A Guide To Palm Beach County
With swanky restaurants, en plein air activities and gold standard attractions popping up every minute, it’s no surprise Palm Beach County is in constant flux. That’s why we’ve assembled a curated, insider-approved list of some of the best things to do, drink, eat and shop right now.
For Wellness Warriors and Athletes
Palm Beach County may be the nation’s golf capital, but it’s also a lightning rod for athletic enthusiasts, health-and-wellness seekers and those looking for solace in the great outdoors.
Activities are eclectic and endless. Head to the beach for a turtle walk after sundown, delight in a holistic spa treatment that heals and soothes, or try a hand—and your feet—at flyboarding. Similar to hoverboarding, this fun, extreme sport was invented by jet-ski champion Franky Zapata and can be easily learned at Flyboard Boca in Boca Raton. Certified instructors offer helpful instruction via Bluetooth helmets and control the board’s speed and height from their jet skis.
Don’t let the cuddly bear statue fool you. Severe slopes, wind gusts and hindering water hazards make The Bear Trap at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens one of the most challenging hole-trifectas in golf. Spend some time on the high-definition golf simulator at the club’s indoor training facility before hitting the links.
To see how Florida looked before Ponce de Leon arrived, head to one of the county’s wildlife-speckled sanctuaries, like Okeeheelee Park in West Palm Beach, Boca Raton’s Red Reef Park, Jupiter’s Riverbend Park or the 438-acre John D. MacArthur Beach State Park in North Palm Beach. Here, you can get up close to the breathtaking flora and fauna that inhabit these verdant surrounds via canoe, kayak, paddleboard or by foot.
Peanut Island is a cerulean-imbued paradise for snorkelers and the diving set. The 80-acre tropical park is accessible by water taxi, ferry or kayak, and it boasts a reef and lagoon teeming with turtles, manatees and parrotfish. Dry off then drop by the Palm Beach Maritime Museum and John F. Kennedy’s presidential bunker.
Traversing the Lake Trail is a popular pastime in Palm Beach. This 5.5-mile path meanders between South Lake Drive and the Sailfish Club and offers splendiferous views of the Lake Worth Lagoon, jaw-dropping super yachts and the West Palm Beach skyline. Take a water break at Sea Gull Cottage (Henry Flagler’s first house) and the seismic kapok tree near the Flagler Museum.
Eau Spa at Eau Palm Beach Resort & Spa in Manapalan is part zen den, part “Alice in Wonderland.” In the Self-Centered Garden, guests nibble on cupcakes and drink Champagne while swinging above shallow pools. Book the Imperial Geisha massage. The richly emollient treatment begins with a hand-drawn bath infused with Asian teas and oils and concludes with a warm body butter and silk massage. From March to October, thousands of Loggerhead turtles travel to South Florida’s sun-drenched beaches to lay their eggs. Learn more about these endangered sea creatures at programs like turtle walks and hammock hikes presented by Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach.
Maneuvering a colored ball through a series of hoops, or wickets, requires skill, strategy and, preferably, a Pimm’s in one hand. Learn this ball-and-mallet game at The National Croquet Center, the largest croquet facility in the world. New York has Arthur Ashe Stadium and Delray Beach has the Delray Beach Tennis Center. The public tennis facility harbors six hard courts, 14 clay courts and an 8,200-seat stadium. Don’t miss the annual Delray Beach Open in February. The 10-day tennis competition combines the ATP Champions and ATP World Tours, and features international players like Juan Martín del Potro.
Bolster energy and increase brain function at healthful hotspots. At Boca Raton’s True Food Kitchen, the menu is a calling from co-owner Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid, which promotes healthy fats and antioxidant-rich superfoods. Try the Ancient Grains bowl, a delicious vegan dish with miso-glazed sweet potato, charred onion, snow peas, grilled portobello, avocado, turmeric and hemp seed. The brainchild of restaurateur Dave Magrogan (he owns Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar next door), localgreens believes organic ingredients taste better when they’re sourced locally. Diners order via touch-screen kiosks and can customize with add-ons like fresh-caught tuna poke.
Raw food may be the rage, but not everyone’s sold. At Christopher Slawson’s Meraki Juice Kitchen in West Palm Beach, locals ask for the avocado toast, veggie rolls and a plant-based soft-serve that’s addictively good.
Palm Beach County may not be the foodie epicenter New York is—yet—but thanks to top chefs and illustrious restaurateurs, it’s getting close. Let your taste buds lead the way through these epicurean haunts.
