The vibrancy and multicultural identity of Miami are undeniable and hard to deny. It’s a city that’s always on the go, a city where one who loves to be in the middle of the action will thrive.
From day to night, Miami will keep you busy with all its allures. And it does a fantastic job at what it has to offer. From never-ending parties to an intensely creative art scene to its world-renowned food scene, it’s easy to see why tons of tourists go here.
An underrated gem of South Florida, West Palm Beach sees fewer tourists than Miami. But this charming city has tons of allures that make it a premier destination too. And it offers the perks of a big, bustling city while maintaining its local spirit and relaxing vibe.
Stunning views, great food, and pristine beaches are some of the things these cities have in common. But if you’re not sure where to go yet, keep reading and you’ll find out which city suits you best.
West Palm Beach
West Palm Beach is a city that perfectly balances urban charm and tropical relaxation. It’s where palm-fringed streets bustling with loads of entertainment is just a stone’s throw away from pristine beaches. And with an endless list of things to see and do in the city, you’ll never get bored in West Palm Beach.
What Makes West Palm Beach Unique?
A Diverse Collection of Pristine Beaches
West Palm Beach is brimming with public beaches for you to enjoy. Home to a diverse mix of beaches, there’s bound to be a lovely stretch of sand here that’s perfect for you. From beaches filled with amenities to beaches that are simple and relatively untouched, West Palm Beach has them all.
With the beaches at your fingertips and year-round warm weather, the city attracts tons of tourists for its turquoise waters alone. And not only are West Palm Beach’s waters beautiful from the shore. Some of its best views are underwater, where you’ll find dazzling and thriving marine life.
Warm waters, soft sand, and a relaxing vibe await you at Palm Beach. This beach has such an eclectic mix of allures that it’s famous and well-loved by so many. Explore its walking trails and gardens, explore its art exhibits, and most of all, enjoy the beautiful beach itself.
Considered to be one of the best beaches in the area is Delray Beach. It’s one of the best-loved beaches as it offers a ton of attractions to keep you busy.
Marvel at artworks in eclectic art galleries, or shop at impressive boutiques. Explore the hiking trails and nature preserves by day. And by night, unwind by attending an open-air concert.
Most beaches in West Palm Beach are quite busy and touristy. So if you want a quaint, more quiet beach, make your way to John D. Macarthur Beach. There are no amenities here, but what you’ll get is the raw, pristine beauty of Floridian beaches.
If getting up close and personal with wildlife is your priority, make your way to Peanut Island. This island sits right in the center of Lake Worth Lagoon. And it offers no shortage of beach fun for visitors.
Peanut Island is well-known to be a great spot for snorkeling. Here, you can swim with angelfish, parrotfish, and if you’re lucky enough, manatees too.
Are you more of a scuba diver? There’s a world-class diving spot in the city that you shouldn’t miss. It sits right under the Blue Heron Bridge, where you’ll find octopi, seahorses, and tons of other colorful marine life.
Nature and Wildlife Areas Galore
When you’re in West Palm Beach, you’re at the heart of nature. The city has a wealth of nature reserves and other green oases that are home to diverse wildlife. Not only that, but West Palm Beach also has tons of zoos where you can meet and learn about the animals that live there.
Wander around a wetland filled with native wildlife at Grassy Waters Nature Preserve. Check out Winding Waters Natural Area, where you can go through prairies, marshes, swamps, Flatwoods, and more, within one area. Stroll through a boardwalk that takes you through Flatwoods and wetlands at Apoxee Wilderness Trail.
Families and adventurers will love the massive Dyer Park. It features a playground, equestrian and bike trails, and sports fields. Discover mountain bike trails here, get up close and personal with the animals, and grill some tasty food at the picnic area.
If you prefer a relaxing stroll in a beautiful spot, make your way to Mounts Botanical Garden. This public park has a collection of more than 6000 plant species across 6 continents. Distinct gardens make up this area, offering unique views from each other.
Other than gorgeous natural views, West Palm Beach is also a great place to see animals. Some of these are rare, while others are endangered.
Check out the Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society. Its lush gardens are home to around 700 animal species, both local and exotic. More than that, this nonprofit zoological park takes care of endangered animals.
Here, you’ll get to meet some cool resident animals. This includes Capuchin monkeys, jaguars, Aldabra tortoises, and more.
