The Palm Beaches are known for luxury resorts, pristine beaches, great shopping and outdoor adventures.
Visitors should know that the area also has world-class culture to match. With more than 42,000 events each year from 200 of the world’s greatest arts and cultural organizations, it’s no wonder the area is known as “Florida’s Cultural Capital.”
The Flagler Museum
The name “Flagler” is everywhere here – on parks, boulevards and cultural centers. The man behind the name, Henry Flagler, is considered the father of Palm Beach. The industrial giant and co-founder of the Standard Oil Company found this the ideal place to relax. He built two opulent hotels as well as the railroad that connected the area to other cities, triggering its development. Here, Flagler also built his winter residence, described by the New York Herald at the time as “more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world.” A National Historic Landmark, the property today houses the Flagler Museum. You can stroll through its rooms and corridors, see all the splendor of its rich architecture, its impressive art collections and even attend concerts and art exhibitions.
The Morikami Museum: A Slice of Japan in Florida
On your trip to The Palm Beaches, you can dive into a culture from the other side of the world at The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. It features unique and educational programs throughout the year, providing insight into traditional Japanese culture. You can watch a customary tea ceremony, listen to Japanese taiko drumming, stroll the beautiful gardens and explore the Morikami’s renowned bonsai collection.
Ann Norton Sculpture Garden
On a sunny afternoon, visitors will want to check out the Ann Norton Sculpture Garden in West Palm Beach. Walk among the beautifully manicured gardens and enjoy the unique garden sculptures in this hidden gem. The nine outdoor sculptures are the work of Ann Weaver Norton in honor of her husband, Ralph Norton, who founded the art gallery on the property. Be sure to browse Ann’s indoor art studio as well. Taking a formal tour is recommended, as the tour guides really bring this unique property to life.
The Society of the Four Arts
Be sure to visit some of the hundreds of cultural offerings from The Society of the Four Arts, a nonprofit cultural organization established to encourage the community’s cultural growth. It includes a library, children’s library and sculpture and botanical gardens. Visitors can see art exhibits, listen to notable guest speakers, attend informational seminars and enjoy first-rate concerts. Check out the children’s programs, films, concerts, exhibitions and lectures.
Amazing Art at the Street Painting Festival
If you’re lucky enough to visit while the Street Painting Festival is taking place in downtown Lake Worth, you’ll discover an amazing festival where downtown streets are covered in chalk paintings. You can browse the art, listen to open-air concerts and enjoy tasty treats. Other notable annual events include ArtPalmBeach, a large show of contemporary art; the Palm Beach Jewelry, Art and Antique Show, the largest of its kind in the nation; and FOTOfusion, a huge convention of photography instructors from around the country.
On Stage: Ballet and Opera
The cultural prowess of The Palm Beaches has led to an unusual situation: The Miami City Ballet, named for the city to the south, has actually been a fixture in the Palm Beaches for nearly 30 years. The company performs more shows at the world-class Kravis Center in Palm Beach than anywhere else. Check out the schedule for your chance to see everything from the classics to new works by today’s most visionary choreographers.
Attending a performance of the Palm Beach Opera at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts is another must-do. Each year, several world-class operas are performed, often with nationally and internationally recognized stars.
Among the live theatrical venues around the Palm Beaches, the Lake Worth Playhouse has a “never-be-dark” policy, which means you’ll enjoy performances year ‘round at this restored 1920's playhouse. The Delray Beach Playhouse offers everything from Broadway shows to children’s theater performances in a community playhouse setting. Meanwhile, at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, you can catch a Broadway performance in a beautiful, multi-million-dollar facility.