Considering moving to West Palm Beach? The Orchid City, often referred to as West Palm or WPB, is a wonderful place to live in Florida thanks to its beautiful weather, great job market, incredible restaurants, and more. Check out these 18 things to know about living in West Palm Beach!
Enjoy More Affordable Coastal Living
Want to live in paradise but without the high price tag? West Palm Beach is the city for you! Compared to neighboring Palm Beach, West Palm Beach is the significantly more affordable option for Florida coastal living. Palm Beach’s cost of living is 97% higher than the Florida average, and median home prices in the area are $955,600. Meanwhile, West Palm Beach’s cost of living is only 8% higher than the Florida average, with a median home price of only $198,100. Plus, Florida has no state income tax, so if you’re relocating from another state, living in West Palm Beach can help you further stretch your dollar.
Find a Job in WPB
If you’re looking for a job in West Palm Beach, this coastal Florida city has several employment opportunities. Work for top healthcare employers at Good Samaritan Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center or at the headquarters of companies like Ocwen Financial Corporation and American Sugar Refining. Or work in West Palm Beach tourism, a multi-billion-dollar industry that creates hundreds of thousands of jobs for local residents! The top tourism employers in WPB are the Banyan Cay Resort and Palm Beach Kennel Club. Other major employers include Florida Public Utilities, Affiliated Managers Group Inc., and The Palm Beach Post. Plus, major financial companies like Elliott Investment Management are working to develop the Miami-to-West Palm Beach corridor into the Southern hub for financing.
Dive Into Higher Education
West Palm is home to several highly-rated institutions! Enroll at South University – West Palm Beach where you can work toward a degree in criminal justice or earn your master’s in clinical mental health counseling while engaging in real-world experiences. Study biology, computer science, graphic design, and many more subjects at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Seek your undergraduate degree or a diploma in medicine or IT at Southeastern College – West Palm Beach. If you’re an aspiring healthcare professional, another great school to consider is the Academy for Nursing and Health Occupations. Or earn your marine service technology, firefighter, or cosmetology CCP at Florida’s first public community college, Palm Beach State College, located in nearby Lake Worth.
Utilize Public Transportation
Most people drive their cars around Orchid City, but the public transportation options make it easy to travel without one. Ride for free within WPB on the West Palm Beach Trolley. Travel by water to other Palm Beach areas with the shuttle service of Palm Beach Water Taxis. Hop onto the Palm Tran or a Brightline Train, which provides an easy way to commute between West Palm and other South Florida cities. And travel farther away by booking through Tri-Rail, Amtrak, or Palm Beach International Airport.
Travel to Close Florida Cities
Locals living in West Palm Beach can take advantage of quick weekend getaways in other nearby Florida cities—thanks to WPB’s convenient location. Spend the day fishing and bird-watching at Lake Okeechobee, which is the largest lake in Southeastern U.S. and less than an hour from West Palm. Head about an hour south to spend the day in Fort Lauderdale to visit Dolphin World or stroll through Las Olas Boulevard. Drive a little less than two hours south to Miami, where you can get involved in the excellent Miami art scene, shop at the Miami Design District, and much more!
Enjoy Orchid City’s Weather
ven though the city of West Palm Beach has tons of sunny days and warm temperatures, it receives a significant amount of rain too. West Palm Beach is actually one of the rainiest cities in the U.S.! Due to the tropical climate, WPB receives about 63 inches of rain per year. Though Florida ranks as the No. 1 state for hurricanes, West Palm isn’t hit with as many as the Gulf Coast area. More accurately, West Palm Beach experiences most large hurricanes as storm surges with large rain quantities associated with tropical storms from June through November. West Palm weather also provides around 238 sunny days each year and average annual temperatures between 57 and 90 degrees!
Retire in West Palm Beach
Thinking about retirement? Consider living in West Palm Beach! Residents aged 65 and up are a large demographic of WPB, thanks to the city’s nice year-round temperatures, small-town feeling, and variety of retirement communities. Palm Beach County also offers limited income exceptions for senior citizens. If you’re looking for things to do in retirement, West Palm won’t disappoint! Go fishing, boating, and explore the Palm Beach Maritime Museum at Currie Park. Plus there are tons of West Palm Beach golf courses to choose from. Play 9 or 18 holes at local favorites like Okeeheelee Golf Course or The Preserve at Ironhorse.