You can even go on a safari on your visit to West Palm Beach. At the Lion Country Safari, you’ll go have 600 acres (243 hectares) of land that’s so full of exotic animals like rhinos, giraffes, and impalas. It also features an amusement park for kids, with water slides and a splash playground.
A Vibrant Hub for Arts and Culture
West Palm Beach is the heart of art and culture in The Palm Beaches region. From visual to performing arts, the city’s art scene is cultured, varied, and a dazzling feast for your eyes.
No other museum in the city combines history and fine art as well as the Norton Museum of Art. It’s one of the top attractions in the state, home to over 8000 works, from paintings to sculptures to artifacts. These are masterpieces from all over the world, featuring not only American but also Chinese and European artworks.
You’ll find a wide array of artwork here by famous artists such as Picasso, Monet, and Matisse.
Another must-visit site to soothe your art-loving heart is the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens. Here, you’ll walk through a tropical jungle and discover massive sculptures. An experience like no other, you can even go to Ann’s former studio here.
There are tons more diverse galleries to discover in the city though.
Head to the oldest and largest glass art gallery in the US, Habatat Galleries. Explore a museum that celebrates photographic arts to the fullest, the Palm Beach Photographic Center. Or if you want to learn more about art, you can explore The Gallery at the Center for Creative Education for free!
West Palm Beach is also a city where dazzling live performances are widely celebrated. Go see a show at the world-class Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. Featuring three different entertainment venues, there’s so much to watch here.
The Dreyfood Hal showcases a wide range of shows for music lovers, from jazz quarters to rock bands to symphonies. Head to Rinker Playhouse for concerts, comedy shows, and musicals from around the world. More intimate shows await you at Persson Hall, which holds 70 people in its Cabernet-style seats.
A Retail Therapy Paradise
If shopping is how you’d rather unwind on your vacation, West Palm Beach spoils you with options. Whether you have tons to spend or you’re seeking awesome bargains, you’ll find something to splurge on in the city.
Everything you’d ever need on your retail therapy spree is right in Rosemary Square. You’ll find lines of specialty stores here for clothes, jewelry, home needs, and much more.
Perhaps you’d want to update your wardrobe with luxury brand names. For the avid fashionista in you, Worth Avenue is the best spot to go on a shopping spree. This shopping street is a blend of European sophistication with South Florida flair while offering a grand vibe.
Worth Avenue is brimming with upscale shops and unique boutiques. And more than clothes, you’ll find tons of shops here for art, shoes, furnishings, home items, and much more!
If antique items are the way to your heart, you’ll fall in love with Antique Row Art & Design District. This charming neighborhood is home to around 50 shops dedicated to antiques and fine art.
Antique Row covers nearly everything, from Art Deco pieces to vintage and even contemporary finds. You can bring home old-fashioned sculptures, vintage jewelry, and even home furnishings! It’s easy to see why this is one of the premier antique shopping districts in the country.
Perhaps you’d rather shop at a bargain, and at Tanger Outlets Palm Beach, you’ll find what you’re looking for. This sprawling shopping mall has over 100 stores and big named brands offering outlet prices!
The Impressive Dining Scene
From fresh seafood to ethnic cuisine to farm-to-table eats, West Palm Beach has an incredible food scene that everyone will enjoy. With its diversity, you’ll find just about any cuisine in the city for whatever you’re craving. Most of all, you don’t need to shell out tons of money to get the best that the city has to offer!
Being so close to the water, you can expect fresh seafood to be the star of West Palm Beach’s food scene. Shrimp and grouper are two of the most popular seafood in the city. And to get the best taste of the city’s seafood scene, dine at the local favorites such as Tin Fish and Twist.
West Palm Beach’s barbecue game has been thriving as well, so check out Tropical Smokehouse. The stars of its big menu are Cajun gator sausage, smoked fish, and lemon pepper cobia. You’ll find some Caribbean influences in its dishes too, such as its jerk turkey breast.
More than that, West Palm Beach’s culinary landscape is quite ethnically diverse.
Craving Greek food? Head to Agora Mediterranean Kitchen, which serves some classics such as baklava, hummus, and dolma.
If you’re craving Mexican food, make your way to Rocco’s Tacos for some succulent tacos. Superb Cuban restaurants are also everywhere in the city, so just take your pick! And for an authentic taste of Italy, try Il Bellagio, where you can eat some tasty paste e Fagioli and linguine vongole.
