West Palm Beach vs. Palm Beach

The battle of the Palm Beaches, these destinations may have the same names but they offer a stark contrast. One is more relaxed, historic, and chic, and the other one is a beach capital and fun. West Palm Beach and Palm Beach offer the best of East Coast Florida, north of Miami.
West Palm Beach vs. Palm Beach

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Connected by bridges, these cities are the best alternative if you’re not up for the party capitals of Orlando and Miami. West Palm Beach is perfect for the laid-back types, while Palm Beach is perfect for the fun-loving lot, however, both are the best for families.

West Palm Beach

West Palm Beach is a perfect respite from the noise and energy of its neighbors since it is calm, and is quite outside most people’s radar. The majority of Florida’s East Coast is bustling and lively, filled with energy and dynamic, but West Palm Beach offers a rather stark contrast with all its simpler yet cosmopolitan draws.

What Makes West Palm Beach Unique?

LGBTQ Haven

A beacon for the LGBTQ, West Palm Beach has one of the largest communities in the US. Thanks to its welcoming and relaxed attitude, the LGBT population has been thriving here. Not to mention, its annual Pride celebration brings in many visitors. West Palm Beach may be severely underrated but it is certainly on many LGBTQ radars.

West Palm Beach is big on cosmopolitan living, especially with all its city features. The small city offers shopping and entertainment. But what even elevates them is that many places across the city are gay-owned and LGBTQ-friendly. This creates a safe and welcoming space for your rainbow friends. The city may not offer high-caliber fun like Miami, but it is a sanctuary nonetheless.

The city’s recent history has laid the foundation for the warm and tolerant scene you’ll see today. Many of its LGBTQ-friendly spots owe this to West Palm Beach’s progressive actions. It has consistently provided safety and acceptance since the 90s. The city has been passing policies to further protect and welcome LGBTQ for the longest time.

Here are some of the most progressive policies that West Palm Beach has propagated:

  • 1994: West Palm Beach enacts an Equal Opportunity Ordinance. This prohibits discrimination against sexual orientation in certain areas. It covers public and private employment, housing, and public accommodation.
  • 2018: West Palm Beach adopts an LGBTQ-inclusive resolution. This affirms their commitment to address and eliminate bullying at city facilities and in city programs.

The Eponymous Downtown West Palm Beach

Perhaps some of the city’s best and most famous draw is the eponymous Downtown West Palm Beach. This area is easily the first and last place a tourist should end up when in the city. You can find everything you’ll ever look for in a cosmopolitan-oriented city around its well-lit chic streets.

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The downtown has trendy restaurants, bars, and performance spaces, not to mention clubs for the partygoers. The younger crowd can find different sorts of fun here. The downtown is especially notable for hosting many events throughout the year. From music festivals to seasonal celebrations that are welcome for everybody.

Nature-Loving Small City

Florida is so jam-packed that you can always find something to marvel upon. From its coasts to its interiors, the Sunshine State is blessed at every turn. You don’t only have beaches and cosmopolitan delights in Florida, you also have the outdoors. Its nature parks and wildlife further add to its unwavering appeal.

Here are some of the many parks you can find around West Palm Beach:

McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary

As its name suggests, the McCarthy is an animal sanctuary. It is completely different from a zoo as the park dedicated its cause to animal welfare. McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary aims to tend to hundreds of animals that are either injured, sick, or homeless. You can even interact with some of them, and see how they’re taken care of on certain tours inside.

Curious animal lovers can also know more about how they rescue animals in need, whether in the world or the city. Tours around the park are also available. They can take you around the treatment clinic, rehabilitation center, and recovery area. Prices around the park aren’t dramatically expensive, but the earnings go to the park’s animal welfare cause.

Mounts Botanical Garden

The largest and oldest public garden and park in the city, Mounts Botanical Garden is a must for every visitor. Whether you’re a plant-lover or not, you’ll surely enjoy the garden’s extensive roster of over 2,000 different tropical plants. Most of the plants on display are even exported to different continents.

With such a wide setup of plants, they are is divided into different sections. The garden has a total of twenty separate gardens and tons of other attractions. Each of these sections houses different categories of plants, along with information about them. You can explore an exotic-trees garden, tropical-fruit garden, citrus and palms garden, and many more.

Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society

The park houses 700 animal species, making it one of the largest conservatories in Southern Florida. Despite its vast residence of animals, the 23-acre (9.3 ha) expanse is situated within the downtown area of West Palm Beach.

The zoo has plenty of attractions that categorize different animals from its extensive roster. You can check out a marsupial section, tiger enclosures, and a reptile house. For the ever-curious youngsters, the zoo also features interactive attractions. They can enjoy a play fountain and a safari train ride around the zoo.

Antique Row

On top of the city’s uber-chic setting, it also offers another twist in its interesting corners. The iconic Antique Row offers a classy vintage vibe and appeals to West Palm Beach’s otherwise upscaled charms. It houses over 50 shops and businesses offering antiquities and vintage pieces.

