Exciting Things to Do in Panama City for Tourists

My first trip to Panama City was incredible! The city’s vibrant energy and culture captured my attention the second I arrived. Here I will tell you all about the amazing things you can do in this stunning city.

You’ll never be bored in Panama City! Whether you’re a history buff or nature lover, there’s something here for everyone. Start your journey with a visit to the incredible Panama Canal. Gaze at the enormous ships passing through and learn about its fascinating history.

If you’re looking to experience the local culture, head to Casco Viejo. Its cobbled lanes are lined with restored colonial buildings. Wander around, explore the trendy cafés, art galleries and boutique shops – perfect for picking up a souvenir!

Outdoor enthusiasts can head to Metropolitan National Park. Enjoy a hike surrounded by lush greenery and exotic wildlife. Don’t forget your camera – you may spot sloths and toucans!

Did you know that the original city was burned down by Captain Morgan in 1671? You can still visit the ruins of Old Panama today. Imagine yourself back in time, when pirates ruled these shores.

From pirates to nature, Panama City is full of surprises. History is everywhere, ready to give you a spooky shock!

Panama City’s Historical Sites

To explore Panama City’s historical sites, immerse yourself in the rich culture and captivating stories they hold. Uncover the engineering marvel of the Panama Canal, wander through the charming streets of Casco Viejo, and witness the ancient ruins of Panama Viejo. Each sub-section offers its own distinctive perspective on the city’s vibrant history and heritage.

1. Visit the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is a must-visit spot in Panama City. It connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It’s an amazing feat of engineering with locks and a complicated canal system.

See the huge ships go through the locks, and witness the skill needed to navigate the narrow channels. Visit the Panama Canal Museum for a look into the history and importance of the canal. Find out about the difficulties during construction and how it was so cleverly designed.

Take a boat tour for a closer view of the canal. Enjoy the rainforest and wildlife too. Make it extra special by staying in Panama City. Check out Casco Viejo for its colonial architecture, street art, and markets. Taste traditional Panamanian food like ceviche and sancocho.

Go to museums such as Museo del Canal Interoceánico or Biomuseo to learn about biodiversity and conservation. Nature-lovers must visit Metropolitan National Park to discover exotic wildlife and hike through the tropical forests.

Be ready to be charmed by the cobblestone streets of Casco Viejo, where even the ghosts are funny!

2. Explore Casco Viejo

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Panama City lies the historic neighborhood of Casco Viejo. This vibrant area is a must-visit for lovers of culture and history. Wander through the cobblestone streets, admiring the colonial architecture and intricate balconies.

Explore the numerous historical landmarks, like the Metropolitan Cathedral. Built in 1796, this grand structure and its beautiful interiors are a sight to behold. Don’t miss the Plaza de la Independencia (Plaza Bolivar) either; here, you can admire the statue of Simón Bolívar, a South American leader.

For art enthusiasts, there are plenty of galleries and museums showcasing local talent and international works. Visit DiabloRosso or Museo del Canal Interoceánico for an unforgettable experience.

Casco Viejo is a cultural gem that has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Take a walk through the Panama Viejo ruins for an even deeper understanding of the city’s past.

3. Tour the Panama Viejo Ruins

These Ruins are a must-see! Immerse yourself in the city’s past and explore the remains of ancient structures. Gain insight into the lives of early settlers.

Travel back in time as you tour the ruins. Imagine life for the people who once inhabited this vibrant city.

One detail that sets the site apart is its location. By the ocean, you can enjoy a captivating view of land and sea. Hire a guide to share fascinating facts about the ruins. Don’t miss the hidden gems!

After exploring, take time to relax at a nearby cafe or restaurant. Enjoy traditional Panamanian cuisine or a refreshing drink. Reflect on your journey through history.

Enjoying the Nature and Outdoor Activities

To fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Panama City and make the most of your visit, dive into the section on enjoying nature and outdoor activities.

Discover the breathtaking Metropolitan Natural Park, relax at the picturesque San Blas Islands, and embark on thrilling hikes in the enchanting Soberania National Park.

Discover the Metropolitan Natural Park

Exploring the Metropolitan Natural Park is an incredible journey into nature’s beauty. Lush greenery and diverse wildlife await you! There’s a myriad of activities such as hiking trails, bird-watching, and hidden waterfalls.

Tall trees and tranquil rivers draw you in. Sweet wildflower aromas fill the air, inviting you to keep exploring.

The extensive network of trails cater to all levels of hikers. You may even spot rare species of birds and other wildlife!

