Welcome to Delray Beach, Florida, a trendy and vibrant city nestled along the beautiful Atlantic shoreline of Palm Beach County. Delray Beach is more than just a beach town – it’s a laid-back and artsy community that perfectly combines coastal charm with a thriving downtown scene. Are you ready to discover the top things to do in Delray Beach, Florida? Here’s my guide to the best things to do in Delray Beach, including where to eat, stay, and play.
Without a doubt, the most popular attraction in Delray Beach is its eponymous public beach, a little slice of heaven. The soft white sands, the turquoise waters, and the excellent amenities make this stretch of the coastline a haven for beachgoers. Visitors can take a dip in the sea, sunbathe, picnic, or engage in various water sports such as paddleboarding and kayaking.
Lifeguards are on duty, ensuring everyone’s safety, but it is up to you to remember plenty of sunscreen to protect yourself from the intense Florida sunshine. Many parts of Delray Beach are pet-friendly but require your pet to be on a leash.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is a serene oasis enclosed by sixteen acres of Japanese gardens. The museum’s exhibits showcase the history and culture of Japan while the gardens feature tranquil waterfalls, bonsai trees, and a bamboo grove.
Guided tours are available, or visitors can explore the grounds at their leisure, which I did. Tickets are $15 for adults and $9 for children ages 6 to 17. The museum is closed on Mondays.
Are you in town for the holidays? If so, check out the amazing Sandi-Land sand castle creation in nearby West Palm Beach.
Surrounded by urban sprawl on all sides, the Wakodahatchee Wetlands are a nature lover’s paradise. The wetlands contain a boardwalk that weaves and winds around multiple ponds, where visitors can spot an array of exotic bird species, turtles, and alligators.
The mile-long boardwalk’s various viewing platforms offer excellent vantage points for the wetlands’ breathtaking beauty. Please note that pets are not allowed on the boardwalk .
Pineapple Grove Arts District
The Pineapple Grove Arts District is a vibrant neighborhood in the heart of downtown Delray Beach. You’ll know you are there when you reach the picturesque arch and see Old School Square.
Pineapple Grove is renowned for its charming architecture, eclectic art galleries, microbreweries, and cafes. Visitors can wander the streets and admire the colorful murals adorning the walls, browse through vintage shops, or enjoy an evening of live music.
Delray Green Market
Shopping enthusiasts will love Delray’s one-of-a-kind boutiques 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. Try the product and food samples you want to become more familiar with. This is where I learned to love plant-based foods.
If you are looking for a lively and bustling place to hang out, then Atlantic Avenue is the spot. This palm-tree-lined strip covers several blocks and is lined with gourmet restaurants, cafes, chic bars, and boutique shops. Whether you are in the mood for a romantic candlelit dinner or a fun night out with friends, check out the Avenue’s vibrant culture.
Nearby, Artists Alley is a great place to take Instagram-worthy photos.
Silverball Pinball Museum
I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that the Silverball Retro Arcade is one of my favorite spots in South Florida. This fantastic museum has a collection of retro 1930s to 1980s 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!
Dining in Delray Beach
Delray Beach has many fabulous restaurants, ranging from fresh seafood and sushi to great Italian food, international eats, and the best ice cream in the state.
The Office, my preferred Delray Beach restaurant, is a charming eatery with indoor and outdoor seating. It boasts a delightful ambiance with exquisite decor, complemented by an enticing menu featuring tantalizing comfort food favorites.
The Huckleberry BBQ Short Rib Grilled Cheese is a heavenly adult grilled cheese sandwich meticulously crafted with a blend of mozzarella, white cheddar, gouda, and provolone.
Try the sweet potato fries with marshmallow dipping sauce as your side. They are incredible!
Boston’s on the Beach
Boston’s on the Beach in Delray Beach is a must-visit destination. Begin your culinary journey with the delectable Onion Dip, served alongside homemade chips lightly dusted with flavorful onion powder. Prepare your taste buds for an unforgettable dinner experience with options like the Peel and Eat Shrimp or the mouthwatering Lobster Pot.
