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Clematis Street

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Address: Clematis Street, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone Number: +1 561-404-9787
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The History of Clematis Street & West Palm Beach


The History of Clematis Street & West Palm Beach

Henry Flagler

A history of the Clematis Street District or of West Palm Beach cannot be told without mentioning the name of Henry Flagler. Anyone who has been in Florida for even a short amount of time will recognize the name. It's all over Florida roads, bridges and beaches as well as countless other monuments and museums.

Flagler's Dream:

Palm Beach

Henry Flagler co-founded Standard Oil Company with John D. Rockefeller and also built the Florida railroad from Jacksonville to Key West. He came to the West Palm Beach area in 1893. After being impressed with the natural beauty of the area, he sought to create the most famous resort in the world, Palm Beach. The resort would be conveniently accessible by his own railroad. He built two major hotels, The Breakers and the Royal Poinciana Hotel (later destroyed by a hurricane). He also built what is now West Palm Beach directly across Lake Worth for the service people who worked on the island and as a commercial district.

Clematis Street

Not only is it one of the trendiest places to be today, it also boasts a long and important history. Clematis Street began as the main thoroughfare of West Palm Beach in the early 20th century. It connected the train station on the west with the ferry to Palm Beach Island on the east.

Early 20th Century:

Storefronts logically multiplied and lined each way, as Clematis became the "Main Street" of West Palm Beach. The commuters of the day would traverse Clematis Street and frequent these shops before and after work, much like we do today. It's many older buildings display a fascinating journey through South Florida history.

Automobiles Change Everything

Eventually automobiles, bridges and highways replaced the train, ferry and buggies as the main means of transportation. While once the train station was the link to the outside world, visitors could now arrive via various routes. Okeechobee Boulevard would eventually become the main connection from route 95 over to Palm Beach and Clematis Street would lose its steady flow of passers-by. As the area progressed, suburban sprawl contributed to the growth of metropolitan West Palm Beach, yet the downtown business area remained.

The Downtown Development Authority

In 1967 the Downtown Development Authority was created to impact Downtown's economic conditions, formulate long-range plans for improving the appeal and accessibility of Downtown facilities, promoting their use, providing remedy to any deterioration of Downtown property values, and most importantly, retaining and attracting businesses to Clematis Street.

In short, the DDA works to retain and attract business and to protect the investments of its constituents. Largely due to the Downtown Development Authority Clematis Street is still considered the Main Street of West Palm Beach.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 363 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 169
  • 126
    Very good
  • 46
  • 17
  • 5
Local favourite with free live music at the bottom on Thursday evenings

Great street for whatever you're in to. Yoga, healthy food, drunken late night pizza, sports bars, coffee shops, souvenir shops, night clubs, kava, bars, gym, fine dining. A... read more

4 of 5 starsReviewed September 29, 2015
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363 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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English first
Level Contributor
42 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2015 NEW

Great street for whatever you're in to. Yoga, healthy food, drunken late night pizza, sports bars, coffee shops, souvenir shops, night clubs, kava, bars, gym, fine dining. A must-see when in West Palm.

Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
101 reviews
37 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2015

If you are from out of town, this is a fun place to park and walk the street from shops to bars and restaurants. A very enjoyable evening!

Level Contributor
52 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 23, 2015

Many shops, bars, and restaurants in the area. Make sure to find out when they have live music in the area. I believe it is on Thursday nights. Great waterfront views off of Flager street. Free trolley ride to and from City Place.

Havana, Illinois
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2015

Plenty of bars, shops, clubs, but not so overdeveloped to feel sterile. Watch the schedule for live music in the park at the foot of C Street

West Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2015

Gorgeous waterfront, public spaces, public art, galleries, speciality shopping, restaurants, shows, clubs--it's all there--and it still feels like downtown West Palm Beach.

West Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
44 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2015

We are on Clematis at least once a week and always find what we want as far as food and entertainment. There is a huge variety of restaurants. Our favorites include Grease, Rocco's Tacos, Duffys and Tin Fish. We also like Hot Pie for pizza. We love riding our bikes along the waterfront and the open green space with the... More 

Naples, United States
Level Contributor
93 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 12, 2015

Clematis Street positively offers the best of West Palm Beach. From a diverse array of the city's top restaurants to quirky fashion and retail outlets, Clematis Street somehow simultaneously epitomizes both historic luxury and casual counter culture.

Helpful? 1
West Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
44 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2015

We really enjoy going to Clematis Street, but unfortunately so does everyone else. We need more streets like this around town so we can have different spots for dinner and entertainment on the weekends. Even during the off season, Clematis street is busy in the evenings, and do not expect any easy locations for parking. Be prepared to walk to... More 

West Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
31 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 9, 2015

Nice, but can be or feel dangerous. There are many suspicious characters around. I have been followed and ask for money many times.

Boynton Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
204 reviews
50 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 8, 2015

Mostly restaurants, a continuing effort is made to make Clematis Street a happening place. It doesn't always succeed. What usually attracts me are the legitimate theater productions at the Palm Beach Playhouse.


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