Palm Beach, Florida — the newly minted “Wall Street South” — now enjoys year-round popularity. What was once a seasonal playground for the ultrawealthy has now become the place to live, work and play following the migration in recent years of key financial players such as Black Rock, Goldman and Citadel.
“An entirely new economy, society and culture is being born right now,” said Camilla Webster, CEO of Camilla Webster Inc., a South Florida artist and designer. The region, which was once a hot spot for retirees, now has younger professionals in their 20s and 30s calling Palm Beach home.
Because of the migration of high-net-worth individuals, Palm Beach is exploding with new luxury hotels, private clubs, restaurants, high-profiled events and charity galas like the famed American Heart Association’s Palm Beach Heart Ball and the newly launched art festival called New Wave, rivaling the likes of Art Basel.
Ronald Kessler, the man who literally wrote the book about Palm Beach — titled The Season: The Secret Life of Palm Beach and America’s Richest Society — has been tracking the region and its transformation since the early 1990s. “It’s the who’s who of American success stories,” Kessler said. “You go to a bar, and it’s an heiress to the Campbell soup fortune or a Rockefeller. It’s a fascinating place.”
In addition to Palm Beach proper, a noticeable expansion into West Palm has occurred. “While Palm Beach Island was the center of life and society,” Webster said, “I am observing a dramatic expansion to West Palm Beach, particularly as out-of-towners snap up multimillion-dollar apartments at The Bristol and the Olara and are investing in an explosion of superluxury apartments in new building developments like the Forté on Flagler, South Flagler House and The Cove.”
Here is a curated list of openings and events to have on your radar.
DYNAMIC ART SCENE
Palm Beach has long been home to emerging and established artists. The Norton Museum of Art, which has been renovated, is becoming a driving force for arts and culture, with programs including its “Arts after Dark” event. The Bunker, Beth DeWoody’s private art collection, has become a huge draw for collectors.
The new kid on the block is the New Wave festival Dec. 1-3. This year’s event, with the theme freedom of expression, includes a host of public programming as well as private collection tours, lunches and dinners.
Webster has also set up her own art studio and gallery in the heart of the art and design district on South Dixie Highway. “I have found myself extremely busy not just creating paintings and designing art-inspired pieces but creating art experiences for charity galas and private clients at the Norton [Museum of Art] and The Breakers,” she said. “Mega-collectors and art enthusiasts want to feel a fresh wow factor. These aren’t just your grandmother’s charity balls any longer.”
GALAS AND EVENTS
The Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival will take place Dec. 7-10 in partnership with Wine Spectator magazine, featuring culinary talent including Daniel Boulud, Robert Irvine, Antonia Lofaso, Stephanie Izard, Michelle Bernstein and Maneet Chauhan. The event will showcase 26 food and beverage events, including one coined Rosé Parté at Palm Beach’s Almond.
Adopt-A-Family of the Palm Beaches’ Tree Lighting Celebration will take place Dec. 5 to support those facing homelessness in the community. The event will welcome guests with a serenade by the voices of The Kings Academy Choir. Tickets start at $400.
The Palm Beach Symphony, celebrating its 50th anniversary season, will host four world premieres it commissioned for the occasion. This season the symphony is tapping into a Wall Street South offering — “Meet me in the Mezzanine,” featuring networking opportunities for all the tech and finance firms that have opened in or moved offices to Palm Beach.
The Mainstay Restaurant inside the Norton Museum of Art and offers light, modern American fare with nods to coastal influence. Complemented by beautiful garden views and a casual setting, the menu consists of flavorful entrées, light bites, creative cocktails, wine and Champagne.
Pink Steak, Palm Beach County’s newest steakhouse, is expected to open in December. The brainchild of chef and restaurateur Julien Gremaud, the restaurant will present fresh Florida ingredients in innovative dishes to modernize the steakhouse experience. The lightened menu will include dishes such as sauteed broccoli rabe instead of creamed spinach or grilled artichoke rather than mashed potatoes.
Two other popular places are the Tropical Smokehouse, a West Palm Beach restaurant that combines indigenous and local ingredients with the kind of barbecue traditions found across the South, and the Caribbean and Bodega Taqueria y Tequila, a Mexican-inspired concept that features a menu showcasing authentic Mexican favorites along with unconventional and innovative interpretations.
PRIVATE CLUBS AND HOTELS
Coming in 2024 will be the luxury hotel Amrit Ocean Resort & Residences, a wellness resort on Palm Beach County’s Singer Island. The property will feature 100,000 square feet of spa and wellness facilities spanning four floors, plus beachfront watersports, extensive indoor-outdoor fitness and mind-body offerings, a landscaped third-level pool with cabanas and daybeds offering views of the Atlantic, and extensive meeting facilities and conference capabilities.