Celebrated by beach lovers and party animals from all over the world, Miami is more than its pristine beaches and endless parties. With a multicultural culinary landscape, a renowned art scene, and a wealth of natural beauty, it’s such an eclectic city. When in Miami, you’ll always have something to see and do from day to night.
What Makes Miami Unique?
Enjoy the Sun, Sand, and Sea
Miles and miles of golden- and white-sand beaches are what most people think of Miami. Like a tropical paradise, you’ll find no shortage of turquoise Atlantic waters and palm-fringed shores to enjoy in the city. With the city’s laid-back vibe and year-round warm weather, anytime’s a great time to take a dip in the city’s inviting waters.
Adding to Miami’s allures is that it’s home to various beaches that cater to every visitor’s likes. South Beach, a lively stretch of sand, is one of the famous ones in Miami. But there are many more pristine beaches to discover in the city.
You’ll find postcard-worthy views of Key Biscayne in Crandon Park. This classy beach has a local vibe, a top spot for family gatherings and barbecues. Here, you can go on a hike at Bear Cut Preserve, explore a ruins site, and go paddleboarding in one day!
For a quieter beach day, North Beach is the best option for you. An easygoing vibe flows through its shores, but there’s no shortage of things to explore here. You’ll find tons of art deco buildings here, quaint restaurants, and a massive and exciting green park.
If you want to get a taste of the bustling Miami beach that you see in movies, make your way to Lummus Park Beach. This beach is a paradise for partygoers as it’s always bursting with parties and bottomless daiquiris for its visitors.
Those who want an action-packed day with their four-legged friend will find a perfect sandy shore at Hobie Beach. Though small, it’s packed with water sports, such as windsurfing and sailing. More than that, it’s one of the few dog-friendly beaches in Miami so you’ll see tons of furry friends here!
Its World-Renowned, Lively Art Scene
Miami may be a sunny slice of tropical paradise, but once you get past its pretty beaches, you’ll soon find out that it’s also a world-class art hub. From events to architecture to street art and museums of all kinds, the city is an art lover’s paradise. Art is everywhere in Miami, and it’s a hotbed for creative experimentation.
One of the top destination museums in the city is the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM). Within this stunning building lies international art from the 20th and 21st centuries. Though the building is new, it started out as the Center for Fine Arts in 1984, and it’s widely celebrated to have sparked the city’s vibrant art scene.
Miami is also the host of one of the most prestigious art shows in the country. The art calendar of Miami revolves around Art Basel, an exciting event that takes place every December. During this show, you’ll find over 250 galleries filled with modern and contemporary art, from paintings to films.
There are countless other spots in the city that celebrate Miami’s wild creativity though.
There’s the Design District the home to innovative and experimental art galleries. For edgy, urban art, make your way to Wynwood Arts District. A highlight here is the Instagram-famous Wynwood Walls, an open-air museum that’s dedicated to vibrant street art.
If you’re more of an architecture lover, Miami has a wealth of Art Deco Structures across the city. This is a distinct style of nautical themes, pastel-clad exteriors, and geometric shapes. And you’ll find no shortage of them lined at Ocean Drive or the Art Deco Historic District.
Dazzling Scenic Beauty
Picture a sky splashed in deep purple, with hints of vibrant orange in the background and tall, swaying palm trees in the foreground. This is one of the best-known views in Miami, a city with jaw-dropping sunsets. But this isn’t the only breathtaking view Miami has to offer, as it’s a city so full of natural beauty.
When you’re in Miami, Florida’s impressive ecosystems are always within your reach. There’s no shortage of natural wonders to discover or wildlife to meet in Miami. And with the city’s balmy weather, it’s always a great time to go on an outdoor adventure.
The Everglades is a massive expanse of tropical wetlands, a top attraction in Miami. This natural reserve has a stunning, scenic landscape of mangroves, pine Flatwoods, and marshes. It’s also brimming with life, with rare and endangered residents like manatees and the Florida panther.
Get incredible views of Miami’s port and Biscayne Bay at Bayfront Park. This lush green space sits right within downtown Miami. And there are tons to see here, such as the waterfalls, monuments, memorials, and even the beach area.
