07 Mar Guide to West Palm Beach: Entertainment, Outdoors, & More
West Palm Beach is one of the smaller South Florida cities, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it. There is a nightlife and entertainment district that’s buzzing year-round, top-rated restaurants and outdoor activities to keep the whole family occupied. The city is great for vacationers, or for those who want to stick around for a while. Round-up the family and the golf clubs and head out to the Palm Beaches this January.
This city has a tropical climate. There are two main seasons: wet and dry. The wet season lasts from May through October, with thunderstorms usually rolling in daily in the afternoon. Temperatures sit around 90 degrees during the wet season, and the air is very humid. Consider purchasing an air purifier for your home or office for some breathable balance. The dry season takes place from November to April. It’s still warm, around 80 degrees at the highest, but some nights may experience frost.
Most people get around West Palm Beach by car. There are two options for public transportation: the Palm Tran and Molly’s Trolleys. The Palm Tran has more than 3,500 bus stops, and fares run $2 for a single trip. Molly’s Trolley is free and it circles the Downtown area. The flat terrain makes the city very bikeable, and there are several shops in the area that offer bicycle rentals.
PLACES TO SEE
Located about 10 minutes from downtown, the Flagler Museum is where visitors can go to learn about the history of Florida as a tourist destination. The museum was the home of Henry Flagler, who co-founded Standard Oil. It is housed in Whitehall mansion, which Flagler built for his third wife Mary Lily Kenan. Flagler is credited with making Florida more tourist-friendly through million-dollar construction projects such as the Ponce De Leon Hotel, the Florida East Coast Railway. He eventually gained the nickname as the “Father of Miami.”
The Palm Beach Zoo is a fun family-friendly attraction in the city. The zoo takes up a total of 23-acres, and it houses more than 1,400 animals in a natural tropical habitat. There’s an aquarium, tiger exhibit, and reptile house. Visitors also have the option of getting up close and personal with sloths, tortoises or koalas. The zoo hosts many events during the week. It also has daily shows including one with more than 20 bird species.
THINGS TO DO
As the city’s name implies, there are nearly endless miles of beautiful beaches in the area. With the Gulf Stream nearby, the ocean water stays warm year-round. Pack a beach bag and head to R.G. Kreusler Park. Located about 20 minutes from downtown, this beach has lifeguards on duty, a boardwalk to a fishing pier and a park shaded by palm trees.
John D. MacArthur Beach State Park is a popular spot among kayakers. The park has a shallow reef which has many colorful fish, and it hosts live music on Sundays. Breaker’s Reef is a great snorkeling spot. It’s necessary to bring fins, as there is a strong current. But visitors may be able to spot stingrays, eels, and octopus.
Beach visitors should check the Cape Canaveral launch schedule. While people can see rocket launches from anywhere in Florida, the beaches and clear night sky often provide the best views.
NIGHTLIFE AND ENTERTAINMENT
Those living in the surrounding Palm Beach County know West Palm Beach is the place to go for nightlife. A free trolley connects the hottest spots, CityPlace and Clematis Street. CityPlace has several restaurants, shops, and a 20 screen movie theater. A brand-new bowling alley opened in 2013, and the area has a popular karaoke bar called WannaB’s. The area has a dance club as well as a country western bar with an expansive beer menu.
Families head to Clematis Street during the day so their children can run through the dancing water fountain or grab a cone at Sloan’s Ice Cream. At night, the area is filled with 20-somethings who filter through the various nightclubs. There are many nightlife options to choose from, including a wine bar, rooftop bar, and a hookah bar.
WHERE TO EAT
Many Florida cities have a wide variety of cuisines, and West Palm Beach is no exception. Head to Havana for traditional Cuban food. This restaurant has become a city landmark since it opened in 1993. The menu includes ropa vieja, vaca frita in mojo sauce and tres leches cake for dessert. The best part is their 24/7 take-out window.
Sushi Jo is the top sushi spot in the city. The restaurant has a chic design, and it serves classic dishes as well as their own creations. Try the Anaconda roll, with shrimp tempura, salmon skin, eel and avocado. Or the Jo’s Crunch, with tempura salmon and eel, asparagus and cream cheese fried in tempura batter.
Rhythm Cafe is a spot made for Instagram. The restaurant has a 1950s drugstore design complete with retro barstools and funky art. Its menu changes often, with past options including a spring roll crepe, onion-crusted fish and key lime chicken.