24 Hours in Delray Beach

by Alyx Sariol  |  Published June 5, 2018

With beautiful beaches, fine dining and luxurious resort accommodations, Delray Beach is a premier vacation destination on Florida’s southeast coast. This small town has a vibrant, eclectic culture and a packed events calendar that delights locals and tourists alike.

Delray Beach’s famed coastline (Photo: City of Delray Beach)

Voted “America’s Most Fun Small Town,” Delray Beach lives up to its title! From award-winning restaurants to unique art galleries, there are many reasons to plan a trip to this intimate beach city for 24 hours (or more!). It’s conveniently located between Ft. Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, and just a quick ride from either airport.

Downtown Delray Beach’s hub of activity is Atlantic Avenue, or as locals refer to it, “the Ave.” Here, you’ll find the best Happy Hours and restaurants, as well as several historical landmarks dating back to the 1800s. This is the longest Main Street in Florida and is best explored by foot or street-legal golf cart (available for rent from Exhilaride Golf Cart Rentals).

Entrance to Pineapple Grove Arts District in Downtown Delray Beach (Photo: Scott Beale via flickr)

Entrance to Pineapple Grove Arts District in Downtown Delray Beach (Photo: Scott Beale via flickr)

Atlantic Avenue has become a cultural destination, thanks in part to its theaters and performing arts venues. Arts Garage is a multi-media arts venue where you can “bring your own whatever” as you enjoy performances by Grammy-winning musicians. Old School Square is home to Crest Theater, a restored performing arts venue, and The Pavilion, where they host Free Friday Concerts. Or, stop by Johnnie Brown’s for nightly live music.

Downtown Delray Beach is also home to many art galleries, studios and museums. Browse collections at the Artists’ Guild, an auxiliary of the Boca Raton Museum of Art, and the Cornell Art Museum. The Pineapple Grove Arts District is where you’ll find Artists Alley, featuring over 30 artists, and the Arts Warehouse, a studio and gallery space for local and visiting artists.

An estimated one million visit Delray Beach’s public beaches each year (Photo: mberjano via flickr)

A stroll east down the Avenue will take you to this town’s biggest draw – two miles of pristine public beaches. Delray Beach has been recognized as one of Florida’s Top 10 Beaches thanks to its white sand, turquoise water and year round beach weather. You can rent a cabana and sunbathe or try your hand at standup paddle boarding with a rental from The Drop In Surf Shop.

If you prefer to spend your leisure time playing tennis, head to the Delray Beach Tennis Center. Tennis enthusiasts may recognize these facilities, as they play host to championship tournaments like the Delray Beach Open and the Chris Evert Tennis Classic. You can follow in your favorite tennis player’s footsteps by playing on one of the 20 public courts.

Savor the Avenue, a popular annual event on Atlantic Avenue (Photo: Joan Nova via flickr)

Delray Beach’s events calendar is busiest during peak tourist season, from mid-December to mid-April. If you’re visiting during the holidays, line up along the Intracoastal to enjoy the Holiday Boat Parade. In January, couture takes over for Delray Beach Fashion Week. Each March, over 1,000 diners gather for Savor the Avenue, a multicourse meal served right on the Ave. The nationally known Delray Affair returns in April, celebrating over 50 years as the largest arts and crafts festival in the southeast United States.


The Seagate Hotel & Spa’s Presidential Suite (Photo: The Seagate Hotel and Spa)

The Seagate Hotel & Spa (1000 E. Atlantic Ave.) is downtown Delray Beach’s top luxury hotel. It boasts an on-site spa and fitness center. Guests also have exclusive access to the private Seagate Beach and Country Clubs during their stay. Rooms are well appointed with the finest amenities, including plush robes and Gilchrist & Soames toiletries. Guests can dine at one of the hotel’s six restaurants or take the complimentary Seagate Trolley to try a spot on the Avenue.

