Palm Beach Travel Guide: Where to Stay, Eat and Play

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Known locally as The Island, Palm Beach is a resort town in South Florida with fantastic weather, plenty of shopping opportunities, and sunny beaches.

On the surface, it’s a small town of around 9,000 inhabitants (swelled to nearly three times as much during the summer), teeming with luxury boutiques and world-class golfing opportunities. Dig a little deeper and visitors can enjoy great food, a thriving arts scene including tour companies on Broadway, and easy day trips to remarkable natural wonders like the Everglades.

From wandering to the museum to surfing, there is plenty to do within walking distance of your temporary home along this thin island-like beach off the Florida coast. And for the more adventurous, there is fun to be had in nearby enclaves like West Palm Beach.

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Where to stay

There is a large accommodation capacity in this tourist-loving city. But you don’t want to have the same vacation as everyone else. Here are some of the best options for calling a temporary seat, from well-appointed hotels to your own condo.

South Florida’s Best Feel: The Colony

Hotel de la Colonie

A proud flamingo in the middle of a somewhat modest skyline, The Colony is a magical hotel. A perfect blend of chic and classic, it’s pretty much a Wes Anderson set if the famous independent director was born and raised in South Florida. You have the privilege of being housed in an old building while benefiting from all the most modern comforts.

  • Nearest airport: Palm Beach International Airport
  • Time: 12 minutes by car
  • Distance: 4.9 miles

Best Old World Charm: Palm Beach Historic Inn

Palm Beach Historic Inn

This welcoming inn was founded in 1923 and has just benefited from a renovation, without obstructing any of its many historic features. It’ll take a lot to get away from the many Old World comforts, but access to bikes and passes to a nearby gym will help you get out.

  • Nearest airport: Palm Beach International Airport
  • Time: 11 minutes by car
  • Distance: 4.6

Best New Accommodation: The Ben by Marriott

The Ben Palm Beach Hotel

One of the newer hotels in Palm Beach is also one of the best. The Ben is remarkable, located a bit inland in West Palm but a striking distance from all things Palm Beach. Many rooms have marina views and the accents are breathtaking.

  • Nearest airport: Palm Beach International Airport
  • Time: 10 minutes by car
  • Distance: 4.0 miles

Best loft: tropical blue

Aptly named Tropical Blue, this centrally located apartment is just a seven-minute walk from the beach. It boasts a vibrant interior, set in a historic landmark of a building erected in the 1920s. There are lots of cool, aqua-toned features, and lots of detail that the building as a whole offers.

  • Nearest airport: Palm Beach International Airport
  • Time: 14 minutes by car
  • Distance: 5.6 miles

What to eat

Most think of Cuban cuisine and seafood when they think of South Florida, and for good reason. But a tourist hub like Palm Beach has even more, from the outposts of famous French-inspired New York restaurants to Italian joints to very Floridian bars and steakhouses.

  • “$” = Economical or inexpensive
  • “$$” = average
  • “$$$” = expensive

Best small plates: Buccan

Buccan Palm Beach dish

Buccan is where James Beard Award winning Chef Clay Conley does a fantastic job. The restaurant has a charming bar with a fine cocktail program as well as the best selection of small plates in town, including tasty empanadas, squid ink orecchiettes and many delicious seafood bites and pastas.

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Best Italian: Renato’s

Palm Beach by Renato

The courtyard alone is a reason to dine here, but the food is equally appealing. The risottos and ravioli are superb and this is a great place to splurge on a NY strip or a cut of veal (if that’s your thing). The wine and spirits list is also strong, so arrive early for a glass of white and end the meal with grappa or Moscato.

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Best atmosphere: Palm Beach Grill

Palm Beach Grill
Palm Beach shown

Even if you’ve had a great day, which you’ll likely have in Palm Beach, it won’t get better until you step foot in the Palm Beach Grill. The staff are warm, the food is comforting, and the atmosphere is ideal and seemingly effortless. Try American classics like the house burger or go for the Creole with Florida red snapper served with prawns and zydeco sauce.

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Best Seafood: BrickTop’s

Palm Beach by BrickTop
Palm Beach Post

There is seafood in almost every corner of Palm Beach, but some are definitely superior. BrickTop’s excels, producing delicious crab, grouper and shrimp dishes along with classic white tablecloth additions like lobster tail and Dover sole. Spreads for dinner are great, but so are bistro-style sandwiches, great for lunch.