Jupiter’s new fine-dining restaurant 1000 North opened in February. With breathtaking views of the Jupiter Inlet, the 12,750-square-foot space incorporates a stylish dining room, tavern-style bar, an outdoor terrace and a private club lounge upstairs. The menu builds on chef Lee Morris’ Southern roots with dishes like the Maryland Blue Crab Cake.
After shopping around CityPlace, don’t be surprised to find yourself planted in front of The Regional Kitchen & Public House. “Top Chef” alum Lindsay Autry aptly named her inaugural eatery to demonstrate her dedication to serving only the finest local and regional ingredients. The tomato pie is heavenly. Order a Silver Lining libation from resident bartender David Bouchard who makes them upon request.
The Delray Beach gastro-pub Death or Glory serves spirits, wine and local brews, but it’s a hip destination for trippy, Polynesian-style drinks. Grab a seat at the alfresco Tiki bar and order A Bridge Across An Endless Sea made with Plymouth gin, blackberry, lychee and absinthe. Few serve up modern Francophile iterations like superstar Daniel Boulud. Tucked inside the historic Brazilian Court Hotel, Café Boulud is led by chef Rick Mace and puts a special emphasis on fresh-caught seafood. During happy hour, he riffs on Asian cuisine he learned during a trip to Japan. Hit the 15-seat horseshoe bar for some quality people watching.
At Mazie’s, chef Eric Baker cooks up tasteful twists on eastern European recipes with Asian and Mediterranean influences, like pork cutlet paprikash and chop suey spaetzle. Interiors wunderkind Scotty Wonders designed everything in the 65-seat café-bistro, including the reclaimed wood furniture.
Within West Palm’s thriving Warehouse District, there’s an epicurean wonderland known as Grandview Public Market. The 14,000-square-foot space satisfies every deviant craving—from Detroit-style pizza and scratch-made ramen noodles to spicy chicken sandwiches and pulled pork tacos. Stop by Crema for Thai-rolled ice cream with decadent toppings like fudge-mint cookies and peanut butter cups.
Osteria Salina owners Tim and Cinzia Gaglio celebrate the bold flavors of Sicily’s Salina Island at their Delray Beach outpost. Fans and celebrities like Billy Joel and Palm Beach local Howard Stern can’t resist the pasta dishes and desserts the couple prepares daily.
Smitten with Northwood’s bohemian vibe, restaurateur brothers Olivier and Edouard Delrieu opened Pétanque Kitchen & Bar. Walk through the postage stamp-sized eatery, and you’ll find a backyard bar, pétanque court and a covered patio where local bands and DJs perform nightly. The burger-centric menu also features cheese, charcuterie and fish boards.
When locals need a craft beer fix, they flock to West Palm Beach Brewery & Wine Vault on Evernia Street. Most of the brews are developed at the on-site brewery. Small production wines from Napa, Sonoma and Santa Barbara are also served along with owner John Pankauski’s personal wine labels, Drum Canyon Cellars and Pankauski Cellars.
Architectural elements and indigenous cuisine can transport diners to fabulous, faraway places. At Sant Ambroeus, terrazzo floors, green jasper columns and mahogany paneling—even an outdoor gelato cart—create the illusion of a 1950s-style Italian gran café. Of chef Marco Barbisotti’s signature Milanese specialties, the branzino and creamy lobster risotto are popular picks.
Bombay-born Christopher Corda opened Tanjore to showcase Indian delicacies from Bihar, Rajasthan and other lesser-known regions. Named after an ancient holy city Thanjavur, famed for its magnificent temples, the Boca Raton restaurant also serves popular dishes like chicken korma and lamb vindaloo. The Pastooni lobster masala can’t be beaten.
From high-end gallerias to the palm-lined streets prominent fashion houses call home, even persnickety shoppers won’t leave these retail gems empty-handed.
Delray Beach’s Atlantic Avenue is where art and fashion neophytes go for retail therapy. Stock up on colorful Gretchen Scott dresses at Snappy Turtle and bohemian labels like Spell & The Gypsy at the Love Shack. At Blue Gallery, renowned Israeli artists like Lenner Gogli hold court.
Don’t be fooled by the casual surfer vibe, Jupiter is flush with urban style. At Harbourside Place, rack up some air miles at White House | Black Market, John Craig Clothier and Pucci & Catana, then hit the waterfront amphitheater for a jazz performance.
Anchored by an outdoor amphitheater and a world-class museum, Boca’s Mediterranean Revival town center, Mizner Park, wraps around a public park where families congregate with sundaes from Sloan’s Ice Cream. Indulge in domestic bliss at Sur La Table then follow the carats to notable jewelers like ECJ Luxe and Van Cleef & Arpels.
