In the real estate world, there are many who will say that the most important factor in determining the value of a property is location, location, location. The logic goes that you can always remodel the kitchen or update your flooring in an out-of-date home, but you can’t single-handedly change the neighborhood where it’s located.
Whether you agree with this logic or not, there is no doubt location matters. Buyers are willing to pay a premium for areas that are centrally located, safe, walkable, and convenient. Valuable neighborhoods also must offer plenty of spaces and destinations for recreation, dining, and entertainment.
This week, we take a look at all there is to do in one of Panama City’s most popular neighborhoods, San Francisco. Apart from having a central location from which to easily access other parts of the city, San Francisco offers tons to do without ever leaving the neighborhood. Here are a few of our favorite things.
Many would agree with me that no neighborhood is complete without a good park. A public park offers a place for recreation, relaxation, and fresh air, and San Francisco has one of the best neighborhood parks in the city — Parque Omar.
Parque Omar is oven equated with Panama City’s version of New York’s Central Park. It may not be as big, but it offers just enough of everything you may have in mind. Whether you are looking for a place for an evening jog, a romantic stroll, or a morning out with the kids, Parque Omar has you covered. If you have a dog, this is the perfect place to take Fido for a walk, day or night. On the weekends you’ll often see people taking in the fresh air, picnicking in the shade of massive trees, rollerblading, or engaging in a game of pickup soccer.
What’s more, there are tons of free events and programming that take place in the park and are open to the public. From December through April there are regular free performances to enjoy. In January, Parque Omar hosts Musicalion which features five days of free concerts. Year round you can find free Zumba and yoga classes, as well as a weekly meditation group. There really is something for everyone at Parque Omar.
While the Cinta Costera isn’t exclusively in San Francisco, it runs along the edge of the neighborhood offering both an incredible attraction and an easy pedestrian route of transportation to other parts of the city. The Cinta Costera is, undoubtedly, THE place to get out and get some exercise in the city.
This beltway that stretches for miles along the coast is a favorite spot for runners, walkers, joggers, moms with strollers, roller bladers, bikers, and everyone else looking to move their bodies. It also offers plenty of places to sit and take in the views of the ocean and city skyline. There are dozens of public spaces along the stretch of beltway where you are likely to catch a free AeroBox class or find playgrounds, or volleyball courts. And if you are really up for an adventure you can take the Cinta Costera all the way to Casco Viejo.
Having a great movie theater nearby is something that many really value, especially on the hottest days of the year. Luckily for those living in San Francisco, the Cinepolis at the Multiplaza is centrally located and offers tons of showtimes daily. You can purchase tickets ahead of time through their website or app, or just show up and see what’s playing. Most movies from the United States are available in English with subtitles, though they also screen dubbed movies if that’s your preference. The theater is always clean, the staff is friendly, and overall, it’s a great place to spend a Sunday afternoon or a casual night out.
In fact, there are a number of factors that many would argue make catching a movie at Cinepolis more enjoyable than watching a movie at a movie theater in the United States. For one, the popcorn. At Cinepolis you can get buttered popcorn, caramel popcorn, or a combination of the two which easily rivals any movie theater popcorn back home. There are also more showtimes for VIP movie theaters where you can have a reclining seat and food delivered directly to you if you’re looking to splurge. Most important, movie tickets are far more affordable in Panama so taking the family to the movies for the afternoon doesn’t have to break the bank.
Home to the Cinepolis movie theater mentioned above is the Multiplaza Mall. Multiplaza, arguably one of the best malls in Panama City is located just off Villa Israel in San Francisco. This mall has it all! Whether you need to pick up a gift, have a specific purchase in mind, or are looking for somewhere to do some retail therapy, Multiplaza has plenty of everything and for every budget. There are dozens and dozens of local as well as international brands represented, meaning no matter what your style, you’re bound to find stores you love.
In addition to great shops, there is also a food court with more than 50 different dining options to choose from, as well as the above-mentioned movie theater, and even a Chuck E. Cheese. There’s even an underground parking lot which can be especially convenient if it’s raining out.
It’s always fun to grab a meal out with friends or family. A number of dining establishments in San Francisco make this pastime even more fun with a new take on eating out –food trucks! Around Panama, you can now find a number of places where instead of an indoor restaurant, you order your food at a food truck and then enjoy it in an adjoining outdoor space. Not only do food trucks make for an affordable meal out, but they’re also a lot of fun.
The most famous food truck in San Francisco (and likely in all of the city) is Esa Flaca Rica. Located at the end of Avenida Los Fundadores, this food truck turns out some of the best hamburgers in the city. Whether you go classic or get one of their specials topped with ingredients like bacon, arugula, wontons, or fried pork skins, you won’t regret it.
Apart from Esa Flaca Rica, Antiburger is another food truck just around the corner that also dishes up great burgers. Pig Backside and The Smoke Truck both offer a variety of meat-centric options that are worth checking out. Spending an afternoon or evening enjoying a delicious meal outdoors is definitely a fun take on grabbing lunch with friends.
Monthly (Free!) Meditation Event
If you’re looking for something to do that doesn’t involve eating or spending money, check out the monthly free mediation event hosted by El Arte de Vivir (The Art of Living). Each month, this organization hosts a full moon meditation event. The meditation is open to everyone, from curious beginners to the utmost experts. Apart from this monthly event, El Arte de Vivir also offers tons of other yoga, meditation, and wellness courses as well as special events throughout the year. Their community is friendly and welcoming to all of those who turn up at their doors. Check out their website for more information on both free events and classes.
Atlapa Convention Center
One of our final favorite things to do in San Francisco is to check out whatever happens to be going on at the Atlapa Convention Center. Most major events in the city are held here, which means that if you live in San Francisco, you have easy access to whatever the newest event or exhibition is. Over the course of any given year, dozens of events will take place at Atlapa. While not all of them are open to the public, the majority are and offer a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon.
So what sorts of things await you at Atlapa? A lot! Every October, Atlapa Convention Center hosts Fashion Week Panama. Throughout the rest of the year, you’re likely to catch technology exhibits, car shows, food festivals, theater pieces, and even concerts. You can check out their events calendar ahead of time to find out what’s on the horizon that might be of interest to you.
As you can see, if you live in San Francisco, it would be easy to keep busy with all there is to see and do. The number of recreation and entertainment options available is just one of the reasons that make this such a desirable place to live.