7 top things to do in West Palm Beach

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West Palm Beach is a vibrant coastal city in Florida and offers the perfect mix of cultural experiences, outdoor adventures and sunny relaxation. This article explores seven must-do activities in West Palm Beach, ensuring you make the most of your time in this Florida paradise. Whether you’re seeking art and history, thrilling water activities or simply soaking up the sun on gorgeous beaches, West Palm Beach has it all with its tropical weather and dynamic downtown. 

Streetscape of West Palm Beach at night.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Visit the Norton Museum of Art

If you’re an art enthusiast, you don’t want to miss the Norton Museum of Art. With over 7,000 works spanning American, European, Chinese and contemporary art, this museum provides a diverse and fascinating cultural experience. You can explore masterpieces by renowned artists such as Monet, Picasso and Matisse or try one of the special exhibitions, lectures and educational programs offered throughout the year.

The Norton Museum of Art also boasts a stunning sculpture garden where you can take a leisurely stroll through a beautiful outdoor space, enjoying a mix of modern and traditional sculptures set against the backdrop of lush tropical greenery. You’ll find it’s a serene spot for reflection and relaxation within the bustling city.

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Visit the Flagler Museum

Whether you’re a history buff or simply appreciate architectural beauty, a visit to the Flagler Museum is a must-do when exploring West Palm Beach. You’ll get to step back in time and experience the grandeur of the Gilded Age at the Flagler Museum. This historic mansion, once the winter home of railroad tycoon Henry Flagler, offers a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of America’s early 20th century. Tour the lavishly decorated rooms, admire the exquisite architecture and stroll through the manicured gardens. The Flagler Museum not only showcases history but also offers special exhibits, lectures and events throughout the year.  

Three kids looking at a giraffe in a zoo.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Visit the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society

Families and animal lovers alike will adore exploring the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society. Get up close and personal with over 500 animals from around the world, including monkeys, sloths, tigers and elephants. Take a leisurely boat ride on the Tropics of the Americas exhibit, featuring jaguars and other South American wildlife.

With plenty of interactive exhibits and educational programs, the Palm Beach Zoo offers fun for all ages. Little ones will enjoy the hands-on play areas and splash pad, making this zoo the perfect spot to escape the Florida heat. Make sure to check their calendar for special events and animal encounters throughout the year.

Kayak and paddleboard at Peanut Island

For an outdoor adventure, head to Peanut Island, a short ferry ride from the mainland of West Palm Beach. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and navigate the crystal-clear waters of the Lake Worth Lagoon. Explore lush mangrove trails, spot playful dolphins or even catch sight of a manatee. The protected waters within Peanut Island Park are ideal for water sports enthusiasts of all skill levels.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even bring your own snorkeling gear or rent some. The island boasts a popular snorkeling reef with colorful marine life and remnants of an old bunker from the Kennedy era. 

“Take a foodie tour with West Palm Beach Foodie Tours! Restaurants were waiting for us with prime seating, the food was great everywhere and I met so many new friends!”

— Kelly Stilwell, Food, Fun & Faraway Places
Close up of cacio e pepe on a brown plate.
Photo credit: Yay Images.

Explore Clematis Street

Clematis Street is the iconic heart of West Palm Beach, buzzing with energy day and night. Take a stroll down this historic street lined with charming boutiques, art galleries, lively bars and fantastic restaurants. From trendy gastropubs with sweet and savory cocktails to casual cafes, there are delicious bites everywhere. As night falls, Clematis Street also transforms into a hub of nightlife, with vibrant nightclubs and music venues.

For a true taste of West Palm Beach, don’t miss the West Palm Beach Green Market every Saturday morning. This lively market features local vendors selling fresh produce, flowers, handmade crafts and delicious prepared foods. Ask Frank, the cheese guy, to get some fresh cheese so you can head home and make some authentic cacio e pepe or pick up some delicious yet healthy samosas.   

Hike or bike the Okeeheelee Nature Center

The Okeeheelee Nature Center provides a peaceful respite and an opportunity to connect with Florida’s unique biodiversity. Here, you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city at the Okeeheelee Nature Center, a 90-acre preserve offering hiking and biking trails winding through diverse Florida ecosystems. Immerse yourself in the lush greenery of pine flatwoods and cypress swamps, keeping an eye out for native birds and other wildlife.

The Nature Center also features interactive exhibits on local ecosystems, making it a great educational experience for families. For a relaxing afternoon in nature, rent bikes to explore the trails easily and enjoy a picnic in the designated areas. 

Discover the flavor of West Palm Beach on a foodie tour

Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or simply enjoy trying new flavors, a food tour is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the heart and soul of West Palm Beach. It’s a truly tasty adventure. These guided tours offer a delicious way to explore the city’s vibrant food scene, sampling everything from local specialties to international flavors. 

Learn about the history and culture of West Palm Beach through tours focused on downtown, historic West Palm Beach. Try a prohibition-era-focused tour so you can discover hidden gems you might miss on your own, from Colombian arepas and tinto coffee to the best key lime pie in town. 

From world-class museums and culinary adventures to outdoor explorations and historical treasures, West Palm Beach offers a diverse array of experiences guaranteed to delight any visitor. This vibrant Florida city promises to leave you with lasting memories and a desire to return time and time again. So whether you’re a beach lover, an art aficionado, an adventurer or simply seeking a relaxing escape, there are amazing things to do in West Palm Beach that are perfectly suited to your tastes.

Shruthi Baskaran-Makanju is a food and travel writer and a global food systems expert based in Seattle. She has lived in or traveled extensively to over 60 countries, and shares stories and recipes inspired by those travels on Rainy City Life

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