An Insider's Guide To The Best Things To Do, See And Eat In Boca Raton And Delray Beach
An Insider's Guide To The Best Things To Do, See And Eat In Boca Raton And Delray Beach
With swanky restaurants, en plein air activities and gold standard attractions popping up every minute, it’s no surprise Boca Raton and Delray Beach are in constant flux. That’s why we’ve assembled our first-ever Editors’ Picks section. With confidence, we endorse this curated, insider-approved list of some of the best things to do, drink, eat and shop right now.
Edited by Alyssa Morlacci, Melissa Puppo and Holly Gambrell
Image by Kim Seng
For Beer & Wine Connoisseurs
When Damn Good Beer Bus owner Jonathan Breines launched his craft beer brewery touring business in 2016, he gave it a name even inebriated folks couldn’t forget. The four-hour, interactive tour visits three local breweries, like Barrel of Monks and SaltWater Brewery, and guests receive a total of 12 16-to-20-ounce pours, a brewery tour and a beer koozie. Private tours are also available.
Oenophiles head to The Winemakers Table when they crave good grapes. Nestled along Congress Avenue, the restaurant’s wine cellar houses 350 wines from leading vintners around California, France, Italy, Spain and beyond. The cozy spot also presents bimonthly wine dinners.
You won’t find a drop of Vincent van Gogh’s beloved absinthe at Vino Van Gogh, just a stellar selection of wine and local craft beers. The popular Delray Beach art studio hosts weekly painting classes during which artist-wannabes create vibrant masterpieces on canvases and wine glasses. The first pour of vino is on the house.
Don’t let the name fool you. Coffee District serves a mean cappuccino, but it’s also where serious brew hounds go for pours they can’t find anywhere else. There are 18 beers on tap and more than 100 bottle options ranging from the mild to the maximal. If that sounds like a lot to handle, don’t worry. Bartenders are happy to help drinkers navigate the hunt.
FOR Coffee lovers
Andres Gizzi opened Gizzi’s Coffee in 2005. The former Royal Caribbean food and beverage manager knows where to source the best screen 18 beans to make espresso drinks like the quintuple-shot Bulldozer, a wake-up call in a cup. Order one of the ridiculously delicious vegan muffins and leave with a coffee bag staffers customize with doodles and coffee puns.
R1 Coffee owners Slava and Anna Golik send their baristas to roasters like Stumptown to learn the bean biz. They also host monthly coffee-making classes.
Stainless steel and marble touches lend to the clean, European aesthetic that winds through each of the Goliks’ three Boca locations. In addition to stellar coffee, hearty fare like shakshouka, matcha pancakes and avocado smash toast is served.
Subculture Coffee isn’t just a coffeehouse, it’s an icon. The hot spot is known for the Instagrammable brews partners Sean Scott and Rodney Mayo make from single origin beans roasted at their Jupiter and West Palm stores. There’s kombucha on tap and those perennially in-fashion acai bowls for the healthy set. Local bands perform on Friday nights.
If you need a caffeine jolt, The Seed Boca has the voltage. Touted as the first specialty coffee shop and juice bar in town, partners Carly Altier and Monique Keitz serve up everything from nitro cold brews to chai lattes as good as Starbucks. As a bonus, there are artisan-baked selections like pork-and-pineapple empanadas and sea-salt-and-chocolate-chip cookies.
For Art and Culture Lovers
Named after Delray Beach residents Harriet and George Cornell, the Cornell Art Museum at Old School Square underwent a $1 million interior renovation that enhanced the former elementary school building’s functionality and preserved its historical charm. Exhibitions focus on contemporary art while permanent collections are comprised of 18th-century paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, historic artifacts and written works. Admission is free on Sundays for Delray Beach residents.
The word “cutting edge” hasn’t lost any of its sharpness at Rosenbaum Contemporary. Founded in 1979 by Marvin Rosenbaum and his son, Howard, the three-generational, Delray Beach gallery is known for its fine art, fashion photography collection. The gallery puts on museum-quality exhibitions featuring its roster of luminary American, Hispanic and international artists like Louise Nevelson, Manolo Valdés, Robert Indiana and Mira Lehr.
