Situated between West Palm Beach and Miami, Delray beach is, without doubt, the ‘most fun small town in the USA,’ as coined by USA Today. What started as a little farming community in the late 1800s quickly started thriving with the advent of the railways and Floridians.
Currently, Delray beach is one of the most popular weekend getaways, mostly because it’s more budget-friendly than its neighboring towns.
If you’re planning on visiting Florida’s ‘village by the sea,’ here’s a list of some of the cool places you don’t want to miss.
Enjoy the Vibe At Atlantic Avenue
One of the liveliest places in downtown Delray is Atlantic Avenue. Stretching for about 2 miles, this long and lively thoroughfare is the epicenter of fun and frolic. The boulevard leads up to the beach which is the ultimate destination. But before we move on to the beach, be sure to uncover the heart of Delray beach.
The Atlantic Avenue is the ultimate shopper’s paradise. So, you’ll get enough opportunities to flex your shopping muscles here. While you’re there, you can stop by some of the popular restaurants like L’ACQUA or Rocco’s Tacos or check out my favorite restaurant, Dada to absorb their quaint and culture-soaked ambience.
But that’s not all. Atlantic Avenue offers a range of fun-filled activities. The place hosts a number of local art events, music festivals or craft beer fests to keep tourists engaged all round the year.
Sail Your Boat at the Municipal Beach
One of the best things about Delray is its clean, white beaches. If you’re walking up Atlantic Avenue, the beach is your final destination.
The Municipal Beach is one of the prettiest and most popular beaches located in Southern Florida. Tourists can enjoy the warm gulf coast waters with safe height waves for surfing and swimming.
One of the most interesting things about this beach is that it allows you to store your boat for an annual fee. So, without ado go out for a sail and enjoy the pleasant breeze. Visitors can rent umbrellas and chairs on an hourly basis and just relax on the beach. Trained lifeguards are on duty from 9 to 5 all year round.
Relax at Atlantic Dunes Park
If you are in a mood to avoid crowds, this is a good place to be. Less crowded than Fort Lauderdale Beach, this place is a pleasant place for people to spend some alone time . Pack your sunscreen and enjoy a relaxing day over here.
You can choose to go for a swim, sunbathe, play volleyball, or enjoy the beautiful ocean view. This place is only a few minutes away from downtown Delray Beach.
For safety reasons, a lifeguard stays on duty as well. Car parking is not a difficulty here since the parking lot is across the street from the main entrance.
Solve Mysteries on The Beach
For all book lovers who just want to enjoy the sun and the sea, Murder on the Beach Bookstore will not disappoint them. This bookstore, which specializes in mystery and thrillers, is like your perfect companion during a beach me-time.
They even host writers like James Patterson, Stuart Woods, and Tim Dorsey, so if you are lucky enough you might have a chance to meet your favorite writer!
Visit Morikami Museum And Japanese Gardens
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens is one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in Palm Beach County. It is known for its Japanese festivals round the year. Once inside the place, you can experience a semblance of peace and tranquility.
Established in 1977 by a Japanese native, the area spanning over 200 acres comprises two museum buildings, a library, the Roji-en Gardens, a turtle island amidst a and a gift shop. You can also go for solitary walks along the winding pathways that unfold into the most beautiful parts of the gardens.
If you wish to spend more time here, you can always head to the Cornell Café that overlooks the beautiful gardens for a delicious Asian lunch.
Get fascinated At Pineapple Grove Arts District
If not for its beaches, Delray is famous as the perfect artists’ district. There are several art corners strewn all over the place. Pineapple Grove Arts District, located north of Atlantic Avenue, is home to many such galleries, fancy sculptures, etc.
This cultural hub is always filled with creativity and interesting art. Travelers can check out works of resident artists at the Art Warehouse, some great works of John Specs in the Gallery at Studio Five, and more fascinating pieces at the Addison Gallery.
This whole place is worth exploring and you can spend hours doing so. And if you feel hungry at any point in time, you can easily hop into any of the popular cafes or restaurants nearby like Papa’s Tapas or Cabana El Rey.
Shop at the Delray Beach Green Market
The Delray Beach Green Market is a weekly market that opens every Saturday from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. Here, 65+ vendors come in to sell their locally sourced produce, foodstuffs, flowers, and a range of other items.
If you’re here, you can take away some of their honey, jams and jellies, or other ethnic offerings.
Apart from many of the above-mentioned products, some pet companies and live music also set up stalls at the market. The market opens for a short session in summer and again reopens during fall.
Get Close to Nature at Wakodahatchee Wetlands
If you want to avoid the crowded places of the city and enjoy nature, then Wakodahatchee Wetlands is the place you’re looking for. This beautiful place filled with mangroves is home to more than 178 species of birds, alligators, frogs, turtles, and marsh rabbits.
A long wooden boardwalk covers most of the wetland, so visitors can easily explore most of the place. Though this place is pretty less crowded, the weekends are filled with bird watchers with their huge cameras. So you better come on weekdays to enjoy the beauty.
Visit Old School Square
There’s no dearth of concerts at the Old School Square campus at Delray. Located in downtown Delray, the place promises to bring artists and audiences together with their line of unique events.
So, if you’re craving activity and entertainment, this is the place to be. But remember to check out their schedule beforehand to customize your visit accordingly.
