West Palm Beach City Guide
About West Palm Beach
The city of West Palm Beach, which is commonly referred to as West Palm, is one of the largest cities of South Florida. The origin of West Palm Beach like the rest of Palm Beach County dates back to a swampland, which was converted into an urban center with the vision and determination of a railroad baron, Henry Flager at the turn of the century.
West Palm Beach is, in fact, an enclave that was created for workers who built the fabulous mansions and hotels for Henry Flagler.
The city’s historic downtown district today offers much fine entertainment, shopping, and great restaurants. The Interstate highway I-95 runs north and south through the city and is its major travel artery while luxurious private yachts glide down the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway that flows through it.
West Palm Beach is home to nearly five million people and has always been associated with wealthy vacationers, royalty and celebrities. The busy Port of Palm Beach is located on the northern edge of the city and is the fourth busiest port in Florida, which also hosts several small cruise liners. This port until recently also hosted the Palm Beach princess, which was a gaming and entertainment facility located off the coast of Florida. Vacations to West Palm Beach are, therefore, cut out for gamblers and people looking for some quality time.
Where to stay in West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is home to several historic districts and neighborhoods like the Bel Air Historic District, the Central Park Historic District, Old Northwood Historic District, the Northwest Historic district; all of which are either associated with the development initiated by Henry Flager or then the Florida real estate boom of 1920’s.
The city of West Palm Beach offers a wide range of hotels that include bed and breakfast inns, luxury, spa and resort hotels as well as reasonably priced family hotels, which can be found all over the city. Choosing the place to stay during West Palm Beach vacations is more about what you want to do during the trip.
Hotels around Main Attractions and Landmarks
The city has a greater concentration of diverse hotels and other accommodation options in areas around its prominent attractions and landmarks like the Rapids Water Park, the West Palm Beach Airport, Palm Beach Mall and of course along the main drag of downtown Palm Beach, which hosts the popular business destination of the West Palm Beach Convention Center.
Places to see in West Palm Beach
Peanut Island Park
Peanut Island Park is unique eighty acre manmade Tropical Park that is situated in the Intracoastal Waterway near the Lake Worth Inlet within close proximity to Phil Foster Park, the City of Riviera Beach, and the Port of Palm Beach. This park hosts a nuclear bomb shelter that was constructed for President John F Kennedy and offers numerous recreational activities like boating, fishing, snorkeling and camping, which are immensely popular with the many visitors who want to have some fun during their vacation in West Palm Beach.
Rapids Water Park
This water park has been in existence for over thirty years and is South Florida’s premier water based attraction. It offers 29 water slides spread over 22 acres of park land. These rides cater to all ages and include a 25,000 square-foot wave pool, a lazy river, body and tube slides, activity pools and a children's water play area. The park also offers some unique rides like Big Thunder, which is a four-person Tornado tube ride and Black Thunder, which is a four-person tube ride conducted in total darkness. The Rapids Water Park is considered to be a must-do attraction on any visit to West Palm Beach with children.
The Norton Museum
The Norton Museum of Art features a spectacular permanent collection of Renaissance and Baroque, 19th and 20th century European, American, Chinese and contemporary art, photography, and works on paper along with works of masters like Monet, Picasso, Gauguin, Davis and O'Keeffe.
Palm Beach Zoo at Dreher Park
This zoological garden extends over 22 acres and is home to more than 400 animals that hail from diverse regions from around the globe; like Australia, South and Central America, Asia and Florida. The zoo hosts several endangered species like the Komodo dragon, the Bengal Tiger, the Jaguar, Lemur, the Cottontop Tamarin, the Golden Lion Tamarin and the Florida Panther. The zoo is, additionally, equipped with the Cornell Nature Trail, shaded walkways, a cafe and gift shop
Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts is a multi-purpose venue for live entertainment in West Palm Beach. The center hosts a variety of dance, music, theatre and opera performances throughout the year.
Best time to visit West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is said to experience a tropical climate characterized by year round temperatures of 64F (18C). On an average, the city experiences 133 wet days and 234 days of sunshine annually.
The best season to plan a vacation to West Palm Beach is during the winter months of November to April as the weather during these months is mostly dry and warm with average temperatures of 75 - 82°F (24 - 27°C) and lows of 57 - 66°F (14 - 19°C).
