By  Mike Miller 

West Palm Beach and Palm Beach are separate towns, and they are very different.

West Palm Beach Looking Toward Palm Beach and the Atlantic OceanView Over West Palm Beach to Palm Beach
Photograph by D Ramey Logan, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

For a brief time, West Palm Beach was the southernmost resort on Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway. 

A gigantic freeze later convinced him to extend the railroad to Miami and then eventually to Key West.

Flagler built two luxurious hotels in Palm Beach, the Breakers and the Royal Poinciana.

He wanted Palm Beach to be a retreat for the very wealthy, and he created a separate place for the staffs of the hotels to live.

This place was West Palm Beach across Lake Worth.

West Palm Beach, Flagler DriveWest Palm Beach, Flagler Drive

Many black workers, some from the Caribbean, worked on the construction of the hotels in Palm Beach.

They lived in a neighborhood in Palm Beach named Styx after the mythological river to Hell.

The Breakers Hotel in Palm BeachThe Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach

Styx had shacks that were rented to these black workers, and shortly after the big hotels were completed the workers were evicted from Styx and required to move to West Palm Beach.

After they moved, the shacks were demolished.

Henry Flagler's Mansion WhitehallHenry Flagler's Mansion Whitehall

In 1902, Flagler built a mansion, Whitehall, for himself and his wife.

His social life at Whitehall was instrumental in creating the "season" in Palm Beach. He entertained constantly, and his parties set the tone for the wealthy community.

Palm Beach was incorporated as a town in 1911. It has grown over the years to a permanent population of about 10,000 with a seasonal population of about 30,000.

Today Worth Avenue is a world class shopping district, and tourists enjoy wandering around the beautiful streets looking at the mansions of the rich and famous.

They enjoy the architecture of Addison Mizner. Palm Beach is also a great place to park your car and ride your bike.

Sunfest Along Lake Worth in West Palm BeachSunfest Along Lake Worth in West Palm Beach

Palm Beach is on the barrier island and confined to a relatively small area between Lake Worth and the Atlantic Ocean.

West Palm Beach, on the other hand, had tremendous amounts of land to the north, south and west and could expand as much as it needed to.

Today it dwarfs Palm Beach in population and land area.

West Palm Beach has grown steadily since the early days when it was a service community for the massive hotels across the lake.

The northwest area of West Palm Beach was first settled in 1894 when the black workers were moved from the Styx neighborhood of Palm Beach.

It was predominately a black neighborhood then and largely remains that way today.

The neighborhood is on the National Register of Historic Places.

View Westerly Toward Downtown West Palm BeachView Westerly Toward Downtown West Palm Beach

The town of West Palm Beach Florida was incorporated in 1894, many years before Palm Beach incorporated.

Other neighborhoods in West Palm Beach began to grow and prosper during the Florida land boom of the 1920's.

Many of the houses and commercial buildings from that area still stand and make the city a tremendous collection of interesting old buildings.

The City of West Palm Beach has created many Historic Neighborhood Districts that have helped preserve these old treasures.

Many of the neighborhoods are also on the National Register of Historic Places.

Palm Beach County CourthousePalm Beach County Courthouse

West Palm Beach had some tough years economically after the collapse of the Florida land boom and even until after World War Two.

Crime was a serious problem, and business districts were not doing well. In the 1960's the City's first enclosed mall was built and things started picking up.

Since then, the Clematis Street entertainment district in the heart of downtown and City Place have made West Palm Beach an exciting place to live and work.

City Place opened in 2000 in downtown West Palm Beach. It looks like a European city, and has excellent shopping and dining and a movie theater. There are also condos, apartments and offices.

A former Methodist church, built in 1926, is the focal point of City Place.

The developers have restored it, and it now serves as a cultural center with art displays, theater and music performances, and school activities.

The current population of West Palm Beach is 100,000, and it is in the heart of Palm Beach County with a population of 1,300,000.

It is one of the major cities in the South Florida population center of more than 5 million people.


Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society
1301 Summit Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33405 | (561) 547-9453

The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society is a wonderful place for animal lovers of all ages. We enjoy seeing the diverse range of animals, from tigers to koalas.

Visitors appreciate the engaging exhibits and interactive experiences. The zoo’s conservation efforts and educational programs add to the visit.

