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About West Palm Beach
Located on Florida's Atlantic Coast, West Palm Beach is considered part of the Miami metropolitan area, despite being nearly 70 miles away. West Palm Beach boasts numerous cultural and entertainment attractions, and it's been a tourist hot spot for over a century. The Intercoastal Waterway separates the city from glamorous Palm Beach, home to countless mansions and millionaires.
West Palm Beach History
West Palm Beach is home to a considerable population today, but the city grew slowly in its early years. In the late 19th century, railroad magnate Henry M. Flagler purchased land in the Palm Beach area. He became a pioneer of the resort industry on Florida's Atlantic Coast, giving the city the resources and energy it needed to move forward. Today, West Palm Beach is a thriving city with a vibrant tourism industry and a surprisingly affordable housing market.
Living in West Palm Beach
If you're planning to move or considering a new job in the West Palm Beach area, you'll find that a variety of job opportunities are available. The biggest industries in West Palm Beach are professional and business services, trade and transportation and education and health services. Large companies based in the city include Florida Public Utilities, ION Media Networks and Ocwen.
The tropical climate of West Palm Beach means you'll be able to enjoy warm temperatures year-round, though it's also one of the rainiest cities in the nation. Luckily, the rainy season is mainly May through October, with sun and moderate temperatures the rest of the year.
One of the most anticipated annual events in West Palm Beach is SunFest, a waterfront festival featuring a range of musical performances and art exhibits. Some of the well-known artists that have played at SunFest include Ray Charles, Cyndi Lauper, Bob Dylan and James Brown. If you're a sports fan, don't be too disappointed that West Palm Beach doesn't have any hometown professional sports teams, because it does have a baseball spring training facility, and also hosts professional golf, polo and equestrian events.
West Palm Beach Neighborhoods
Here are a few of the neighborhoods you'll want to explore when you're in West Palm Beach:
The Flamingo Beach neighborhood underwent a major restoration in the 1980s and '90s when its historic turn-of-the-century homes were brought back to their previous splendor. This part of West Palm Beach is known as a tightly knit community, with spirited events like an annual holiday decorating contest.
Based on a concept called New Urbanism, CityPlace has a variety of multifamily residences surrounding a European-style city center. Shopping, arts, culture and dining hot spots can all be found in the town center, and you can even rent an apartment or loft overlooking the bustling district below.
A community with rich equestrian roots, Wellington has nearly 60 miles of horse trails that can also be enjoyed by walking, biking or even skating. Before it was a residential neighborhood, Wellington was the largest strawberry patch in the world, through the 1970s.
As soon as you arrive in Jensen Beach, you'll notice that this small town operates at a slower pace than the rest of West Palm Beach. The relaxed lifestyle of this neighborhood is enjoyed by families, fishermen, surfers and many small-business owners.
West Palm Beach Schools
The School District of Palm Beach County manages the public schools in the city, including traditional, magnet and college prep schools. If you are looking for an alternative to public schooling, West Palm Beach has several private schools for you to consider.
West Palm Beach also offers post-secondary education, including Palm Beach Atlantic University and Palm Beach Junior College. If you're interested in pursuing a specialized career path, there's opportunity for that as well. Both the Lincoln College of Technology and the Florida Culinary Institute are located in the area.
Moving to West Palm Beach
Here are a few resources that can make your move to West Palm Beach a bit easier:
- Utilities: Electricity services are facilitated by Florida Power & Light Company, and the City of West Palm Beach manages residential and commercial water.
- Garbage and Recycling: The City of West Palm Beach provides weekly trash and recycling pick-up. It's helpful to know that in West Palm Beach, you can expect to use three separate disposal bins: one for trash, one for paper products and one for other recyclables. You can find specific guidelines on the WPB website.
- Parks and Recreation: The West Palm Beach Parks and Recreation Department offers youth and adult sports leagues, as well as after-school and summer programs for children and teens.
West Palm Beach Housing Options
West Palm Beach is divided into dozens of neighborhoods, many of which have their own associations and boards. Some of the city's most desirable communities are also the oldest, with historic homes in very high demand.
Despite West Palm Beach's upscale appearance, you'll be pleasantly surprised to learn that the cost of living is slightly below the national average. Essentials like utilities and health care are at or slightly above the U.S. average, but the affordable housing costs make West Palm Beach a beach city that is livable on many different budgets.