Atlantic Avenue teems with art galleries selling everything from trippy sculpture to kaleidoscope-colored Peter Max prints. Two of our favorites: Head to Blue Gallery where renowned artists like Lenner Gogli hold court; while, at Avalon Gallery, fine blown and hot sculpted glassware by major artists like Barry Entner and David Goldhagen are flying out the door.
Boca Raton Museum of Art first opened its doors on Palmetto Park Road in 1962, but the establishment’s roots extend back to an art guild founded in 1950. Today, the facility is located in Boca’s Mizner Park. Its 44,000-square-foot facility showcases traveling exhibitions and more than 4,500 pieces of modern and contemporary artwork in its permanent collection. Its holdings also include African and Pre-Columbian art, and an outdoor sculpture garden with more than 30 life-sized works, ranging from 6 feet to more than 20 feet tall, by artists like Sophie Ryder and Hanneke Beaumont.
Understanding how a city’s storied past affects its present day citizenry is a recurring theme at the Boca Raton Historical Society & Museum. Housed inside the city’s original Town Hall and the Florida East Coast Railway station, the museum provides an authentic backdrop for its permanent and rotating exhibitions. There’s also a research library with hundreds of manuscripts, original architectural drawings, a 16,000-photograph collection and more.
Delray Beach’s Atlantic Avenue is where fashion neophytes go for retail therapy. Stock up on colorful Gretchen Scott dresses at Snappy Turtle and bohemian labels like Spell & The Gypsy at the Love Shack. Arianne Brown peddles silken separates at her posh boutique, Ramona LaRue, that are worth every penny.
Anchored by an outdoor amphitheater and a world-class museum, Boca’s Mediterranean Revival town center, Mizner Park, wraps around a public park where families congregate with sundaes from Sloan’s. Indulge in domestic bliss at Sur La Table, then follow the carats to notable jewelers like ECJ Luxe and Van Cleef & Arpels.
There’s more than art in Pineapple Grove, a sprawling art-and-design district in Delray Beach populated with sculptors, painters and textile artists. Stop by Ronald and Flavie Furst’s eponymous store for bespoke purses and jewelry, and Amanda Perna’s design studio, The House of Perna, which stocks the “Project Runway” alum’s clothing, accessories and signature handbags.
A shopper’s paradise, it’s hard to not feel spendy at Town Center at Boca Raton. Splurge on one (or all) of Everything But Water’s crystal-embellished bikinis or a Woodstock-inspired satchel from Johnny Was. Or pick up holiday gifts at Cartier and Tiffany & Co. for those who’ve been nicer than naughty.
The Shops at Boca Center provides ample shopping and dining. Stop into stores like Coton Frais and Scout & Molly’s Boutique before having a bite at Sushi Ray or a sweet treat from Giano Gelato. Shop until you drop into one of the pedicure chairs at Spalano Salon & Spa.
The brainchild of restaurateur Dave Magrogan (he owns Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar next door), localgreens believes organic ingredients taste better when they’re sourced locally. Diners order via touch-screen kiosks and can customize with add-ons like fresh-caught tuna poke.
Osteria Salina owners Tim and Cinzia Gaglio celebrate the bold flavors of Sicily’s Salina Island at their Delray Beach outpost. Fans and celebrities like Billy Joel and Palm Beach local Howard Stern can’t resist the pasta dishes and desserts the couple prepare daily.
Bombay-born Christopher Corda opened Tanjore to showcase Indian delicacies from Bihar, Rajasthan and other lesser-known regions. Named after an ancient holy city famous for its magnificent temples, the Boca Raton restaurant also serves popular dishes like chicken korma and lamb vindaloo. The Pastooni lobster masala can’t be beaten.
After a two-week renewal project last September, Tanzy now boasts refreshed furnishings and a 450-bottle wine wall. Also new is an Italian-inspired dessert menu from executive pastry chef James Rosselle and a sweets cart that rolls around artisanal treats, like coffee, doughnuts and the Red Infiniti Cake with 24-karat gold leaf that’s worth the trip alone.
At Boca Raton’s True Food Kitchen, the menu finds its calling from co-owner Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory food pyramid, which promotes healthy fats and antioxidant-rich superfoods. The Ancient Grains bowl, a popular vegan dish, is made with miso-glazed sweet potato, charred onion, snow peas, grilled portobello, avocado, turmeric and hemp seed.