If you want a stunning viewpoint of ships leaving the port of Miami, make your way to South Pointe Park. With the glistening waters, white-sand beach, and tall buildings in one frame, be ready to practice your photography skills here!
Incredibly Diverse and Sophisticated Food Scene
There’s no better display of Miami’s ethnic diversity than its vibrant food scene. The city is home to over 150 ethnicities that are all proudly represented in the culinary landscape. This makes eating in Miami exciting, as there’s always a new cuisine to try here!
Thanks to its diversity, Miami excels in satisfying your every craving. With Israeli, French, Turkish restaurants, and more, you name it, and Miami has it.
With its strong Latin American influence, you’ll find an incredible Latin food scene in Miami. Miami even has the nickname the “Capital of Latin America”. And with this, enjoying authentic Latin food is one of the biggest draws of the city.
Being so close to Cuba, Miami is home to a bustling Cuban neighborhood called Little Havana. This is the beating heart of Cuban culture in the city, where you can tickle your tastebuds with cafe con leche and croquetas.
But Miami’s incredible food scene isn’t limited to several hotspots in the city. Everywhere you go, you’ll always run into a street vendor serving up some delectable eats. More than that, there are tons of quaint cafes and pastelitos in the city worth trying!
Grabbing a plate of delicious meals in Miami doesn’t have to be expensive. But if you don’t mind the high price tag, check out Miami’s world-renowned, international restaurant scene.
Many celebrity chefs have flocked to Miami to open their world-class restaurants. This includes Michael Schwartz, Thomas Keller, and Jean-George Vongerichten. And with this, Miami’s upscale dining scene will surely impress you.
The Electrifying, Nonstop Nightlife
New York may be the city that never sleeps, but so is Miami as it’s always so busy partying. It’s an endless party in the city, and you’ll find bars bustling with life from midnight until sunrise. With a vibrant atmosphere, sparkly clubs, and top-notch DJs, Miami is one of the best nightlife cities in the US.
Miami is home to a never-ending list of bars and clubs, and even venues with unique and impressive shows. Whether you want to dance the night away, enjoy a chill night out with a cocktail in hand, or listen to live music, there’s always something to do here at night.
If you want to dance to loud, upbeat music, Miami has no shortage of electrifying, neon-lit clubs.
LIV is one of the most popular and exclusive clubs in the city. Plenty of VIPs and A-list celebrities have graced this lively club, such as Leonardo DiCaprio and George Clooney. And here is where you can dance to beats by internationally renowned rappers and DJs.
If you’re more interested in the city’s exciting live music scene, you’re spoiled for options too.
But if you want the best that this scene has to offer, make your way to Ball & Chain. This legendary nightlife spot has been open since 1935. And tons of famous Latin artists have performed here, such as Lucy Grau, Miguel Cruz, and Leslie Cartaya.
To take advantage of Miami’s year-round warm weather and killer views, hang out at a rooftop bar!
Have a yummy meal or tasty cocktails with a breathtaking view of Miami Beach in the backdrop at Hotel Rooftop. Local and visiting DJs always make an appearance here, setting the perfect mood for dancing under the stars.
Which Is Better – West Palm Beach or Miami?
Neither city is better than the other, as it all boils down to what you want on your trip. Both cities have a seemingly endless list of diverse attractions, so you won’t get bored when visiting either. So to help you with your decision-making below is a quick rundown of each city’s strengths.
First, you need to consider whom you’re traveling with.
Miami has a strong Latin American and Caribbean culture, with a let-loose and flamboyant vibe. There’s always something fun going on in the city from sun up to sun down. But considering all its allures, it’s a better city for adults or couples.
Meanwhile, West Palm Beach is a less diverse but more serene city. It has tons of big city attractions with a small-town feel, and a wealth of art and cultural sites. It has more family-friendly attractions than Miami, so it’s better for families or those who want a quieter vacation.
Now you have to consider the priorities of your trip.
If beaches are a main priority on your trip, then you’ll find that these two have different beach scenes. West Palm Beach beaches are idyllic, laid-back, and family-friendly. Miami beaches are much livelier and they are more commercialized too.
If you want to party on your trip, choose a city depending on how you want to enjoy your night. Go for Miami if you like wild parties or if you love to dance the night away. But head to West Palm Beach for a more posh, upscale, and laid-back night scene.