Witness the enchantment of the park – a group of friends went on a camping trip here. Around the campfire, they shared tales of their day. Suddenly, the night sky twinkled with millions of stars, just for them.

Relax at the San Blas Islands

Embrace nature’s beauty at the San Blas Islands. Crystal clear waters and golden shores offer a serene retreat. Disconnect from the world and indulge in peaceful solitude.

Enchanting attributes captivate travelers. Immerse yourself in Kuna culture, explore their vibrant molas or biodiversity. There is much to do – snorkel, dive, sail, etc.

Explore the islands’ fascinating history. Home to the Kuna Yala people for centuries, they’ve safeguarded their ancestral lands. They preserve customs and traditions for future generations.

Test your survival skills in Soberania National Park. Enjoy nature’s majestic and slightly terrifying beauty.

Go Hiking in Soberania National Park

Take the plunge and explore Soberania National Park! Put on your hiking boots and start at the entrance. Amidst the lush rainforests, you’ll encounter diverse wildlife and stunning waterfalls. Climb up to hidden viewpoints and capture panoramic views.

Look for trails less traveled or join a local guide to uncover secret spots. And don’t forget to bring supplies like water, snacks, insect repellent, a first aid kit, and proper hiking gear.

It’s time to reconnect with nature. Start planning your journey and feel the tranquility of this remarkable natural oasis! Afterward, indulge in Panama City’s culinary delights – just be careful not to bite off more than you can chew.

Panama City’s Culinary Scene

To fully immerse yourself in Panama City’s culinary scene, indulge in local dishes at the Mercado de Mariscos, sample Panamanian coffee at a local cafe, and experience fine dining at a rooftop restaurant. These exciting experiences will give you a taste of the city’s diverse flavors and allow you to savor the vibrant food culture that Panama City has to offer.

Try Local Dishes at The Mercado De Mariscos

The Mercado de Mariscos is a must for foodies in Panama City. You’ll find plenty of delicious local dishes to tantalize your taste buds. Ceviche, a marinated seafood appetizer, is an iconic dish. Fried fish, served crispy and tender, is another great option. Feeling adventurous? Don’t miss the seafood soup, with shrimp, octopus, and clams.

Experience the unique energy of Panamanian culture – and prepare for the caffeine rush!

Sample Panamanian Coffee at A Local Cafe

Indulge in Panama City’s culinary scene and experience the rich flavors of Panamanian coffee. A must-try? Sample it at a local cafe. This will awaken your senses and give you a glimpse into the country’s coffee culture.

Panama is renowned for coffee production – local cafes are the perfect place to appreciate it. As you sip, the aroma will envelop you, transporting you to a world of tantalizing flavors. The beans are carefully selected and roasted for a smooth, full-bodied cup.

Experience Fine Dining at A Rooftop Restaurant

Feast your eyes and your taste buds when you dine at a rooftop restaurant in Panama City! With mesmerizing views, exquisite cuisine, and a magical atmosphere, this unique experience is definitely not to be missed.

Savor the beauty of the city skyline from an elevated vantage point. Indulge in creative fusion dishes and traditional local cuisine, expertly crafted drinks, and a well-curated selection of wines and signature cocktails. Make your night even more memorable with live music performances or art displays.

For a romantic evening, plan your reservations for sunset so you can watch the sky come alive with vibrant colors. Celebrate special occasions in style with a private space on the rooftop. Enjoy personalized service and privacy for your party, while still taking advantage of al fresco dining.

Discover the hidden flavors of Panama City’s art and culture – the city is sure to tantalize both your artistic soul and taste buds!

Discovering the Art and Culture

To explore the art and culture of Panama City, immerse yourself in its vibrant offerings. Discover the Museum of Contemporary Art, where modern works stimulate your senses. Explore the Biomuseo, a place where nature and science intersect. And don’t miss the chance to attend a captivating performance at the esteemed Teatro Nacional. Uncover the rich cultural tapestry and artistic wonders that Panama City has to offer.

Visit the Museum of Contemporary Art

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Panama City is a must-visit. It holds a diverse range of artworks, from striking paintings to thought-provoking installations. Representing both local and international artists, each exhibit is expertly curated to engage and inspire.

Explore the museum for its unique blend of traditional techniques and modern interpretations. Carefully selected pieces challenge conventional notions of artistic expression. From abstract paintings to multimedia installations, every piece invites contemplation of the human experience.

The museum also hosts educational programs and workshops for all ages. Engage with artists, learn about artistic practices, and even create your own masterpieces.

Don’t miss out on experiencing the vibrant atmosphere and thought-provoking exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of artistic expression within these walls. Or discover the colorful and quirky world of the Biomuseo, where art and science collide.

