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Address: Clematis Street, West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Phone Number:
+1 561-404-9787

The History of Clematis Street & West Palm Beach

Henry Flagler

A history...

The History of Clematis Street & West Palm Beach

Henry Flagler

A history of the Clematis Street District or of West Palm Beach cannot be told without mentioning the name of Henry Flagler. Anyone who has been in Florida for even a short amount of time will recognize the name. It's all over Florida roads, bridges and beaches as well as countless other monuments and museums.

Flagler's Dream:

Palm Beach

Henry Flagler co-founded Standard Oil Company with John D. Rockefeller and also built the Florida railroad from Jacksonville to Key West. He came to the West Palm Beach area in 1893. After being impressed with the natural beauty of the area, he sought to create the most famous resort in the world, Palm Beach. The resort would be conveniently accessible by his own railroad. He built two major hotels, The Breakers and the Royal Poinciana Hotel (later destroyed by a hurricane). He also built what is now West Palm Beach directly across Lake Worth for the service people who worked on the island and as a commercial district.

Clematis Street

Not only is it one of the trendiest places to be today, it also boasts a long and important history. Clematis Street began as the main thoroughfare of West Palm Beach in the early 20th century. It connected the train station on the west with the ferry to Palm Beach Island on the east.

Early 20th Century:

Storefronts logically multiplied and lined each way, as Clematis became the "Main Street" of West Palm Beach. The commuters of the day would traverse Clematis Street and frequent these shops before and after work, much like we do today. It's many older buildings display a fascinating journey through South Florida history.

Automobiles Change Everything

Eventually automobiles, bridges and highways replaced the train, ferry and buggies as the main means of transportation. While once the train station was the link to the outside world, visitors could now arrive via various routes. Okeechobee Boulevard would eventually become the main connection from route 95 over to Palm Beach and Clematis Street would lose its steady flow of passers-by. As the area progressed, suburban sprawl contributed to the growth of metropolitan West Palm Beach, yet the downtown business area remained.

The Downtown Development Authority

In 1967 the Downtown Development Authority was created to impact Downtown's economic conditions, formulate long-range plans for improving the appeal and accessibility of Downtown facilities, promoting their use, providing remedy to any deterioration of Downtown property values, and most importantly, retaining and attracting businesses to Clematis Street.

In short, the DDA works to retain and attract business and to protect the investments of its constituents. Largely due to the Downtown Development Authority Clematis Street is still considered the Main Street of West Palm Beach.

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 582 reviews
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  • 246
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    Very good
  • 56
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  • 11
Good food, great people watching

Plenty of great dining options along Clematis Street, from tacos (Rocco's) to sushi/asian fusion (Kabuchi) to burgers (Grease), and a sports bar (Duffy's). Plenty of interesting... read more

4 of 5 bubblesReviewed 3 days ago
Andy A
Keller, Texas, United States
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582 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 535: English reviews
Keller, Texas, United States
Level Contributor
29 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 days ago NEW

Plenty of great dining options along Clematis Street, from tacos (Rocco's) to sushi/asian fusion (Kabuchi) to burgers (Grease), and a sports bar (Duffy's). Plenty of interesting bars as well (Grease has over 100s of beer choices). Some live music. Peeps from all over make for some interesting scenery.

Thank Andy A
Level Contributor
13 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

Eating on clematis street is expensive unless you chose a chain like Duffy's. Thursday night concert is good and so is the Saturday farmers market.

Thank missladya
Jupiter, Florida
Level Contributor
30 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW

You should definitely check out Clematis! Great date night place to go. They have tons of cool restaurants and clubs that offer live music. Rocos Tacos and The Wine Dive are a couple of my favorites.

Thank Alda H
Memphis, Tennessee
Level Contributor
384 reviews
136 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 days ago NEW via mobile

Clematis St., the Nightlife spot of West Palm Beach, is the main drag Downtown lined with restaurants & bars that are open as late as 4am (so they tell me 😴). Roxy's Rooftop Bar, popular for 40 years, was recommended several times by locals & tourists. Free Trolley runs between Clematis & CityPlace, an excellent entertainment complex on Rosemary Avenue.... More 

Thank ChanEvan
Level Contributor
55 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 days ago NEW via mobile

Lots of restaurants and plenty of open air concerts. This is a vibrant place at night with some good restaurant choices too.

Thank Dean H
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago NEW via mobile

We went to see a live R&B group who were very good. A few food stands to choose from, get the blackened fish or lump crab cakes. Sat we returned to do farmers market and flea market.

Thank Tracy B
Wildwood Crest, New Jersey
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Very good restaurants, good variety of food. American, oriental, mexican, italian, etc. Good place for young crowds.

Thank montacello
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
1,421 reviews
544 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 351 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago via mobile

This street is one of the key streets downtown pulling in the street scene, the restaurants parks and points of attraction. This is lit up at night creating a lovely atmosphere. That most travelers love. It creates. A feeling of Hollywood that I like. And you should too. Great spot for pictures

Thank Allan S
Burlington, Canada
Level Contributor
25 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

What a way to spend your holiday. Take a Thursday evening trip down to Clematis St. In West Palm Beach. An evening of live entertainment on stage, while you dance the night away or walk down the street with a beer in hand. Fabulous restaurants surround. Give the little ones a treat and let them splash in the dancing waters.... More 

Thank Amelia D
Penfield, New York
Level Contributor
19 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 week ago

Saturaday morning at the market is amazing. You can visit France, with crepes, Indian food, spices, orchids, pottery and so much more. I have been to many markets this by far was so different. I could go every week and see a different vendor. The view of the docks and the back end of Flagler is stunning. Parking is great... More 

Thank AuntCindi

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