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Culture

Top Rated Attractions in Panama City

Search Radius (Miles)
Teatro Bambalinas

Teatro Bambalinas was created to stage productions for kids, and is located in Paitilla. Check their website for details on upcoming shows.

Convento de Santo Domingo

A truly beautiful wall standing along one of the charming streets of Casco Viejo, sprouting a few weeds from the uneven top of its brickwork, is the surviving façade of the colonial Convento de Santo Domingo. The 17th-century church and monastery were burnt to the ground twice and not rebuilt after 1756, so that little was preserved through the centuries except the front of the building and an archway within it. Known as the Arco Chato, this brick arch eventually became pivotal to development in Panama. Its survival despite a remarkably precarious construction proved to engineers that an interoceanic canal built in Panama would not be destroyed by earthquakes; the rest is history.

BioMuseo

Nestled in Panama City, Biomuseo deftly chronicles the natural, cultural and ecological heritage of the country. The labor of love of eminent architect Frank Gehry, the museum boasts a futuristic facade, while the main building has an equally innovative and distinctive design, which is billed to be the only one of its kind in Latin America. Here, a wide arsenal of buildings, galleries, exhibits and artifacts together, illustrate some of the country’s most pressing aspects including its dynamic biodiversity, the evolution of the Pacific and the Caribbean, the country’s cultural and communal legacy, as well as the importance of the Isthmus of Panama, which has been an integral catalyst in carving out the landscape of the country. A wonderland for science aficionados and nature lovers alike, this elaborate museum is educational and inspirational in equal amounts. Its frontage enlivened by splashes of solid blues, yellows and reds, the cutting-edge Biomuseo is one of the major tourist draws, and contemporary landmarks of the city.

Palacio de las Garzas

The presidential palace in the oldest existing neighborhood of Panama City, with its neoclassical architecture and unsurpassed views directly over the Bay of Panama, is popularly known for its pets. In the early 20th century, President Belisario started the tradition of keeping pet herons and egrets in the Moorish interior courtyard of the Spanish colonial mansion. The same president commissioned the 1922 renovation of the 1673 building, originally built for the Spanish crown, to its current appearance. It was put to good use in the interim as the Royal Customs House in the 18th century and a government house in the 19th century, and the President now resides upstairs with the executive offices on the ground floor. Expect to show identification at either end of the guarded street if you'd like to walk past the front of the building because the beautiful birds in their Palacio require very tight security.

Karavan

A magical ambiance of color and creativity welcomes customers into Karavan through a doorway framed by bright ribbons and bold ornaments. The gallery showcases unique works of art, from bowls and other small trinkets to large paintings or mosaics appropriate to hang as a focal point for an imaginatively decorated room. In addition, multimedia works of art incorporating painting, mosaic, and even sculpture demonstrate an evolution of collage techniques, and free-standing carvings and sculptures speckle the floor space. Once inside, the gallery is most reminiscent of a little garden, blooming with fanciful works of art.

Casco Viejo

Declared a World Heritage Site in 1997 and preserved by UNESCO, Casco Viejo is Panama's appealing rustic and ancient district. Replete with old-style architecture and traditional edifices, the district is home to several cathedrals, churches and government buildings. Many of these sprawling structures serve as homes. The cultural hub is a thriving center which draws crowds from all over the world. The Geisha coffee, a trademark of Panama, is popular for its exquisite taste. Numerous items for sale can be found in the district. These include the famous molas. Spanish Colonists established Casco Viejo in 1673, and since then, the infrastructure has been refurbished to accommodate restaurants, shops, museums as well as residential areas. Though quite a few buildings are still reminiscent of the ravages of time, most structures in the district have been carefully rebuilt and revamped. Tour guides are available to narrate the history of Casco Viejo. Casco Viejo is also well-known for its exciting nightlife, replete with energetic and bright nightclubs.

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