Living in West Palm Beach: What You Should Know
If you’re thinking about living in West Palm Beach, you won’t find it hard to settle into your new tropical life. Nicknamed the Orchid City, West Palm Beach, FL, is located north of Delray Beach and Boca Raton, and just across the Intracoastal Waterway from Palm Beach, meaning you’ll be next-door neighbors to the glitz and glam of America’s ultra-rich.
WPB is the ideal home for those looking to enjoy the southern coast while wanting to explore fine art and excellent cuisine. With its proximity to other urban centers, the city is the perfect mixture of small-town charm and big-city flair, attracting a variety of businesses and a recent surplus of remote workers.
If you’re wondering what it’s like living in West Palm Beach, FL, look no further. Read on to find out why so many people choose this vibrant paradise, as this guide explores:
- Unique neighborhoods and communities
- Vibrant arts community
- Excellent cuisine
- Recreational hub
- Opportunities and affordability
West Palm Beach: A place with history
When moving to West Palm Beach, FL, history is at your doorstep. The area was given its name when a Spanish ship carrying a load of 20,000 coconuts crashed off the coast. The locals gathered the coconuts that washed ashore and planted palm trees that give Palm Beach county its famous palm trees.
The city, on the other hand, was the brainchild of railroad and standard oil tycoon Henry M. Flager—you might also recognize his signature hotel, The Breakers, in Palm Beach. Over the years, Flager’s settlement turned into a bustling city, with historic streets like Clematis Street and Rosemary Avenue becoming the cultural and shopping centers of the community.
In this South Florida area, you’ll be living amid a collection of historic neighborhoods mixed with contemporary art and architecture. The 15 designated historic districts like El Cid, Historic Northwood, and Grandview Heights are all reflective of the city’s Spanish Colonial Revival influence from famed architect Addison Mizner.
Its historic downtown features European-style plazas and boulevards, great places to walk and bike, and shops and nightlife, including in the CityPlace district.
Unique neighborhoods and communities
West Palm Beach, FL, is a city constantly on the rise. In just the past decade, the urban population has grown by 11.2%. With this growing population, more and more young professionals are living in the area and flooding the job market.
But, WPB isn’t just a retirees’ paradise, like other South Florida cities. Although it has plenty of senior living options, this urban center is full of young professionals living there. And, with the influx of new business, the city recently employed a $30 million revitalization of the downtown waterfront, offering a new performance theatre and community gardens.
There are plenty of fun things to do in West Palm Beach for those living there. More notably, the city’s neighborhoods and districts have a variety of walkable boulevards and bike paths that make the area easily accessible to pedestrians, if you’re willing to brave the Florida summer heat.
The neighborhoods themselves offer a mixture of modern and historic housing, with affordable living options that satisfy every resident. Some popular communities in the city include:
- Flamingo Park: One of the best neighborhoods in the city, this historic district sits right on the Intracoastal Waterway. Flamingo Park’s bike trails are just a few minutes from Clematis Street and downtown West Palm Beach area.
- Downtown: If you don’t mind noise and want to stay in the middle of all the action, then downtown near Rosemary Square is the place to be. By living here, you can shop, see a show, and explore the nightlife right at your doorstep.
- Historic Northwood: The Northwood historical district is emerging as an exciting locale for young professionals in Palm county. This neighborhood is undergoing a revival, with dining clubs, art galleries, and popular restaurants emerging along its main promenade. Northwood is the destination if you’re looking at living in a trendy community.
- Grandview Heights: Grandview Heights is located just south of CityPlace. It’s near attractions like Howard Park and the Norton Museum of Art, but can be a little quieter than what you might find when living in downtown West Palm Beach, FL. As another historic district, this community is one of the oldest and best-kept secrets in WPB.
Vibrant arts community
When you think of artistic hubs, your mind might conjure New York City or Los Angeles. But despite its size, West Palm Beach, FL, has a thriving art scene. By living here, you’ll find museums, performance halls, and galleries that feature some of the nation’s best productions and artists.