There’s more than art in Pineapple Grove, a sprawling design district in Delray Beach populated with sculptors, painters and textile artists. Stop by Ronald and Flavie Furst’s eponymous store for bespoke purses and jewelry, and Amanda Perna’s design studio, The House of Perna, which is stocked with the “Project Runway” alum’s clothing, accessories and signature handbags.
Move over Bal Harbour Shops, Royal Poinciana Plaza has re-arrived. Built in 1950, the landmark property was recently restored to its original mid-century glamour and brims with charming eateries (Coyo Taco, Honor Bar), salons and wellness centers (Paul Labrecque, Squeeze Pilates) and heavyweight fashion houses (Hermès, Saint Laurent).
With luxury retailers like David Yurman, Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo, The Gardens Mall is the Rodeo Drive of Palm Beach Gardens. Fitness devotees can take advantage of free wellness programs like Walk with a Doc, which pits mall walking with plenty of window browsing.
It’s hard not to feel spendy at Town Center at Boca Raton. Splurge on one (or all) of Everything But Water’s crystal-embellished bikinis or a Woodstock-inspired satchel from Johnny Was.
Worth Avenue draws deep pockets with names like Pucci and Chanel. Browse the boutique-lined vias for Italian ceramics at Maryanna Suzanna, raffia fedoras at CJ Laing and exotic skin bags at Daniella Ortiz. Grab vintage labels at The Church Mouse thrift shop a couple blocks over.
Danielle Zelaya opened Elizabeth Ave Station to give local artisans and entrepreneurs a platform to show-and-sell their wares, which range from folksy macramé plant hangers to organic skincare. Swing by in the evenings for yoga classes, open mic sessions and other events.
When the Mall at Wellington Green opened in 2001, large-scale shopping was still a new concept. Now it’s the norm. Tommy Bahama, H&M and big-box chains like Macy’s and Nordstrom offer heaps of sartorial inspiration for every age.
For Culture and Performing Arts Enthusiasts
The Palm Beach cultural scene provides the perfect amount of je ne sais quois to counter its own sybaritic lifestyle, and it’s only getting better.
In honor of its ruby anniversary, the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County is planning another year of outstanding art, culture and conversation. Highlights include “Culture & Cocktails” to “Play with Your Food!,” an exhibit that looks beyond food’s ephemeral status.
When the Norton Museum of Art reopens on Feb. 9, art lovers will have plenty to rejoice, like a 3,600-square-foot Great Hall with coffee bar, sculpture gardens and a 210-seat auditorium for films and concerts. Six inaugural exhibits are also planned including a display of vibrant watercolors from museum founder Ralph Norton’s private collection.
Thanks to the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, the Far East doesn’t seem so far. Kicking off on Feb. 15, the museum will showcase works by Japanese artist Sayaka Ganz. Don’t miss her exhibit, “Reclaimed Creations,” which looks at 3D animal sculptures made from discarded plastics.
There are plenty of reasons to make a sojourn to The Society of the Four Arts, but the art installations top our short list. From Feb. 2 to March 31, check out the “Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors,” an exhibit that examines 66 portraits and a four-panel mural former President George W. Bush painted of U.S. military who served during the 9/11 attacks in 2001.
Palm Beach Dramaworks is your ticket to Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning shows and musicals. Grab a seat at one of these highly touted performances: Paula Vogel’s play “Indecent”; John Guare’s black comedy “The House of Blue Leaves”; and “Fences,” the sixth in August Wilson’s 10-play magnum opus.
Power, sex, love and betrayal are themes regularly examined at the Palm Beach Shakespeare Festival. Beneath a blanket of stars at Carlin Park, audiences are treated to free performances gleaned from the Bard’s dramatic tome, like the adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy “Antony & Cleopatra,” which was staged in July.
Each spring, thousands of music fans congregate at West Palm’s waterfront for the hottest ticket in town: SunFest. The melodious festival, which includes an art district and a 5K race, spotlights myriad genres as well as indie acts, DJs and marquee names like Pitbull and Lenny Kravitz.
Each year, the Kravis Center’s Dreyfoos Hall hosts hundreds of rising stars and famed acts. Here are four upcoming shows on our can’t-miss list: “Hello, Dolly!,” “Les Misérables,” “Waitress” and Disney’s “The Lion King.”
From snappy musicals to dramatic thrillers, the Maltz Jupiter Theatre never disappoints. Kicking off with Robert Harling’s Southern weeper, “Steel Magnolias,” the 2018-2019 season lineup includes Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” “Mamma Mia!,” “A Doll’s House, Part 2” and “West Side Story.”