Here, you can find a wide selection of businesses in the antiquities niche. It offers historical collectibles, classic art, vintage furnishings, and many more. This has to be one of the most interesting strips in all of southern Florida. Not to mention, an extremely aesthetic place to stroll around.

The many antique stores and specialty shops aren’t the only things you’ll find in the area. Antique Row is also popular for its many top-rated and award-winning restaurants serving the best dishes in the city.

Palm Beach

Every well-heeled American jet-setter might already know what Palm Beach is and what it’s all about. It is home to one of the most iconic shopping districts in the US and is the birthplace of a certain type of architectural design. It boasts everything from good food to great beaches, Palm Beach is a place that’s worthy to look at.

Palm Beach is best reserved for the sunseekers who want to see an underrated gem on the west coast of Florida. Or anywhere that isn’t Miami or Fort Lauderdale. The town is perfect for those with a bigger budget, a thing for shopping, and a love for the aesthetics and the beach.

What Makes Palm Beach Unique?

Worth Avenue

Often likened to Los Angeles’ iconic Rodeo Drive, Worth Avenue is an underrated icon in itself. If you want a piece of Palm Beach’s luxury scene, a trip down this stretch is worth a day of strolling. It has Mediterranean-style architecture with good restaurants and high-end shopping. Most of which can compete with numerous shopping centers across the country.

Worth Avenue was one of Palm Beach Island’s first built districts, opening in 1913. It is also credited with introducing Mediterranean architecture to the area, which may still be seen today.

Worth Avenue grew to feature shopping establishments in the 1940s, despite its origins as a residential street. Many internationally famous luxury labels, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Tiffany & Co. can now be found on Worth Avenue.

But Worth Avenue isn’t all about high-end shopping and its architectural charms. The stretch is also one of the best places to splurge on the town’s best dishes. You can easily sample culinary masterpieces from different cuisines all over the world.

Perhaps one of its most iconic restaurants, Ta-Boo is a must-try for the well-heeled and dedicated foodie. It is a homegrown brand that has served the likes of Frank Sinatra and John F. Kennedy.

Iconic Worth Avenue also boasts more draws thanks to its arts, cultural, and historical gems speckled throughout. You can try out the historic walking tour and learn more about how the avenue came to be, how it is today, and its value to the town.

Art lovers will surely enjoy the art galleries lining the avenue.  Marvel at the paintings and drawings, and sculptures around. You will have plenty of opportunities to appreciate the many American artworks.

The Beaches

By the name itself, Palm Beach’s sunny white sandy shores are some of its best highlights. It boasts family-friendly spots and relaxing laid-back stretches. Palm Beach is surrounded by beaches that give you that fabled Florida Beach experience.

Here are some of the most recommended near Palm Beach:

Palm Beach

With its soothing seas, beautiful dunes, and serene environment, a swim in Palm Beach is sure to revive your soul. It’s no secret that the beaches in this area are stunning and provide a wonderful way to spend the day.

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To get the most out of the experience, bike or walk to the 6-mile (9.7 km) Lake Trail. It offers views of the Intracoastal Waterways and the beautiful Palm Beach Gardens.

Lake Worth Beach

Just south of Palm Beach, located on Lake Worth’s fishing pier, Lake Worth Beach is a magnificent site among the greatest beaches in the area, offering a wide range of activities to its tourists.

On this beautiful beach, you’ll never run out of things to do, from fishing to surfing to taking a short swim in the ocean.

With lifeguards on duty at all times, this is also the safest beach for youngsters, allowing you to relax and enjoy your family holiday.

Peanut Island

Peanut Island is perfect for outdoor activities. You can enjoy swimming, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, and various watersports.

Palm Beach Architecture

Upon visiting Palm Beach you’ll easily get a whiff of its unique refined buildings and homes. Driving around the streets of the town, the architecture is reminiscent of the Mediterranean.

You’ll feel like you’re transported to a different era in Europe. Most of this exquisite aesthetic is thanks to the American Architect Addison Mizner. He is widely credited for the well-loved Florida-style architecture.

He brought in the Spanish tiled roofs and shaded internal courtyards, the Venetian gothic windows, and the Seville patios. The white colonial structures and extremely ostentatious East Coast attitudes were thrown aside. You can see the best and also the most well-preserved works in places such as the Everglades Club and the iconic Worth Avenue.

But some of the most defining characteristics of Palm Beach’s architecture are seen in the three houses Mizner designed. These houses sport features that seem to be a fusion of many Mediterranean European influences. You can see Spanish-style roofs, Italian palazzos, as well as Baroque and Gothic accents.

Another notable architectural charm in Palm Beach is the Phipps Plaza, a pair of lavish buildings also designed by Addison Mizner. You can also check out the castle-like appeal of the Plaza Building. It has an interesting stucco finish and an exterior spiral staircase with a wrought-iron railing.

