6 Hours in West Palm Beach
September 2, 2016
As summer 2016 draws to a close, we already have next summer on our mind. To prepare for Brightline’s train service launching between Miami and West Palm Beach (making a stop in Fort Lauderdale) in mid-2017, we’ve compiled a series of jam packed itineraries to spend six hours discovering the destinations surrounding the Brightline train stations.
“Living in South Florida, we are all guilty of staying within our particular neighborhood as traffic can make venturing to Palm Beach, Broward or Miami-Dade counties seem a world away,” shares Brightline Chief Marketing Officer Julie Edwards. “Brightline will help make our backyard bigger and a day of discovery will be on all our lists starting in mid-2017.”
The first in our series: a few suggestions for a getaway day to West Palm Beach.
We’ll start north in West Palm Beach and explore from Clematis to “the island.” Each activity is a convenient walk, bike or rideshare away from the Brightline station.
Hour 1: Culture Anyone?
West Palm Beach is home to a variety of exceptional museums and art venues worth exploring, including the Norton Museum of Art and the Ann Norton
Sculpture Gardens. Brightline guests should also consider crossing the causeway to classic Palm Beach Island. There, the Flagler Museum showcases the gilded age estate of Henry Flagler, who built the Florida East Coast Railway as a gateway to South Florida back in 1895 (the same right of way that Brightline currently uses!). Known as Whitehall, this 55-room mansion was completed in 1902 and hailed by the New York Herald as “more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world.”
Hour 2: Where the Wild Things Are
Traveling with the kids in tow, take a trip to Palm Beach Zoo. Housing more than 700 animals within 23-acres of lush tropical habitat, the Palm Beach Zoo is a must-visit that could take an entire afternoon. Short on time, schedule a close encounter with a resident koala, sloth or even a giant anteater. The Palm Beach Zoo is a wonderful way to spend an hour (or a whole day) and make new furry friends.
Hour 3: Let’s Shop
West Palm Beach is defined by its original mix of both national brands and local retailers, offering a menu of unbeatable shopping for travelers of all ages and styles. One of the most admired downtown centers in the United States, CityPlace is home to more than 100 shops for guests to explore and just steps from the Brightline station. With its own “Main Street,” nearby Northwood Village offers a diverse blend of vintage shops, funky boutiques and street side artists. Antique-lovers shouldn’t miss Antique Row, situated just south of downtown, with more than 40 shops, vintage boutiques and home design stores. For the ultimate in luxury shopping, Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue attracts shoppers from across the globe.
Hour 4: Down by the Water
Conveniently located in the heart of downtown, the West Palm Beach Waterfront provides a spectacular backdrop for a variety of free community events and activities that entertain and delight people of all ages. Savor fresh local offerings at the popular West Palm Beach Greenmarket, catch a film under the stars at Screen on the Green or kick off your flip flops and sway to the music at Clematis by Night or Sunday on the Waterfront, two of the town’s free concert series. Even when there isn’t an organized event going on, Centennial Square and Fountain Park is a beautiful plaza that has become a destination in its own right and popular as a site for children’s play. Much like that of a European city, it’s one of the best gathering places in town and always a great place to people watch, shop, stroll, enjoy the scenic water views and more.
Hour 5: Dining Out
As the fifth hour approaches, chances are hungry visitors are ready to sit back, relax and enjoy a satisfying meal. While West Palm Beach is a mecca for incredible restaurants boasting a diversity of cuisine options from all over the world, some of the top spots are near the Brightline station right on Clematis. E.R. Bradley’s overlooks the water and is a favorite spot for a cold brew and fresh seafood. The guacamole king of Clematis is Rocco’s Tacos, delivering Mexican favorites, and Pistache brings a taste of Paris to the shores of West Palm Beach. CityPlace has plenty of options as well, including Ill Bellagio for Italian al fresco dining, a glass of pinot and juicy steak at City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill or a cheeseburger at BURGERFI, a West Palm Beach favorite.
West Palm Beach has many bustling bars and clubs serving up live music and creative craft cocktails amidst an energetic atmosphere. Those wishing to cap out their evening in the city before boarding Brightline back home should venture to CityPlace or Clematis for after-dinner drinks and fun. Those wishing to extend their stay a little longer can trade their last call for curtain call at The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. Located in the heart of downtown, it is one of the premier performing arts centers in the Southeast with a growing national and international reputation. From excellent acoustics to a great selection and variety of Broadway shows, orchestras, operas and more, the Kravis Center is a fantastic venue and great way to cap off a day in West Palm Beach.
And once the day of fun in West Palm Beach has concluded, Brightline will be ready and waiting to whisk guests back home. Brightline trains will have frequent and convenient departures from each of the three cities throughout the day and evening. Riders can relax in a comfortable seat (that’s been selected prior to boarding), plug in a mobile device into one of the many outlets and surf the web compliments of the free Wi-Fi service. Hungry? Snacks and beverages will be available. This new train service will be unlike any other transportation experience, with a keen focus on our guests’ needs. Brightline is scheduled to begin service in mid-2017. We hope to welcome you aboard!