Live in a Small Gay-Friendly City
Despite being a smaller city than well-known LGBTQ hubs like NYC and San Francisco, West Palm Beach is gay-friendly! WPB has been named one of the top cities for LGBTQ retirement because of the significant strides the city has made for the LGBTQ community. In fact, West Palm Beach was Florida’s first public employer to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (which was later amended to gender identity or expression), as well as the first to provide domestic partnership benefits. With several nearby LGBTQ events like Palm Beach Pride—one of South Florida’s largest pride events—and the International Gay Polo Tournament, it’s easy to see why Orchid City is an LGBTQ hot spot!
Spend the Day On the Beach
With nearly 50 miles of coastline in Palm Beach County, you’ll never run out of sand and sea! Check out some of the best beaches in Palm Beach County—Delray Beach, Juno Beach, or Lake Worth Beach—all of which are within a short drive of West Palm Beach. Go dolphin-watching, enjoy paddle-boarding, or jet ski on the Intracoastal Waterway. Ride through WPB’s Everglades and see all kinds of local animal species from birds to alligators with Airboat Rides West Palm Beach. Go camping, snorkeling, and picnic just 15 minutes north on Peanut Island. Or surf, visit the nature center, and attend special events like Secret Lives of Snakes less than half an hour north at John D. MacArthur Beach State Park.
Connect With Natural Wonders
Looking for outdoor recreation in WPB that’s not going to a beach? Learn more about the local ecosystem, take guided tours, and attend special events like Marsh Critters Dipnetting at Grassy Waters Preserve. Go canoeing while searching for birdlife such as bald eagles, green herons, and wood storks at Winding Waters Natural Area. Encounter an array of wildlife while admiring wet prairie, dome swamp, shallow-water marsh, and more at Okeeheelee Nature Center. Ride horses or go kayaking or water skiing at Okeeheelee Park. Bring a water bottle and binoculars to hike nearly three miles along the beautiful Apoxee Trail. Take a bike ride or play basketball or baseball at Dyer Park. See public art, bring the kids to the playground, or take a walk at Flamingo Park. Or attend a meeting with other flower fans and learn all about growing orchids at the Tropical Orchid Society.
Bring Everyone to Family-Friendly Fun
This Florida city is full of entertaining things for families to do together. Check out over 350 animal species on display, go on an Outback safari, and get up-close with otters at Palm Beach Zoo. Learn about “sea cows,” enjoy educational exhibits, and attend Manateefest at Manatee Lagoon. Support the rehabilitation of animals like tigers, lemurs, tortoises, and more by taking a guided tour and even interacting with a few species at McCarthy’s Wildlife Sanctuary. Walk through 25 immaculate gardens, explore the Moai exhibit, and play in the giant fort at Mounts Botanical Garden. Journey Through the Human Brain, see stingrays and eels, explore space in the planetarium, and much more at Cox Science Center and Aquarium. Or zoom down the Baby Blue waterslide, compete with each other in the Rapids Racer, and bodyboard in the FlowRider at Rapids Waterpark.
Watch MLB Spring Training
The Palm Beaches host four baseball teams every February and March during MLB Spring Training! Get autographs from players of the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals at Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Or pop over to Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in nearby Jupiter, FL as the St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins prepare for baseball season.
Support the Fine Arts
If you love art of all kinds, West Palm has you covered! Admire various art collections like the American and European exhibits, listen to live music, and see film screenings at Norton Museum of Art. Go on the Master Gardener Tour and check out photographs at Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens. Take dozens of classes instructed by master artists in mediums like ceramics, painting, and drawing at Armory Art Center. Enjoy Palm Beach Symphony performances, the Miami City Ballet, and Broadway shows such as Wicked and Chicago at the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts. See both classic plays like Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire and those written by Contemporary playwrights in The Dramaworkshop at Palm Beach Dramaworks. Attend a Lunch and Learn and see spectacular performances of Madama Butterfly, Norma, and more at the Palm Beach Opera. Experience concerts and other great events throughout the year at the open-air Meyer Amphitheatre. And shop over 40 antique, fine art, and modern furnishing shops in West Palm Beach’s Antique Row Art & Design District.
