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WPB next month: basic questions for locals

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WPB next month: basic questions for locals

Spending 3 weeks in WPB, December-January, for a family trip (4 adults). We are very excited and looking forward relaxing in the city. We live near the downtown area. I have four basic questions that any local should have the answer:

1. The beaches. What is the nearest beach from downtown? I heard about Peanut Island, but is it the nearest? I may sound stupid with that one, but is there beach exclusivity for some hotels or the beaches near the hotels are public?

2. Tri-Rail, sounds too good to be true to go to Miami and FL. Is it safe or as great as it looks?

3. My father is a fan of free markets and outlets. Any suggestion for those?

4. I like to hear locals on great value restaurants, that they love. We often find those off the touristic areas. You know, those restaurants we say "man, you've got to try their ___________, it's the best in town".

4b. A nice restaurant for Christmas, any suggestions?

Thank you!

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Peanut Island Park
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1. Re: WPB next month: basic questions for locals

I'm not local, so will try to sketch a few things tentatively in the expectation that a local will fill in the details or demonstrate how badly I'm mistaken.

1. Peanut Island was a great idea for a park, complete with its own snorkeling area and President Kennedy's bunker. This newspaper story was troubling. I've seen nothing further.

palmbeachpost.com/news/crime/several-injured…

Ocean Reef Park on Singer Island's Island Drive (north of a Marriott) is likeable--it has a real reef, stone, not coral. A bit to the north, John D. MacArthur Beach State Park has lots of fans.

The Town of Palm Beach seems to discourage people from the mainland who might think of visiting its beaches.

2. I thought of using Tri-Rail to get from Palm Beach County to a hotel at its southern terminus. The rail schedule was such that it seemed easier just to continue driving. I think Tri-Rail is currently using a temporary terminus with a bus continuing to the airport (about a 15 minute delay). It should be reasonably safe, albeit I'd be more comfortable going on to the airport.

3. I tend to think of the county more in terms of plush shopping. Sorry.

4. In West Palm Beach, the downtown Clematis Street area is popular with locals. There's plenty more.

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2. Re: WPB next month: basic questions for locals

Regarding markets, you must go to the Green Market on Clematis street in downtown West Palm Beach on Saturday morning. It is from 8-1, and you will NOT be disappointed. They have all sorts of venues aside from veggies, and there is live music. I would show up hungry, and possibly come with a blanket to sit in the grassy area and chill. Also around the corner is a small antique little market as well.

Regarding beaches, if you go over the bridge from downtown, you will find Palm Beach. It is a nice swimming beach, and there are no rocks. It does have metered parking so bring quarters. Another option would be just north of town on Singer Island(just a few miles north). There is a public beach there, or if you park at any of the hotels, you can use their beach facilities as well. My recommendation would be to at least purchase something from the hotel--a beverage, or lunch perhaps.

Regarding eateries, there are 2 local tiki bars that are a must. One is south of West palm about 10 minutes, but if you can get there, you will love it!

It is the Old Key Lime House

www.oldkeylimehouse.com

It is a locals place. Great views, food, and live music.

Another is a few miles north of West Palm Beach, the Tiki Bar and Grille.

…menupages.com/restaurants/…

At least try and make it to one of those. In downtown itself, I do recommend Roccos Tacos, Cabanas, and Grease. In City Place I recommend City Cellars. There also tons of other restuarants to choose from in there as well. Some, like Cheesecake Factory, are chains, but the venue is fun and worth the stop in.

Have fun and let me know if you need any additional specific info.

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3. Re: WPB next month: basic questions for locals

Tri Rail to Miami will take you to an area of Downtown Miami that is not geared to tourists and you'd either have to taxi from there to get to the South Beach area or transfer to Metromover or Metro rail. One of our posters thought he woud do that to get to the Port and found that Tri Rail Station full ,of street people and was very uncomfortable with his surroundings - and recommended it not be done by tourists.

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4. Re: WPB next month: basic questions for locals

A fresh newspaper story on Peanut Island:

palmbeachpost.com/news/palm-beach-maritime-m…

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5. Re: WPB next month: basic questions for locals

I would agree with mermaid76 on her downtown suggestions of the Green Market (I browse there almost every week - my favorite is the cheese vendor), as well as her Clematis Street and CityPlace restaurant suggestions. I would recommend a nice CityPlace restaurant for Christmas, but there are so many to choose. What are your food preferences and budget? If you go, you should probably make reservations (we already did for New Year's Eve at Ruth's Chris). You can also sit outdoors at CityPlace in the lovely warm weather after dinner to admire the Christmas tree (there is also one on Clematis Street), people watch, and enjoy the snowfall and watch (or participate with) the ice skaters. Yep, you read that right, snow (three times an evening) and ice skating -- ok, maybe it's artifically created, but it's really fun at this time of year.

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6. Re: WPB next month: basic questions for locals

The Peanut Island incident happened Labor Day weekend -- long weekends during the summer are a massively crowded, boozy time on the island and the sandbar area around it attracting hundreds of boats. I don't think you'd have to worry about crowds of any kind on Peanut Island in the winter time.

