The Palm Beaches’ largest city, West Palm Beach is a hugely popular destination for visitors seeking year-round sunshine, idyllic waterfont living, a buzzing nightlife, and an array of outdoor and cultural attractions. Dotted with boutiques, restaurants, theatres and museums, there’s enough to keep you busy for weeks – though the temptation to simply kick back and recline on one of city’s stunning stretches of sand tends to tug away at all who come here, too.
If you’re considering travelling to West Palm Beach for a short break or a more extended stay, it would be a good idea to plan how to spend your time here before you arrive. To help you piece together an itinerary to suit your tastes and preferences, we’ve picked out 7 of the best ideas for things to see and do in West Palm Beach.
Amphibious Boat Tour
The calm waters of Intracoastal Waterway are one of jewels in South Florida’s crown and one of the most fun and adventurous of exploring the area is aboard a an amphibious boat. Diva Duck Amphibious Tours is a renowned local company that runs daily 75-minute sightseeing tours aboard a state-of-the-art Hydra-Terra vehicle that can traverse both land and water with ease. Helmed by experienced captains, tours start on terra firma and invites passengers to gawp at landmarks and attractions including the beautiful mansions of Palm Beach, The Breakers Hotel and the Flagler Museum. Then it’s time for the big splash as you hit the water, offering a chance to admire the area’s luxury yacht-strewn harbours and natural beauty. For a more private experience, the company also hosts charter tours, parties and corporate events.
Palm Beach Show
One of the most anticipated events of the season, the Palm Beach Show will return to the Palm Beach County Convention Center for its 17th year on Presidents’ Day weekend, 13-18 February 2020. The show, which features the collections of renowned international dealers, attracts tens of thousands of private collectors, museum curators, investors and interior designers who are eager to search for treasures and purchase some of the most unique and coveted fine art, jewellery and antiques in the world.
Palm Beach Distillery
Anyone visiting West Palm Beach with an interest in how spirits are produced have the perfect opportunity to find out by heading to the acclaimed Palm Beach Distillery. Founded by passionate spirits lover Summer Piep in 2017, the distillery became one of the few women-owned craft spirits production sites in the US, with its cohort of female owners and employees quickly adopting the nickname “Ladies of Palm Beach Distillery”. Together their expertise and dedication produce some of South Florida’s finest Vodkas, Rums and Gins under the ‘Lost Harbour Spirits’ brand, all of which can be sampled by booking onto a private tour, which offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the production process in the company of friendly, knowledgeable guides.
South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
Providing curious minds of all ages with an entertaining and educational journey through the latest discoveries in science and technology, The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium features more than 100 interactive exhibits, an immersive fresh and saltwater aquarium, full-dome planetarium, Florida conservation-themed miniature golf course, the world’s most advanced exhibit on the human brain, and much more. Visitors can experience the latest upgrade – a quarter-mile long outdoor Science Trail with 15 new exhibits including a Physics Forest, FPL SolarScape, gem panning station, and interactive splash pad. So popular is the centre that it now serves over 300,000 students and other visitors annually, providing a mind-opening experience for all.
Norton Museum of Art
Housing more than 8,000 works spanning categories including European, American, Chinese, Contemporary and Photography, Norton Museum of Art is one of Florida’s finest cultural institutions. Founded in 1941, the venue was extended in recent years to include a stunning annex designed by legendary architect Lord Norman Foster, and now comprises a lush sculpture garden that complements its interior treasures. Among the most notable works to feature at the museum are masterpieces such as Stuart Davis’s New York Mural and Jackson Pollock’s Night Mist.
West Palm Beach Food Tour
West Palm Beach is a foodie’s paradise and its mouth-watering culinary scene can be discovered by joining a local food tour. West Palm Beach Food Tours are the go-to guys for such an experience, taking groups of visitors off the beaten track to meet award-winning chefs, taste a diverse assortment of food and drink, duck into street-side cafes and other eateries, and hear engaging tales that transport you back into the region’s rich past. There’s a choice of two themed trips – Downtown tours which involve 1.5 miles of walking, and the extended Historic neighbourhood tour, which takes approximately 3 hours and includes van transport – each taking a different route to discover two distinct but equally fascinating parts of the city. Tours take place whatever the weather, so comfortable shoes and rain-proof clothing are recommended.
West Palm Brewery & Wine Vault
Downtown West Palm Beach’s first craft brewery and taproom, West Palm Brewery & Wine Vault features award-winning beers by Head Brewer Joel Kodner, premium wines from owner John Pankauski’s private label, and artisan food made in their Intracoastal Kitchen. The brewery consistently receives awards for their brews, most notably Best In Show at the 2019 Best Florida Beer Competition for their Five Six One Hefeweizen. The kitchen’s imported Italian wood-fired oven cranks out delicious eats within minutes, including Neapolitan-style pizzas, buffalo wings, and more. Always kid and pet-friendly, West Palm Brewery & Wine Vault is the premier downtown destination brewery.
Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society
Families keen to engage their kids with the natural world have the ultimate opportunity to do just that in West Palm Beach thanks to the city being home to its own Zoo & Conservation Society. Boasting over 550 exotic animals, many endangered, the zoo offers visitors the chance to observe such diverse species as Malayan tigers, jaguars, Mexican spider monkeys, panther as they go about their business, as well as watch live shows and fascinating zoo keeper talks. Once the little ones have had their fill of animal magic, the venue also has a carousel, an interactive water play fountain, and a Nature Play Pavilion alternative recreation, plus a full-service restaurant for refreshments.
By Paul Joseph