From an amazing sunset seen from A1A or hundreds of lanterns sent to the heavens, this city is full of things to do both at night and during the day come the fall and winter season.
Activities & Attractions
Soak up Authentic Japanese Culture at the Annual Lantern Festival
Every October (scheduled for October 19th in 2019), the Morikami Museum hosts its most popular annual event: Lantern Festival: In the Spirit of Obon, which boasts traditional folk-dancing and taiko drumming performances as well as an “Ennichi Street Fair” all nestled in this tucked-away pocket of bustling Delray Beach. But the main highlight of the affair is the iconic lantern floating ceremony, where, just after sunset, more than 1,000 hand-assembled lanterns are lit and floated down Morikami Lake, engulfing the pond in a mesmerizing sea of light. Book your tickets as soon as they go on sale as they typically sell out in 24 hours.
Drive the Big Kahuna
A1A is locally known as the big kahuna of scenic Florida drives, and it’s easy to see why. The 20-mile route that runs between the Atlantic and Intracoastal Waterway from Delray Beach to Palm Beach takes you through quaint Old Florida towns, mega-mansions, wetlands, and gorgeous beach scenes. Considering that Florida sees the least amount of tourists in the fall, this is the best time to hit the road, without worrying about traffic, parking, or not being able to find a spot at any of the beaches you pass.
Mingle with Some Manatees
Because manatees do not have thick blubber layers, they seek refuge in natural and man-made warm water areas during the late fall and winter months (usually mid-November through March), migrating to areas from the Indian River Lagoon and southward. While manatees have been spotted in the Intracoastal Waterway in Delray Beach during this time of year, if you want a surefire opportunity to see them, head 20 miles north to Manatee Lagoon in West Palm. Why Manatee Lagoon? Because it’s home to a warm-water outflow, generated by the Florida Power & Light Company’s (FPL) Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center, that these gentle giants love to huddle and snuggle in.
Learn About the Surf Scene
Located in a historic 1936 beachfront home, Sandoway Discovery Center is a unique nature center that lets you get up close to turtles, stingrays, and sharks (the saltwater tank – actually the home’s former pool – is the spot for daily nurse shark feedings). But, for a brief window of time starting in October, the center will become host to a different kind of “wild life” – that of the region’s early surfing culture – thanks to the arrival of the Palm Beach County Surfing History Project. The traveling exhibit chronicles the Palm Beach surf scene thanks to color-soaked photos that span the decades, newspaper clippings, as well as 30 Florida-made surfboards – Including a rare 1940, balsa-wood board, made by the legendary Fred Simmons that is worth an estimated $20,000.
Festivals & Events
Downtown Delray Beach Craft Festival, 9/21–22
This outdoor craft show takes place at the intersection of 4th Ave and Atlantic Ave and offers the opportunity to explore the exhibits of artists displaying their expertise in various fields of painting, jewelry design, sculptures, ceramic art, and much more.
TEDxBocaRaton: Rethinking Relationships, 10/26
During this TEDx event, the Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton will host speakers of all sorts to talk about how changes in behavior, technology, and global influences impact us and our relationships with others.
Boca Raton Bowl Great Chefs Tailgate Showcase, 11/5
Each year, more than 20 of Boca Raton’s best chefs get together for a friendly competition and fundraising. As the kick-off for the annual Boca Bowl, the event tasks each chef with assembling a creative interpretation of classic tailgating fare (think farm-to-table seven-layer dip and deconstructed pigs in a blanket), while guests get to sample.
Boynton Beach & Delray Beach Holiday Boat Parade, 12/6
Always held the first Friday in December, this annual boat parade features vessels decorated in inflatables, Christmas lights, and carolers that are then pararded through the C-15 canal from Boynton Beach to Delray. The best seats are on the bridges and right along the water so arrive early to save your spot.