Explore the Biomuseo

Discover the captivating Biomuseo, a vivid world where art and culture merge. Journey through Panama City’s biodiverse natural heritage. Witness the beauty of this region’s ecosystems – from vibrant rainforests to diverse marine life. This museum has striking architecture and an immersive design.

Explore the wonders of the Biomuseo:

  • Gallery of Biodiversity – a feast for the eyes! View the incredible variety of species that call Panama home.
  • Panamarama – a panoramic video journey through the nation’s stunning landscapes.
  • Oceans Divided – learn how the Isthmus of Panama caused oceans to separate, impacting our climate and evolution.
  • Biodiversity Park – stroll through gardens representing different regions of Panama.

Witness the story of humanity intertwined with nature. Step back in time to millions of years ago, when two continents collided and changed the course of life. Experience this tale at the Biomuseo – creativity and knowledge come together! Embrace the opportunity to explore Panama City’s artistic and cultural legacy. The Biomuseo awaits you!

Attend a Performance at The Teatro Nacional

A performance at the Teatro Nacional is an experience that immerses you in the art and culture of Panama City. This historical theater showcases exceptional talent and offers a glimpse into the vibrant artistic scene.

Location: Calle 3, Avenida B, Casco Viejo, Panama City.

Architecture: Neoclassical design elements with ornate details.

Performances: Opera, ballet, classical music concerts, and theatrical productions.

Historical Significance: Built in 1908, it has witnessed many cultural milestones and artistic triumphs.

Uniquely, it provides opportunities for local artists to collaborate with international performers. This cross-cultural exchange enriches the artistic landscape of the city. A great example is renowned pianist Mónica González. Her piano recital was spellbinding and she flawlessly played Panamanian compositions. It was a moment where art bridged cultures and evoked emotions that transcended language barriers.

Attending a performance at the Teatro Nacional is an unforgettable journey through Panama City’s artistic heritage. Immerse yourself in its magic and discover the captivating world of art awaiting within its walls. Get ready for a night out in Panama City – you won’t find a dull moment!

Exciting Nightlife

To experience the exciting nightlife in Panama City, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Calle Uruguay, dance the night away at popular clubs and bars, and indulge in the live music at Panama City’s jazz scene. These sub-sections offer a variety of options for you to enjoy the energetic and lively night scene in the city.

Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Calle Uruguay

Calle Uruguay is the city’s ultimate nightlife destination. As the sun sets, the energy of the street explodes! With its range of bars, clubs and restaurants, the possibilities for a wild night out are endless.

Feel the electric atmosphere the moment you step onto Calle Uruguay. Stylish venues offer something for everyone – from live music to DJ sets and more. The atmosphere is contagious, drawing you in and making it hard to resist having fun.

But Calle Uruguay offers more than just thrilling nightlife. The architecture of the buildings adds a timeless elegance to the bustling street. Take a leisurely stroll, taking in the sights and sounds of the city.

Dance the Night Away at Popular Clubs and Bars

Experience Panama City’s nightlife! From Club X with its electrifying atmosphere and top-notch DJs, to The Jazz Lounge with its smooth melodies and stylish decor, to Bar Stomp with its lively crowd, to Rooftop Sway with its stunning views, to Latin Fiesta with its salsa rhythms and talented dancers, to Dive Bar Delight with its cozy yet lively atmosphere – there is something for everyone!

Don’t miss out on special events such as guest DJs or live performances, or themed nights hosted by these venues. So put on your dancing shoes and get ready for an unforgettable night out! Let go of your fears and embrace the rhythm – dance the night away in this vibrant city! Get ready to jazz up your night with soulful melodies and an air saxophone – you won’t regret it!

Enjoy Live Music at Panama City’s Jazz Scene

Panama City’s jazz scene is a vibrant hub of live music. With diverse venues and talented musicians, it’s an unforgettable experience. Historic buildings in Casco Viejo have been transformed into cozy jazz clubs. These venues provide top-notch entertainment and a unique setting – immersing visitors in the city’s culture. From small bars to larger concert halls, there’s something for everyone.

Danilo’s Jazz Club is renowned as one of the best spots to enjoy jazz. Located in the heart of Casco Viejo, artists captivate audiences with their mesmerizing performances. The cozy ambiance and excellent acoustics make it a great spot to unwind.

For a larger setting, check out Teatro Amador. This beautifully restored theater hosts regular jazz concerts featuring local and international musicians. Its grand architecture and sound system create an unforgettable experience.

