West Palm Beach
Located directly west of the smaller, more famous town Palm Beach, much of the city proper is commercial but there are some attractions and landmarks worth visiting in the area.
|Daily highs (°F)||75||76||79||82||86||89||90||90||89||85||80||76|
|Nightly lows (°F)||57||58||61||65||70||73||75||75||74||71||65||59|
- Palm Beach International Airport (IATA: PBI), 1000 Turnage Boulevard, +1 561 471-7420, . This is a small, yet highly adequate airport. While both the Miami and the Fort Lauderdale airports are busy, PBI is easy to get in and out of, and is about five minutes from downtown West Palm Beach. Travelers flying into South Florida or the Bahamas should strongly consider PBI. The airport serves both air carriers (airlines) and general aviation aircraft. The airport has a 24 hour control tower and a U.S. Customs & Immigration port of entry facility. The general aviation traffic at PBI has a choice of three fixed base operators. North Palm Beach County General Aviation Airport (F45) is located in the north portion of the county and provides easy access to the Florida Research Park, Jupiter, and Palm Beach Gardens.
Amtrak has a stop in the downtown West Palm Beach, and the Tri-Rail runs between Miami and West Palm.
West Palm Beach is easily accessible by Interstate 95 and the Florida Turnpike.
PalmTran runs throughout Palm Beach County. At the corner of Quadrille and Clematis you will find a popular hub, connecting many different routes.
The easiest way to get around West Palm Beach and South Florida is by car. The city is set up on grid system, and is fairly easy to navigate. Downtown is roughly 2 miles north east of Palm Beach International Airport. Palm Beach County is served by Interstate I-95 and U.S. Highway 1 and US 441. It is also served by Florida's Turnpike.
In-Airport car rental companies include:
- Alamo Rent A Car, toll-free: +1-800-462-5266.
- Avis Rent A Car, toll-free: +1-800-331-1212.
- Budget Rent A Car, toll-free: +1-800-527-0700.
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car, toll-free: +1-800-261-7331.
- Hertz Car Rental, toll-free: +1-800-654-3131.
Outside-of-Airport car rental companies with Shuttle include:
Taxis are generally expensive, but available at almost any time and place.
- Yellow Cab, ☎ +1 561 682-2222. The largest company in the city.
- Palm Tran, toll-free: +1-877-930-4BUS (287). Palm Tran runs seven days a week (excluding holidays) serving more than 3,500 bus stops.
- Molly's Trolley, ☎ +1 561 838-9511. A free trolley serving the Downtown West Palm Beach Clematis Street District. Hours of Operation Sunday-Wednesday 11AM-9PM and Thursday-Saturday 11AM-11PM.
Tri-Rail, toll-free: +1-800-872-7245. Commuter train which runs north and south parallel to I-95, connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Tri-Rail provides access to South Florida's three major airports, as well as links to Miami's Metrorail.
- Flagler Museum, on the island of Palm Beach, features the restored home of Henry Flagler, co-founder of Standard Oil, and the man who conceived of Florida as a tourist destination. Tour his home ($10 per person) and have high tea ($28 per person).
- Norton Art Museum, in downtown West Palm, has been newly renovated and has become a piece of art itself. Located on Dixie Hwy, about a quarter of a mile from Okeechobee Blvd. Open 6 days. $12 adults; $5 for ages 13 to 21; free for members and kids under 13.
- The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, located in West Palm Beach, Florida, is one of the premier performing arts centers in the Southeast with a growing national and international reputation. True to the spirit in which it was created, the Center is expanding programming by initiating projects on local, national and international levels. The world-class Kravis Center opened fully funded, with a total construction cost of $68 million, of which a remarkable $49 million came from private individuals and corporations.
There are over 40 miles of beautiful beaches in Palm Beach County. The proximity of the Gulf Stream keeps the waters warm year-round. A nearby public beach in the city of Palm Beach has lifeguards during the day, and is easily accessible. Flags by the lifeguard announce hazardous conditions (red for dangerous surf conditions, and purple for dangerous sea life).
For snorkeling, two places might satisfy. One is John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, located on the north end of Singer Island. The beach contains a shallow reef full of fish. Be careful, shark and barracuda are seen occasionally. This park also has kayaking, music on Sundays, and some short hiking trails. Kayaking is popular in a calm inlet located in the park, which is surrounded by mangrove swamps.
Another snorkeling spot is the Breaker's reef. Located on Palm Beach, the reef is nestled right behind the Breakers hotel. This reef is one long stretch that juts out into the ocean. You can park on the side roads near the Breakers, although it is technically illegal and police often tow out of town cars from this wealthy neighborhood.
