Your Go-To Guide To Palm Beach County
Starting with “A” isn't the only reason altruism begins our list. Galas and giving back are the bread and butter of the Palm Beaches. During season (now through spring), schedules are booked with events supporting local charities and causes. Fundraisers range from black-tie affairs, like LIFE's Lady in Red Gala; to indulgent invitations, such as the Palm Beach Wine Auction benefiting the Kravis Center; to fashion shows, including The Arc of Palm Beach County's Wild Pants Party; to afternoon soirées, like the Hearing the Ovarian Cancer Whisper's Time is of the Essence Luncheon. Just as important as dollars raised are dresses donned. Attendees in formal finery are captured on the last few pages of this magazine in our Scene + Heard section, which showcases photos from philanthropic happenings.
During February and March, Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter and FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm play host to four major league baseball teams: Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros and Washington Nationals. The Palm Beaches provide the perfect conditions for spring training, with sunny skies and dedicated fans. Both stadiums fit more than 7,000 attendees and offer unique experiences, like finishing a “Dean” dog (a one-third-pound frankfurter) at a Marlins and Cardinals game, or cheering on favorite past-president mascots in a race between innings at a Nationals game.
Clematis Street runs east and west in downtown West Palm Beach, lined with restaurants, bars and boutiques that culminate at the waterfront, which faces Palm Beach island. Centennial Square at the waterfront hosts a Saturday morning GreenMarket from October through April for locals to stock up on farm fruits, veggies, coffee, tea, herbs, spices and more.
For gastronomical gallivanting, West Palm Beach Food Tours offers three-hour cuisine excursions to local restaurants like Dr. Limon (where Peruvian dishes like ceviche and causa are the main attraction) and bars like The Blind Monk (think prosecco mojitos and Cubanos). Liquid diet? Reserve a spot on the Damn Good Beer Bus, which takes up to 14 ale lovers to three breweries on a four-hour tour, or lead yourself along the Ale Trail, which includes stops at breweries like Dixie Grill & Bar and Tequesta Brewing Co. Following the samples trend, Grandview Public Market is a food hall in West Palm with vendors from taco stands to crepe stations. And for those who want to experience the best restaurants in town at an affordable price, Flavor Palm Beach, which takes place this month with more than 50 participating restaurants offering a three-course lunch for $20 or dinner for $30 to $45 per person. For a dining experience that's out-of-the-box, or rather the bounds of four walls, Swank Farm in Loxahatchee hosts family-style dinners and brunches in a pole barn.
Perhaps the most anticipated event of the year is SunFest, a weekend in the spring when more than 50 bands and 130,000 fans head to the waterfront. When it comes to year-round entertainment, acts like Chris Stapleton and Zac Brown Band take the stage at Coral Sky Amphitheatre at the South Florida Fairgrounds. But for those who prefer monologues over music, Shakespeare by the Sea takes place at The Seabreeze Amphitheater in Carlin Park during two summer weekends. For traditional theater experiences, visits to the Palm Beach Opera or Maltz Jupiter Theatre are musts. And if the goal of the evening is to laugh, the Palm Beach Improv is a favorite spot for comedians, like Kevin Hart, to visit while on tour.
Spend time on the east coast of Florida and you'll become familiar with the name Flagler—there's Flagler County, Flagler College, and in Palm Beach, the Flagler Museum. Henry Morrison Flagler was the American industrialist responsible for founding what became the Florida East Coast Railway. The Flagler Museum, or Whitehall, was his Gilded Age estate on Palm Beach island. Sixty years ago, it became a museum dedicated to displaying the life of Flagler. For an extended history lesson, the museum offers tours of The Breakers, the second hotel Flagler opened in Palm Beach. Today, descendants of his third wife, Mary Lily Kenan, still sit on the hotel's board.
Golf greats descend upon PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens annually during late-February for the Honda Classic. Year-round playing conditions have appealed to champs like Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman who put down roots in Florida, but local courses appeal to pros and novices alike. A destination for the sport, Palm Beach County has more than 160 public courses, including favorites like North Palm Beach Country Club and Osprey Point Golf Course.
Jupiter's Harbourside Place is a destination for dining, shopping and enjoying live music at the Amphitheater. During Sundays, peruse the Waterfront Market for goods by local vendors and artisans, or during weeknights take a sunset cruise on one of PonTiki's boats. Have a boat of your own? Pull it up and park it at the marina before embarking on an evening of dining at favorites like Tommy Bahama and Calaveras Cantina, or book a staycation at the Wyndham Grand, which has 179 rooms and a rooftop pool with views of the harbor.
INTERNATIONAL POLO CLUB
Palm Beachers take polo seriously. From late-December through April, the International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington is a destination for the most prestigious polo tournaments in the country. Just as serious as the matches between the world's top polo players is Sunday brunch, held on the east side of the field. Extravagant food spreads and bottles of Veuve are expected, as are derby hats and brightly colored ensembles.
