Ask A Local — The Palm Beaches

by Christopher
The Palm Beaches

When it cools down, there’s just a different feel and it becomes so natural to be outside & enjoy everything that Florida has to offer.

The Palm Beaches

MICHAEL RIORDAN 

Tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?

My name is Michael Riordan and I am a transgender woman who lives in Lake Worth Beach. I work at Compass LGBTQ+ Community Center (compassglcc.com) as the Director of Media and Communications. 

Michael Riordan

Michael Riordan

How long have you been living in The Palm Beaches, and what influenced your decision to move here?

I have been in Palm Beach County for 14 years now (it’s so wild to say that!). I moved from Massachusetts and I’m still waiting for my body to adapt to the heat! I followed family down here to get a fresh start. It has turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I came out and found a new life/career at Compass. Working with amazing people every day really goes far in adding to my quality of life! 

What are your favorite places to go for cocktails and/or dinner?

I absolutely love Peruvian food, and there are some amazing Peruvian restaurants in the county. One of my favorites is Dr. Limons (doctorlimon.com/dr-limon-west-palm-beach/) on Clematis in Downtown West Palm Beach. Not only is their food delicious, but their cocktails are next level. Every time I go, some beautiful concoction is being brought to someone’s table and I’m that person who asks what it is and orders it. 

Compass LGBTQ+ Center 3 Photo By Christopher McNamara

Compass LGBTQ+ Center (Photo By Christopher McNamara)

What cultural attractions or events are a must see for visitors?

I am biased and I am going to say Palm Beach Pride (compassglcc.com/community-and-events/palm-beach-pride/). It takes place at the end of March every year and it’s produced by Compass, so I’m giving full disclosure! It’s a two-day festival and a parade that celebrates people from all walks of life. It’s one of the most joyous weekends I’ve ever experienced. There is so much else going on around the county. I love the Garlic Fest (thepalmbeaches.com/top-event/south-florida-garlic-fest), and a Night on the Avenue is also a favorite. 

A friend is coming to The Palm Beaches for the first time. Please describe the perfect weekend.

That’s going to depend on the friend! But some of the standard things we’re going to do is eat at Dr. Limon. I’m not a huge beach person myself, but we have the most beautiful beaches and my friends always want to head out to the water (thepalmbeaches.com/beaches). 

Clematis at Night Photo By Discover The Palm Beaches

Clematis at Night Photo By Discover The Palm Beaches

I think spending time in Downtown West Palm Beach on Clematis Street (clematisstreet.org) and Rosemary Square (thesquarewestpalm.com) are a must. But Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach is also a huge draw. I’m a bit of a nerd so I’m going to want to take them to the Palm Beach Zoo (palmbeachzoo.org) and the Cox Science Center and Aquarium (coxsciencecenter.org) as well. 

What are the best places to truly enjoy the natural beauty of the area?

We have so many beautiful outdoor spaces it’s impossible to pick just a few! The beaches are clearly a must, but the parks that we have in the county are truly amazing. I suggest that anyone who wants to spend time outside should look at the Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department (discover.pbcgov.org/parks/pages/default.aspx). There is literally something for everyone from beautiful walks near the intracoastal to biking trails. 

What is your favorite time of year in The Palm Beaches and why?

There is usually a short time (a couple of weeks) in the middle of the winter where the temps drop to about 65-70. I know for most Floridians that may be too cold, but for a transplant from the North like me, it’s perfect. When it cools down, there’s just a different feel and it becomes so natural to be outside and enjoy everything that Florida has to offer. Sitting at an outside restaurant looking out at the water is my favorite thing to do when it cools down. 

Sloan's Ice Cream Photo By Christopher McNamara

Sloan’s Ice Cream (Photo By Christopher McNamara)

What locally made product would you suggest visitors bring back for their friends or family?

I’m obsessed with food, so I have to say that they need to check out Hoffman’s (hoffmans.com) or Sloan’s (sloansicecream.com), but it’s hard to bring back food. I mean honestly, a Publix sub would also be at the top of my list! My other suggestion would be for people to visit antique row (westpalmbeachantiques.com) and see what they can find. There are some real treasures that are in those stores.

Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave The Palm Beaches without…

Sitting on a beach at night when the skies are clear. For me, it’s even more beautiful than the beach during the day!


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