As I'm walking down Australian Avenue, lined with perfectly manicured hedges that are twice my size, a classic white Rolls Royce zips by...and then another one. I peer over my sunglasses, and a slight grin overcomes my entire face. I made it! I am at The Brazilian Hotel's hush-hush restaurant, Café Boulud. The most picturesque, Floridian brunch spot on Palm Beach... and I am oh-so excited...and hungry.
Palm Beach is my favorite place to visit in Florida, as well as one of my favorite destinations for shopping, hobnobbing, and soaking up some sun. I've been frequenting Palm Beach for a couple years now, and have some-what of a "routine" that I've fallen into. Like, walking down Worth Avenue in the morning to get my cappuccino at Starbucks, which is tucked away into a small corridor behind all the fancy, upscale designer shops. Or, cruising down the beach to The Breakers to sit at Sea Food Bar's aquarium-style bar and watch the sunlight fade over the ocean while I sip on a pineapple martini.
Doesn't sound all that bad right? That said, it's pretty clear that Palm Beach offers some of the finest coastal living in America. If you're like me, and can't quite afford one of those $10 million mansions near the ocean, it's still very doable to visit this glamorous city--a long weekend in spring-time is the best! Here are my tried and true recommendations for lodging, dining, and entertainment in Palm Beach. Enjoy!
The hotels I've picked are all located centrally on the island, near Worth Avenue, which is where you'll find the best restaurants, shopping, and entertainment in Palm Beach.
The Breakers has a breath-taking entrance leading up to this historical landmark and resort.
The Breakers: If you're feeling like a high-roller, The Breakers resort is right up your alley. It's rich history gives the grounds so much character, and the newer renovations to the property will have you feeling like a star. It's located right on off beach, so you'll have easy access to some ocean views. Some all-time favorite spots on-site are: Seafood Bar restaurant and HMF Bar for late night cocktails and dancing.
The Colony Hotel: Just a step off Worth Avenue, this quaint little hotel is walking distance to everything! Not only are the rooms super Palmy Beachy cute, their dining and bar areas are equally as photo-worthy: Polo (yes, a polo themed restaurant! With a great bar) and their poolside Bimini Bar (how cute of a name is that?).
The Brazilian Court: This Spanish-Colonial style hotel is nestled into Palm Beach near both Worth Avenue and the beach. The small, intimate hotel features lush, tropic courtyards and incredible dining experiences. Sit down for brunch at the Café Boulud outdoor patio, and find yourself in a dreamy oasis filled with white linen and draping greenery.
The best things to do in Palm Beach: SHOP, BEACH, RELAX! Well, here's a more detailed check-list...
Worth Avenue stops at the clock tower on the beach, right off the Atlantic Ocean.
Shop Worth Ave: If you haven't noticed, I mention Worth Avenue a lot, because it's a big deal in Palm Beach. It's THE avenue (about 4 blocks long), you know, where everyone and everything seems to be. You'll find small boutiques, upscale designer shops, and many sumptuous restaurants scattered all about. Local events are hosted here as well. Last time I was there, the 26th annual pet parade was going on!
Bike the Lake Trail: Rent a bike and ride the Lake Trail, which follows the intercoastal waterway. You'll zoom by gorgeous estates with perfectly manicured lawns, hedges, and gigantic banyan trees. The fancy high-rises and yachts of West Palm Beach across the water add to the charm. Shady side streets lead out into the wealthy neighborhoods. The trail goes on for miles, but you'll wish it never ends!
Be a Beach Bum: Palm Beach has public beaches at Midtown and Phipps Ocean Park. Midtown municipal beach is located where Worth Ave meets the ocean. It has a pedestrian path that runs for miles. Phipps Ocean Park is much further south, but offers cabanas, picnic tables, a boardwalk, and even a tennis center.
Take an Amphibious Diva Duck Tour: Up until recently I did not know that amphibious vehicles existed, or that they offered land and sea tours in many coastal cities. This tour actually starts in Palm Beach's neighboring city, West Palm, but crosses the bridge into Palm Beach where you'll get to see famous sites like the Flagler Museum and Biltmore Estates. Then, take a "dive" into the water, where the tour ends with a relaxing cruise down the intercoastal waterway.
Explore The Royal Poinciana Plaza: Can't forget this gem! Travel off the main strip, over to The Royal Poinciana Plaza to explore their 50 hand-selected brands, some sure to spark your interest. The Plaza also has a lot of events going on, and they even had a massive Christmas tree completely made of surfboards last year. A couple of my favorite restaurants are located here as well: Palm Beach Grill, Honor Bar, and Sant Ambroeus.
Not only is Palm Beach one of my favorite shopping destinations, it is equally one of my favorite cities to dine in. Whether I'm feeling like a lobster roll for lunch, or an intricate pasta dish for dinner, I am always left impressed and stuffed to the brim. Here are my Palm Beach foodie "musts"...
The outdoor patio at Café Boulud has a fantastic brunch menu with an ambiance to die for.
Café Boulud: A great spot for brunch on the outdoor patio, or happy hour and dinner inside at their gorgeous bar. They have classic jazz and contemporary live music every Thursday-Sunday.
Seafood Bar: You can't come to Palm Beach without experiencing the Seafood Bar's aquarium style bar, located on the first floor of The Breakers. Sip on a fresh mojito while you watch a little clown fish zipping by...it's very cool! The fish tacos and French fries are outstanding.
Sant Ambroeus: With locations all over New York, this restaurant just opened its doors in Palm Beach and I can see why...it's absolutely breathtaking. The decor is phenomenal--you will feel like you've been plucked out of Florida and plopped right into Milan. Try one of their unique dinner specials, and if you're around during the day, swing by the gelato cart out front. Located at the Royal Poinciana Plaza.
Buccan: A true and trusted resident of Palm Beach, Buccan is just steps off Worth Avenue and is a guaranteed winner for a fun and delicious dinner. (Hey, that rhymes!) You can also order from the sushi menu next door, which is pretty awesome. The bar heats up on the weekends, and is a local "hot spot."
Honorable Mentions: Bice: a true, homestyle Italian restaurant with a magical outdoor alley-way patio.
Surfside Diner: a cute, casual breakfast and lunch joint a couple blocks off Worth Ave.
Drinks and Dancing
Although the population of Palm Beach is stereotypically retired, there's nothing "tired" about their nightlife. There are a handful of really fun, trendy spots serving up tasty cocktails and steady beats...
Meat Market: Not your average steakhouse. The Meat Market offers a fun bar with a small dance floor, and is located near the Royal Poinciana Plaza.
HMF Bar: Located in The Breakers (named after the founder, Henry Morrison Flagler), The HMF Bar is a hip, classy lounge serving up lots of wine and specialty cocktails. They even have their own "music and entertainment director," also known as a DJ, performing in the evening.
Buccan: Not only one of my favorite places for dinner, Buccan serves up a spicy scene in the late evening hours as well. Stop by (especially on the weekend) at the bar, which is always overflowing, and have some fun!
Cucina: Undoubtably my favorite place in Palm Beach for some after dinner drinks is none other than Cucina. It just re-opened after being closed for renovations, and it's like a (literal) breath of fresh air! This place turns up as the night goes on, and you can always count on a memorable evening at Cucina.
I really, really loved writing this travel guide in particular because Palm Beach feels like a "home away from home" to me. The absolute best time to go is in the spring-time (April is my favorite!) because it's not unbearably hot, windy, or rainy... most of the time. Also, make sure to always have your camera with you because everywhere in Palm Beach is picture perfect, with many unbelievable structures and landscapes. Hope you enjoy! Until next time...