The hub of West Palm Beach's nightlife is this downtown street, a mile-long stretch of lively sidewalk cafés, edgy murals, fairy-lit palm trees, live music venues, neon-fronted nightclubs and pulsating bars. Take the free trolley to the waterfront overlooking Lake Worth Lagoon, the site of seemingly endless activities, including the Green Market (every Saturday between October and April) and SunFest music and art festival in April.
If there's such a thing as the bohemian heart of West Palm Beach, this colorful enclave north of downtown is it. Defined by its brightly painted shops and galleries, its sprays of flowers and exuberant street art, Northwood is a far cry from the swank indulgence normally associated with the area. This is not a place for brand-name shopping but for funky boutiques and one-of-a-kind enterprises like James Sagui's woodwork shop and the upscale vintage furnishings store Circa Who. While in the neighborhood, indulge in a mac-and-cheese grilled sandwich at Grilled Cheese Gallery, a mini Bundt cake at Café Sweets Bakery and a glass of wine at O-BŌ.
Known simply as Palm Beach, this enclave for the super-wealthy (at last count, 33 billionaires were reported to have properties here, including President Trump) lies just off West Palm Beach. A 16-mile sliver of land with a year-round population of less than 10,000, the island is uniformly well-kept, its beaches lined with mansions, marinas and hotels, including the grand Breakers Resort, overlooking the ocean. An abundance of scenic promenades, golf courses and gardens allow visitors to enjoy the über-wealthy lifestyle. Industrialist Henry Flagler's glorious Gilded Age estate (now a period museum) and the glitzy shops and restaurants of Worth Avenue heighten the illusion.
Palm Beach Shores
If you really want to get away from it all, just north of Palm Beach (you'll need to cross the Blue Heron Bridge from West Palm Beach to get there) is Palm Beach Shores. Surrounded by water on three sides—the Atlantic to the east, Lake Worth Lagoon to the west and Lake Worth Inlet to the south—this pretty nub of land boasts a wealth of water sports, including superb scuba diving and snorkeling, along with high-octane pursuits such as parasailing and wakeboarding. Though not as tony as its neighbor to the south, it's a charming spot, dotted with slightly less glamorous hotels for all price points.
This Mediterranean-style mixed-use plaza in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach is geared toward shopping and dining. Formerly known as CityPlace, the reimagined complex anchors a buzzy upscale neighborhood that contains the Convention Center, the Hilton West Palm Beach and the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. Stores include brands such as Sur La Table, Lululemon and Anthropologie, while food options range from New York-style pies at City Pizza to oysters and calamari at High Dive. To fulfill your shopping and dining needs in one fell swoop, try the nearby Restoration Hardware, a multi-level furniture store with a great rooftop restaurant.