As the temperatures rise in Delray Beach, so too do its cultural and culinary offerings. Restaurants replace their early bird specials with sophisticated dinners and wine pairings, the world’s best vintners converge on the city, and locals compete in everything from best burgers to most creative cocktails in festivals celebrating the city’s culinary community. In between all the sampling and snacking, be sure to look for some of the active local wildlife and visit a museum or two to see how the locals celebrate art.
Activities & Attractions
Enjoy the Art of Flowers
The Cornell Art Museum in Delray Beach’s Old School Square is celebrating springtime with their latest Flora exhibit, a group exhibition of contemporary artwork incorporating themes inspired by the goddess of springtime, fertility, and flowers that runs March through September. Installations include beading and embroidery on canvas by Stephanie Hirsch, whose works are sometimes stretched onto surfboards and other surfaces; an immersive, hanging “thread garden” made from thread and wire by Amanda McCavour that guests are invited to walk through; and a whimsical, larger-than-life dandelion by Hayley Sheldon, complete with floating dandelion seeds.
Mingle among Manatees
Boca Raton is full of manatees, especially during the colder months when the warm-blooded creatures huddle together in Florida’s warm tidal waters. Many people believe that March is the last chance to see these gentle giants until the fall, but they are discounting the manatees’ need for shallow water during the peak mating season, which occurs during the summer months of June and July and brings them back in to tidal waters and up on beaches in packs that range from three to ten. Lake Boca is a favorite spot for these visitors to cavort, but it’s important to keep your distance if you encounter a mating herd.
Savor a Steak Dinner Series
This series brings together the high-quality flavors that the late Ruth Fertel, food lover and founder of the Ruth’s Chris Steak House chain, was known for. With locations in Boca Raton and West Palm Beach, the restaurant’s Ruth’s Tastemaker’s Dinner Series sources some of the country’s best wines to create pairing menus that both play with the expectations of a steak dinner and break traditions. The first of six dinners starts on March 1 (and runs through mid-October) and is a collaboration with Oakland, California-based Prisoner Wine to create a beef-heavy four-course meal (plus dessert) with five of Prisoner’s best known wines including Cuttings, a famous blend of cabernet sauvignon and syrah.
Stroll for Sushi
From May through September, the Morikami Museum turns the second Friday of each month into a cultural event, known as Sushi & Stroll. From 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., for half the usual admission price, the you can ramble along the mile-long path that weaves through six different Japanese gardens with a craft sake in hand. Bookend the visit with sushi bites from the museum’s Cornell Café and enjoy a performance on the giant taiko drums.
Witness Sea Turtle Nesting Season
All summer, the drama of the sea turtle nesting season unfolds along the shoreline of Florida. During June and July, mothers come to the beaches to nest and lay their eggs, and, in August, the tiny turtles finally hatch to make their way across the beach to the ocean. It is a delicate and dangerous dance that you can witness firsthand with Boca Raton’s Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. Nighttime walks allow guests to watch everything from sea turtles nesting to hatchling releases where the Gumbo Limbo staff members release tiny turtles (that had hatched in the weeks prior, but did not make it to the ocean on their own) back into the sea.
Festivals & Events
Hosted by Boca Magazine, this third annual event brings together the best spirits in the country with the best mixologists in the area for an afternoon of fine dining and amazing drinks. Twenty of the country’s top craft distillers, like Slaughter House whiskey and Koloa rum, will be in attendance. Food will be provided by local favorites M.E.A.T. and Potions & Motions, while the mixologists show off their signature cocktails.
Savor the Avenue, 3/26
Delray’s most notable culinary event, this amazing evening celebrating its tenth year of dining under the stars brings in Florida’s longest table, stretching 600 yards on Atlantic Avenue. Roughly 1,000 diners sit down to the alfresco meal to dig in to different prix-fixe menus from 20 top area restaurants.
Boca Bacchanal, 4/6–7
Some of the world’s best vintners descend upon Boca Raton during this two-day event, featuring dishes from over 30 participating restaurants, great wine, deejays, electric violinist Timothy Lovelock, and a silent auction. But the best part of the event happens on Friday, the 6th: the Vintner Dinner, which allows guests to dine with their favorite winemaker while sampling vintages.
Delray Affair, 4/13–15
Stretching across 12 city blocks, this is the biggest arts festival in the Southeast. More than 30 states and 12 countries are represented by fine arts, crafts, global products, and live music over a three-day period. After the stalls close down for the night, the avenue stays busy, thanks to shops and restaurants holding special deals like Salt 7’s special happy hour menu, which includes sushi pizza and duck fat fries.
Delray Craft Beer Fest, 5/11
More than 100 breweries, cideries, and wineries converge at Old School Square for this festival, offering samples from best breweries across the nation, including Sierra Nevada, Lagunitas, and Funky Buddha. Local restaurants also serve signature bar bites while guests play giant Jenga and jumbo beer pong and jam out to a live deejay.
Boca Burger Battle, 7/14
Each year, restaurants build their best burgers for this event to face off at Boca Raton’s Sanborn Square Park. Guests are welcome to sample the burgers and other prepared items from the participants’ menus. The day also comes with a craft beer tent that serves wine and craft spirits, as well.
Where to Stay Delray Sands Resort