A beach activity unique to Florida is watching space shuttles launch out over the ocean. Shuttles lifting off from Cape Kennedy are visible during both daylight and night hours, although night and early morning launches are significantly more impressive. From most beaches, looking directly north up the coast will orient you correctly. Launches are visible from anywhere in Florida, but the ocean guarantees a clear view and night launches often reflect in the water.
There are bicycle paths throughout the area. One of the nicest is on the West (Intracoastal) side of Palm Beach. It runs from the middle bridge to the inlet that separates Palm Beach from Singer Island. This path is also suitable for roller blading.
- McCarthys Wildlife Sanctuary (McCarthys Wildlife), 12943 61st Street North, West Palm Beach, Florida (Take I95 to Northlake blvd west to Coconut south to 61st north west to 12943 1 hour), ☎ +1 561-790-2116. 11AM to 3PM. At this non-profit wildlife rehabilitation center, you can see over 90 animals and have a close encounter with over 22 large cats lions, tiger, panther, snakes and more. Money raised goes towards the care of the animals. Bring your camera. A fun and educational experience. 10 children 20adult.
- Lion Country Safari. lies just west of the city. Originally, there were several of these Safari Parks, but this is the only to remain. Includes rides for children; makes a great family fun day!
Shopping is a popular activity in West Palm, not least because the weather is so mild year-round. There are a number of places to shop, including:
- CityPlace, two recently renovated blocks in downtown West Palm that now features dozens of high-end shops, including Brookstone; Pottery Barn; White House, Black Market; Macy's; and more.
- Clematis Street, runs perpendicular to CityPlace, and is the older, trendy shopping district, featuring Ann Taylor and several unique, eclectic shops.
- South Dixie Highway provides several blocks of second-hand shops, from thrift stores to high-end antiques.
- Worth Avenue on Palm Beach Island is home to many luxury boutiques.
- Downtown at the Gardens in Palm Beach Gardens has many restaurants, along with other stores selling clothing, like urban outfitters, and other shops. Also includes Cobb movie theaters.
- Verdea Wine Bar, 4350 PGA Blvd, ☎ +1 561-622-1000. Wine Bar and fine dining restaurant in Palm Beach Gardens. Farm to table cuisine that features local products. Over 250 wines available.
- Whole Foods Market, 11701 Lake Victoria Gardens Drive, Palm Beach Gardens (xxit Hwy 95 at 79A, travel east less than one mile, it is in Downtown at the Gardens on the north side of PGA before (west) of the Gardens Mall), ☎ +1 561-691-8550. 8AM-10PM. Full grocery and cafe offering fresh and local produce, fresh and local seafood, grass fed beef as well as a butcher in the house, enticing array of salads and entrees prepared to eat-in or take-out, brick oven pizzas, custom sandwiches, full scale bakery, unique coffees, great wine and beer selections, nutritional supplements and spa products, and cheeses from around the world.
- Pizza Girls, 114 S Clematis St, ☎ +1 561 833-4004. A great place to grab a quick, expensive bite; offers gourmet pies, or pizza by the slice.
- Sushi Jo, 319 Belvedere Road #12, ☎ +1 561 868-7893. Best sushi around; always ask for market price!
- Rhythm Cafe, 3800 S Dixie Hwy, ☎ +1 561 833-3406. # A, -- outstanding food -- the menu changes regularly -- in an eclectic setting.
- ER Bradley's Saloon, 104 S Clematis St, ☎ +1 561 833-3520. Decent bar food in sight of the Intracoastal.
- The India Palace, 4778 Okeechobee Blvd, ☎ +1 561 478-5606. Great Indian food, at a moderate price.
- Brewzzi, 700 S Rosemary Ave # 212, ☎ +1 561 366-9753. local microbrewery cooks up excellent meals.
- Havana, 6803 S Dixie Hwy, ☎ +1 561 547-9799. Authentic Cuban cuisine. Open for lunch and dinner, with an all-night take-out window.
- Clematis by Night, sponsored by the City of West Palm, is a lively event each Thursday on Clematis Street. There's live music, and the audience can purchase beer and wine -- poured by a (rotating) area non-profit, who gets to keep the profits. Imagine: drinking and doing good!
- O'Shea's Pub, 531 Clematis St, ☎ +1 561 833-3865. a traditional Irish pub with a great beer garden on Clematis.
- Blue Martini, 550 S Rosemary Ave # 244, ☎ +1 561 835-8601. an upscale martini bar (martinis run about $15 apiece), featuring well-made drinks, doormen who are in love with themselves, and live music on the weekends.
