Recent press of South Dixie Antique Row in West Palm Beach Florida

Palm Beach, Fla.


Local journalist Charles Passy on what to do, and on where to stay, dine and shop in Palm Beach, Fla.

Where to Shop: West Palm Beach's Antique Row, along South Dixie Highway, is a several-block stretch of stores specializing in everything from vintage linens to European furniture. (

Where to Stay: While the well-heeled crowd still makes their way to such glittering, full-service Palm Beach resorts as The Breakers and Four Seasons, the smart set is increasingly staying on the other side of the Intracoastal Waterway in ever-trendier West Palm Beach. A favorite pick is the Hotel Biba (, a stylish 43-room boutique located in the historic El Cid neighborhood. Rooms cost $145-$260; 561-832-0094. On the more corporate side, the newly renovated West Palm Beach Marriott boasts a great location, near the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts and the recently opened Palm Beach County Convention Center. Rooms cost $259-$299; 561-833-1234.

Where to Eat: Famed New York chef Daniel Boulud's Palm Beach outpost -- Café Boulud (; 561-655-6060) offers a menu that combines bistro favorites (steak frites, duck leg confit) with fancier fare (lychee soup). Howley's, a '50s-era West Palm Beach diner that's just been given a hip makeover, offers comfort-fare standards such as burgers and baked macaroni (561-833-5691). For good Cuban food, head to Havana (the restaurant, that is): The beloved West Palm eatery serves up classic dishes like arroz con pollo, ropa vieja and, of course, Cuban sandwiches (; 561-547-9799).

What to Do: West Palm Beach's Norton Museum of Art (; 561-832-5196), which added a three-story wing in 2003, plays host to the blockbuster exhibition, "Spain in the Age of Exploration 1492-1819" (Feb. 2-May 1). The Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art (; 561-582-0006), located in nearby downtown Lake Worth, plays host to "I feel mysterious today," a group exhibition of works by more than 25 contemporary artists (through March 27).

Day Tripping: Head from Palm Beach to Delray Beach along A1A. You'll pass stately oceanfront mansions and boisterous public beaches alike. Park in Delray and take in that rarest of South Florida commodities -- a pedestrian-friendly downtown.

What to Skip: CityPlace, a European-styled shopping district in downtown West Palm Beach. No matter what civic boosters will tell you, it's just another high-end mall.