M.E.A.T. Eatery & Taproom’s owner-chef George Patti opened his latest project, Union 27, this fall. The 100-seat eatery serves American classics with ingredients culled from local purveyors like Swank Farm and Jackman Ranch. Meats are smoked and cured, and the 15-seat white quartz bar is perfect for people watching.
Boaters love the ease of docking at the Waterstone Resort & Marina before decamping to the Waterstone Rum Bar & Grill where rum-drenched cocktails are king. No boat? No problem. Charter a sea craft for the day or take a catamaran cruise at sunset. Doze off in a hammock or hit the links at The Club at Boca Pointe nearby. In the evening, partake in one of the piscatorial creations, like the mustard-crusted yellowtail snapper, at the hotel’s fine dining restaurant, Boca Landing.
If you thought the Boca Raton Resort and Club couldn’t get any grander, think again. The resort’s boutique property, Boca Raton Yacht Club, recently wrapped an $8.2-million transformation. Book the “Yacht Club Experience” package and receive a yacht-inspired guest room with panoramic sea vistas and a personal concierge who can dial up anything, from a couples massage to dinner reservations at Morimoto.
With its bygone charm and Victorian-style architectural details, Sundy House proves size matters little when your main desire is getting lost. Set along the 1-acre property, you’ll find waterfalls, fishponds, gazebos and a hidden, freshwater pool. Reserve one of the Stable Building’s equestrian-themed rooms and don’t miss the restaurant’s legendary brunch buffet where the crab cake-stuffed eggs Benedict is a must.
The hippest hotel in town is also one of the most health-centric. At Wyndham Boca Raton, guests can begin their mornings with an intense cardio session at the property’s 24-hour fitness center or a yoga class by the pool or at the yoga studio on the fifth floor. For a true farm-to-table-inspired experience, pull up a seat at the Farmer’s Table where kitchen and bar staff source ingredients from the restaurant’s alfresco garden.
Just a stone’s toss from the cerulean waters of the Atlantic Ocean is a tranquil, island-themed hideaway known as Crane’s Beach House Boutique Hotel & Luxury Villas. The Delray Beach easygoing escape calls to couples with a waterfall pool and accommodations that include residential-style, one-bedroom suites and four luxury villas with kitchens and private outdoor spaces. The Tiki Bar is a carefree spot for sipping sangria and listening to bands on Friday and Saturday evenings.
For Wellness Gurus
Avariety of marine-based therapies honor The Seagate Hotel & Spa’s sea-imbued moniker. For a truly luxurious head-to-toe experience, combine the Vitamin Sea Radiance Facial with an Aromatherapy Ocean Salt Scrub that can be customized with one of three essential oils. All body treatments finish with a Vichy shower.
An out-of-this-world experience awaits at Waldorf Astoria Spa at Boca Raton Resort and Club. Find om in the Traditional Ritual Bath, a calming water treatment that awakens tired skin with an aromatic bubble bath and a trio of hydro sessions, with a Moroccan Detox Wrap that weaves in a spicy chai mud mask for detoxification.
Experience the centuries-old ritual of beer bathing at The Maui Spa & Wellness Center. Guests soak in a copper bathtub filled with hops—cone-shaped flowers full of Vitamin B that give beer its olfactory qualities—for 30 minutes before redirecting to the steam room or sauna for a relaxing thermal session. The result is softer, more deeply hydrated skin.
When was the last time you left a hot yoga class feeling sweaty and inspired? Co-owners Paige Held and Kelly Green and their instructors at Yoga Joint Boca couple words of wisdom with solid matwork. Try the studio’s signature 75-minute Hot Fusion Flow, a trademarked sequence of traditional poses set to a pulsing soundtrack.
If you prefer belly dancing to hip-hop or stretching into meditative stances instead of taking Bikram’s sweatier path, then Beyond Fitness is your golden ticket. The Delray Beach gym also hosts boxing classes to increase core strength and get Rocky-wannabes into “Fight Club” shape fast.
New York has Arthur Ashe Stadium and Delray Beach has the Delray Beach Tennis Center. The public tennis facility harbors six hard courts, 14 clay courts and an 8,200-seat stadium. Don’t miss the annual Delray Beach Open in winter. The 10-day tennis competition combines the ATP Champions and ATP World Tours and features international players like Juan Martín del Potro.