Florida’s Golf Capital

With sunny skies, luxury highs, and a plethora of manicured green expanses, you can expect to find Palm Beach to be a golfing capital. The charming town boasts quite a lineup of designer golf courses available for year-round play. You can surely find a perfect place for you in Palm Beach’s 160 golf courses, some of which have seen greatness.

Here are some of the most famous entries:

Old Palm Golf Club

The quirky design of Old Palm Golf Club’s courses will put players to the test.  Conquer this lush green fairway with 19 holes of varying altitudes, surrounding bunkers, and more. Old Palm Golf Club is dedicated to servicing golfing communities in Florida that have a genuine passion for the game.

PGA National Resort & Spa

The PGA Resort boasts a terrific combination of hard and straightforward holes. It has five fairways, including the newly opened The Staple. The resort is also home to some world-class courses that have hosted tournaments yearly. Try your hand on The Champion, the home course of the PGA tour’s Honda Classic said to be the most challenging stretches of the sport.

Ocean Course at The Breakers

The oldest golf course in all of Florida, the Ocean Course at The Breakers has it all. The Ocean Course is awe-inspiring while still challenging skilled golfers. The course has continued to give a great golf experience to everyone, all the while maintaining its gorgeous seaside look since its 2018 restoration.

Outdoor Activities Galore

Thanks to its perfect weather conditions throughout the year. You can expect to see a wealth of opportunities to go outside and explore Florida outdoors. Palm Beach may be a small laid-back cosmopolitan center but it is also big on outdoor appeal. Try out the many activities available around Palm Beach, land or sea you’ll most likely find something perfect for you.

Water Activities

With 47 miles (76 km) of gorgeous shoreline, chances are, you might have a hard time picking which water sports to do.

A high-speed boat trip, Jet Ski rental, or flyboarding adventure will get your heart pounding. Palm Beach offers tranquil coastline inlets and cypress-shaded inland rivers. They’re perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding.

You can also take one of the many fishing charters out to the Gulf Stream in pursuit of the big one.

On a snorkeling or diving trip, go deeper and explore the world’s third-largest barrier reef system.

At Phil Foster Park Snorkel Trail, Peanut Island, or Coral Cove Park in Tequesta, you can swim with sea turtles and tropical fish.

Land Activities

On land, Palm Beach can be pretty exciting too, especially with all its vast green outdoors. The Palm Beaches, known as Florida’s Golf Capital, are home to more than 160 world-class golf courses. The Palm Beach Gardens Tennis Center has 18 hydro-grid clay courts for day and night play. While the National Croquet Center is the world’s largest dedicated croquet facility.

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You can also explore hundreds of hiking and bike routes, which take you from the Everglades to the backyards of Palm Beach’s most opulent estates. The Palm Beaches also have a diverse range of parks and gardens, many of which are free to visit.

What Is Better – West Palm Beach or Palm Beach?

If you’re up for more of a tourist-driven scene, with plenty of available activities, Palm Beach is the best option. It may be a small town but it sure does pack quite a punch for high-street charms and outdoor fun, especially with its actual beaches.

While West Palm Beach is an actual city, complete with draws of itself including a thriving cosmopolitan spirit. But the charming city’s uber-relaxed and welcoming vibe can make it feel like a small town. It offers fewer activities but is more on culture.

FAQ

Which Is Richer – Palm Beach or West Palm Beach?

Two of the most manicured areas in Western Florida, West Palm Beach and Palm Beach can feel plush and expensive. But when it comes to actual opulence and accents for the moneyed, Palm Beach is the richer stretch.

According to a recent national survey, it has a median real estate price of almost 1.8 million USD. Palm Beach is not just expensive but best reserved for the well-heeled. The data also showed that the median income in Palm Beach is 20,000 USD higher than in West Palm Beach.

Millionaires and Billionaires setting up homes around Palm Beach certainly did boost the town’s value. Palm Beach has seen an interesting billionaire migration since 2017.

Is Palm Beach More Expensive Than West Palm Beach?

From a recent survey, Palm Beach is also 16% more expensive than West Palm Beach. You can expect to find prices to be more costly in this little town.

Is Palm Beach and West Palm Beach the Same?

West Palm Beach is different from Palm Beach. Despite their proximity and almost identical names, they are separate centers. Palm Beach is situated on an island stretch bordering West Palm Beach from the Atlantic.

Where Are Palm Beach and West Palm Beach?

They’re both located right next to each other on the central-western coasts of Florida.

How Far Is West Palm Beach From Palm Beach?

West Palm Beach sits west of Palm Beach, literally right next to it. They are bordered by a lake in between, and three bridges connect them.

Is Palm Beach International Airport the Same as West Palm Beach Airport?

The Palm Beach International Airport is the sole airport that serves both West Palm Beach and Palm Beach. “West Palm Beach Airport” is one of its alternative names.

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