Explore Clematis Street
Located in the heart of Downtown West Palm Beach is historic Clematis Street, a hot spot for dining and entertainment, which was originally WPB’s main street and still contains 12 historic buildings. Grab your lawn chair and listen to live music like rock, soul, and country every Thursday at Clematis By Night. Enjoy live performances from excellent bands like The Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Damned at Respectable Street. Dance the night away to music by Florida’s favorite DJs on the rooftop of Roxy’s Pub. Try traditional French cuisine like the Quiche Lorraine, Croque-Monsieur, or Steak Frites at Pistache French Bistro. Or order Guava Chicken Wings, Pork Meatballs, or Grilled Scottish Salmon at Hullaballo.
Attend Fun Year-Round Events
Whether you want to try new food, jam out with friends at a concert, or make lasting memories, the city of West Palm Beach has the perfect fairs and festivals for you! Enjoy carnival rides, live shows, and visit Yesteryear Village at South Florida Fair. Revel in the grandeur of more than $1.2-billion worth of boats, live aquatic demos, and educational seminars at the Palm Beach International Boat Show. Celebrate the 4th of July with fireworks, live music, and a military honor ceremony during 4th on Flagler. Sample the best eats from over 100 restaurants in the Palm Beaches and benefit from special discounts in August during Palm Beach Restaurant Month. Or ride the ferris wheel and watch Sandi (the world’s only 35-foot-tall sand tree) light up the night during Holiday in Paradise.
Find New Sounds at SunFest
SunFest is the largest waterfront music festival in Florida, attracting more than 85,000 visitors every year. A three-day event held at the beginning of May, this West Palm Beach music festival takes place in the Arts & Entertainment District and includes floating bars, ’round-the-clock DJs, great eats foodies will love, and more! With 30 bands performing, SunFest celebrates all different music styles like Latin, pop, hard rock, and electronic, drawing musicians from all corners of the industry. Notable artists from past Sunfest lineups include All Time Low, Bebe Rexha, The Chainsmokers, and Lil Wayne.
Experience Waterfront Dining
Orchid City offers plenty of incredible restaurants where you can enjoy its specialty—West Palm Beach seafood! Catch the game while having Smoked Fish Dip, Deep Fried Shrimp, or Steamers at Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill. Hang out in a retro space and order plates of Grilled Fish Tacos, Citrus Glazed Salmon, or Octopus at Avocado Grill. Try Peruvian recipes such as El Loco Calato, Ahi Tuna Tamarind, or Maki Cangrejo at Dr. Limon Ceviche Bar. Indulge in live music and a fire pit with Mediterranean food like Ortolana, Honey Za’atar Wings, or East Coast Oysters at Spruzzo. Chow down on slices of Quattro Formaggi or Di Pollo, or create your own pizza at City Pizza Italian Cuisine. Discover modern Japanese dishes such as Chicken Gyoza, Anaconda rolls, and Pineapple Fried Rice at Sushi Jo. Looking for vegan food in West Palm Beach? Check out options like the Pear & Gorgonzola Salad or ‘Meatless Lasagna’ with locally-made Organic Kombucha at Darbster.
Spend a Night on the Town
If you’re looking for fun things to do once the sun goes down, West Palm has no shortage of nightlife options. See comedy shows with popular headliners like Gabriel Iglesias, Chris Franjola, and Tiffany Haddish at Palm Beach Improv Comedy Club. Learn to line dance and ride the mechanical bull at Renegades. Dance and order drinks from two bars at the semi-private upscale club, Camelot. Taste a variety of wines like G.D. Vajra Moscato and Crocus Malbec, and enjoy live local music every Tuesday night at The Blind Monk. Relax in a cozy atmosphere with plenty of drink options depending on your bartender at 215 Speakeasy. Or sample high-quality craft beers while attending fun events like Trivia Night and Pint & Paint at Steam Horse Brewing.
Frequently Asked Questions About West Palm Beach
Where is West Palm Beach located?
West Palm Beach is located in mainland Florida just west of Palm Beach. It’s bordered on the east by Lake Worth Lagoon.
How far is West Palm Beach from Miami?
West Palm Beach is about an hour and a half (or 65 miles) outside of Miami.
What’s it like living in West Palm Beach?
Living in West Palm Beach is ideal for anyone who wants a fun culture and great year-round weather. In addition, the cost of living in West Palm Beach is only 6% higher than the Florida average, which is more affordable than Miami’s cost of living, which is 11% higher than the Florida average.
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