Indulge in perfectly steamed seafood, accompanied by delectable red bliss buttered potatoes and yummy corn-on-the-cob.
Situated at the Delray Sands Resort in Highland Beach, Latitudes offers a captivating oceanfront ambiance complemented by exquisite cuisine and delightful cocktails. A visit to this establishment is justified by the complimentary bread alone.
Indulging in the Crab and Lobster Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp, served over a bed of white corn polenta and sautéed garlic spinach, is a gratifying experience. Leave space for the creme brûlée, topped with an abundance of fresh berries.
Vic and Angelo’s
Vic and Angelo’s is an enchanting venue, with impeccable service and delectable Italian fare. From traditional favorites to innovative creations, this renowned Delray Beach restaurant offers a culinary experience nothing short of extraordinary.
Indulge in the Orecchiette, featuring fresh broccoli rabe and fennel sausage, or savor the Spaghetti & Nonna’s Gigante Meatball, accompanied by a decadent San Marzano tomato sauce. Check out the impressive wine menu, too.
Bamboo Fire Cafe
During a delightful Taste History Food Tour, I was introduced to Bamboo Fire Cafe, which proved to be a true culinary delight with its exceptional flavors. The owners, exuding warmth and expertise, showcased their remarkable talent in crafting Caribbean delicacies. Our sampling included lamb chops, savory meatballs, really flavorful jerk chicken, and mouthwatering curry goat with fragrant roti.
Furthermore, the team at Bamboo Fire Cafe graciously caters to individual preferences, as they are more than willing to adjust the spice level to your liking.
Two other places I always enjoy are Rocco’s Tacos, for the Austin Queso and sizzling Carene molcajetes, and Taverna Spa for the eggplant layered Moussaka.
Sloan’s Ice Cream
Remember the best ice cream in Florida I was talking about in the beginning? Well, here it is.
Sloan’s Ice Cream has become a beloved establishment in South Florida, specifically in Delray Beach, known for its sparkling decor featuring exquisite chandeliers that create a regal ambiance upon entering. In addition to an impressive range of ice cream treats such as shakes, malts, and sundaes, Sloan’s offers an extensive assortment of confectionery and freshly-baked cookies.
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.
Where to Stay in Delray Beach: Delray Sands
Experience the ultimate beach getaway at Delray Sands Resort in Delray Beach. With 115 stunning rooms, a tropical outdoor pool, and an onsite restaurant, this Opal Collection property has everything you need for a perfect vacation.
Relax by the pool with a refreshing drink from the full pool bar, soak in the whirlpool, or enjoy a delicious meal at Latitudes (mentioned above). Full beach access includes all the essentials – chairs, umbrellas, cabanas, and food & beverage service. While valet parking is mandatory, the affordable fee ensures a hassle-free stay.
Step into your balcony room at Delray Sands and discover a cozy retreat. Equipped with a spacious desk area, a luxurious bed dressed in high-end linens, and a convenient mini-fridge, your overnight stay is guaranteed to be comfortable.
One of the delightful features of the Opal Collection is the bagged ice – no more noisy ice machines! And don’t forget the oversized corner chair, always upholstered in beautiful fabrics. Whether you want to read, work, or simply relax, this chair is the perfect spot.
And even for beach residents, an ocean view never fails to excite.
Colony Hotel & Cabana Club: A Delray Classic
Experience true historic charm at the Colony Hotel & Cabana Club. This 70-room hotel, located on Atlantic Avenue, offers a unique stay with its National Historic Register status. With original furniture adorned with tropical fabrics and a warm and inviting hotel lobby, you’ll feel transported to another time. Plus, enjoy access to a private oceanfront beach club just two miles away.
Start your day right with a complimentary breakfast served in the hotel’s stunning Sky Light Lobby, steps away from the well-stocked gift shop. Colony Hotel welcomes pets, just like many other businesses in Delray Beach.
A Southeast Florida Gem
In conclusion, Delray Beach, Florida, offers visitors an immense selection of things to see and do. With its pristine stretches of beach, cultural institutions, outdoor pursuits, and bustling city streets, this city is bumping.
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