Know Before You Go – West Palm Beach & Palm Beach Visitor’s Guide
Know Before You Go – A West Palm Beach & Palm Beach Visitor’s Guide
First of all, West Palm Beach does not have a beach. Think of West Palm Beach as the mainland, and just across the bridge is the island of Palm Beach, and yes, you can walk.
So, now that we’ve established that Palm Beach is the island, and West Palm Beach is the city across the bridge…what’s the difference? Short answer…billionaires. Palm Beach Island is home to 32 billionaires including former President Trump, Rod Stewart, James Patterson and Billy Joel. West Palm Beach has grown-up from its humble origins as a worker city, and it’s quite nice. Expect excellent restaurants, museums, theatre and shopping. Yep, even the Palm Beach crowd frequently crosses the bridge to enjoy all that West Palm Beach has to offer.
Where to stay? You’ll find plenty of hotels in both West Palm Beach and Palm Beach albeit the prices are higher on the island. If your vacation is all about the beach, stay on the island and splurge to stay at The Breakers. If you’re looking for a nice mix of activities and night life, choose a hotel in downtown West Palm Beach, and our top choice is The Ben Hotel – a Marriott Autograph Collection propoerty.
To add to the confusion, Palm Beach International Airport is actually in West Palm Beach. The island of Palm Beach does not have an airport, but don’t worry, it’s a quick 10 minute drive to the island from the airport. FYI – the Fort Lauderdale Airport is 45 minutes away and offers more direct flights.
Is it always sunny? We have a very distinct wet & dry season, but don’t worry, wet season does not mean it rains all day. During wet season (May thru October) expect brief thunderstorms. During dry season (November thru April) expect near perfect weather every day! By the way, the average high in the winter is 79 degrees with low humidity and very little rain.
A winter vacation certainly sounds tempting, but don’t rule out a summer vacation if you’re looking for a bargain. Hotel and restaurant deals abound during the summer, and especially in the hot sticky months of August and September.
Now that you’ve got a better picture of your vacation destination, let us help you put together your itinerary. Our list does not include the big attractions like museums and watersports that you’ll find in most any guide book. Instead, this list focuses on places that are unique to West Palm Beach & Palm Beach; the places that will make your vacation memorable.
Get off the beaten tourist track, and follow a local to the best things to do in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach
- Visit the West Palm Beach Greenmarket if you’re in town on a Saturday morning (October thru April). Named the best farmer’s market in the country by USA Today, it’s the place to be in Downtown West Palm Beach. Expect more than just local produce, expect ethnic eateries, tropical plants, bakeries and more. Don’t miss the Venezuelan Arepas at the Toc Toc Arepas booth. Of course, the beautiful waterfront location, live music and bottomless mimosas add to the fun.
- Explore the island of Palm Beach, on a self-guided driving loop that hits all the highlights including the Four Arts Botanical Garden, Flagler Museum, The Breakers, Worth Avenue and Mar-a-Lago. If you’re short on time, and can’t make all the stops…don’t miss The Breakers, and make sure to enjoy a cocktail at the Seafood Bar with beautiful ocean views and a bar that’s an aquarium.
- Taste authentic Cuban cuisine at Havana Restaurant’s ventanita – it’s a 24 hour walk-up window that’s open 365 days a year! You can’t leave town without trying Cuban coffee, guava and cheese pastelitos and croquetas.
- Enjoy the view and a cocktail from Spruzzo on the rooftop of The Ben Hotel. It’s magical at night, trust us!
- Dine in a retro Airstream trailer at Hullabaloo located in the 500 block of Clematis Street in Downtown West Palm Beach. This block is known as the locals block, so get off the beaten tourist track! While you’re exploring the funky 500 block, take a picture with our famous Einstein mural.
- Experience a West Palm Beach Food Tour and taste the flavors of South Florida as you get you off the beaten path! From the best fish taco and key lime pie in town to authentic Cuban food and refreshing tropical fruits, we’ll make sure you taste and learn about our iconic foods! Along the way, you’ll meet chefs, admire colorful street art and hear crazy stories about our past. Bottom line…you’ll discover great locally owned restaurants to enjoy during your visit.
- Spend a day on Peanut Island! You came for the beach, but you’ll remember us for Peanut Island. Located in the intracoastal waterway, Peanut Island is known for clear blue water, beaches, snorkeling and picnics in tiki huts. The Peanut Island Shuttle Boat will get you there, and on weekends you’ll see flotillas of locals anchored all around the island.
- Explore the West Palm Beach Design District, and do it with a glass of wine! Nomad at Sean Rush is the most beautiful wine bar and design store in one. Their interactive bar will mesmerize you, and the artfully presented food will wow you. PS – Don’t be fooled by the strip shopping center location! As soon as you open the door, your jaw will drop…we promise!
- Dine at Buccan on Palm Beach for a memorable meal. It’s also the perfect place to celebrate a birthday or anniversary. Chef Clay Carnes is a 5x James Beard nominee, and if you’re not familiar with the James Beard award, it’s like the Oscars of the restaurant industry. Buccan is always very buzzy, and reservations are a must!
- Hop on Brightline for a day trip to Miami without all the traffic! Brightline is our luxurious high-speed train, and they’ll get you there in about an hour. Added bonus? Cocktails are served on board!
We can’t wait to see you!