Article by Travel + Leisure
Delray Beach, Florida, offers so much more than pretty beaches.
Delray Beach, Florida, is a small oceanfront city nestled between Boca Raton and Boynton Beach in Palm Beach County. The beloved beachfront locale is a favorite among locals, but it's yet to be uncovered by the masses.
Here, you'll find everything from trendy hotels to beautiful beaches, to seemingly endless dining options — not to mention a vibrant arts and culture scene that truly sets it apart from your typical Florida beach town. Ahead, our complete guide to Delray Beach, including where to stay, what to see and do, and where to eat and drink.
Where to Stay in Delray Beach, Florida
Eye-catching artwork, mouthwatering food and drink offerings, and luxe accommodations — you'll find all this and more at The Ray. The 141-room property, part of Hilton's Curio Collection, is sure to delight any design enthusiast with its impressive art installations, large sculptures, living walls, bespoke furnishings, and a spacious, open-concept layout. While The Ray is not located on the beach, it does have a rooftop pool for lounging and sipping cocktails. (Or, you can take one of the complimentary cruisers and bike to the sand.) Adjacent to the pool is the sprawling, greenery-filled Rosewater Rooftop, an all-day, indoor/outdoor drinking and dining venue that serves up refreshing drinks and delectable bites, plus a side of panoramic views.
Alternatively, those looking to stay right on the beach can reserve a room at Delray Sands Resort. This upscale, family-friendly property boasts 115 bright and airy accommodations, as well as an oceanfront swimming pool, whirlpool, and separate children's pool. Head out onto the sand, where you can rent chairs, umbrellas, and private cabanas. Other amenities include live entertainment and three on-site drinking and dining options.
What to See and Do in Delray Beach, Florida
Wander through Pineapple Grove Arts District.
The arty Pineapple Grove Arts District is chock-full of murals and sculptures, as well as its fair share of eclectic galleries, whimsical shops, and one-of-a-kind eateries (more on that below). Don't miss the 15,000-square-foot Arts Warehouse, which is aptly located on Artist Alley. The warehouse houses a collection of galleries, exhibitions, and studios. Check the events calendar for a full lineup of workshops and programming.
Explore Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.
Stroll through the magnificent Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, and you'll forget you're in Florida. The museum pays homage to Japanese culture and art with its fascinating exhibits. Then, take a scenic walk through the lush, landscaped gardens, which feature tranquil waterfalls, ponds, forests, and more (don't miss the impressive bonsai collection).
Embark on a self-guided walking tour of the city's street art.
For a closer look at the city's best works, put on your comfiest sneakers and embark on the Delray Beach Art Trail. Along the route, you'll pass over 40 pieces of art, including a slew of colorful murals. And if you need to beat the heat at any point, just pop inside one of the many galleries.
Hit the beach.
Delray Beach boasts two miles of soft, palm-tree-lined beaches, as well as tranquil blue waters. When you're not soaking up the sun from your beach lounger (which you can rent directly on the sand, along with umbrellas), dip your toes in the water or opt for a leisurely swim.
Where to Eat and Drink in Delray Beach, Florida
For Breakfast and Bites: Kick off your morning on a sweet note with a visit to The Modern Rose, which features a daily and seasonally rotating selection of freshly baked pastries, as well as savory sandwiches and breakfast classics like the PB&J served on brioche and toasted naan with whipped cream cheese, grilled caramelized peaches, honey, and cinnamon. The female-, Latinx-, and veteran-owned company also has more than 60 different boutique tea varietals, plus locally roasted coffee. The French Bakery is another excellent choice, with a wide selection of handcrafted, freshly baked breads, including the mini French baguettes, which are just as adorable as they are delicious. Alternatively, satisfy your sweet tooth with a hand-rolled chocolate almond croissant, vanilla or chocolate butter cookies, or a madeleine. Drooling yet?
For Brunch and Lunch: Snag a table at Lulu's Cafe & Cocktails, a trendy jaunt that looks as if it's been plucked right out of SoHo. Here, you'll find everything from breakfast burritos and croissant sandwiches, to salads and bowls, to charcuterie boards and chicken wings. Don't forget to stop by the jungle leaf-patterned bar for a handcrafted cocktail or two. If waterfront dining is what you're after, make your way to Deck 84, which overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway. Arrive early to snag a seat outside as you feast on delicious seafood like blackened shrimp Caesar salad, seared swordfish, fish and chips, or miso-glazed salmon.
For Dinner: Rose's Daughter is a dinner-only Italian eatery owned by local chef Suzanne Perrotto. Options abound, from made-from-scratch pizzas to heaping portions of pasta. If you're craving seafood — specifically shellfish — look no further than Mussel Beach, where the mussels are imported daily from Prince Edward Island. Meanwhile, date night calls for a romantic dinner at the Mediterranean-inspired Joseph's Wine Bar and Cafe, where the owner, Joseph, is waiting to welcome you. Oenophiles will especially love it here, as the wine list spans more than 2,000 bottles.