It’s a great place for a family outing, with plenty of activities for kids. The lush, tropical setting makes it a pleasant place to explore.

Norton Museum of Art
1450 S Dixie Hwy, West Palm Beach, FL 33401 | (561) 832-5196

The Norton Museum of Art is a cultural gem featuring an impressive collection of art. We enjoy the diverse exhibits, including contemporary works and classic masterpieces.

Visitors appreciate the beautifully designed galleries and the rotating special exhibitions. The museum offers a range of educational programs and workshops.

It’s an interesting place for art enthusiasts and those looking to learn more about different art forms. The serene sculpture garden provides a peaceful retreat.

Mounts Botanical Garden
531 N Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL 33415 | (561) 233-1757

Mounts Botanical Garden is a beautiful oasis showcasing a variety of plants and garden designs. We enjoy the peaceful walking paths and the themed gardens.

Visitors appreciate the educational programs and the seasonal plant sales. The garden is great for a relaxing stroll and learning about different plant species.

It’s a perfect spot for nature lovers and garden enthusiasts. The friendly staff and well-maintained grounds make it a pleasant visit.

Whether you’re exploring the butterfly garden or attending a workshop, Mounts Botanical Garden offers a serene and educational experience.

Cox Science Center and Aquarium
4801 Dreher Trail N, West Palm Beach, FL | (561) 832-1988

The Cox Science Center and Aquarium is a fun and educational destination for all ages. We enjoy the interactive exhibits and the fascinating aquarium displays.

Visitors appreciate the planetarium shows and the hands-on science activities. The center offers a range of programs and events throughout the year.

It’s a great place for families to explore science and marine life together. The friendly staff and engaging exhibits make learning enjoyable.

Clematis Street
Clematis St, West Palm Beach, FL 33401

Clematis Street, discussed earlier, is the lively heart of downtown West Palm Beach. We enjoy the variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Visitors appreciate the vibrant atmosphere and the frequent events and festivals. The street is great for a night out, with plenty of bars and live music venues.

It’s a perfect spot for dining al fresco or shopping for unique gifts. The friendly vibe and beautiful setting make it a popular destination.

Palm Beach Maritime Museum
2400 N Flagler Dr, West Palm Beach, FL 33407 | (561) 848-2960

The Palm Beach Maritime Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into maritime history and local heritage. We enjoy the exhibits featuring historic ships, maritime artifacts, and educational programs.

Visitors appreciate the hands-on displays and the beautiful waterfront location. The museum also includes the historic Coast Guard station and President Kennedy’s bunker on Peanut Island.

Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
701 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach 33401 | (561) 832-7469

The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts is a premier venue for live performances. We enjoy the variety of shows, from Broadway musicals to symphony orchestras. Visitors appreciate the elegant setting and the top-notch acoustics.

The center offers a range of performances, making it a great place for a night out. The friendly staff and beautiful theater add to the experience.

700 S Rosemary Ave, West Palm Beach 33401 | (561) 366-1000

CityPlace, discussed earlier, is a vibrant shopping and entertainment district. We enjoy the variety of shops, restaurants, and live entertainment.

Visitors appreciate the beautiful Mediterranean-style architecture and the lively atmosphere. The square is great for a day of shopping, dining, and enjoying the outdoors. It’s a perfect spot for families and friends to gather and have fun.

The friendly vendors and diverse offerings make it a popular destination. Whether you’re taking in a movie, shopping for unique items, or dining al fresco, Rosemary Square has something for everyone.

Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens
2051 S Flagler Dr, West Palm Beach, FL 33401 | (561) 832-5328

The Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens is a hidden gem featuring beautiful sculptures and lush gardens. We enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and the impressive works of art.

Visitors appreciate the unique blend of nature and art. The gardens are great for a relaxing stroll and admiring the sculptures.

It’s a wonderful place for art enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The friendly staff and well-maintained grounds make it a pleasant visit.

Okeeheelee Park
7715 Forest Hill Blvd, West Palm Beach 33413 | (561) 966-6600

Okeeheelee Park is a vast outdoor space offering a wide range of activities. We enjoy the scenic walking and biking trails that wind through the park. Visitors appreciate the beautiful lake views.

There are a variety of recreational options, including boating, fishing, and golfing. The park is great for family picnics, with plenty of picnic areas and playgrounds. The nature center, dog park and equestrian trails add to the fun.

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