West Palm Beach is certainly and unreservedly the next major hub of South Florida, after only Miami to the south, and perhaps Orlando to the north. From living to business to City Place and countless numbers of sub-areas and communities, West Palm Beach is nothing short of engaging, busy, important and established. West Palm Beach is a city in, and the county seat of, Palm Beach County, Florida. The population was over one hundred thousand accordant with a 2010 census, and the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research estimated a population of 103,038 following only three years of growth. It is the oldest municipality in the South Florida metropolitan area, having been incorporated as a city two years before Miami in November, 1894. West Palm Beach is located approximately seventy miles north of Downtown Miami.
The premier destination in Palm Beach County is the center of Downtown West Palm Beach and offers a mix of over 80 national stores, specialty shops, restaurant and entertainment venues. Included here are City Place and the famous Clematis Street. Dramatic Mediterranean architecture, a historic cultural arts theater, private residences, commercial office space, a spectacular show fountain and an open-air plaza add to the atmosphere reminiscent of a European town center.
Economic success of West Palm Beach is certainly pronounced. Companies based in West Palm Beach include Florida Public Utilities, ION Media Networks, Ocwen, and The Palm Beach Post. Other major employers are Pratt & Whitney, Rocketdyne, Sikorsky Aircraft, General Dynamics, Cemex, and CSC. Art and cultural sites are additionally vast in this breathtaking city. The Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum is operated and maintained by the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, and is located in the Historic 1916 Court House of downtown West Palm Beach. The museum provides access to Palm Beach County history through on-site investigation in the Research Library, on-line research on www.pbchistoryonline.org, the Public Programming Series and the Distinguished Lecture Series. The Museum is free to visitors and offers guided tours for adults and school groups.
The Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts was built in 1992 and it hosts performances of music, dance, opera and theatre. The Florida Stage is a professional theater company in residence at the Kravis Center. There is no shortage of culture and history in West Palm Beach, as the Norton Museum of Art is the largest art museum in Florida and also organizes traveling exhibits. The permanent collection features 19th and 20th century European and American art, contemporary art and photography.
SunFest is an annual music, art, and waterfront festival in Florida, founded in 1982 to draw visitors to the area during the shoulder season of April and May. SunFest has an annual attendance of more than 275,000 people. Artists who have performed include Carrie Underwood, John Mayer, Ray Charles, Ludacris, Nelly, Lenny Kravitz, Dizzy Gillespie, Bob Dylan, Kenny G, Earth Wind and Fire, Cyndi Lauper, Pink Floyd, MGMT, and The Wailers. West Palm Beach has it all!