When you think of Palm Beach, Florida, it’s easy to focus on the stunning beaches and stop there. But if you miss the rich art and culture that the area has to offer, you’re truly missing some of the most vibrant and fascinating parts of the city. Entertainment from the sophisticated to the bizarre, museums and sculpture gardens, and endless shopping will not disappoint. Here are our recommended things to do in Palm Beach.
1. Henry Morrison Flagler Museum
Take a little trip back in time in this fully restored mansion built by Standard Oil founder Henry Flagler. It is truly an homage to the luxury of the early 1900s and the foundational era of Palm Beach’s glory days, with ornate architecture, a rich art collection, and even the original (restored) rail car that Flagler traveled in up and down Florida’s east coast. The museum also has a significant exhibit paying homage to that railroad, which Flagler himself dreamt up and funded. Open Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun noon-5pm.
2. Norton Museum of Art
Founded in 1941, this museum has become world-renowned because of its collections of Chinese and European art, primarily from the 19th and 20th centuries. The museum’s collections also include prominent American artists like Pollock and Hopper, with a healthy helping of classical artists like Monet, Picasso, and Matisse. Rotating exhibits change regularly, so visit the museum’s website to see what is on offer for your visit.
3. Mounts Botanical Garden
Once you’ve had your fill of being inside, it’s time to stroll the extensive landscape at the Botanical Garden. With over two thousand plants from six continents and features like a butterfly garden and a number of educational exhibits, both dedicated botanists and flower enthusiasts will find themselves delighted.
4. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
The performances here are guaranteed to impress. With everything from Broadway performances to ballet, concerts from world-class orchestras and ensembles, and community programs like summer camps and family-oriented comedy shows, there’s something for everyone. Check the schedule before you come to town and get tickets in advance if you see something you like because the shows do sell out.
5. Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
Ann Norton is one of Palm Beach’s beloved artists and a renowned sculptor, and this site pays homage to her life living in the city. Located in her former house, visitors can tour the gardens, the home, and her studio to see works from 1905 to 1982 and learn about her life through extensive educational signage. If you’re a budding artist yourself, there are art programs for adults and children hosted on-site.
6. Antique Row
Now for some shopping. Located in West Palm Beach, Antique Row is an entire neighborhood of fifty-plus shops dedicated to antique wares from household goods, period collectors’ pieces, artworks, and vintage finds. Take an afternoon and enjoy the accompanying coffee shops and bakeries that dot the neighborhood streets, and if you’re one of the many young professionals moving to South Florida, maybe you’ll find a rare antique to decorate your new home. This may just one one of the best antiquing towns in America.
7. Society of the Four Arts
This is your one-stop destination for any type of culture you desire. Theater, music, performance art, a children’s library, and art galleries will captivate the sophisticated culture seeker. There is even a well-manicured garden for your walking pleasure, and for those staying in Palm Beach for a longer duration, the Dixon Education Building is the home base for arts education where you can take classes on everything from egg gilding to studying Klimt. Check the calendar before you go to see all the fascinating options at your fingertips.
8. The Colony Hotel – The Royal Room
With all the elegance and sophistication of the cabaret rooms of the 50’s and top-notch performers at one of the most iconic hotels in Florida, The Royal Room is not to be missed. There are only 100 seats available for each show, and the performances are meant to be a full experience with guests seated around well-appointed tables sipping on classy cocktails.
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