Pier Park in Panama City Beach has Great Shopping and Entertainment

When Pier Park opened its first few stores on what seemed to an "ends of the earth" spot in Panama City Beach, no one believed this shopping and entertainment venue would even survive, much less thrive, in the recession. Over the years, smart marketing (home of the New Year's Eve Beach Ball Drop) and creative events such as the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, and attractions have made it the premier beach destination of the region.

Pier Park EntranceThe entrance on the beach side

Pier Park 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.

Pier Park StyleThere's lots to see and do here all year round.

Beach themed restaurants can be found across from the Dan Russell City Pier on Front Beach Road. The list includes Guy Harvey’s Island GrillPompano Joe’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.

Guy Harvey's Island Grill at Pier ParkGuy Harvey's is across the street from the beach.

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 Miracle Strip 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.

Miracle Strip Carousel

Other entertainment includes the Grand Theatre with 16 screens and 3-D capability, Pirate Quest Laser Tag, 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.

Stores at Pier ParkThere are over 124 stores here.

Finally there are major events that take place here throughout the year that include the Seabreeze Jazz Festival, annual Mardi Gras celebrations, the Great American Blues Festival and the Panama City Beach Seafood and Music Festival. 

Although there are no accommodations on site, hotels and resorts for those attending events are only steps away.

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.

And here's a bit of mall trivia - there are over 4000 parking spaces available on the premises and onsite transportation to get you around.

Pier Park TrolleyThe trolley is a great way to get from one store to another.

Regular mall hours are Monday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM and Sunday 12:00 PM to 7:00 PM. For more information call (850) 236-9974 or visit the website at Pier Park.

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