Updated: Mar 18, 2022
Just over the bridge from Palm Beach Island is the picturesque and eclectic Downtown West Palm Beach. While Palm Beach Island is home to premier shopping and dining venues, the Downtown area is truly the beating heart of Palm Beach County, offering a vibrant center for nightlife, culture, and more. The area truly has an all-ages appeal, featuring refined, cosmopolitan lounges and eateries balanced with an array of casual hangouts known for live music and art.
Looking to spend a day in Downtown? Here is a helpful guide detailing some of the area's top attractions, including recommendations from Brown Harris Stevens' Palm Beach agents.
Dining in Downtown West Palm Beach
Despite its relatively small size, Downtown West Palm Beach is home to some of Palm Beach County's most sought-after dining destinations, with many offering elevated takes on European and American cuisine.
The best way to start any day in Downtown is with coffee and a light breakfast at Subculture Coffee. The hip, locally owned community hangout features a welcoming interior with plenty of long tables, in addition to a large courtyard with a one-of-a-kind Einstein mural. Enjoy their house-brewed drip coffee with an avocado toast topped with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, and balsamic dressing.
For hip Asian fusion served in a colorful setting, look no further than Kapow! Noodle Bar. Located on Clematis Street, the restaurant's flavorful menu offerings include the Kapow Fries, exclusive to their West Palm location. They are made from Japanese yams and sweet potatoes that are tempura-fried and served with truffle salt and a zesty aioli. For your main course, try the Peking duck, recommended by Linda Stillwell, which features imported, house-roasted duck served with cucumber, scallion, pancakes, hoisin sauce, and vegetable fried rice.
A West Palm Beach staple for over 45 years, Lynora's serves classic Italian fare, from pasta dishes to wood-fired pizzas. Stop by for a late lunch during the restaurant's daily, four-hour "Happy Hour" to enjoy discounted dishes, like the succulent, oven-baked cannelloni al forgo. It includes pork, beef, spinach, and a creamy béchamel sauce rolled in a crepe and topped with bolognese and mozzarella. For a drink, try the espresso martini—arguably the best in town.
Recommended by Marta Hardyman, the RH Rooftop Restaurant is located in The Square and is a great option for both an elegant meal and a photo op. Take in city and intracoastal views while perusing a menu of timeless European and American classics, ranging from lobster rolls with drawn butter to roasted chicken with fresh garlic confit and potato purée.
Arts and Culture in Downtown West Palm Beach
A mini-mecca for visual and performing arts, Downtown West Palm Beach regularly hosts premier performers and visual artists from around the world at its various cultural venues.
With a dynamic schedule of touring productions, orchestras, and A-list star engagements, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts was recommended by nearly all of our agents. Located just a few blocks away from Clematis Street and The Square, the Center's diverse and dynamic production schedule includes something for everyone, from comedic acts to dramatic operas.
One of Palm Beach County's artistic gems, the newly renovated Norton Museum of Art showcases a permanent collection of over 8,200 pieces of fine artwork spread across five departments: European, American, Chinese, Contemporary, and Photography.
There is also a regularly rotating schedule of exhibitions featuring local, national, and internationally acclaimed contemporary artists. On Friday nights, visit the museum for "Art After Dark," which mixes art and entertainment with live performances, film screenings, art workshops, and more.
For a more intimate theatrical experience, visit the Dawn & Ann Brown Theatre on Clematis for thrilling productions from local drama troupe, The Palm Beach Dramaworks. The troupe's productions, which include both plays and musicals, regularly debut to rave reviews and showcase talents from the tri-county area.
Cocktails and Nightlife in Downtown West Palm Beach
From chic lounges to dance clubs and dive bars, Downtown West Palm's nightlife scene is as eclectic as the crowds it draws, which include college students, tourists, and local retirees.
Recommended by Geoff Darnell, the Ben is one of the newest and most chic hotels in West Palm Beach. Its rooftop bar has quickly become a popular hangout, both for its panoramic views and its restaurant and lounge, Spruzzo. There, you can sip a Saint Tropez martini (Ketel One vodka, St. Germain, cucumber, and lemon juice) while taking in the views near one of the rooftop's open fire pits.
For artisanal cocktails, dancing, and dazzling drag shows, look no further than Camelot. The nautical-themed lounge and club is known for its craft cocktails, wine, and beer. You can hit the dance floor alongside boaters and yachters who have sailed into West Palm beach for a lively evening out.
A popular dive bar known for its live band performances, spacious back patio/karaoke area, and affordable drinks, Lost Weekend is helmed by the same owners as Subculture Coffee Roasters. Once you've chosen a beer from their extensive list of brews, rock out to whichever local band might be performing that night while playing billiards or classic Pac-Man with friends.