Sometimes I get so busy working I forget all of the great things West Palm Beach and The Palm Beaches in general have to offer. I have been living here since 1991 and have had the opportunity to see our cultural landscape blossom. I graduated art school at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale and immediately immersed myself into the budding art and music scene. Since then I’ve enjoyed watching and participating in the multitude of creative treasures our paradise has to offer. Allow me to describe a lovely day that my wife Renata and I enjoyed recently.
It started at the coolest coffee shop around in downtown West Palm Beach, Subculture Coffee. I like to keep it simple with a refreshing iced coffee on a warm day but they have a full menu of drinks and even delicious food to choose from. They take extra care in the quality of their product and service, even roasting their own coffee beans. I highly recommend a visit. You will definitely feel that friendly local vibe with all of the interesting and artsy people. It is located on the 500 block of Clematis Street which, in my opinion, is the coolest block in West Palm Beach. While downtown we always like to take a stroll around to see the many murals that the city boasts—though there are quite a few right there on the 500 block. From large scale, to small and poignant, there are many pieces of public art by international, national, and local artists to be found. Take some time to walk around and discover them.
Our next stop was a little bit west of the city to Lion Country Safari! This is an experience like no other. They have a drive-through safari that takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour to complete. Along the way you will encounter rhinos, monkeys, giraffes and, of course, lions, in this giant park. As if that isn’t enough, they have a zoo at the end of the driving portion. We walked around and experienced close-up encounters with many more animals. There are a handful of rides, a petting zoo, animal shows, and more. The surroundings are absolutely beautiful and really immersed us in nature. We even got up-close and personal at a giraffe feeding. This is a great spot for a family trip or a date. We had a blast!
After all of the excitement I needed to get us back to my gallery/art studio to open up for an event. I am blessed to have a space at The Peach, Palm Beach County’s new art collective. It is located on Georgia Ave. just minutes from downtown. As an art collective, we host monthly art walks with live music, live art, creative vendors, kid’s activities, interactive experiences, and open studios for our six resident artists. We are also home to Troy’s BBQ offering weekly and daily specials on delicious favorites. I really enjoy being a part of something where I can see people of all ages having access to so much diverse art and music in one spot. The Peach is home to visual art, music, videography, art skateboards, photography, art therapy, 3D printing, and even virtual reality. The space also serves as a location for local community events like free yoga, film festivals, art classes, workshops, and seminars.
After a spectacular turnout of art and music lovers, it was time to wind down and get some dinner. We headed north of downtown to the artsy enclave known as Northwood Village which hosts lots of great places for food and culture. We lived in Northwood for quite a few years…so of course we have our favorites! Our preferred dinner date is at Malakor Thai Café. The menu is incredibly diverse and the atmosphere is very artistic and welcoming. Renata likes Thai dishes and I tend to gravitate towards their sushi. Everything is expertly prepared, and the menu is so full of delicious choices it is hard to just order one thing. Insider tip—we always get the “Crispy Money Bags” (fried vegetable samosas) as an appetizer. The food is fresh and the authentic beverage choices are great.
After filling our bellies, we decided to head over to Northwood’s first and only brewery, Skunkworts. The name is a nod to the famous aviation development program Skunkworks. And thus, the brewery’s tap room is aviation themed, complete with a giant mural map of local airspace coordinates. They offer some of the best beers in The Palm Beaches, boasting no clarifiers or stabilizers added, which is common practice for most breweries. As a beer aficionado, I also appreciate the attention to detail they add by creating specific “water profiles” for each beer based on the region and water source of the original style of that brew.
Renata and I decided to end our day with a little bit of live music at The Brewhouse Gallery in Lake Park which is just at the northern tip of West Palm Beach’s reach (about 15 minutes from Northwood Village). It is nestled in the Lake Park Art District which also has shops and a black box theatre. The Brewhouse also has its own local brewery beers and alongside that, walls filled with local art for purchase surrounding the live music stage. In addition, the taproom has a video-mapped mural, and we always pop out into their back alley for a peek at the gigantic “back alley mural” which hosts the skills and inspiration of over 15 local artists.
All in all, it was a wonderful day. We felt full and happy from the delicious food and beverage, but also, all of the arts and culture. Do yourself the favor of taking your time and really exploring West Palm Beach and all of its dynamic offerings.
Looking for more arts and culture to explore in The Palm Beaches? Download our cultural travel guide today.
Craig McInnis is an artist and musician based in West Palm Beach. He is a co-founder of Art Synergy and CONTINUUM, VP of the non-for-profit No More Starving Artists Foundation, a resident artist at The Peach in West Palm Beach, and creative director of Fright Nights at the South Florida Fairgrounds.