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Delray Beach Is Palm Beach’s Cooler, Younger Neighbor

This beach town is the new ‘it’ spot of South Florida.

Over the last two years, a mass exodus to Florida seems to have taken place. With the spread of remote work and virtual offices, so many people have flocked to the Sunshine State, with its near perfect weather, becoming more than just seasonal snowbirds. Of course, Miami and Palm Beach were already popular spots, but just 20 miles south of Palm Beach lies Delray Beach. The small beach town doesn’t have the large crowds as does its neighbors but has just as much chicness and liveliness.

Delray Beach has been raking in the accolades, having been named Most Fun Small Town by USA Today and picked as one of America’s Happiest Seaside Towns by Coastal Living. During the day, the beaches there are exactly where you’d want to go to soak in the rays and swim in the crystal blue Atlantic Ocean. Then at night the town comes alive in its Pineapple Grove Arts District downtown and along popular Atlantic Avenue.

If you don’t have the time for an extended stay, Delray Beach is the perfect place for a weekend getaway. Keep reading for our top recommendations on everything from where to stay to what to do when you’re not getting your Vitamin D.

Where to Stay

The Ray Hotel

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Located in the Pineapple Grove arts district, the new Ray Hotel offers a modern and luxurious option to lodging. As a part of the Curio Collection by Hilton, guests will benefit from the quality of the iconic brand but will also experience the charm and character of a boutique hotel. With a rooftop pool and a beach setup with umbrellas and chairs a mile down the road (a moke will shuttle guests back and forth), it’s the perfect place to kick back. Grab a drink in the Lobby Bar or take in a sunset cocktail at Rosewater, the rooftop restaurant. There is so much to do on property, but we should warn you, the Eucalyptus linens on the beds may have you hitting the snooze button a little longer!

Birds eye view of the pool at The Ray Hotel in Delray.

Birds eye view of the pool at The Ray Hotel in Delray.

Where to Eat

Akira Back

Michelin-starred chef Akira Back opened his namesake restaurant at The Ray in March. It is the sole modern-Japanese eatery in the area and first for him in Florida. His others include Yellowtail in Las Vegas and DOSA in Seoul. Back keeps his family close as many of the plates are hand-painted by his mother. The multisensory dining experience will have your taste buds celebrating after every bite. We suggest trying the Salmon Tiradito with grilled peach and the Brother from Another Mother signature roll that incorporates shaved foie gras torchon.

Avalon

Situated on bustling Atlantic Avenue, Avalon mixes modern with classic. Though it is first and foremost a steakhouse, there is something for everyone with sustainable fish options, lighter fare for the healthy-conscious and vegetarian dishes. A couple items include the Lobster Tagliatelle and their 28-day Ribeye Chop. Don’t forget to wash down the meal with one of the cocktails from their well-curated list.

The Grove

Whether you want a more casual outing or a fine-dining experience, The Grove has a space suitable for every occasion. And just as you can sit in the various sections for a different vibe, time after time, the menu changes completely every two weeks with daily modifications so you’ll be returning to try something new each trip back.

Where to Shop

One Door North

The newest boutique to land in Pineapple Grove, One Door North’s inventory will have you finding space in your suitcase for all sorts of purchases. The store carries brands like Kimberly Taylor, Onia, Alexandra von Furstenberg and Bikini Block. The accessory and home sections have something for everyone.

One Door North in Delray, FL. 

One Door North in Delray, FL. 

Czar Interiors

Curated by interior designer Lauren Czarniecki, who worked with Kelly Wearstler in Los Angeles, Czar Interiors is a must-visit shop in Delray Beach. The home and gift offerings include throw pillows, coffee table books, candles and jewelry.

Nomad Surf Club

A South Florida institution, the Nomad Surf Shop has an outpost at the Delray Beach Market. Their specialty is making custom boards, but you will find everything you need for the beach from bathing suits to wetsuits.

What to Do

Delray Beach Market

Last year the Menin Group opened the Delray Beach Market with the intent of having a one-stop-destination for food and lifestyle experiences. There are more than 26 vendors, three bars and plenty of activities for the kids every week. Any given day, visitors can find immersive pop-ups or art exhibits.

Delray Beach Market

Delray Beach Market

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens

Get inspired by the six lush gardens, spanning 16 acres and designed by Hoichi Kurisu, that show off different periods and styles of gardening in Japan. The museum offers rotating exhibits throughout the year; the installation Beyond the Wall (May 7- September 25) will showcase the large-scale murals of five dynamic contemporary artists of Japanese and Asian descent.

Delray Tennis Center

Across the country pickleball has become all the rage, so while visiting Delray, why not get in some court time in between pool and beach hangs. The Delray Tennis Center offers clinics with certified instructors that will be guaranteed fun. It won’t even feel like a workout! 

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