West Palm Beach is one of the oldest and most popular cities to visit in South Florida. Located within the Miami Metropolitan Area, West Palm Beach has a ton of historic landmarks, entertainment venues, and pristine beaches. If you’re visiting this hot tourist spot for the first time, take a few moments to read through this list. Below, we’ll go over the best things to do in West Palm Beach and explain how to get there.
Main Things to Do in West Palm Beach
1. Greet Exotic Animals at McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary
Number one on TripAdvisor‘s list of things to do in West Palm Beach is a tour of McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary. Visitors get to see and pet well over 200 animals from all around the world here. A few fan favorites at the sanctuary include an albino python, rhino vipers, and a liger (yes, Napoleon Dynamite didn’t make that up!). Since this sanctuary is extremely popular, you have to reserve your tour spot well in advance.
Available tour times are between Tuesdays and Saturdays at 11AM, 12PM, and 1PM. You can easily call (561) 790-2116 to make a reservation. This animal sanctuary is located about a 20-minute drive from central West Palm Beach at 12943 61st Street North.
2. Snorkel and Sunbathe on Beautiful Beaches
Although Palm Beach County technically has about 40 miles of beaches, some of this coastline is private property. The best public beaches are actually in the nearby city of Palm Beach. The absolute best park in West Palm Beach proper is called the John D. MacArthur Beach State Park. This park, which is located to the north of Singer Island, is highly respected for its diverse marine life. MacArthur Beach is an exceptional place to snorkel, kayak, or hike. You can also get a great view of takeoffs from Cape Canaveral from here.
3. Shop at CityPlace in Downtown West Palm Beach
Even if you’re not a shop-a-holic, you really should take a stroll through Downtown’s CityPlace. This section of town, which covers about two blocks, was actually designed to have a European feel. Just a few of the exceptional shops you’ll find here include Sephora, H&M, and Anthroplogie.
Of course, there are plenty of eateries to choose from, including Saito’s Japanese Steakhouse, Mojito Latin Cuisine, and Copper Blues Rock Pub & Kitchen. There’s also an AMC movie theater, an improv club, and a bowling alley. No matter what you do, you’re sure to be entertained at CityPlace.
Other Things to Do in West Palm Beach
4. Nourish Your Soul at the Norton Museum of Art
Art lovers reading this article must put a trip to the Norton Museum of Art at the very top of their list of things to do in West Palm Beach. Established in 1941, this museum has thousands of paintings, sculptures, and photographs from Europe, America, and China. A few of the museum’s most prized possessions include Bordighera by Claude Monet, Study for the Head of Saint John the Evangelist by Peter Paul Rubens, and the exquisite Ritual Wine Pouring Vessel from Ancient China.
The best thing about this museum (besides the art, of course) is that it’s completely free to the public. The Norton Museum of Art is open from 12PM to 5PM every day except for Thursday. Thursday’s operating times are from 12:00PM till 9PM. You can find this museum at 1451 South Olive Avenue.
5. Learn “Sciency Stuff” at South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
Every well-rounded mind should have a thorough understanding of both the arts and sciences. So, after getting your fill of artistic inspiration at the Norton Museum of Art, it’s time to get your scientific education at the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium (SFSCA).
Besides the massive aquarium, a few exciting things to explore here include a planetarium, a conservation course, a nature trail, and a nanotechnology exhibit. Be sure to check online for any special events taking place at SFSCA before you visit. A trip to this massive science complex is sure to keep your kids entertained for a few hours.
6. Get a Taste of the Good Life at Whitehall
People who love to walk around mansions should check out the Flagler House (aka Whitehall) in Palm Beach. This huge 55-room mansion was built for Henry Flagler, a co-founder of Standard Oil. Even smarty-pants Europeans thought this mansion was a marvel of Beaux Arts design when it was completed in 1902.
Today, Whitehall offers guided tours explaining the life and times of Flagler and the construction of the mansion. There are also numerous exhibits and special events going on at this impressive property throughout the year. You can visit the Flagler House on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10AM to 5PM or on Sundays from 12PM to 5PM.
7. Take in a Show at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
Rounding out our list of things to do in West Palm Beach is seeing a show at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. This performing arts center contains four main theaters, each of which hosts different kinds of performances. You can see celebrity stand-up comedians, popular singers, Broadway musicals, and symphonic music, just to name a few. Plus, inside the main Dreyfoos Hall you can enjoy a meal before your performance. Definitely take a peek at this theater’s performance schedule before you head on down to West Palm Beach
How to Get to West Palm Beach
People traveling to West Palm Beach from far away will have to fly into Palm Beach International Airport (PBIA). PBIA hosts a ton of airlines, including JetBlue, Delta, Southwest, and Air Canada. International fliers will probably have to first land in a major hub in Atlanta or New York City before arriving in PBIA.
PBIA is less than a 10-minute drive from central West Palm Beach. Simply drive east on Turnage Boulevard towards Perimeter Road, turn left onto Australian Avenue, turn right onto Banyan Boulevard, and turn right on South Quadrille Boulevard.
Hopefully this list has helped you plan your visit. As you can see, there are numerous things to do in West Palm Beach to keep your entire family satisfied. Whether you’re into the performing arts, gourmet food, snorkeling, or shopping, you can find something to satisfy your every whim. Have a great time on your trip to West Palm Beach!