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Best Cuban: Havana

Havana palm beach

This 24 hour joint is kind of an institution, just a jump across the pond to West Palm. Cuban coffee and Cuban sandwiches are fantastic, but also look for tasty tostones, chicharrones, and ropa viejo. And you better stick around for a really big slice.

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The most Parisian: La Goulue

Palm Beach of La Goulue

La Goulue has long won over New Yorkers with its French-inspired cuisine in the heart of Manhattan. Last year he opened a second restaurant in Palm Beach and has since grown into a real hub. A meal here is a delicious lesson in French gastronomy, with dishes often rich, complex and memorable. Be careful and book well in advance.

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Local favorite: the Bice

BiCE Palm Beach

You’ll feel less touristy at BiCE, one of Palm Beach’s favorites among year-round residents. It’s easy to understand why, with fresh salads and expertly assembled Italian pasta.

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Best Poolside Meal: Ambassador Grill

Ambassador Grill Palm Beach

Ambassador Chef Juan Pareja arrived here after working elsewhere in Michelin-starred kitchens. It’s great outdoor food, from fried oysters to cornbread to brick chicken with herb farro and peach-saffon sauce. You can smell the ocean nearby while you dine at this beachfront hotel restaurant.

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Best Eclectic Menu: Stage

Palm Beach Scene
Palm Beach shown

Stage’s varied menu is full of delicious discoveries, with a pronounced Indian touch throughout. Step inside for a creative cocktail and savor a delicious vindaloo or a Spanish octopus.

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Best Sunday Brunch: The Breakers

Palm Beach Brunch
Palm Beach shown

Sunday Brunch at The Breakers has become quite a production, an indulgent experience with Belgian waffles, fresh fruit, rare cheeses, fresh seafood, lamb chops, carved beef tenderloin and even caviar. . Feels like a great Las Vegas buffet in a tropical hotel. If you’re looking to splurge on your vacation, book a table here.

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Best Deal: Rivals

Rivals Palm Beach

This family-run Mexican restaurant in West Palm specializes in tacos, burritos, bowls and more, all on the cheap. Try the ceviche and wash it down with a frozen Pacifico. It’s a great stop for dinner or grab some groceries south of the border for a quick bite to eat or on a beach towel in the sand.

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Outside

In the immediate vicinity, Palm Beach is greeted by tons of coastline, much of which is accessible to the public. Visitors can stroll, wander the celebrity homes (the former haunt of the late John Lennon was just sold for $ 36 million), or birdwatch in the nearby Bingham Islands. If golf is your thing, head to the North Palm Beach Country Club for an afternoon of links. The Lake Trail is a great way to soak it up, stretching over five miles through the city.

Much more is accessible within a short drive. Admire the beautiful swamps and mangrove forests of Big Cypress National Preserve or push south into the Everglades to spot alligators, incredible waterfowl, and incredible hiking and paddling opportunities in the world’s largest tropical wilderness from America. If you have the time and interest to push even further south, the Keys are well worth a visit, ideal for self-sufficient stand-up paddleboarding and lazy bar visits for fresh seafood and a beer or two.

Inside

Interior of the Flagler Museum
Flickr / photo-gator

Unsurprisingly given the tropical climate, even when you are indoors you are almost outdoors here. The city is full of balconies, roofs and other open-air settings that take full advantage of the favorable climate. Cultivate yourself at the Société des quatre arts, which hosts concerts, libraries, exhibitions and more. Another great outlet is the Flagler Museum, a magnificent building often housing exhibits focused on Florida history. For a more contemporary vibe, visit the Norton Museum across the water in West Palm, or the Kravis Center for Performing Arts, which brings together major artists and artists from all over.

For high-end shoppers, Palm Beach is heaven on earth. Worth Avenue is where it all happens, where Gucci, Tiffany, Chanel, Saks Fifth Avenue and many more sell their wares. The Royal Poinciana Plaza, an upscale lifestyle hub with smaller boutiques and iconic names like Hermés and Oscar de la Renta, is another major hotspot for submitting to your inner consumer.

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