A partridge in a palm tree might at first seem out of place in Palm Beach, but the festive ambience in Florida’s most debonair destination rivals that of any snow-swept setting. From the glittering fairy lights of its eponymous palm trees to the world-famous 100-foot Christmas tree at Delray Beach to the Kravis Center’s seasonal spectaculars, Palm Beach celebrates Christmas in truly Floridian fashion. We explore the Beach’s brilliant boulevards, illuminated beaches and seasonal feasts, all within reach of the wonderfully Christmassy The Chesterfield Palm Beach.
Palm Beach Christmas shopping
Palm Beach is home to some of America’s most serene shopping stretches, ideal for last-minute Christmas gifts. Barely five minutes from The Chesterfield, Worth Avenue is a sand-swept boutique version of Fifth Avenue, with coveted brands lining its palm-fringed sidewalks. Of special note is the resident Christmas tree, parked proudly in front of Tiffany’s, no less.
To browse presents ranging from the unique to the unusual, Northwood Village is an enclave of antiques stores, selling one-of-a-kind heirlooms from marbled wood desks to Chinese porcelain lions. Another eclectic district for gift-hunting is the Floridian Atlantic Avenue, where independent artisans rub shoulders with familiar chains, quirky galleries and charming eateries, all adorned with bright window displays.
For more commercial glitz and glamour, CityPlace is undoubtedly Palm Beach’s capital shopping square, home to myriad local and international brands. Towards Christmas, this tropical piazza transforms into a winter wonderland. Over the course of the season, three feet of artificial snow falls gently on passers-by admiring the elaborate dances of its Baroque fountain.
Christmas in Palm Beach comes alongside a busy programme of seasonal shows, celebrations and decorations with a Floridian twist. The aptly named Sandi Claus is Palm Beach’s resident 35-foot tall Christmas tree. Towering above the surrounding dunes, Sandi weighs over 300 tons and is constructed entirely of sand. Boughs, ornaments and even presents have all been immaculately engraved into Sandy’s sides. As night falls, the whole sandy sculpture is bathed green in projections.
Meanwhile, a short drive from The Chesterfield, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts is Palm Beach’s West End. All season long, its halls ring with the pizzazz and pomp of American musical performances. Advent exclusives include the Nutcracker (performed on occasion by the graceful Miami City Ballet) and A Charlie Brown Christmas Live.
Even wandering the streets of Palm Beach is an experience in and of itself. The palatial mansions of Northwood Avenue district glow with elaborate installations depicting festive scenes and characters, with some even opening their displays (both indoor and outdoor) to the public in the run up to the 25th. Also of note are the fleet of Christmas floats that parade along Palm Beach. Fishing boats, cruisers and yachts, all lined with lights and garlands, offer a sensational broadside display to passers-by the whole season through.
Nothing quite captures the essence of the festive period like the conviviality of a Christmas dinner. The Leopard Lounge at The Chesterfield this year is opening its historic doors for numerous seasonal feasts—with a Palm Beach flourish. Take to its saloon-like halls for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for a banquet combining Christmas classics (maple-glazed carvery ham) with Palm Beach seafood sensations (pan-seared wild Atlantic salmon). And on New Year’s Eve, welcome in 2020 with a live music Charleston-inspired gala, including inspired cocktails and a Champagne toast to midnight.
This festive season, stay at The Chesterfield Palm Beach to experience the unique Palm Beach take on Christmas, from expertly curated meals to dedicated displays.