To fully immerse yourself, attend the Panama Jazz Festival. Held every January, it attracts renowned artists from around the globe. Traditional jazz is showcased alongside fusion genres, making it a diverse celebration of music.

Shopping and Souvenirs in Panama City

To make your shopping experience in Panama City even more memorable, indulge in the diverse options for traditional crafts, luxury shopping malls, and unique souvenirs. Discover the vibrant world of Mercado de Artesanias for authentic local crafts, explore the city center’s luxurious shopping malls, and uncover hidden gems at Albrook Mall, offering a wide range of distinctive souvenirs.

Shop for traditional crafts at the Mercado de Artesanias

Explore the Mercado de Artesanias for a truly unique shopping experience! Find a wide selection of traditional crafts such as handwoven textiles, pottery, wood carvings, and jewelry. These items are representative of various indigenous cultures in Panama, providing an opportunity to learn more about their customs and traditions.

Support local artisans and take home beautiful souvenirs like colorful molas, tagua nut carvings, or intricate Panamanian masks. Your purchase will help preserve the skills and traditions of future generations, while also contributing to socio-economic development. So, immerse yourself in Panama’s cultural scene and take home a token of your journey!

Look for Unique Souvenirs at The Albrook Mall

The Albrook Mall in Panama City is the ideal spot for unique souvenirs. It boasts a cornucopia of shops and stalls, offering a wide selection for visitors seeking to take home a special memento.

For fashion lovers, there are stores with Panamanian-themed clothing and accessories – from traditional garb to modern designs with a local twist.

Handicrafts are also available, such as intricate wood carvings, colorful textiles, and hand-painted ceramics – perfect for supporting local artisans and bringing home a unique piece of Panamanian culture.

Art enthusiasts can explore art galleries displaying works by both renowned and up-and-coming Panamanian artists. Paintings, sculptures, or prints that capture the spirit of Panama’s vibrant arts scene can be purchased.

Foodies can pick up traditional Panamanian food products like coffee, chocolates, spices, and hot sauces. These make great gifts or reminders of gastronomic adventures in Panama.

Plus, there are plenty of souvenir shops selling trinkets and keepsakes specific to Panama City, such as keychains and magnets or miniature replicas of famous landmarks like the Panama Canal or Casco Viejo.

The Albrook Mall also has entertainment options like movie theaters and restaurants – perfect for taking a break from shopping.

On my visit, I found a small shop tucked away in a corner, with an elderly lady crafting delicate molas – traditional textile art made by layering colorful fabric pieces. She explained the symbolism of each design and how it represents different aspects of Panamanian culture. I was so inspired that I purchased one of her handmade molas as an extra special souvenir.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-visit attractions in Panama City?

Panama City is brimming with exciting attractions for tourists. Some must-visits include the Panama Canal, Casco Viejo (Old Town), Biomuseo, Metropolitan Natural Park, Ancon Hill, and Panama Viejo.

Are there any adventurous activities to do in Panama City?

Absolutely! If you love adventure, you can go zip-lining through the rainforest, take a boat tour to the nearby islands, explore the caves at Lake Bayano, or try your hand at surfing in Santa Catalina.

Where can I experience the vibrant nightlife of Panama City?

The city offers a vibrant and bustling nightlife scene. Some popular nightlife spots include the lively Calle Uruguay, the upscale Zona Rosa in Obarrio, and the Casco Viejo district, which is known for its trendy bars and clubs.

What are some family-friendly attractions in Panama City?

Families will have a great time exploring the Biomuseo, visiting the Panama Canal Miraflores Locks Visitor Center, taking a boat tour to see wildlife on nearby islands, or enjoying a relaxing day at one of the city’s beautiful beaches.

Can I experience traditional Panamanian cuisine in Panama City?

Absolutely! Panama City offers a wide range of dining options where you can savor delicious Panamanian cuisine. From traditional dishes like sancocho (chicken soup) and ceviche to local specialties such as arroz con pollo (chicken with rice), there’s something for every food lover.

What shopping opportunities are available in Panama City?

Panama City is known for its excellent shopping opportunities. The Multiplaza Mall and Albrook Mall are popular choices for luxury brands and international retailers. For unique handicrafts and souvenirs, a visit to the Panama Artisan Market or the indigenous market at Causeway is a must.


Panama City is a vibrant blend of history, culture, and modernity. Whether you’re an adventurer, history buff, or just looking to relax, this city offers a plethora of experiences waiting to be explored. Dive into its rich tapestry, savor its culinary delights, and let the rhythm of Panama City captivate your heart. Your journey here promises memories that will last a lifetime.