The first Brightline train pulled out of MiamiCentral station in downtown on May 19, providing unprecedented high-speed rail access to Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
Now, Miamians have the option of exploring our northern neighbors via the rails in a fraction of the time and without the headache of traffic. It takes about 30 minutes on Brightline to reach Fort Lauderdale and an hour to reach West Palm Beach. One-way fares range from $10 to $15.
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Typical weekday trains depart from Miami as early as 7:10 a.m and as late as 9:10 p.m, while weekend trains depart as late as 11:10 p.m.
There are also future plans to extend the rails to Orlando, getting passengers there in about three hours, which shaves an hour off of drive time.
So how should you take advantage of this new way to travel in South Florida? We have a few ideas. Brightline also has special offers via such partners as the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, CityPlace in West Palm Beach and Lyft.
Location: Miami’s Brightline station is located at 600 NW First Ave. and is currently offering limited time, free parking to all of its riders.
The station is part of a six block development that will include office and residential towers, as well as a Central Fare marketplace and food hall with future vendors including Rosetta Bakery, Parliament Espresso & Coffee Bar, Joe & the Juice and more.
Location: Fort Lauderdale’s Brightline station is located at 101 NW Second Ave. in downtown in close range to the area’s best museums and the Broward Center. It’s also positioned a few miles west of the beaches. Walking is an option for some of these destinations, but a Lyft will also do the trick.
Do: Visit a museum and catch a show
Visit the NSU Art Museum where “Frank Stella: Experiment and Change” is currently on view through July 28. A retrospective spanning 60 years of the conceptual artist’s life from the 1950s to present day, the exhibit features 300 paintings, relief sculptures and drawings, including those from his monumental Moby-Dick series. The exhibition is part of the museum’s 60th anniversary celebration.
If you’re traveling with the family, The Museum of Discovery and Science is a fantastic interactive museum with an IMAX 3D theater, an otter habitat and exhibits about South Florida’s ecosystem, the Everglades, dinosaurs, weather and more.
Eat and drink
Take a stroll between the Broward Center and NSU, and you’ll find a handful of delightful bars and restaurants.
Apothecary 330 is a speakeasy hidden inside the artisan pizzeria Pizza Craft where you can enjoy handmade cocktails in a sophisticated setting with red leather tufted banquettes, shelves upon shelves of fine spirits and vintage chandeliers twinkling overhead. And when you get hungry, Pizza Craft.
A few blocks south of the river, Tarpon River Brewing is an 11,000 square-foot brewery, taproom and restaurant with up to 16 rotating taps and the type of dishes you crave after one too many suds: pressed sausage sandwiches, giant pretzels with beer cheese and burgers.
Overnight: Conrad Fort Lauderdale
The luxurious, nautical-themed Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach resort opened oceanfront last October with sleek and spacious guest rooms inspired by the interiors of mega-yachts and the fine dining restaurant Terra Mare for a lavish overnight escape.
Still not sure where to stay? Check out our complete Guide to Fort Lauderdale Hotels.
West Palm Beach
Location: The West Palm Beach Brightline station is located at 501 Evernia St., just a block south of famed Clematis Street, a few blocks north of CityPlace shopping center and west of the Intracoastal waterfront and two causeways leading to the island of Palm Beach.
CityPlace is an inviting outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment development in the heart of West Palm Beach’s downtown district. Check out shops ranging from Anthropologie to Bang & Olufsen, grab a bite at City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill and then catch a show at the Improv Comedy Club.
Eat and drink
West Palm Beach’s Clematis Street is famed for its rows of buzzing bars and restaurants. The Alchemist Gastropub & Bar, on Clematis near the waterfront, is a trendy spot serving a wide-ranging menu of small plates, cocktails, fine wine and craft beer in a convivial setting. Try everything from the jumbo lump crab guacamole to the housemade chorizo.
123 Datura Lounge is another local’s favorite a block south of Clematis on the waterfront. With a long rough hewn wooden bar and tufted leather banquettes lining the opposite bar, there are plenty of temptations on the food menu, but late night it’s more about the flirtatious bar scene amped up by a live DJ.
Venture across the Flagler Memorial Bridge into Palm Beach and make a dinner reservation at Sant Ambroeus, located just across the causeway in the newly developing Royal Poinciana Plaza (Coyo Taco just opened here) . This fine dining Italian stunner has a clubby appeal with sexy mid-century design sensibilities and mouthwatering pasta dishes, created by the owners of Miami’s La Centrale Food Hall.
And for a kick, venture to Palm Beach’s outpost of Meat Market after dinner to see just how different the vibe is from its Lincoln Road counterpart. Hint: there’s definitely more of a late night “meat market” scene here.
Overnight: Hilton West Palm Beach
Conveniently located across the street from CityPlace, the new Hilton West Palm Beach boasts a lavish poolscape with a zero entry swimming pool, multiple dining venues and ample meetings facilities. The hotel is offering a special Brightline package through Aug. 31 including a two-night stay, dinner for two at their Galley restaurant, a poolside cabana, $100 spa credit and more for just $399.
Still not sure where to stay? Check out our complete Guide to Palm Beach Hotels.