Delray Beach boasts that the beach is just the beginning–and is that ever right! This laid-back, artsy town nestled on the Atlantic Ocean is part of The Palm Beaches of Florida and is often referred to as the “Village by the Sea” due to its proximity to both the beach and downtown. Best of all, it is one of the most affordable spots in all of South Florida. Here is my guide to the best things to do in Delray Beach, Florida, including where to play, stay, and eat.
Where to Play
The biggest attraction in Delray Beach has to be the Pineapple Grove Arts District. Atlantic Avenue, the town’s main thoroughfare and energy, is where you’ll find colorful murals, sculptures, galleries, boutiques, and local outdoor eateries. Pineapple Grove Arts District is right off Atlantic, and you’ll know you are there when you reach the picturesque arch and see Old School Square, a huge area with the intimate Crest Theatre and Pavilion.
Shopping enthusiasts will love the one-of-a-kind boutiques that Delray Beach offers, with the latest fashions, home decor, artwork, and accessories. Check out Delray Beach’s Green Market every Saturday at Old School Square Park from 9 AM to 2 PM for a large variety of seasonal fruits, vegetables, and other food vendors. The market even has live music, flowers, and plants, offering fun for the entire family.
Atlantic Avenue is not only the main artery for hanging out in Delray Beach, but it is also the hub for commerce. The beautiful palm-tree lined scenery makes it hard to resist. Nearby, Artists Alley is a great place to take Instagram-worthy photos.
Get a little exercise by renting a state-of-the-art Pedego E-bike on Atlantic Avenue. If you haven’t ridden one yet, you are in for a real treat. They are so much fun, and you can pedal as much or a little as you like. Delray Beach is an appealing place for cycling.
A unique offering in Delray Beach is the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. It is a lovely place to wander immaculate grounds, learn about Japanese culture, and see the impressive artwork.
Enjoy the South Florida weather and soak up the sun while observing birds, turtles, iguanas, and other wildlife from the boardwalk at Morikami’s Wakodahatchee Wetlands. You can also take in a tea ceremony or even learn calligraphy at this interesting museum.
Other fun things to do in Delray Beach include taking a Wicked Delray Ghost Tour, Taste History Culinary Tour, narrated Trolley tour, or a Yacht cruise on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Silverball Pinball Museum
I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that the Silverball Retro Arcade is one of my favorite spots to visit in all of South Florida. This fantastic museum has a collection of retro 1930s to 1980’s collectible pinball games. The thrilling game room is home to flashy video games from times past, pool tables, classic arcade games, and a full-service restaurant.
There is a separate bar area at Silverball Retro Arcade for unwinding after a hard day at work. This arcade screams Baby Boomer, Generation X’er, and Millennials surprisingly in the same manner—game lovers unite!
Delray Beach is one of the lesser crowded South Florida beaches. Yippee, more room to move about and enjoy the gorgeous beach. You can partake in all of your favorite ocean and outdoor adventures via rentals on the beachfront. The sand is perfect for laying or playing on.
Whether you are soaking up the sun and working on a savage tan or sheltering yourself under a colorful umbrella and simply enjoying the ocean breeze, Delray beach is a little slice of heaven. Many parts of Delray Beach are pet-friendly but require your pet to be on a leash.
Dining in Delray Beach
My favorite Delray Beach restaurant is The Office, a relaxed corner eatery with indoor and outdoor seating. The decor is beautiful, and the menu is full of mouthwatering comfort food faves such as the Huckleberry BBQ Short Rib Grilled Cheese, which I had. This luscious adult grilled cheese (on brioche) had a combination of mozzarella, white cheddar, gouda, and provolone. The sandwich was paired with sweet potato fries and a side of marshmallow dipping sauce, easily one of the best things I’ve eaten all year.
Latitudes at the Delray Sands Resort Highland Beach is a wonderful choice for a lovely oceanfront setting with picture-perfect meals and great cocktails. The complimentary bread alone is worth a visit. I tried the Crab and Lobster Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp served over a bed of white corn polenta and sautéed garlic spinach, and it was unique and palate-pleasing. Save room for the creme brûlée overloaded with fresh berries.