- Brewzzi, 700 S Rosemary Ave # 212, ☎ +1 561 366-9753. Restaurant, Brewery and Bar at CityPlace. Winning both gold and silver medals at the Great American Beer Fest 2000-2003, Brewzzi is the most honored brewery in Florida. Brewzzi's Patio Bar overlooks the CityPlace fountains and there is a 2 for 1 Happy Hour, M-Th 3PM-6:30PM.
- Embassy Suites Palm Beach Gardens Hotel, 4350 PGA Blvd, ☎ +1 561-622-1000. All suite hotel. Free cooked to order breakfast daily, free eve reception with free drinks and snacks.
- PGA National Resort & Spa, 400 AVENUE OF THE CHAMPIONS, toll-free: +1-800-633-9150. Resort has The Spa, iBar, iRONWOOD Grill, Golf courses, and personal trainers.
- Studio 6 West Palm Beach, 1535 Centrepark Dr. Very much a budget hotel; don't expect luxury or even much in the way of comfort, but if you're on a tight budget it's a private place to sleep. $75/night.
- Holiday Inn Palm Beach, 1301 Belvedere Rd. Clean, comfortable rooms and bathrooms with free wireless internet. $105/night.
- Hotel Biba, ☎ +1 561 832-0094, e-mail: email@example.com. A funky, sea-foam-colored hotel with colorful, ultra-modern decor. Located about 3 miles south of Clematis Street, Hotel Biba bills itself as "a 43-room historic landmark boutique hotel." The hotel features Biba Bar, a hip nightclub featuring live music on the weekends. $195/night
- Homewood Suites, 2455 Metrocentre Blvd, ☎ +1 561-682-9188. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Suites with full kitchens, free internet, flat screen TV. Guests have access to free parking, free hot breakfast, pool and fitness center. $130.
- SpringHill Suites West Palm Beach I-95, 2437 Metrocentre Blvd (just off I-95 and 8 miles from the Palm Beach International airport), ☎ +1 561-689-6814. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Extended stay hotel. Suites include free Internet, microwave, mini-fridge, and flat screen TV. Also available to guests are free hot breakfast buffet, free parking, pool, and fitness center. $90.
- Embassy Suites West Palm Beach - Central, 1601 Belvedere Rd, ☎ +1 561 689-6400. Located across the street from the Palm Beach Airport and minutes from the Palm Beach Convention Center, the Kravis Center and many of Palm Beach's famous golf courses. The property features complimentary breakfast, free high-speed internet access, an outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, a fitness center, and shuttle buses which go downtown and to the airport. $150/night.
- West Palm Beach Marriott Hotel, 1001 Okeechobee Blvd, ☎ +1 561-833-1234, fax: +1 561-833-4689. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. Three-star hotel with all the usual amenities. $300/night.
- Driving -- Florida has "no fault" auto accident laws, which means you are responsible for up to $10,000 in damage to your car, even if you are not responsible for the accident. Make sure your rental car comes with collision insurance, or obtain separate insurance. Florida also has a very high rate of auto fatalities, so take extra care on the roads.
- Crime -- Despite a dropping crime rate, the crime is very high for a city the size of West Palm Beach, it was recently rated as the 14th most-dangerous city in the United States, but the areas of high crime are not anywhere near the areas that would be traveled by the everyday tourist.
The Tiki Bar is a casual bar on the Intracoastal about 2 miles north of West Palm, in Riviera Beach just off US 1. They feature live music 7 days a week. If you go, try the Grouper Tacos, an unforgettable taste treat. One plate serves 2 people.
Heading north about 5 more miles takes you to Blue Heron Blvd. Turn right, and cross the bridge. You'll find yourself on Singer Island, a small beach community that wants to be the next Cocoa Beach. Featuring clean, wide, white sandy beaches, several open-aired beachside restaurants, and a few large surf shops, this is a very relaxing place to get away from the trendy shopping and nightlife of West Palm.
There are a lot of other interesting cities surrounding West Palm, including Jupiter and Palm Beach Gardens to the north, Royal Palm Beach to West, Atlantic Ocean to East and Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and Boynton Beach to the south.
|Routes through West Palm Beach|
|Orlando ← Sebring ←||N S||→ Delray Beach → Miami|
|Tampa ← Okeechobee ←||N S||→ Delray Beach → Miami|
|Daytona Beach ← Riviera Beach ←||N S||→ Lake Worth → Fort Lauderdale|
|Orlando ← Jupiter ←||N S||→ Delray Beach → Miami|
|Daytona Beach ← Riviera Beach ←||N S||→ Lake Worth → Fort Lauderdale|
|Lakeland/Fort Myers ← Belle Glade ←||W E||→ Palm Beach → END|
|Daytona Beach ← Riviera Beach ←||N S||→ Palm Beach → Fort Lauderdale|
|END ← Mangonia Park ←||N S||→ Lake Worth → Miami|