Destination: Boca Raton/ Palm Beach Meeting & Event Planning City Guide
By Christine Loomis
July 27, 2012
After Henry Morrison Flagler and his friend John D. Rockefeller made a fortune at Standard Oil, Flagler went south to Florida and the start of what would become one of America’s great legacies of development—and hospitality.
By Maxine Cass
August 31, 2010
The beach. The warm climate. The easy access. The value. Four major metropolitan areas on Florida’s East Coast score planners’ rave reviews.
Learn about Boca Raton/ Palm Beach for Event Venues, Services & Meeting Destinations
Founded by industrialist Henry Morrison Flagler after he made a fortune at Standard Oil, Palm Beach grew up around the hotels Flagler established, including the majestic Breakers Hotel, which still commands awe along its exclusive stretch of coastline. Perhaps most important in terms of Palm Beach’s rarefied status, in 1902 Flagler built Whitehall, his 55-room winter retreat and grand Beaux Arts mansion. In doing so, he established the Palm Beach “season,” the time and place where the wealthy of America’s Gilded Age would convene each year when the north grew cold. It had been Flagler’s dream to create “an American Riviera” along Florida’s southeastern coast; in Palm Beach, he may have succeeded.
The Palm Beach County Convention Center may not be as opulent as the mansions where the elite of industry and society once met, yet it’s an architectural beauty and ideal for any sort of group or business. The 350,000-square-foot facility, which opened in West Palm Beach in 2004, has a 100,000-square-foot exhibit hall, 22,000-square-foot ballroom and 21,000 sq. ft. of flexible space across 19 rooms. It’s convenient to I-95, Palm Beach International Airport and the razzle-dazzle of CityPlace, a shopping, dining and entertainment complex.
Palm Beach is where exotic wildlife and vast stretches of saw-grass prairie and subtropical wetlands meet the exclusive playground of the rich and famous. Many visitors are surprised to discover that the Florida Everglades reach nearly to Palm Beach, yet the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge and the Everglades border the county’s western side.
In the southeastern corner of Palm Beach County, Boca Raton was incorporated just before the Florida land boom went bust in 1925. Mizner Park, named after the Palm Beach architect commissioned to design the resort community and many of its historic landmarks, is an outdoor shopping and entertainment complex that opened in 1991. With its decorative fountains, landscaped walkways, and outdoor amphitheater offering free concerts and other family events, the development transformed downtown Boca Raton.