Downtown Panama City changing its vibe

Changing Downtown Vibe
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 10:39 PM CST
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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A rebirth of downtown Panama City is in the works.

“Panama City is definitely going through a renaissance, and you can even feel it in the streets it’s definitely a different vibe,” said Jennifer Vigil.

A vibe that destination Panama City officials hope more people will want to be part of.

“Now we see a lot more experiential tourists that want to come and learn about our community and live like a local and do the things that we do,” said Vigil.

The many murals and art on every corner are just a few ways Panama City is changing its vibe.

The murals you see on walls and buildings downtown were painted by local and national artists.

City officials have one word for this new city vibe

“Pride,” said Vigil. The most important thing I feel like before the hurricane the city was really struggling with identity and without having an identity it didn’t really have something it could be proud of.”

Now downtown has different stores, restaurants, and shops along with new ones still being built, that help shape the new identity.

One store owner says this vibe has already made a difference in her store.

“I will tell you just in the short amount of time we have been in historic downtown we can see an increase in foot traffic people ducking in to look to see what we have to offer, and lots of people from out of town not just Panama City people,” said Lesli Todd.

Destination Panama City officials say the locals have been a motivation for helping create a new identity.

“Our store is a little different from any other store down here we’re trying to unique items different finds,” said Todd.

However, some locals don’t want the vibe to change too much to where the city loses its real self.

“Well there’s a new change, but it’s still historical down here we’re trying to preserve the history of historic downtown. We have to respect our old along with the new and hang on to that also,” said Todd.

Destination Panama City hopes that in changing its identity more people will be attracted to what downtown offers.