A coastal cosmopolitan community with the intimacy of a small town, Delray Beach has an unmistakable charm. It’s a draw for active retirees who enjoy living the beachfront lifestyle in a coveted setting.
Fun Things to Do in Delray Beach
Delray Beach is a city of 15 square miles that packs in plenty of fun activities and attractions. It is famous for its inviting beaches, thriving arts scene, and interesting culture.
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Atlantic Avenue: America’s Longest Main Street
The liveliest downtown district is centered on Atlantic Avenue, a bustling pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare that boasts quaint brick sidewalks and gaslight-style street lamps. It is home to many galleries and boutiques and is the place to go at night when crowds spill onto the sidewalk from bars and restaurants offering live music.
Sandoway Discovery Center: A Coastal Ecosystems and Marine Life Centre
For the animal-loving, the Sandoway Discovery Center is a must-visit in Delray Beach. The center is part zoo, part nature preserve, and offers a host of educational and recreational opportunities. You can take a guided tour or get involved in a variety of hands-on activities.
Old School Square: A fusion of art, music, and fun
The historic campus of Old School Square in Delray Beach is home to an array of unique events and concerts. Here, you can see a wide range of performances including cabaret shows and Broadway star concerts.
Mellow Mushroom: The Delray staple that serves hand-tossed pizza, salads, hoagies, calzones and 100 different beers is a popular spot for those looking to have a good time in Delray Beach.
RACKS Fish House & Oyster Bar: A New England seafood house that features prohibition-style cocktails, this establishment is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. The ambiance of this restaurant is stunning, and the food is delicious.
Atlantic Avenue, the city’s main drag, feels like a party every night. The pedestrian-friendly epicenter is home to stylish fashion boutiques, art galleries and dozens of gift shops.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens #1
Delray Beach has a rich history with Japan and Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is an excellent place to learn more about the culture.
You can take a tour of their world-class bonsai collection, visit galleries of historical and contemporary Asian art, enjoy signature Japanese festivals, and dine at the lakeside Asian cafe. If you’ve never visited a Japanese garden before, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at first. But there are a few things you can do to make your visit more enjoyable.
Think of yourself as a battle-weary Samurai in the 13th or 14th century. You’re visiting this garden in search of peace. The garden is built of rocks arranged to mimic waterfalls, but without flowing water.
Viewing Tip: When you walk along the mile of gravel paths through the garden, slow down and appreciate the natural beauty. You’ll feel the breeze on your skin, inhale the aroma of bushes and flowers, and fill your ears with the sounds of birds singing. It’s the way Zen Buddhism taught people to live their lives.
Delray Beach Golf Club #2
The Delray Beach Golf Club, a public gem in South Florida, was designed by legendary golf course architect Donald Ross.
I t opened in 1926 as a nine-hole course with a second nine added in 1945.The course features a classic design with six holes that have water in play, which make it a challenging test for golfers of all skill levels. Despite its age, the club continues to grow in popularity and is known for being one of the best maintained courses in the area.
Throughout its history, the course has been a favorite stop for tour players who are in the area to play golf. Located less than three miles from downtown Delray Beach, it is also home to several Pro-Am events each year.
Delray Beach Golf Club is a popular destination for residents, tourists and locals of all ages. It is a great way to spend a day, and the course can be played in as little as four hours. This makes it an excellent choice for busy families or those who don’t have a lot of time to play the game.
Delray Municipal Beach #3
Delray Beach’s two-mile stretch of white sand and turquoise water is a paradise for sunbathing, swimming, surfing or just strolling by the sea. It’s free for everyone and supervised by lifeguards during certain hours.
The beach has a wide range of amenities, including loungers and umbrellas, a restaurant, changing rooms, showers and toilets. There’s also a sea pool, making it a perfect place to cool off after an afternoon of fun in the sun.
You can also find a number of pet-friendly parks along the shoreline, with areas for dogs to run and socialize. A 2.5-acre fenced-in section of Lake Ida Park is especially made for Fido, complete with a dog park and drinking area.
A block away from the municipal beach, you’ll find Boston’s on the Beach, a casual New England-style eatery serving Maine lobster rolls and Ipswich steamers for more than 30 years. Upstairs, you’ll find 50 Ocean, which serves a slightly more refined menu featuring local seafood. Next door is Sandbar, the ideal outdoor tiki bar set under palm fronds.
Wakodahatchee Wetlands #4
Wakodahatchee Wetlands is a wonderful place for a family outing. It’s a cost-free nature preserve that is part of the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, which protects and promotes nature education, conservation and wildlife habitats.
The wetland was built by the Palm Beach County Water Utilities Department to act as a natural filter for 2 million gallons of highly treated reclaimed water per day from the Southern Region Water Reclamation Facility. This allows for the recharging of the local aquifer.
