Fort Lauderdale has dueling reputations as a spring-break destination, bestowed on it by the 1960 film Where the Boys Are, and as a megayacht capital.It’s all really a matter of perspective. Some- where between lies the real Fort Lauderdale, a vibrant city with a popular downtown, a beachfront that still attracts college students — though not as many — and quiet residential neighborhoods, many of which are on canals and the Intracoastal Waterway, with large boats docked in the backyard.
Miami has always been the commercial and cultural center for Florida and the nearby Caribbean, but in the past 30 years it has emerged as a world-class international hub and a gateway for all of Latin America. In many ways it serves as the central logistical and cultural hub of the entire Western Hemisphere. The inevitable result is a diverse and invigorating Latin culture superimposed upon what was already a major commercial, resort, and retirement area dating back to the 1920’s. Many think of it as a tourist center, but import/export and international financial trade with Latin countries make up a far larger part of the economy. These activities bring a large banking industry as well as cargo transport and warehousing; the manufacturing and corporate headquarters rosters are also growing. The city is busy- in many ways stressful- and the mix of cultures, heat, and poverty has occasionally boiled over into ethnic and civil strife. But the city is fun and undeniably alive.
I am the rendezvous of the rich. ... I am the dream of a genius, the materialization of a magical mirage. I am the sun porch of America. I am Boca Raton in 1927.”Addison Mizner used this self-aggrandizing advertisement to spur the development of Boca Raton. While much has changed since this city of 200,000 began as a small farming village in 1903, Mizner’s prophetic poster rings true today for the city many refer to as “the Beverly Hills of South Florida.”
If there was ever a time to move to West Palm Beach, it would be now. Often over-shadowed by the glitz of Palm Beach, its sister city to the east, the diverse and vibrant WPB set along the Intracoastal Waterway offers an urban lifestyle as well as the nationally acclaimed Antique Row, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, the Norton Art Museum and two core destinations—Clematis Street and City Place—with great shops, eateries and nightlife. Locals cite insider hot spots too. “West Palm’s Dolce Di Palma is a great little across-the-tracks restaurant that utilizes local purveyors for a really creative menu,” says Flamingo Park resident Aime Dunstan, a writer and producer. The Northwood historic district is emerging as a go-to locale as well. “Jade Kitchen and Café Centro are always packed with foodies who come over from the island [Palm Beach],” she continues, “and Circa Who and Gardenhouse Décor are hot for midcentury furnishings and accessories.”