Who doesn't love a margarita?? From classic to flavored…
LGBTQ travel couple reveals the best hotspots to experience West Palm Beach’s queer scene.
I’m Veronica Young aka “Wildchild,” a local LGBT travel and lifestyle influencer. My beloved wife Bridgette Young- a Michelin-star-trained chef and Capital Operations specialist, and I are committed to curating authentic, healthy, and engaging connections. Food, travel, and queer culture are intrinsic and authentic catalysts in our lives. We enjoy collaborating on creative culinary and social projects which break down stereotypes and create visibility for marginalized people in traditionally restrictive spaces.
My wife lives out of state, while I’m based in Miami. As a long-distance couple who met during the peak lockdown of 2020, we’ve gotten accustomed to meeting up and traveling all over the world, creating new memories and shared experiences as we go. Having just celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary in Jordan and Morocco 5 days previously, we decided to travel to another place we’ve never visited together, Florida’s very own West Palm Beach.
Being a QPOC (queer person of color) living in Miami, I will say I had preconceived notions about how welcoming or fun The Palm Beaches would be. But after being immediately and genuinely surrounded by receptive and welcoming people wherever we went– we realized this was an exciting, whimsical area with lots to offer!
Thanks to the Brightline, traveling to West Palm Beach is no longer a daunting and frustrating task. The station and its trains are new, stylish, spacious, clean, and accommodating. The Miami station is a short Uber ride away (and the tracks run north just two blocks away from my house as they pass through Midtown.) Once inside there are many options (coffee shops, waiting area lounge & bar, and more) to pass your time.
Local Tip: Premium tickets are worth the mini-splurge! Perks include:
Once on the train, you won’t even realize you’re moving! This is one of THE quietest and smoothest trains I’ve ever ridden! I’ve never arrived behind schedule, and the cars are never crowded. It made coordination easy since I met my wife on the Brightline at the Ft. Lauderdale station. It was very nice to reunite on the train and continue the rest of the journey together.
As we drew nearer to West Palm Beach, lightning flickered across the sky- foreshadowing the deluge that began as the train pulled into the station. Damp but not discouraged, we arrived in an Uber to the Hyatt Place West Palm Beach.
We were instantly impressed by how chic and well-designed the free-flowing lobby and rooms were!
Things we loved about the Hyatt Place WPB:
We dried ourselves off in our cool new digs and jumped right into our Downtown adventures!
First things first– FOOD! We set off with growling tummies to E.R. Bradley’s Saloon in a Circuit App shuttle, downtown West Palm Beach’s pilot ride program offering free and sustainable transportation.
Greeted with 2 glasses of champagne, we walked into a bustling and happening restaurant and event space simultaneously and seamlessly hosting a graduation, baby shower, bridal shower, and dining space. With food as rich as its colorful past as an iconic casino– we lapped up the ambiance with enthusiasm. The whole snapper and the crab cake sandwich were our favorites, but the Tropi-Kale salad topped with Mahi (local catch of the day) was also mouthwatering!
For dinner, we ventured out to Table 26, a neighborhood restaurant with global cuisine. We sat at the bar with mixologist Vica, who made us dazzling and delectable cocktails while sharing her top picks of downtown nightlife. Later at the table, I ate a seriously delicious steak tartare, while my wife enjoyed her horseradish-crusted salmon dish.
There were a few other food spots we can’t wait to visit when we get back! These include:
The LGBTQ community in West Palm Beach is very welcoming, and there are many resources for those who identify as such. The city itself has made strides to become more inclusive. Bridgette and I were delighted to see that West Palm Beach offers safe spaces for the LGBT community. After lunch at ER Bradley’s, we bounced over to Pride on the Block– an annual weekend block party and fundraiser for the nonprofit Transpire Help. Featuring musical & theatrical performances, teen & youth activities, food & retail vendors, raffles, auctions, and appearances from federal and state politicians supporting queer and trans rights, Pride on the Block was a fun time- rain or shine! It also warmed my heart speaking to the police watching over the event and hearing their words of affirmation and support for our community.
When the rain was coming down rather hard, we snuck into a bar for shelter called Hullabaloo. Busy, inviting, and decked out in pride decor, it was clearly the place to be. When I discovered they had Karaoke later in the night, it cemented its place as my fav downtown West Palm Beach bar.
By Sunday afternoon the storm had cleared, and the sun beamed down from a blue sky– perfect Drag Brunch weather! We took a Circuit ride to Sassafras and arrived for their first seating. I was overjoyed to see raw oysters on the menu, and even happier to eat them! The wife and I shared chicken & waffles and shrimp & grits while sipping on bottomless white and red sangria. By the time the performances started, we were already warmed up and jamming to the DJ and his powerful sound system. The queens brought energy and passion to the floor– working the indoor & outdoor spaces, even performing impressive dips and splits! By the time the second seating started, there was a line outside the door, so make sure you have a reservation to the hottest ticket in town!
One of the best ways to truly experience the beauty of West Palm Beach is by interacting with the friendly locals. During our happy adventure, we met several locals who welcomed us with open arms and showed us the hidden gems of the city.
The first friendly and familiar face we encountered was our Jamaican server at ER Bradley’s. Born and raised in Jamaica, my wife was able to detect her faint accent and quickly befriend her as they discovered their families live near each other back on the “Island.” Her welcoming spirit and the recommendations she gave to us during our meal were a much-needed and reassuring introduction to Palm Beach Hospitality.
The previous day at Hullabaloo when we ducked in during the storm, we met a group of local ladies in the corner of the bar who invited us to sit with them. Gen and I immediately hit it off, and she introduced us to her wife Beth, and Beth’s mom Dee Dee. They were funny, kind, and beautifully vivacious! They too told us a lot about living in The Palm Beaches.
Bridgette walked the Intracoastal Waterway early Sunday morning and received an impromptu tour from a fellow early riser, who shared the history of the area with her while they walked.
Everywhere we went, people were courteous and friendly. The aesthetic even matched the well-mannered ambiance as the streets were tidy, and the lawns were (vibrantly) green. The downtown area maintains a neighborly yet orderly feeling as boutiques, restaurants, bars, theatres, nightclubs, and historical landmarks are all within walking distance. Having lived in South Beach for over 15 years, I resonate with that small-town-in a-big-city feel.
Meeting the friendly locals was an essential part of our West Palm Beach adventure. Their warmth and hospitality added a personal touch to our experience and allowed us to see the city through their eyes. Making new friends along the way made our journey even more memorable and enjoyable.
Bridgette and I stayed only one night in West Palm Beach (the downside of long-distance relationships and full-time jobs), and that left us acutely aware that we would need to return to fully experience The Palm Beaches. We both thoroughly enjoyed W Palm Beach. Bridgette delighted in the quiet outdoor and nature spaces in addition to the layout and offerings of the downtown area. I too appreciated the proximity of everything as well as the scenic vista of the impressive marina and all its gorgeous docked yachts. Finally, it was beautiful to us both to see a welcoming LGBTQ community filled with resources and friendly faces.
With that being said, here are things we’re definitely going to try out next time we’re in The Palm Beaches!
Palm Beach Bucket List:
As our time in The Palm Beaches (and our time together) came to an end, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia. The experiences we had during our happy adventure will stay with us forever. We’ll be back very soon to create new memories because we truly love The Palm Beaches!
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