In addition to purifying the water, the wetlands provide homes for an abundance of wildlife including birds, fish and turtles. A three-quarter mile boardwalk allows visitors to stroll leisurely through 3 of the wetland’s ponds and read interpretive signs to learn about water purification, wetlands ecology, and the importance of the wetlands to the local community.
The wetlands are particularly lively in spring, when many different types of birds nest close to the boardwalk. Several varieties of turtles dart in and out of the shade and alligators can be seen lingering nearby.
Sundook Fine Art Galleries #5
The Sundook Fine Art Galleries are located on Atlantic Avenue and offer a wide selection of high quality paintings, sculptures and more.
They also provide packaging, framing and custom shipping options for their customers. They have been in business for over four decades and are considered a local landmark. Delray Beach is a vibrant city full of museums, historic landmarks, and plenty of places to eat, shop and drink.
Among the highlights of this Florida gulf coast destination is the Pineapple Grove Arts District which boasts the city’s most impressive array of local art galleries, including The Arts Warehouse, Gallery at Studio Five and Addison Gallery.
If you are looking for a night of the senses, head to the city’s main drag and check out a First Friday Art Walk which is held each month at different venues throughout downtown Delray Beach. It is a great way to get a taste of the town’s plethora of attractions and enjoy live entertainment in the process. The best part is you can do it all without breaking the bank.
Mizner Park #6
Mizner Park is a high-end shopping, dining and luxury residential district in downtown Boca Raton.
Its beautifully landscaped, park-like setting features an array of unique retail shops and restaurants as well as an onsite cinema. The community is also home to the Boca Raton Museum of Art, a regional attraction that has been a popular draw in Delray Beach and South Florida for over 30 years.
The museum has recently had a number of successful exhibits that have drawn large crowds and made the area’s cultural scene a draw for tourists. A new $22 million Lifestyle Center is a highlight of the community and gives members and their families a wide range of amenities to choose from, including a tennis and swimming facility, fitness center, grand ballroom and family arcade.
In addition, homeowners can enjoy a variety of dining options including Central replete with sports bar, grab and go menu at Market and One Mile Grill, plus the award-winning Grande Clubhouse Restaurant. The country club also has a variety of youth programs. These include junior golf, tennis, art classes and fitness workouts.
Atlantic Avenue #7
A vibrant South Florida destination, Delray Beach is the “Village by the Sea” and a favorite among locals and visitors.
Its quaint town center is packed with shops, restaurants and activities, all within easy walking distance to the beach. Atlantic Avenue, or “The Avenue” as it’s locally known, is a pedestrian-friendly epicenter of downtown Delray Beach.
Its brick-paved sidewalks line palm and oak trees creating a charming ambiance that’s perfect for a day or evening stroll. It’s also home to some of the city’s most popular restaurants and retail stores, including The Office, Buddha Sky bar, Johnnie Brown’s, Park Tavern, Rocco’s Tacos and Cabana El Ray.
Shops sell everything from art galleries, coffee shops and jewelry to clothing and dessert treats. Delray Beach Municipal Beach is a popular spot for people of all ages, whether they’re in the mood to play volleyball or sit back and enjoy the warm Florida sun. The beach is free, with parking and watersports rentals nearby.
Old School Square #8
Located at the corner of Atlantic and Swinton avenues, Old School Square is a cultural hub that anchors the heart of Delray Beach’s historic downtown.
OSS is home to the Cornell Museum of Art (located in 1913 Delray Elementary School building), Crest Theatre (in restored 1925 high school building), Vintage Gymnasium and a state-of-the-art Pavilion that hosts outdoor concerts and stage performances.
The campus also features the modern Creative Arts School, which offers visual art, photography and writing classes. The Crest Theater hosts professional musical theatre, comedy and family shows and the Pavilion plays host to many of Delray Beach’s biggest festivals.
As a cultural center, Old School Square has played a key role in revitalizing the city’s downtown and reinvigorating the area’s arts scene. It’s no surprise then that the city commission is upset about the decision to terminate its lease with the nonprofit that runs the facility.
But the decision has been made and the center must move forward to become a more vibrant cultural destination for the city of Delray Beach. The decision hasn’t been without controversy, but it’s the right one and will serve the community well moving forward.
FAQs about Delray Beach
What makes Delray Beach Special?
Delray Beach is a unique and vibrant city located on the southeastern coast of Florida. It boasts beautiful beaches, a thriving downtown area with numerous restaurants, shops, and cultural attractions, and a strong sense of community. Delray Beach also hosts numerous festivals and events throughout the year, making it a popular destination for visitors and residents alike.
Why is Delray Beach called Delray?
The name “Delray” is a combination of two words: “Delray” and “Beach.” The first part, “Delray,” is believed to have been derived from the Detroit neighborhood of Delray, where one of the city’s early settlers had previously lived. The second part, “Beach,” was added to distinguish the city from other places named Delray.