Pier Park in Panama City Beach has Great Shopping and Entertainment

Shopping, restaurants, entertainment, even an amusement park, Pier Park has it all.



Across from the beach and within walking distance of Panama City Beach hotels, Pier Park is a unique open-air shopping mall offering dining, entertainment and some of the country's top retail stores. With Caribbean style architecture and over one million square feet of shops and restaurants, this regional lifestyle center is the area's premier shopping destination.

Shopping and Dining
There's plenty to see and do here from browsing through long time retail-chain favorites to exploring one-of-a-kind shops with unique beach-themed merchandise. Anchored by Target, J C Penney, and Dillard’s department stores, the mall also is also home to Hollister Company, Old Navy, Coldwater Creek, Chico’s, American Eagle Outfitters, Bath & Body Works, and Victoria’s Secret. Ron Jon Surf Shop heads the list of beach stores that includes Beach Scene and Footprints Coastal Décor.

Beach themed restaurants can be found across from the Dan Russell City Pier on Front Beach Road. The list includes Guy Harvey’s Island Grill, Reggae J’s, the Backporch Seafood and Oyster House, and Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. Quick snacks are available at several eateries like Panera Bread Company, the Candy Maker, and the Great American Cookie Company, and great Italian food is served at the Olive Garden and Guglielmo's Italian Grill.

Entertainment
Over the years, the Northwest Florida Gulf Coast has been home to some great old fun parks. One was the Miracle Strip Amusement Park. Built in 1963, it had its heyday in the 1960s and '70s. When the amusement park closed in 2004, locals were saddened to see this piece of beach life disappear. Then in 2009, Jenny and Teddy Meeks bought the beautiful circa 1964 30-horse carousel that was once the centerpiece of the park and had it refurbished. They leased a piece of land at Pier Park and have slowly collected some of the Miracle Strip's original rides along with several other vintage rides to create Miracle Strip @Pier Park.

Other entertainment includes the Grand Theatre with 16 screens and 3-D capability, the Paint N’ Place, where patrons can paint their own pottery, and Mirror Maze & Lazer Craze, a family fun house with a labyrinth of mirrored passages and dead ends within the mirror maze, and a corridor of laser beams crisscrossing in a black room in the Laser Craze.

Night life can be found at several venues, but Tootises Orchid Lounge, a famous Nashville nightspot that opened its second location at Pier Park, is one of the most popular. True to its Nashville roots, Tootsies features the live music of up-and-coming artists.

Nearby Panama City Beach Hotels
Panama City Beach Hotels are plentiful and several hotels and resorts are within walking distance of Pier Park. Here are a few of them.

Beachcomber by the Sea - 17101 Front Beach Road, 850-233-3600. This beachfront hotel offers a heated, gulf-front pool, gulf-front accommodations with private balconies and fully-equipped kitchens.

Tidewater Beach Resort - 16819 Front Beach Road, 850-636-8000. This beachfront resort offers one, two and three-bedroom condo units, all with fully equipped kitchen, walk-in closets, washer/dryers and spectacular views of the Gulf.

Legacy by the Sea - 15325 Front Beach Road, 888-886-8917. Located across the street from Gulf World Marine Park, this 14-story beachfront hotel offers gulf-front rooms with private balconies and fully-equipped kitchens.

Regular mall hours are Monday to Saturday, 10:00AM to 9:00PM and Sunday 12:00PM to 6:00PM. For more information call (850) 236-9974.

Note: This article first appeared January 10, 2010 on Suite101.com. It has been revised and updated here.


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