss special events like opening receptions and art walks for a deeper dive into the local art scene.

Unleash Your Inner Artist

Channel your creative spark through diverse workshops and classes. Learn the art of pottery, drawing, or painting at the Panama City Center for the Arts. Master the unique craft of crushed glass art at GypsyBeach Treasured Kreations. Craft mesmerizing jewelry pieces at L.H. Bead Gallery, where owner and seasoned artist Lisa sources her materials from around the world and even crafts her own custom lampwork beads. For a truly fiery experience, step into the Panama City Hot Glass Studio and learn the art of glassblowing firsthand.

Follow the Panama City Mural Trail

Embark on an artistic adventure along the Panama City Mural Trail. With nearly 20 vibrant murals scattered throughout the city, each showcasing a unique local story or artist’s style, prepare to be amazed by the creativity adorning the city’s walls. Get lost in the whimsical details, snap unforgettable photos, and discover hidden gems tucked away in unexpected corners.

Embrace the Local Flavors

From seafood shacks serving up fresh catches to trendy bodegas with innovative fare, Panama City offers a culinary adventure for every palate. Immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere of Downtown’s restaurants, discover hidden gems tucked away off the beaten path, or savor the waterfront views along the bay. Don’t miss the Panama City Oyster Trail, with over a dozen restaurants offering oysters prepared in every way imaginable: raw, baked, grilled, or fried.

Take a Lap Through History

Delve into the Past at Local Museums

Learn about the city’s rich history through its captivating museums. In Historic St. Andrews, step back in time at the Panama City Publishing Museum, housed in a charming building that once served as the community’s news hub. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this museum offers not only fascinating exhibits but also a glimpse into the printing process with its three functioning presses. Witness demonstrations, explore galleries, and even pick up unique printed souvenirs from the gift shop.

For a broader perspective, head to the Bay County History Museum in Downtown. Immerse yourself in nearly 6,000 square feet of exhibits tracing the region’s story from its earliest settlers to the present day.

Don’t miss the Native Spirits Museum and Gallery, a treasure trove of authentic Native American artifacts and artwork from the Florida Panhandle.

Take a Walking Tour

Lace up your shoes and discover hidden gems on foot. Join the Historic Downtown Walking Tour, a three-quarter-mile loop showcasing a blend of natural beauty and architectural marvels. Admire the grandeur of the Old City Hall, now transformed into the Panama City Center for the Arts, contemplate the legacy of the Bay County Courthouse, and witness the historic Massalina Bayou Bridge, one of the last remaining working drawbridges in Northwest Florida. Tours can be scheduled with the Bay County Society Museum, or explore the area independently at your own pace.

For a deeper dive into Historic St. Andrews, embark on the 1.25-mile walking tour. Wander past charming historic homes, discover hidden parks, and soak in the picturesque marina. This guided tour is available through the Panama City Publishing Museum, or follow the self-guided map for a flexible adventure.

Savor the Bounty of Local Farmers Markets

Embrace the freshest flavors of Panama City year-round at one of its three vibrant farmers markets, conveniently open every Saturday and Sunday.

Panama City Farmers Market

Immerse yourself in the heart of the city at the Panama City Farmers Market. Held every Saturday morning in historic McKenzie Park, this market offers more than just produce. Soak in the atmosphere of this community hub, enjoy live music and public events, and browse vibrant stalls brimming with fresh, seasonal bounty from local farms. From juicy fruits and crisp vegetables to artisanal cheeses and handmade treats, discover the true taste of the Florida Panhandle right in the heart of downtown.

The Market at St. Andrews

Escape to a waterfront oasis at The Market at St. Andrews. Nestled under the shade of ancient oak trees in picturesque Oaks by the Bay Park, this market offers a serene escape along the shores of St. Andrews Bay. Breathe in the salty air, marvel at the stunning water views, and explore a treasure trove of locally grown produce, handcrafted goods, and delectable treats. The Market at St. Andrews is your perfect Saturday morning haven for fresh finds and waterfront charm.

Market Square at SweetBay

Round out your weekend at the Market Square at SweetBay. This vibrant popup market, open every Sunday morning, transforms the SweetBay neighborhood into a bustling street fair. Browse stalls brimming with locally sourced delights, indulge in treats from food trucks, soak up the sounds of live music, and let the vibrant community spirit wash over you. Bring your family, your pets, and your appetite for an unforgettable Sunday experience filled with local treasures and friendly faces.

Enjoy the Winter Resident Guide to Panama City!

So, ditch the winter coat and swap your snow boots for flip-flops. Panama City awaits with open arms and a vibrant soul. Embrace the local rhythms, explore hidden gems, and discover why winter residents keep coming back for more. Come live like a local and experience the magic of Panama City. Your winter paradise awaits!

Remember, this Winter Resident Guide to Panama City is just a starting point. Visit us at our local Visitors Center for more information and we can help you add your own touch with a detailed itinerary made just for you. We’re here to help you create your own perfect winter resident guide to Panama City!


Panama City, Florida, is located on shores of beautiful St. Andrew Bay on Florida’s Emerald Coast and sits just about in the center of Florida’s northern Gulf Coast. With an atmosphere distinct from the bustle of nearby beaches, this destination boasts historic downtowns of Panama City and St. Andrews with their beautiful parks and an exciting arts scene. There is a collection of dining options that feature local flare and fresh seafood, along with diverse shopping opportunities. Outdoor recreation includes myriad water activities with fishing and paddling leading the way year-round.