Your Perfect Day in West Palm Beach
Need a change of pace? We’re heading north for a dreamy daylong escape to West Palm Beach. From the world-class art and history museums to gorgeous beaches and stellar restaurants, this Florida town is full of charm and tranquility. Here’s how to make the most of a day there.
Ogle Opulence at the Flagler Museum
Calling all history buffs: Get a look inside oil tycoon Henry Flagler’s 100,000-square-foot Gilded Age mansion, Whitehall. Think of it as the Versailles of Florida (it’s more than 100 years old). The 75-room palace includes gardens, bedrooms, ballrooms, living areas and dining spaces, which are all open for visitors to explore. Outside, find a restored train car from Flagler’s historic Florida East Coast Railway.
The former residence of famed sculptor Ann Weaver Norton and her husband, Ralph, the Norton House boasts more than 250 tropical plants and 100 different sculpture works. If you can swing it, stop by the Society of the Four Arts, which is located just a few minutes away. In addition to a gorgeous botanical garden, there’s an art gallery as well as a 700-seat auditorium, which frequently hosts events. The Norton Museum of Art, also founded by Ralph Norton, features a remarkable collection of American, Chinese, European and contemporary works, including a few Picassos. (Heads up, though: It’s closed for renovations until February 2019.)
Hang at the Beach
West Palm (and the immediate surrounding areas) ranked number two nationwide in the park space category, with 15 percent of its land dedicated to public green space, beaches and landmarks. Some of our absolute favorites include Peanut Island and John D. MacArthur Beach State Park. Both are considered environmental treasures, featuring picturesque (and quiet!) stretches of sand as well as activities such as kayaking and snorkeling. You may even spot a manatee.
Have a Cocktail at the Breakers
Fun fact: This iconic hotel (created by our old friend Flagler) was modeled after the Villa Medici in Rome, a feat that required bringing in 75 Italian artisans to hand-paint and detail the premises. Even if you don’t spring for a room, make a point of hanging out here for a while. That swoon-worthy little courtyard is the perfect spot to enjoy an aperitivo before going to dinner.
Go on a High-Low Food Crawl
The town’s dining scene has blown up in recent years. Our go-tos include Avocado Grill for lunch, because this sunny spot adds avo to just about everything; Sant Ambroeus for a charming afternoon coffee and pastry break; and French chef Daniel Boulud’s long-standing Café Boulud for dinner, because we all deserve to be fancy every once in a while. If you don’t feel like settling for just one type of cuisine, stop into Palm Beach’s first-ever food hall, Grandview Public Market. We’ll take a fried chicken sandwich and some wine at Clare’s, followed by Thai rolled ice cream at Crema, thank you very much.