Escape to a tropical paradise at the Sundy House (106 S. Swinton Ave.), an historic inn in the heart of downtown Delray Beach. Guests can choose from a standard room, a townhouse or a private cottage with a full kitchen and two patios. Take a relaxing walk along coral paths to enjoy Sundy House’s Taru Garden and Cenote Pond. Dinner and weekend brunch is available at the on-site restaurant.

For scenic ocean views, book a room at Delray Beach Marriott (10 N. Ocean Blvd.). This oceanfront property has a selection of standard rooms and suites, as well as Villas by the Sea, to make for a memorable visit to Delray. You can easily access the beach to sunbathe, or hang out by the outdoor pool with a specialty frozen cocktail from Cascades Poolside Grill.

Eat & Drink

Bond Girl crepe and fresh squeezed lemonade at Swell Crepes and Coffee (Photo: Swell Crepes and Coffee)

Swell Crepes and Coffee (632 E. Atlantic Ave.) is one of the top breakfast spots on the Ave. They serve a variety of crepes, along with locally roasted Oceana Coffee and fresh lemonades. Swell’s most popular crepes include the Cha Cha Chicken, a savory crepe with chicken, bacon and broccoli, as well as the Old Faithful, a sweeter option with Nutella and banana or strawberry. Gluten-free and vegetarian crepes are available.

“We make what people like.” Caffe Martier (411 E. Atlantic Ave.) has an eclectic, Mediterranean-inspired brunch/lunch menu served in an exciting atmosphere. Its historic location dates back to the 1920s, when it housed a speakeasy during Prohibition. Now you can enjoy a signature cocktail or bottomless mimosa along with your meal! Diners love the Avocado Bruschetta, Falafel Wrap and Ahi Tuna Nicoise salad. The menu has many options for those who follow a vegan or kosher diet.

Roasted Shredded Pork Montaditos, served with sweet plantains (Photo: Papa’s Tapas)

Bring a friend and your appetite to Papa’s Tapas (259 NE 2nd Ave.)! This family owned and operated restaurant serves a variety of Spanish-inspired hot and cold tapas. Favorites include Chorizo al Jerez – Spanish sausage sautéed with olive oil, garlic and white wine – and Garbanzo Beans – sautéed with chorizo in a pisto sauce. If you have a bit of extra time, order the paella. Finish off your meal with an order of Tres Leches or Flan.

Cut432 (432 E. Atlantic Avenue) puts a modern twist on the standard steakhouse experience. They work closely with ranchers and artisanal producers to offer a seasonal menu featuring USDA Prime dry-aged beef, Raw Bar selections and drool worthy sides. Cut432 also has an extensive wine, spirits and craft beer list to complement your meal. Specialty cocktails and small plates are available during Social Hour, every day from 5-7pm.


Margaux Riviera’s collection of clothing, jewelry and handbags (Photo: Margaux Riviera

When shopping at Margaux Riviera (518 E. Atlantic Avenue), every day can feel like vacation. This boutique carries resort wear that will have you feeling and dressing like a local. Choose from a more casual look or go all in with a head to toe bohemian chic outfit to rock on the Avenue. Don’t forget the accessories!

Located in the historic Colony Hotel, SPICE (521 E. Atlantic Avenue) is Downtown Delray Beach’s one-stop shop for home décor, entertaining and unique gifts. Their ever-changing inventory includes everything from candles to clutches. Their 24K Gold Cocktail Shaker and Sitting Buddha Candle make great souvenirs or gifts!

Vintage and designer finds at Kismet Vintage (Photo: Kismet Vintage)

If you’re looking for something unique, stop by Kismet Vintage (157 NE 2nd Avenue). Shoppers have been scoring vintage, designer and one-of-a-kind pieces at this Pineapple Grove storefront for the past 10 years. Browse their curated collection of items, which includes everything from cocktail dresses to leather jackets.

Shop the latest trends in swimwear at Kokonuts (310 E. Atlantic Avenue). Whether you prefer a bikini or a one-piece suit, Kokonuts offers a wide range of options from designers like Seafolly Vix and Gottex, and more! Complete your beach day look with a designer cover up and trendy hat.