Similar to hoverboarding, flyboarding’s a fun, extreme sport invented by jet-ski champion Franky Zapata and can be easily learned at Flyboard Boca in Boca Raton. Certified instructors offer helpful instruction via Bluetooth helmets and control the board’s speed and height from their jet skis.
The burn feels so good at [solidcore]. If you haven’t already tried the 50-minute high-intensity, low-impact resistance training workout, which former first lady Michelle Obama is reportedly a fan of, then here’s your chance. The moves are challenging but instructors will modify them for newbies to get you through without quitting.
Orangetheory Fitness co-founder and physiologist Ellen Latham changed the fitness landscape with her metabolically charged, one-hour workouts that combine strength training, rowing, biking and treadmill exercises. Heart rate monitors are available for guests who want to track their progress on the large-screen TVs.
Why traipse to multiple studios when you can satisfy your fitness objectives in a single setting? With 70,000 square feet of space, Life Time Athletic is Palm Beach County’s largest athletic-lifestyle resort. Amenities include state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment, Pilates and yoga studios, a cycle theatre, indoor and outdoor pools, and much more. Additionally, there’s a full-service spa and a restaurant that prepares organic meals.
For Performing Arts Enthusiasts
Stage, food and fashion come together at The Wick Theatre and Costume Museum. The 333-seat auditorium dazzles audiences with seminal shows like “42nd Street” and “Guys and Dolls.” Before the curtain rises, grab a bite at the Tavern Room, an elegant eatery inspired by New York City’s famed Tavern on the Green. Return for a tour of the costume museum that houses the nation’s largest costume collections. Owner Marilynn Wick has sourced pieces from more than 35 productions performed on the Great White Way.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens opened its principle museum in 1993. Now the building encapsulates a 225-seat theater that stages cultural presentations like taiko drumming, a speaker series and Asian film screenings. On a separate stage modeled after an authentic Japanese teahouse, Omotesenke-style tea ceremonies are performed on select Saturdays.
Every season, South Floridians flock to the Mizner Park Amphitheater for world-class entertainment. The alfresco setting offers up a 46,000-square-foot amphitheater with a colonnade and a concert green for 4,200 people. The Boca venue also puts on a full rotation of festivals, benefits, fine art shows and concerts bearing marquise names like John Mellencamp, Pitbull and Jethro Tull.
The Crest Theatre has been wowing audiences since it was dedicated in 1993. Its main stage plays host to national tours, professional theater, music, dance and comedy revues between November and April. From January to April, the Cabaret Series and Robert D. Chapin Lecture series sends out Broadway’s leading stars and the nation’s most notable speakers, respectively.
The Delray Beach Playhouse has been called Lake Ida’s “hidden gem” since 1947, but that hasn’t kept the crowds from getting lost. The performing arts destination laid the original groundwork for Delray’s community theater scene and now it’s the main ticket in town for Tony Award-winning plays, Great American Songbook melodies and vintage tunes crooned by award-winning artists and rising stars of the stage and screen.
For Outdoor Enthusiasts
Set on one of the county’s last hardwood hammocks, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center provides an irenic refuge for sick and rescued sea turtles and rare fauna. Walk the quarter-mile boardwalk for jaw-dropping views of Mother Nature’s verdant grandeur or go stand-up paddleboarding along the Intracoastal, where tropical fish and manatees placidly swim.
Patch Reef Park is a sportman’s paradise with fielding for baseball, soccer, football and lacrosse, and nine basketball courts in the center of the park. For exercise enthusiasts, there’s a fitness trail with 17 activity stations tagged with QR codes that send short workout videos to smartphones.
Sugar Sand Park has a myriad of activities for every age. Adults can hike Sand Pine and Slash Pine, the park’s two nature trails that wind through endangered scrub and pine flatwoods. Young explorers can hit the Science Playground or test their navigation skills in the Children’s Science Explorium’s Earthcaching program.
Daggerwing Nature Center sits on 39 acres of swampy splendor at Burt Aaronson South County Regional Park. Check out endangered wood storks, alligators, osprey, turtles and the Ruddy Daggerwing butterfly, the center’s namesake, from an observation tower. Go on one of the naturalist-led night tours to learn fun nature facts about the wetland’s nocturnal inhabitants, like the eastern screech owl.