Panama City, FL
Panama City is located in the Florida Panhandle on St. Andrews Bay. Covering 20 square miles, the city is believed to be named for its Gulf Coast location and the direct route it marks from the U.S. heartland to the Panama Canal. Panama City was incorporated in 1909.
Panama City is known as a popular tourist location year-round, offering a comfortable climate and friendly atmosphere. The city has a population of around 37,000 people.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
The city's top industries are education, health care, tourism, and retail trade.
Port Panama City is a 500-acre port and is the area's wood pulp distribution hub. It also features a Foreign Trade Zone.
Panama City's coastal location makes it ideal for the aviation industry. Two of the city's major employers are the Tyndall Air Force Base and Coastal Systems Station-Naval Surface Warfare Center. Other corporate citizens of Panama City include:
- Bay Medical Center, serving the health care needs of residents in seven surrounding counties
- Arizona Chemical, a producer of naturally derived chemicals and resins for adhesives
- Sallie Mae, a loan company
- Berg Pipe, a metal pipe manufacturer
- Gulf Power, an electric company for the state of Florida
- Smurfit-Stone Container, a plastic container manufacturer
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Panama City is a popular tourist destination because of its round-the-year pleasant climate. The city is blessed with abundant natural beauty of Gulf waters and white beaches, and greenery of beautiful parks and lakes.
All the population in Panama City is urban. Neighborhoods and districts of Panama City accommodate more than 16,520 houses, out of which around 14,800 are occupied. Of the occupied houses, nearly half are occupied by renters.
Some of the city's neighborhoods include:
- Costa del Este is a newer area, located just east of the center of Panama City. Costa del Este is home to several new, planned residential communities and high rise buildings, commercial shopping plazas, convenience stores, banks, schools, parks, direct access to major highways, office areas and an industrial park.
- Casco Viejo is the oldest city on the Pacific Coast of the Americas. It lies at foot of Panama Canal on one side and Panama City on the other. The neighborhood is looked upon as the most notable suburb of Panama City and is one of the area's top tourist attractions.
- Downtown Panama City is the town's center of government, business, financial, and law services. The area is pedestrian-friendly, offering shops, restaurants, cultural attractions, and educational centers within walking distance of each other.
- Amador Causeway is located at the southern entrance of the Panama Canal and stretches nearly three kilometers into the Pacific Ocean. This popular area features many tourist-related venues and activities including hotels, restaurants, and jogging and biking trails.
- Panama City area beaches have won countless awards for their cleanliness and beauty. Beach expert Dr. Steve Leatherman named Panama City Beach the number one beach in the United States. The white sand and clear waters are a big attraction for tourists, including students on Spring Break.
- Pier Park features a beach trolley, numerous retail establishments and restaurants, and a movie theater.
- There are two full-service marinas. The Panama City Marina is one block from the downtown area on the Intercoastal Waterway. The St. Andrews Marina offers a number of deep-sea fishing excursions.
- Salt water fishing is tremendously popular, and there are countless charter boats available. There are also numerous glass-bottom-boat tours.
- St. Andrews State Park features coastal dunes, wetlands, and an undeveloped island. The park is open for camping, boating, crabbing, fishing, golfing, and hiking.
- Numerous diving charters are available. Panama City has been named the 3rd Best Diving Location in North America by Scuba Diving Magazine and was featured as a diving destination by Dive Training Magazine.
- The Bay Point Yacht and Golf Club offers scenic courses and scuba diving and snorkeling excursions to the nearby reefs.
- More than 10 fishing tournaments are held in Panama City each year, the largest of which are the Bay Point Invitational Billfish Tournament in July and the Grand Lagoon National in October.
Amusement parks, such as Cobra Adventure Park, Shipwreck Island Water Park, and Water World are located in nearby Panama City Beach. Other diversions include:
- Pine Long State Forest for camping and hiking
- The Indian Summer Festival
- The Iron Man Florida Triathlon
- The Spring Festival of the Arts
- Museum of Man in the Sea
- The Panhandle Pioneer Settlement featuring historic log cabins
- The Martin Theatre
- The Visual Arts Center of Northwest Florida
- Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum
A full schedule of performances can be found at the Marina Civic Center and the Edgewater Beach Resort.
Panama City boasts 37 parks of various sizes. Frank Brown Park is a popular park on Panama City Beach Parkway featuring the Panama City Beach Aquatic Center and water playground.
There are a number of educational facilities in the Panama City area. They include:
- Florida State University's Panama City Campus
- Gulf Coast Community College
- Tom P. Haney Technical Center
- Sea School
- Sowell Aviation
Local publications include:
- The News Herald
- The Circuit - featuring local news and entertainment
Local radio stations include:
- WYYK 97.7 FM - Rock
- WFSY 98.5 FM - Adult contemporary
- WFLF 94.5 FM - Fox News Radio
- WPAP 92.5 FM - Country
- WILN 105.7 FM - Top 40
- WPBH 93.5 FM - Classic Rock
- WEBZ 99.3 FM - Urban
- WYOO 101.1 FM - Talk
- WRBA 95.9 FM - Classic Rock
Local television stations include:
- WMBB Channel 13
- WJHG Channel 7
- WPGX Channel 28
- WFSU Channel 56
- Panama City Beach TV
DID YOU KNOW?
- In 2006, CNN's Business 2.0 Magazine named Panama City the best place to invest in real estate in the United States.
- Noted residents include Clarence Earl Gideon, the plaintiff in the Gideon v. Wainwright court case, which mandated that state courts must provide legal representation to those who cannot afford it. The 1980 film Gideon's Trumpet, starring Henry Fonda, was based on that case and filming took place in Panama City.