Stop by Cornell Art Museum
Cornell Art Museum is a must visit on your trip! The Delray Elementary School was restored to give way to this internationally recognized artists’ hub.
The place is filled with immersive installations, interactive art pieces, contemporary art exhibitions and so on. But if you’re not in the museum to check out the art exhibitions, you can simply appreciate the décor and its ‘Masonry Vernacular’ style of architecture.
Visit any day between Thursday to Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm to have a great day. the entry fees vary from $8 for children to $15 for adults.
Enjoy an evening at Arts Garage
Atlantic Avenue has another hidden gem tucked inside it. That place is Arts Garage. It’s a popular destination for local and international artists who want to exhibit their art here.
The ‘garage’ comprises the Grassroots Gallery which is home to some of the funkiest of art exhibits and the Stuart & Shelby Theater which is the hub of popular concerts, poetry reading sessions, and performances.
If you are here with your partner, it is a great place for entertainment, whether it’s dancing to jazz or blues or just listening to music performances, you are never out of options here. And you can always take a stroll through the array of art exhibits.
Family Outing at Gulfstream Park
Gulfstream Park is a wonderful place for family outings. Situated beside the Atlantic Ocean shoreline, this park is one of the secret destinations for locals. This is preferred than the other beaches because of its peace and quiet. However, parking might be an issue here but you can always consider hiking to the place if you’re living close by.
This beach has a separate picnic spot where you can grill or have a family outing. Another highlight? This beach is free. Visitors might also appreciate the cleanliness and the decent restrooms available at the beach.
Visit Sandoway Discovery Center
If you’re looking for things to do in Delray that doesn’t involve a beach, you can consider visiting the Sandoway Discovery Center. You’ll come across this historic building if you’re traveling down the scenic A1A route.
The resort-style center houses one of the premier collection of shells in the world. If you’re traveling with kids, this is a great place to educate them on marine life with hands-on experience. The place is closed on Sundays and Mondays and has an entry fee of $6.
Play Golf at Delray Beach Golf Club
Golf is one of the most popular pass times apart from beaches and cultural places in Delray. Delray Beach Golf Club is the place where you can come with your friends and have a round or two of golf and relax.
It has training programs for people who are interested in learning and playing golf, and junior programs where young golfers play weekly.
The club hosts tournaments where visitors are welcome to watch and enjoy the game. It also hosts marriage ceremonies and reception parties.
Experience Green Cay Wetlands’ Beauty
Green Cay Wetlands is a seven miles drive from Boynton Beach. These 100 acres of wetland is a blissful place for all nature lovers and home to many of Florida’s captivating wildlife. It has a unique and modern Boardwalk that is self-guided.
Visitors find signs with QR code which on scanning provides interesting pieces of information about each specific zone. This beautiful place consists of three types of habitats: cabbage palm, wetland, and tropical hardwood.
Playtime at SilverBall Museum
All pinball and arcade lovers are bound to love this place. This entire place is dedicated to pinball machines and arcade games. The main branch is located in New Jersey, this is an extension that opened in May 2016.
You can choose to play at any machine with just an entry fee. Most of the machines feature pinballs with some of the antique arcade games included. This place will take you back to the golden era of video games and kids will definitely enjoy this place.
Visit The Girls Strawberry U-Pick
This huge strawberry garden is another must-visit destination in Delray. Unique in its concept, the best thing about this place is that you can pick fresh strawberries from their garden.
Other than that, this garden offers fun activities for every age. You can relax in the beautiful grounds, have fun at the petting zoo, or even spend a buck for a duck derby.
The place has recently refurbished their animal farm and bird exhibit. The garden remains closed on Mondays and the entry fee varies from $3.95 to $5.95.
Dine at Taverna Opa
If you are a foodie, Taverna Opa will not disappoint you. Famous for its Greek food, Taverna Opa is a lovely, casual restaurant in the heart of downtown. People come here to enjoy an exquisite cuisine along with a grand ambience.
You can start with the Trio Spread with three delicious Greek dips and delicious warm pita bread. For the main course, you must try Souvlaki Platter (chicken or pork) or a traditional Greek salad (remember to add gyro meat).
Sloan’s Ice Cream for those with a sweet tooth
A visit to Delray Beach turns divine after you have a sweet encounter at Sloan’s Ice Cream. This place provides a variety of fancy flavors which are irresistible once you have a look at them. In addition to that, they provide some crazy toppings options.
Some recommendations of ice cream flavors are the Almond Joy, Coffee and Doughnuts, and Ginger Snappy, though many are seasonal. Apart from ice creams, they also have fudge, cookies, and dozens of other candy and dessert options. You will definitely leave this place with a happy face.
Enjoy the magnificent Delray Affair
Your visit to Delray Beach will be incomplete if you have not experienced the Delray Affair. This is an annual event covering over 12 city blocks and is the largest art and craft event in Southeastern US.
It features all kinds of artists and craftsmen and their works. You can buy stuff like paintings, sculptures, pottery, jewelry, metalworks, soaps, clothing, and other items. You get to experience the height of exuberance during this time. The ambience is lit with local musicians and performers providing thorough entertainment.
We have come to the end of our list. Don’t forget to check out all the places in the list during your stay at Delray. Happy travels!