The sister city to tony Palm Beach, West Palm has a joie de vivre lifestyle that is the essence of the Sunshine State. From Gen xers to salt-and-peppered East Coasters alike, can appreciate the area’s many charms — especially in Casa Grandview's Grandview Heights, where Spanish mission–style homes and Craftsman bungalows hark back to when Henry Flagler’s famed train put South Florida on the map.
Don your Lilly Pulitzer pedal pushers for the haute Floridian fare — including a tower of crab, avocado and mango, or horseradish- and citrus-glazed mahi — at Charley’s Crab, in Palm Beach. For a romantic evening a deux, book a table on the 60-seat terrace at Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court Hotel. The decadent French menu is well worth the steep prices. Pair flatbread pizzas with a bottle (or two) of chianti at Belle & Maxwells — and save room for the strawberry rhubarb pie. Or stay in and order café con leche and cubanos from Havana.
Embrace your inner coed and commingle with college students along Clematis Street and the Waterfront, which is undergoing a revival. In City Place, the Blue Martini has a daily happy hour (drinks and appetizers are half off). Or cross the bridge to Palm Beach for a cocktail with the blue bloods at the Breaker’s Seafood Bar.
Flex your plastic on Worth Avenue, Palm Beach’s Rodeo Drive — hello, Cartier, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Here, too, are A.B. Levy Antiques, which stocks top-notch French Gilded Age and Louis XIV furniture, and the Church Mouse, a consignment shop with mint resort wear from the previous season. Hit up West Palm’s antique row, where Donovan & Gray Antiques has vintage fashions by Hermès, Gucci and the like, and Dolce offers off-the-wall tchotchkes like ostrich feather–adorned sconces.
The PGA Resort in Palm Beach Gardens has some of the area’s toughest courses. Closer to home, the public Palm Beach Golf Course has views of the Intracoastal Waterway.
Cruise along South Ocean Boulevard, between Barton Avenue and Southern Boulevard, where coastal mansions (of the Bernard Madoff and Trump variety) front the Atlantic. Although most homes are private, historians offer guided tours of the 19th-century Italian-Renaissance mansion of Henry Flagler. Ogle on to see more Pam Beach Celebrity Estates
Palm Beach’s pristine beaches are just a two-mile drive across the Intracoastal Waterway. The nearest is Palm Beach, where the clean and guarded waters and prime people-watching (the beach is shared by residents of South Ocean Boulevard and guests at the Breakers) are worth the $5 per hour parking. For something more low-key, shoot the breeze at Lake Worth Beach, about 15 minutes south, or jump on a surfboard another 18 miles south, at Delray Beach.
Tap into Palm Beach’s artsy side at the free Sculpture Garden and the Society of the Four Arts, where a dozen 20th-century stone and bronze sculptures hide among Spanish-style gardens of manicured bushes and swaying palms. For a rainy day, trip back to the Gilded Age to learn about South Florida’s famed railroad at the Flagler Museum. Or keep close to home and walk two blocks to the “Art After Dark” exhibitions at the Norton Museum of Art.
Jess Blumensheid, Editorial Producer Jetsetter
Spruce up an afternoon with a stroll through the 2-acre Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens which highlight more than 40 years of the sculptor’s work with structures as tall as 12 feet.
Switch things up by visiting nearby Palm Beach Island during a 3-hour guided bus or bike tour with Island Living Tours; try the Worth Avenue shopping tour to satisfy that shopping urge.
Polish off a not-so-classic ham-and-cheese sandwich (honey-baked with Brie and mango chutney) alongside 1 of 50 varieties of loose-leaf tea at Serenity Garden Tea House.
Renew an interest in antiques at the 40-store Antique Row, which features art galleries, restaurants and shops that sell crafts and decorative arts from the 17th–20th centuries.
Brighten things up with a visit to the 1941 Norton Museum of Art, which features 19th- and 20th-century masterpieces from Matisse, Monet, Picasso, O’Keeffe and Pollock.
Overhaul standard American fare at Brewzzi with unique dishes, such as Pretzel Crusted Salmon, with award-winning, brewed-on-site ales like the Black Duke or the Brewzzi Reserve.