Flight and hotel rates during this peak tourist season in West Palm Beach are generally quite high.
However, if you choose to book your vacation package to West Palm Beach through Fare Buzz, you are assured of getting the best hotel rates, no matter when you choose to visit this playground of the rich and famous.
Getting around in West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach can be accessed by three main area airports namely the Palm Beach International Airport, the Miami International Airport and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. All these three airports offer numerous domestic and international air links that make getting to the city of West Palm Beach quite easy. You can explore some really exciting cheap air tickets to West Palm Beach on Fare Buzz and save a lot while booking air flights.
West Palm Beach served by a public transport system consists of the Tri-Rail commuter system, free downtown trolley service, the Palm Tran, the Palm Beach County municipal bus service and a water taxi service that offers transportation links between the main points in the city such as the downtown Clematis Street District, the Sailfish Marina Resort and other waterfront attractions like Peanut Island.
If you need to rent a car for the duration of your stay in West Palm Beach, Fare Buzz can be of assistance as it offers a variety of affordable car rentals for West Palm Beach. Do check out the options to move around the city in comfort.
Where to shop in West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is a widely considered to be the mecca for shopping in South Florida. This city which borders the Atlantic Ocean, in fact offers a good mix of high-brow and low-brow shopping destinations. Worth Avenue, often referred to as the ‘Rodeo Drive of Florida’ is the city’s most prominent shopping enclave. Extending over three blocks from Lake Worth to the Atlantic Ocean, the stretch of Worth Avenue plays host the most luxe names in the fashion and lifestyle business, like Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Chanel, Prada, Jimmy Choo, Van Cleef and Arpels and so forth.
Scenic Clematis Street located in the heart of downtown Palm Beach is another popular shopping district of the city. Located here are a good mix of national brands and local retailers, along with several dining and nightlife haunts. The many diverse restaurants of Clematis Street serve up a slew of international cuisines along with much traditional American fare. Waterfront Celematis Street also offers a host of entertainment options in the form of its weekly ‘Clematis By Night’ street party which is held every Thursday evening and features much music and dance. In addition to this event, the precinct also hosts an open mic night on every third Tuesday of the month in order to provide a platform for local acts to display their talents. Other attractions of the area include historic trolley tours that educate and entertain visitors and a weekend farmers market featuring much fresh produce and artisan baked goods.
Mall shopping is also available in Palm Beach at destinations like Italian-inspired CityPlace located in downtown Palm Beach. This open-air mall complex that extends over 72 acres, hosts more than 100 outposts of the most popular retail chains in the nation, along with restaurants, bars, full service spas, a theater for performing arts and events (the Harriet Himmel theater) an IMAX theater and a stunning eco-friendly fountain which dances to music during choreographed shows every half-hour and is illuminated at nightfall. City Place also offers a free trolley service to Clematis Street for visitors.
A similar albeit more upscale shopping experience is offered by the enclosed Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens. The Gardens mall hosts more than 160 shops and features upmarket department stores like Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Sak’s Fifth Avenue as anchors.
Other recommended areas for shopping in Palm Beach include the area of Northwood Village located two miles north of downtown Palm Beach, which is home to several edgy, avant-garde fashion boutiques, vintage and antique stores and an assortment of excellent ethnic restaurants. Also worth a visit is the Antiques Row in West Palm Beach situated just south of downtown and home to some forty antique, vintage and home design stores.
Where to eat in West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is home to a good selection of restaurants serving both local and international fare. Well-regarded and recommended restaurants in West Palm Beach currently include spots like Marcello’s La Sirena (Italian), Captain Charlie’s Reef Grill (seafood), 11 Maple Street (New American), Café L’Europe (continental), Café Boulud (French), the Capital Grille (Steakhouse) and Morton’s (Steakhouse).
Nightlife in West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach offers an animated nightlife scene, populated by lively bars, nightclubs and lounges that rock on until the early hours of the morning. Buzzing nightlife haunts in West Palm Beach include Club 313, Rumbass International Club, Roxy’s Pub, Lost Weekend West Palm Beach, Off the Hookah, Monarchy Club and, Feelgoods Rock Bar.