Experiencing day-to-day West Palm, you’ll have access to countless performances and exhibitions at notable sites, including:
- The Norton Museum of Art: This is the largest art museum in Florida. Founded in 1941, the museum features American painters like Pollock and Hopper in addition to classical artists like Monet and Matisse. Their exhibitions rotate regularly, allowing you to see something new every couple of months.
- Kravis Center for the Performing Arts: If you’re a Broadway buff or love the sounds of an orchestra, then this might be the place for you. They also have community programs, ballet performances, and even comedy shows, so you’re guaranteed to find something you’ll enjoy.
- Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens: Right near the Intracoastal Waterway, the famous sculptor’s former residence now serves as a public garden and sculptural exhibition hall, showing famous sculptors from around the world. If you want to tap into your artistic side, the gardens also host adult artist programs for West Palm Beach residents.
Excellent food and nightlife
The influence of Palm Beach has had a significant impact on the downtown area. Wealthy elites now often find themselves working in the towers among the city, creating a new demand for after-work cocktails and upscale dives.
This means you’ll find no shortage of attractive clubs, bars, and restaurants throughout the city. Areas like CityPlace and Clematis Avenue are two notable areas with walkable sites to explore. Locals know that WPB is a tourism hotspot. In other words, you can expect to be bumping shoulders with out-of-towners even at the local dives.
Here’s a small collection of places those living here enjoy:
- Copper Blues Rock Pub & Kitchen: Combining elements of delicious food, craft beer, and live music, Copper Blues is in the heart of downtown at Rosemary Square. West Palm Beach residents can rock out to local bands while enjoying an extensive selection of over 60 IPAs, crafts, and more.
- Improv Comedy Club: Locals looking for laughs head down to the Improv Comedy Club on South Rosemary Ave. Here, you can check out the latest dinner acts and enjoy some great food and great drinks while you’re at it.
- Roxy’s Pub: Roxy’s is one of the best and most famous bars on Clematis. With an excellent selection of beers and wings, this bar is a destination for tourists and locals alike. On certain nights, you might even catch them hosting late-night block parties.
- Cafe Centro: A staple of the Northwood Historic District, Cafe Centro offers Italian dining that locals love. It even attracts the rich palettes from the island (Palm Beach), making it a go-to destination for foodies from all over the county.
With the Intracoastal Waterway spanning the city’s coast, Orchid City locals can enjoy an abundance of waterfront activities. The Waterfront offers:
- Boat tours to Peanut Island
- Jet skiing
Plus, in March, thousands of boats from around the world fill the waterfront for the must-see Palm Beach International Boat Show.
This South Florida city is also a sports destination. Nearby, the PGA National Resort & Spa draws a large crowd of golf fanatics every February for the Honda Classic. Throughout February and March, locals can attend stadiums in the city and nearby suburbs to view spring training for Major League baseball teams like the St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins, and Houston Astros.
Music lovers living here will also find something to adore here. The city hosts music festivals like SunFest, a large waterfront music festival that brings 275,000 individuals to the area every April.
Plus, this aptly named area wouldn’t be complete without its top attractions: beaches! Sandy shores like John D. MacArthur Beach State Park, Lake Worth Beach, Juno Beach, and Palm Beach are favorites among locals spending their afternoons and weekends on the beach.
With so many activities in the area, it’s hard to imagine you’ll run out of things to do when living in town.
Opportunities and affordability
It’s no secret that a large number of the jobs in Palm Beach county are in the tourism and hospitality sector. But don’t let that turn you away. Notable employers in the area include major companies like Microsoft, along with a variety of jobs in the medical, aviation, coding, and technology industries.
Curious about the cost of living in West Palm Beach? In the city, an average two-bedroom apartment would cost you $1,434—and this average cost is rising every year. According to reports from the West Palm Beach Downtown Development authority, new developments are focused on creating more apartments within walking distance to downtown, commercial, and recreational sites.
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