Boston’s on the Beach is another hot spot you won’t want to miss in Delray Beach. Start your meal with the Onion Dip paired with homemade chips dusted with onion powder. It is addictive! For dinner, nothing beats Boston on the Beach’s Peel and Eat Shrimp or a Lobster Pot, perfectly steamed and accompanied by red bliss buttered potatoes and corn-on-the-cob.
Amazing International Eats
Vic and Angelo’s Delray is an award-winning restaurant with killer Italian eats; the “smell is so delicious it oughta be illegal“. The complimentary bread alone is enough reason to visit.
Vic and Angelo’s is slightly romantic, has professional waitstaff, and serves mouth-watering Italian dishes, many classic plates, and some with a unique spin. The flavorful Orecchiette features fresh broccoli rabe and zesty fennel sausage. At the same time, spaghetti lovers will want to sink their teeth into Spaghetti & Nonna’s Gigante Meatball with a decadent San Marzano tomato sauce. Yum!
I ventured into Bamboo Fire Cafe on a food tour, and wow, what a treat for the taste buds this place is. The owners are so sweet and have a profound talent for preparing Caribbean food. We sampled the lamb chops, meatballs, jerk chicken, and curry goat with roti. They will make everything as spicy as you want!
Two other excellent food choices in Delray Beach are Taverna Opa (try the eggplant-layered Moussaka) and Rocco’s Tacos (for Austin Queso and sizzling Carne molcajetes).
Taverna Opa has all of your favorite Greek dishes at a reasonable price, while Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar is a lively and cool local chain restaurant with tasty cuisine and amazing margaritas. The nightlife at Rocco’s is pretty energetic; check it out.
Other restaurants still on my list to visit are the Ramen Lab Eatery (Ramen bowl), Cabana El Rey (Caribbean and Latin fusion), 50 Ocean (jaw-dropping desserts), Dada (raved about crab cakes), Doc’s (creamy shakes), and Ellie’s 50’s Diner (comfort food).
Sloan’s Ice Cream is a South Florida/Delray Beach staple. The sparkly decor, adorned with gaudy (but lovely) chandeliers, makes you feel like royalty just walking in the door. Sloan’s isn’t only ice cream and everything that implies (think shakes, malts, sundaes, etc.), but also has a massive selection of various candy, and freshly-baked cookies. Have a Coffee and Doughnuts scoop—you’ll thank me later.
Other honorable mentions are Two Fat Cookies bakery and custom treats and The Original Popcorn House for, well, you know, gourmet sweet or savory popcorn.
My favorite place to stay in Delray Beach is Delray Sands Resort, an Opal Collection property with 115 beautiful rooms, a tropical outdoor pool with a full pool bar (Wave), a whirlpool, and an onsite restaurant (Latitudes). Full beach access includes chairs, umbrellas, cabanas, and food & beverage service. The resort has mandatory valet parking, but the fee is quite affordable.
My balcony room at Delray Sands was standard size with a great desk area, comfortable bed made with high-end linens, mini-fridge, and anything you could want for your overnight stay. Two of my favorite things about the Opal Collection are the bagged ice found in freezers instead of old-school loud ice machines and the oversized corner chair (always in gorgeous fabrics) that is perfect for reading, working, or hanging out. Even though I live at a beach, having an ocean view still thrills me.
If you crave an authentic historic option to rest your head with the National Historic Register credo, the Colony Hotel & Cabana Club is for you. Located on Atlantic Avenue, this 70-room hotel features original furniture with tropical fabrics, a welcoming hotel lobby, and a private oceanfront beach club only two miles away.
A complimentary breakfast is served onsite in the hotel’s Sky Light Lobby, steps from the well-appointed hotel gift and sundries shop. As with most businesses in Delray Beach, the Colony Hotel is pet-friendly.
A Southeast Florida Gem
Delray Beach has the sophistication of a metropolitan city but still holds a small town’s unique charms. Expect big things from your guide to visiting Delray Beach that will make for a great vacation.
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