If you’re traveling on a budget, choose Miami as it’s a much cheaper visit. The average daily cost per person in Miami is 164 USD. But in West Palm Beach, you’ll be spending around 264 USD per day.
West Palm Beach Zoo vs. Miami Zoo
Zoo Miami is the biggest and oldest zoo in Florida and the largest tropical zoo in the US. This zoo has over 3000 animals, housed in areas that replicate their natural habitats. And it’s also home to thousands of plant species, decorating this massive zoo.
This is a cage-free zoo and it makes you feel like you’re on a real-life safari. Lions, giraffes, elephants, and zebras are some of its residents. But you may catch a glimpse of exotic animals here, like a tree kangaroo or a Komodo dragon.
Though smaller, Palm Beach Zoo has plenty of interesting wildlife for you to encounter and offers a more intimate experience.
This zoo is home to animals from Asia, Africa, Australia, and North, South, and Central America. An interesting thing about this zoo is that you can get closer to animals here more than most other zoos.
Palm Beach Zoo is a haven for endangered wildlife species. Some exotic animals here include Malayan tigers, jaguars, and even panthers.
This zoo offers a more interactive experience on your trip as well. You can pet a two-toed sloth here, get up close and personal with koalas and anteaters, and enter the Aldabra tortoises’ yard.
Where Is West Palm Beach in Relation to Miami?
West Palm Beach sits north of Downtown Miami, around 68 miles (109 km) away.
Is West Palm Beach in Miami?
West Palm Beach is not in Miami, as these are two separate cities. Both cities are in South Florida though.
But Miami is on the Atlantic Ocean shores, right in the heart of South Florida. Meanwhile, you can find West Palm Beach on the upper end of South Florida. Miami is in the Miami-Dade County, while West Palm Beach is in Palm Beach County.
Is West Palm Beach Close to Miami?
West Palm Beach is quite close to Miami, and they’re only around 68 miles (109 km) apart. If you were to drive from West Palm Beach to Miami, you’ll only have a travel time of a little over an hour.
How to Get From West Palm Beach to Miami
You have several transportation options when traveling from West Palm Beach to Miami. You can either take a bus, shuttle, train, or drive to your destination.
Taking the bus is one of the cheapest ways options you can take. There’s a direct bus from West Palm Beach to Miami. They leave West Palm Beach every hour and run every day. This option costs around 8 to 65 USD and has a travel time of 1 hour and 20 minutes.
You can also take a shuttle, which costs around 55 USD and has a travel time of 1 hour and 50 minutes. Only one shuttle leaves from West Palm Beach to Miami daily though.
Taking the train is one of the fastest ways to reach Miami. Direct trains are available daily and they leave West Palm Beach every four hours. This has a travel time of around 1 hour and 13 minutes, and it costs around 14 to 40 USD.
Driving from West Palm Beach to Miami is also a fast option that gives you more freedom. The fastest route is via I-95 Express and I-95 S. If you follow this, you can reach Miami in 1 hour and 19 minutes.
Uber From Miami to West Palm Beach
Getting an Uber from Miami to West Palm Beach is one of the most convenient travel options you have.
On average, this trip has a travel time of around 78 minutes. And the average route distance is around 69 miles (111 km). An Uber ride from Miami to West Palm Beach usually costs around 92 to 192 USD.
But keep in mind that these will depend on your exact pickup location. It will also depend on the actual route your driver takes, traffic, and the time of day.
Uber From Miami Airport to West Palm Beach
You can get an Uber at the arrival level of the Miami International Airport. You can find the rideshare pickup locations right in the middle of the inner curb.
The average distance from Miami Airport to West Palm Beach with Uber is around 73 miles (117 km). And on average, this trip has a travel time of around 85 minutes. Usually, the Uber ride price on this trip is around 109 to 205 USD.
But keep in mind that these are only estimates. The route your driver chooses will depend on several factors, such as traffic. And this will affect the actual price that you have to pay.
Miami to West Palm Beach Drive
You have two route options when driving from Miami to West Palm Beach.
The fastest one is via I-95 Express and I-95 N. With this route, you’ll cover a distance of 71 miles (114 km). And the travel time on this route is around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
You can also drive all the way I-19 N. But this is a much longer route, with a distance of 88 miles (142 km). If you choose this, you’ll reach West Palm Beach in around 1 hour and 34 minutes.