Occupying a prime spot on the central Gulf Coast, Panama City, Florida, has become a go-to destination for those looking for some downtown fun paired with a coastal vibe. Upcoming events:

Florida Luxe Arts Festival (FLLUXE) in March is called a celebration of the arts and it brings the streets to life with chalk installations and more. The festival includes renowned national street painters as well as local artists. The magic unfolds on Friday as artists begin creating their visions. That’s when a walk through the downtown streets becomes an unforgettable, immersive experience. From simple beauty to explosions of color and 3-D illusion to glow-in-the-dark scenes, the results are amazing. A variety of musical performances add yet another element to enjoy, as do the treats of local vendors offering a variety of food and artistic creations. Checking out the current exhibition and permanent collection at the Panama City Center for the Arts (19E 4th Street, Panama City, Florida 32401; 850-640-3670) is also a must-do during the festival.

Redfish Film Fest hits the screen–and the streets–in April. This documentary film festival features 75 entries and is vying to become the premier event of its kind in the Southeast. And you don’t have to be a film nerd to enjoy it! Documentaries from a talented collection of film makers fill the lineup and explore a variety of topics, from oysters to asteroids and coal mining to sports. In addition, there are keynote addresses, panels and group discussions and the festival includes some outstanding celebrations, too. Block parties, cocktail parties, meet-the-artists gatherings and a red-carpet gala are all a part of experience. Walking among the venues, and from the beautiful new Hotel Indigo Panama City Marina (7 Harrison Avenue, Panama City, Florida 32401; 850-402-5100), is a breeze in downtown Panama City.

May brings a traditional coastal Blessing of the Fleet event but here, they add some Panama City fun. Here it’s known as the Blessing of the Fleet, Fish Fry & Burning of the Socks and it’s held at the St. Andrews Marina in historic St. Andrews. The fish fry starts in the morning with the vessel procession at mid-day. The blessing is followed by a sock burning, where participants are encouraged to “free your feet” for the upcoming summer season. There are vendor displays onsite, too, and proceeds from the event benefit a local non-profit.

For more than three decades Oktoberfest has been celebrated in downtown Panama City on Harrison Avenue. The festival is family friendly and filled with variety, from traditional German goodness to local food vendor fare. Live music, traditional costumes and a stein-hoisting contest are all part of this annual Oktoberfest celebration. 

Panama City Songwriters Festival brings music to center stage each November. Local, regional, national and even international songwriters participate, with performances at a variety of venues throughout the walkable downtown streets of Panama City. Audiences have an amazing opportunity to not only hear songs performed as they were written by the artist, but also to hear the stories behind the songs’ meaning and inspiration. Enjoying the food, drinks and atmosphere of the eclectic mix of downtown venues is an added bonus.