The mall gets a chichi makeover at CityPlace
September 22, 2011
WEST PALM BEACH, USA – Mediterranean architecture, piazzas with dancing fountains, buzzing sidewalk cafés…it’s a setting that makes you swear you were in some romantic Côte d’Azur port of call. Except, actually, you’re at the mall.
With 600,000 square feet of open-air, Euro-style shopping lanes, West Palm Beach’s CityPlace is certainly not your average mall. Sure, there are some mall standards like Macy’s and a vast Barnes & Noble, but the vibe is more “upscale retail village” than “big box stores and Hot Dog on a Stick.” You’ll find chic national chains like Armani Exchange and BCBG Max Azria alongside a handful of beachy picks to help you look the Palm Beach part like C. Orrico. Instead of a greasy food court, there are some quality, atmospheric dining options from brick-oven pizzas at Il Bellagio to succulent sirloins at Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
Since it’s not enclosed, the mall is really a pedestrian paradise, especially during the winter high season when the weather’s fine. It’s a lovely place for an afternoon stroll with the kids or with friends and family by day. Weekly concerts in the alfresco plaza are especially pleasant. Ditch your car completely by taking the historic trolleybus over from nearby Clematis Street.
The trolley is also a boon for those wanting to paint the town red post-shop. You can easily make your way back to the Clematis Street nightlife hub, or stay put at CityPlace for the decent selection of after-dark options. You can do dinner and a movie (the flashy new IMAX cinema is especially fun) and finish with a trip to an ice cream parlor or a coffee at the open-’til-late Starbucks.
Or, if you don’t have kids in tow, you can get a bit more festive at one of the mall’s many bars and clubs (some of the best in West Palm Beach actually). Grab a brew at Brewzzi (natch) or a cocktail at Blue Martini. The popular Improv Comedy Club and legendary B.B. King’s Blues Club may be a little on the schmaltzy side, but there’s still some good entertainment to be had. With so many options, it’s easy to come with a date or group of friends and just “wing it” (though if you are coming for a movie or a bite in the evening, expect to wait in some lines).
While the atmosphere loosens up at night, on the whole the mix of shoppers, diners, clubbers, and touristy entertainment seekers shows up to CityPlace dressed in their Palm Beach best–you don’t see a lot of the standard jeans-and-sneakers “mall uniform” here. If you’re seeking a hot night on the town, go for a chic low-cut top with designer denim and killer heels. Movie or restaurant goers can go a bit more relaxed.
All in all, the unique architecture, the cheesy but fun nightspots, and of course the bevy of dining and shopping options make CityPlace one of my go-to spots for a reliably enjoyable afternoon or evening outing whenever I swing through Palm Beach. If that makes me a “mall rat,” well then so be it!
Read more about CityPlace in our Palm Beach Guide.