That said, there are plenty of other beaches to explore if you have so much time in the area. McArthur state park (small fee) has good snorkeling (ask in the shop where the reef is and they will direct you), though it might be too rough to snorkel in winter. They also rent kayaks (there is a large protected body of water and estuary) -- kayaking is fantastic here, especially in cooler weather.

http://www.macarthurbeach.org/

Juno Beach, to the north, is also very nice with plenty of free and convenient parking. On this site you can find all the county beaches, and choose the ones you'd like to explore:

www.pbcgov.com/parks/locations/junobeach.htm

As for shopping, your nearest outlet malls are Vero beach (a smaller strip mall), about 1 1/2 hrs north, and Sawgrass Mills (a huge place), about an hour south. But you can also find some great deals on clothing in the local TJ Maxx and Marshalls stores (several in the county, just do an internet search for stores). And of course there's the Gardens Mall on PGA Blvd., a regular mall that is very nice if you like indoor malls, with mid to high end stores.

For another atmospheric eatery, be sure to venture up to Guanabanas in Jupiter: http://guanabanas.com/ Gorgeous tropical outdoor setting on the water, and live music some nights. Very popular and a long wait for tables, so once you find out approximately how long the wait is and have put your name in, walk across the street to Square Grouper (if everyone in your group is 21 or over) or if with younger people to the Crab House for a drink and a magnificent view of the inlet and Jupiter lighthouse at night while you wait.

As for downtown West Palm, check the events calendar -- there is always something going on: http://www.pbpulse.com/. You should be able to find restaurants and reviews on that site too.

Good luck and enjoy your time here!

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7. Re: WPB next month: basic questions for locals

You are getting some great info. DO go and enjoy the Saturday morning greenmarkets! There are things nearby like Festival Flea Market that might work for your Dad...Sawgrass Mills is huge and has some terrific deals.

As for tri rail we use it whenever traveling for extended periods when we don't want a car sitting at either airport. Easy to get to both Miami and Ft Lauderdale and once in Miami the train and bus systems are very good imo, never had a problem. As for safety, I prefer daylight hours. They do have guards on the train but not on all cars. I've never seen or read of any safety problems but I once came home late evening (around 9pm) and there were some kind of scruffy young guys who made me a bit uncomfortable. Be sure to read the Palm Beach Post newspaper for updates on festival type events nearby.

I agree that Cityplace is great for Christmas. We love Taverna Opa there! Lots of moderately priced ethnic restaurants in West Palm area with very good food.

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8. Re: WPB next month: basic questions for locals

We go to Peanut Island often. I bring my nine year old granddaughter there to snorkel. She loves it. . Never had a problem. Of course, stuff can happen - everywhere. It is NOT the norm. If it were, I would be the first to avoid going there, especially with her.

Peanut Island is heavily patrolled (almost to the point of being over patrolled), and is a great place to visit - nice snorkeling, swimming and accessible. It does get very busy with boat traffic on great summer weekends.

OP should not feel like he needs to avoid Peanut Island based on a single event, which did not even happen on the island.

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9. Re: WPB next month: basic questions for locals

Additionally, you are about 25 minutes south of Juno Beach as Mermaid mentioned. The pier has great fishing there, you can watch the surfers and kite boarders, perhaps check out Loggerhead Marine life center which has live sea turtles in rehab. MacArthur Park also has free concerts several times a month. I think the green market in Palm Beach Gardens is one of the best. Also, the area around West Palm has great numbers of golf courses, bike paths, zoo, etc.

For beaches, there are many. Try the area in Delray (south WP). Great strip of restaurants and shops on Atlantic right across from the beach. Singer island has great beaches also, as does Juno and Jupiter.

Nice spot for lunch is Coconuts at the Hilton on Singer Island - it is directly on the beach. Music on weekends.

Another nice spot is Bradley's in West Palm. Laid back, local and fun. You should have a great time.

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10. Re: WPB next month: basic questions for locals

You have received great advice. I wanted to add some restaurant comments.

For a great breakfast go to John G's - this has been a favorite among locals for many years. They are located in Lantana ( they recently moved from Lake Worth).

For breakfast, lunch or dinner give Toojay's a try. This is a local deli chain. Good food - plentiful portions - reasonable price. They have wonderful homemade soups and fantastic desserts. There are several locations close to West Palm Beach ( Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach, Wellington). They have some interesting complete dinners which I think are a good value because your meal plus soup, drink & dessert are included for under $15.

For a great burger: Brass Ring is a favorite among locals. There is a location in North Palm Beach as well as Royal Palm Beach.

For great Cuban food go to Havana in West Palm Beach. I like to go to Havana for lunch because the prices are very reasonable and the portions are large so I make it my meal for the day!

Another local chain is CR Chick's - this is a chicken restaurant that serves a variety of dishes from a quarter chicken with sides to chicken sandwiches to chicken with pasta dishes. Several locations in the area.

The list could go on & on but hopefully this helps with local restaurants that are good for food & value!

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