JUPITER INLET LIGHTHOUSE
This beloved beacon dates back to 1860. While guided tours and museum exhibits preserve the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum's rich history, modern uses have also taken shape, including exercise initiatives and professions of love. Twilight Yoga at the Light is led by local instructor Mary Veal every Monday evening by the Museum flag pole. A climb to the top reveals a destination for couples to get engaged, or down below they might book the wedding venue, which boasts water views and shade beneath the branches of a mighty banyan tree.
KRAVIS CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
Not only does the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts boast three venues that facilitate nearly 550 events and 500,000 guests each season, but the cultural hub is also expanding thanks to a $50 million initiative. The update, due for completion in summer 2020, will include a new valet garage, technology advancements and an expanded Dreyfoos Hall Lobby. In the meantime, though, the show must go on with a fall lineup that includes “Fiddler on the Roof” and performances by the Miami City Ballet.
Locals and visitors alike want to vacation in the Palm Beaches. Quintessential to the island is The Colony Palm Beach, just steps (or a ride on the hotel's pink bikes) away from Worth Avenue. Not far is The Brazilian Court Hotel & Beach Club, home to celebrity chef Daniel Boulud's award-winning Café Boulud. Keep traveling north and you'll come across The Breakers, a destination for attending galas, dining at The Circle, grabbing drinks at HMF, booking treatments at the spa and, if you're like the celebrity couple Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello, getting married. The Breakers has something in common with two other must-visit hotels: the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach and the Eau Palm Beach Resort in Manalapan. All three were listed among the best resorts in Florida by Condé Nast Traveler this past year. The Eau and Four Seasons also hold five-star ratings from the Forbes Travel Guide.
With the ocean as a next-door neighbor, facilities like the Manatee Lagoon provide education and encounters to the community. Loggerhead Marinelife Center not only offers learning experiences, but the non-profit also researches and rehabilitates Florida's most beloved animal: the sea turtle. The facility treats 100 sea turtles and 1,000 hatchlings a year, giving “patients” names like “Hopper” and “Willis.” LMC hosts its annual Go Blue Awards Luncheon next month at the Kravis Center, featuring keynote speaker Robert Ballard, an underwater archaeologist known for finding the RMS Titanic in 1985.
NORTON MUSEUM OF ART
After a $100 million renovation, the Norton Museum of Art reopened in February. The expansion broke ground in 2016 to increase exhibit space, add a sculpture garden, launch a restaurant and recreate the entrance on South Dixie Highway, which now includes a water feature and gigantic typewriter eraser sculpture by Sweden-born pop artist Claes Oldenburg. Also noteworthy is the awning, which was designed with a circular hole as to not disrupt the branches of a century-old mammoth ficus tree. Now with 35 percent more exhibit space, the Norton Museum continues to display American, Chinese, European and contemporary art, with free entry on Fridays and Saturdays thanks to donors.
There is no shortage of ways to enjoy the outdoors in Palm Beach. From biking to paddleboarding, both the land and sea abound with opportunities for getting out and active. John D. MacArthur State Park, between the Atlantic Ocean and Lake Worth Lagoon in North Palm Beach, is a destination for swimming, snorkeling and fishing, as well as walking along a nature trail, kayaking and canoeing. Farther north in Jupiter, Riverbend Park not only offers hiking and biking paths, but also equestrian trails. Keeping with the animal-friendly trend, Jupiter Dog Beach, a 2.5-mile stretch of sand and ocean, is the only free dog beach in the county.
PALM BEACH GARDENS
With what's left of the back-to-school shopping budget, a visit to Palm Beach Gardens is in order. The Gardens Mall, anchored by Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's and Macy's, has more than 150 high-end storefronts—Tiffany & Co., Tumi, Jimmy Choo, to name a few—and restaurants like Cooper's Hawk and True Food Kitchen. Downtown at the Gardens offers upscale boutiques, like Lola Chiq and Blessed Boutique, and specialty shops, including The Spice & Tea Exchange for herbal gourmet teas as well as Whole Pet Essentials for picking up an apology present for that pooch who spent the day home alone. Legacy Place is another shopping destination for retailers like Golftec and The Container Store, as well as beauty, fitness and dining outposts. Don't shop until you drop before making it to PGA Commons for perusing art at Onessimo Fine Art Gallery and Studio E Gallery, and grabbing a bite at Prosecco Cafe or Kabuki Sushi Thai Tapas.
QUINTESSENTIAL PALM BEACH
There's nothing that says Palm Beach more than a Lilly Pulitzer print. Last fall, the brand opened on Worth Avenue where the legacy began 60 years ago. The story goes that Pulitzer was operating a juice stand on the Ave when she was inspired to design bright, patterned clothing for herself to disguise stains. Now, the eponymous resort wear outpost on Palm Beach island not only displays her classic shift dresses in paisley patterns, but it also carries the brand's newly launched golf collection. On select days, guests can stop in to meet with resident artist Melissa Sixma Lingo and design a custom, hand-painted Lilly bag inspired by a photo (often of a pet!) of their choice.
