West Palm Beach, Florida

The city of West Palm Beach, Florida boasts sunny beaches and a vibrant culture. Located on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, West Palm Beach is home to a diverse population, from the affluent to the working class. It is a great place to live, work, and visit! The city on the coast is also just south of Lake Okeechobee. Known for its beautiful beaches, family-friendly attractions, and vibrant culture, West Palm Beach has a lot to offer its residents and visitors. There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, such as fishing and boating, as well as a variety of shopping and dining opportunities and numerous art and cultural events.

Geography and Climate

Aerial view of downtown West Palm Beach, Florida, and the upscale island of Palm Beach
Aerial view of downtown West Palm Beach, Florida, and the island of Palm Beach.

West Palm Beach is on Florida’s Atlantic coast, just south of Lake Okeechobee. The city covers an area of approximately 58 square miles and is divided into three districts: Northwood, South End, and Central. The city is on a coastal plain, which means it has a flat topography and is prone to flooding. While the city is on the mainland along the Intracoastal Waterway, it has access to several nearby islands off the coast, including Palm Beach Island and Singer Island.

West Palm Beach has a tropical climate, which means that the weather is warm year-round. During the summer months, temperatures can reach up to 90°F, while in the winter months, temperatures can dip into the 50s. The city also experiences heavy rains with an average of 62 inches throughout the year, so it is important to plan accordingly if you are visiting during the wet season.

Brief History of West Palm Beach

VA Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida
VA Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. Image credit Thomas Barrat via Shutterstock

West Palm Beach was first settled in the late 1800s by pioneers from the Midwest. On November 5, 1894, the city was officially incorporated, two years before Miami. By 1895 the city was home to 1,000 people. In the early 1900s, the city grew rapidly and soon became a popular destination for wealthy tourists.

In the mid-20th century, West Palm Beach became a major hub for the military, with several military bases located in the area. Today, West Palm Beach continues to be a major hub for the military and a popular tourist destination.

Population of West Palm Beach

Visitors and Residents enjoying the nightlife in West Palm Beach, Florida
Visitors and residents enjoy the nightlife in West Palm Beach, Florida. Image credit Sharkshock via Shutterstock

The population of West Palm Beach is around 122,665. The median age in the city is 39.1 years. The city has a growth rate of 1.45%, with 56.31% caucasian and 34.11% African American.

The city is a popular retirement destination, which has contributed to its older population, with around 20% of the population senior citizens. West Palm Beach has seen rapid growth in its senior population in recent years, making it one of the fastest-growing senior populations in the country. 

Economy of West Palm Beach

Scenery of the shopping street in West Palm Beach, Florida
Scenery of the shopping street in West Palm Beach, Florida.

West Palm Beach has a diverse economy, with the top three industries being healthcare, tourism, and retail. The city has experienced rapid growth in these sectors in recent years, leading to an increase in employment opportunities for residents. The city employs 55,600 people.

The healthcare sector in West Palm Beach employs 7,754 people, with a median yearly salary of $76,904. The top healthcare providers in the city are the Norton Hospital, St. Mary’s Medical Center, and the Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center.

The tourism and hospitality industry in the city employs over 5,707 with a median yearly salary of $48,228. The top employers in this sector are the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Palm Beach Parrott Airport.

The retail industry employs 7,164 people with a median salary of $71,783. Males in Florida have an average income that is 1.34 times higher than the average income of females, which is $48,168.

Attractions in and Around West Palm Beach

Attractions Around Town

Downtown plaza, West Palm Beach, Florida.
Downtown Plaza, West Palm Beach, Florida.

West Palm Beach is home to a number of great restaurants and shopping venues. There are many restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, from Italian to Japanese to the Caribbean

There are also several shopping malls in the area, such as the Palm Beach Outlets and the City Place Mall. For a unique shopping experience, visitors can explore the Antique Row District, which is home to antique stores and boutiques. There are also several farmers’ markets in the area, where visitors can purchase fresh produce and other local goods.

West Palm Beach has a thriving arts and culture scene. The city is home to a number of theatres, galleries, and museums, such as the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, the Norton Museum of Art, and the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum.

Visitors can also explore the city’s vibrant nightlife scene. There are plenty of bars, clubs, and music venues to explore, as well as several comedy clubs and live music venues.

Outdoor Recreation

Tranquil Grassy Waters Preserve in West Palm Beach, Florida
Tranquil Grassy Waters Preserve in West Palm Beach, Florida.

West Palm Beach is a great destination for outdoor activities. The city is home to several beautiful beaches, such as Juno Beach and Midtown Beach. Visitors can spend the day swimming, snorkeling, or just relaxing on the sand.

The city also has nearby parks and nature preserves, such as the Grassy Waters Preserve and the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. These parks offer plenty of opportunities for hiking, biking, and bird-watching.

Events and Festivals

International air show 2019 at Punta Gorda airport
International air show 2019 at Punta Gorda airport. Image credit semyon lorberg via Shutterstock

There are a number of events and festivals throughout the year. The Florida International Air Show is the most popular event, which takes place every March. The event features aerial performances, ground exhibitions, and many other activities. Other popular events include the SunFest Music Festival, which takes place every April, and the South Florida Fair, which takes place every January. Both of these events feature live music, art, and food.

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