What was once known in West Palm Beach as CityPlace is transforming into Rosemary Square. The 72-acre neighborhood adjacent to the also newly branded Virgin Trains station (more on that later) is reaping the benefits of a $550 million investment plan that is rolling out over the next five years. Related Companies, the real estate firm behind the project, broke ground this summer on one of the biggest initiatives: 360 Rosemary, a new center of commerce, which will add 1,200 additional jobs and operate out of a 300,000-square-foot, LEED Gold office building. More anticipated expansion will include added retail and entertainment, public green spaces, a new hotel, walkable sidewalks, arts and culture programs, and more.
With such close proximity to the ocean, outstanding seafood here is a given. Find fresh, often locally sourced fish in Palm Beach at PB Catch, Seafood Bar inside The Breakers and Bimini Twist. In Jupiter, restaurants like U-Tiki Beach, Guanabanas, Jetty's Waterfront Restaurant, 1000 NORTH and Little Moir's Food Shack offer fresh catches in the most classical sense, while places like 2 Vinez, Hog Snappers and Dive Bar switch things up with extensive sushi menus.
THE ROYAL POINCIANA PLAZA
With Lilly Pulitzer's granddaughter Lilly Leas Ferreira as general manager, The Royal Poinciana Plaza continues to grow as a destination on Palm Beach island for shopping, dining and attending community events. Local favorite Sant Ambroeus, which originates from Manhattan, is the perfect place for having lunch before browsing the racks at Cynthia Rowley and Kirna Zabête. Every Thursday, Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa hosts a “Bubbles & Blowouts” event while Coyo Taco celebrates its karaoke night with BOGO margaritas, giveaways and half-price tacos. Events are constantly being added, so it's best to check the website (theroyalpoincianaplaza.com) for upcoming happenings
For underwater sights of fish, sea turtles and an artificial reef, swim the snorkel trail off of Phil Foster Park in Riviera Beach or neighboring Peanut Island's snorkeling lagoon. Coral Cove Park in Tequesta, Zion Train (north of the Jupiter Inlet) and Mizpah Corridor (northeast of Palm Beach Inlet) also provide ample snorkeling opportunities and views of marine life—moray eels, eagle rays, spiny oysters—to sunken ships. For closer looks, scuba lessons may be in order. The Scuba Club is one of many organizations that offer diving instructions, as well as gear for purchase or rent.
Virgin Trains USA, formerly Brightline, is a fast-speed passenger rail service that travels between Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Travelers can choose between Smart or Select seating, each granting guests features including leather seats and complimentary Wi-Fi. Those who pay a little extra for Select service can also order unlimited food and beverages, and access a dedicated lounge while they wait for the train to arrive. Virgin plans to add a station in Boca Raton next; and by 2022, the final stop after West Palm Beach will be at Orlando International Airport, reached in about two hours.
Synonymous with Palm Beach fashion and recreation, Worth Avenue is the cornerstone of the island. More than a century ago, Moorish-Mediterranean-style buildings that housed designer brands began cropping up along the iconic street, credited to none other than Addison Mizner. Today, stores like Tiffany & Co. and restaurants like Ta-boo have long histories on the Ave. Meanwhile, newer stores, like Raptis Rare Books and restaurants like Hai House are only starting their legacies. Stroll from west to east and you'll find the iconic Worth Avenue clock tower just steps from the beach.
We cheated this one a bit, but it's true that art takes shape in a big way in Palm Beach. From public murals to larger-than-life sculptures, there are plenty of opportunities to feel small and inspired all at once. The Society of the Four Arts displays a collection of outdoor pieces, including “Intetra” by Isamu Noguchi, a stainless-steel pyramid that can be seen from across the Intracoastal when looking at the island from West Palm Beach's waterfront. The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens in West Palm is set behind the late artist's home and showcases her nine monumental structures that are as tall as 28 feet. CANVAS murals, like the “Einstein's Theory of Love” painting on the Subculture Coffeehouse patio wall, are also scattered throughout downtown, adding culture and color.
The 35th annual Palm Beach International Boat Show takes place on S. Flagler Drive in West Palm in March 2020, showing more than $1.2 billion of yachts and accessories. The area is a boating destination with plenty of water activities—and wealthy residents who can buy and maintain nautical purchases.
We'll end this piece predictably. (Any better ideas for “Z”?) But, the wildlife experiences in Palm Beach do deserve recognition. The Palm Beach Zoo in West Palm Beach is what you think of as a traditional zoo. Meanwhile, Lion Country Safari, the only drive-thru safari in Florida, allows guests to take a cruise through the preserves where more than 1,000 animals, like zebras, rhinoceros and giraffes live. Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter not only offers educational opportunities, but it also rescues, rehabilitates and releases wild animals. And although it isn't necessarily a “zoo,” the South Florida Science Center's “Aquariums of the Atlantic” is home to eels, stingrays, sharks and seahorses.
Photos by Discover The Palm Beaches