Delray Beach is a leader in Florida’s historic preservation movement, designating several neighborhoods as historic districts in order to preserve its illustrious past. In downtown Delray Beach on the boutique-and café lined Atlantic Avenue is the Old School Square Cultural Arts Center, which has been a transformed into the centerpiece of this historic downtown shopping district. You will also find a museum, theatre as well as an outdoor entertainment pavilion in the heart of downtown Delray.
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Delray Beach appeals to local residents and visitors alike, with over twenty hotels and seventy (70) restaurants and bars. The downtown atmosphere of trendy Atlantic Avenue attracts a vibrant and diverse crowd, from young professionals to retirees and vacationers. "The Avenue" as it's known to Delray Beach locals, is one of the hottest spots in South Florida, with a myriad of dining and entertainment options on the west side of the Intracoastal Waterway, to Delray Beach "Island" on the east side, which is one of the most beautiful stretches of beach in Palm Beach County.
Delray Beach's History
A Seaside Town Near Boca Raton
Delray Beach's history dates back to the late 1800's when William Linton, David Swinton, and Nathan Boynton moved to South Florida from Michigan. The three friends purchased several acres of land at approximately $2.50 per acre of land, much of which was underwater at the time.
By 1901, Delray Beach had its first sidewalk down its main street, Atlantic Avenue. The coastal town was considered one of the most attractive settlements north of Miami during the early 1900's. The first hotel, The Inn, was built in 1910 next to the railroad tracks. The City of Delray Beach was incorporated in 1911 by the State of Florida, as the first city between Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach to become chartered. By 1910, Delray Beach's population was approximately 250 residents.
Delray Beach Historic Neighborhoods
Many of the first landmarks in Delray Beach were built by Sam Ogren, whose work included the Seacrest Hotel (now the Marriott Hotel on Atlantic Avenue) in 1926, Delray's Sandoway East, and a prominent house on Bankers Row situated on the corner of NE 1st Avenue and 2nd Street. Ogren also built the area's first high school, Delray Beach High School, in 1926, which is now the Crest Theater in Old School Square. Until the 1970s, there was still a very small population in southeast Florida. Delray only had 2,433 residents in 1930 after the Great Depression.
Delray Beach is on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a central gathering place for the close-knit community. Adjacent to Old School Square is Pineapple Grove, an area filled with art galleries and sculptures by local artists. Currently, there are five (5) official historic districts in Delray Beach; they are Old School Square, Del-Ida Park, Nassau, Marina, and West Settlers Historic District. Click here for more information about Delray Beach's Historic Districts and the homes for sale within them.
Things to Do in Delray Beach
Downtown Delray Beach
From the hundreds of stores to the restaurants, to the beautiful beach, life on and off of Atlantic Avenue means constantly making choices. Living in Downtown Delray Beach, you will appreciate having the luxury of laying claim to this spectacular Downtown whenever you wish, and however, you like.
Seagate Country Club and Beach Club
With affordable membership fees that include the Seagate Beach Club, Seagate Yacht Club, and the Seagate Country Club, Delray Beach residents can have it all, from the sea to the tee! An 18-hole championship course was designed by Gene Bates and boasts 300 acres and a brand new practice facility.
Arts and Crafts Festivals
In addition to award-winning beaches, a bustling downtown district, vibrant nightlife and rich cultural heritage, Delray Beach hosts numerous events for both residents and visitors including First Friday Art Walks in Pineapple Grove, Delray Restaurant Week, July 4th, Delray Affair, and Fashion Week.
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, with its unique gardens and collections, is one of Palm Beach County’s most treasured cultural attractions. Located in a tranquil natural setting, Morikami invites visitors to explore its many facets and discover Florida’s heritage and its connection with Japan.
Delray Beach Video Tour
Delray Beach Communities
When it comes to Delray Beach communities, your options are endless. From downtown lofts in the heart of Downtown Delray Beach near Atlantic Avenue to waterfront homes on the Intracoastal Waterway, to new construction estate homes in gated communities, Delray Beach truly has something for everyone. Some of the finest new home communities in Palm Beach County are located in Delray Beach just west of the Florida Turnpike in GL Homes' gated communities which include The Bridges, and Seven Bridges.
Downtown Delray Beach real estate is some of the most sought-after in all of South Florida. From loft-style condos for sale and rent, and luxury townhouses along Atlantic Avenue, to historic districts with ranch-style single-family homes walking distance to Atlantic Avenue, home buyers in Downtown Delray Beach have an array of property types and home styles to choose from.
Cafe tables line the sidewalks opposite the storefronts of Atlantic Avenue's 250 boutiques, bistros, galleries, clubs, and restaurants. Delray Beach has created a destination so rich that the only way to fully experience it is to live it. There are Friday Night Flicks in Old School Square, and the Green Market every other Saturday in Worthing Park. Art & Jazz on the Avenue is a monthly event nobody wants to miss, as are the outdoor concerts by the Delray Philharmonic Pops Orchestra. Tennis fans can stroll to the Delray Beach Tennis Center, home of the Chris Evert Tennis Tournament and other world-class events.
The Beach Area of Delray Beach
The section known as the "Beach Area," or "The Island," of Delray Beach contains approximately sixty-nine (69) acres of highly valuable land, and consists of several condominiums, resort hotels, and businesses focused on tourist activity and the beach. The commercial area along Atlantic Avenue is, with few exceptions, limited in-depth to the frontage buildings. Along A1A/Ocean Boulevard, business uses are limited to the Marriott Hotel on the north side of Atlantic Avenue, and a few restaurants, shops, and small hotels on the south side. With the exception of the major hotels and some older nonconforming condominium buildings, development is at or below the 48 ft. height limit. The Community Redevelopment Association (CRA) boundary lies on the west side of A1A. While much of the commercial space fronts directly on the street, there are other instances where the storefronts and sidewalk are separated by parking lots or large stretches of landscaping. This condition, combined with the 4-lane, no-median condition of East Atlantic Avenue in this area, make this part of the downtown less pedestrian-friendly than the Central Core area of Delray Beach.
Parking is in high demand in the beach area and all public parking spaces are metered. Public parking is located along the major streets, as well as in two shared surface lots: one at the Marriott Hotel on A1A and the other off of Gleason Street that the City leases from the First Presbyterian Church. There are additional public parking lots located south of the commercial area off of A1A, but the hours that these lots can be used are restricted and their distance from the shops and restaurants discourages heavy usage by business patrons. However, they have been utilized for valet parking, which helps alleviate some of the parking challenges.
This area has seen substantial private investment in building upgrades and expansions, with the conversion of the former Spanish River time share project to a Marriott Courtyards Hotel, renovation of the Bank of America and Waterways commercial condominium properties, construction of an upper level at Boston's restaurant, and approval of plans to replace a small shopping center with a the development of the luxury, completion of the 4-story Seagate Hotel at the southwest corner of Gleason Street and Atlantic Avenue, and development. recently the addition at the Marriott on A1A of 16 luxury rooms facing the ocean. The Downtown Master Plan includes recommendations for improving pedestrian safety and increasing parking availability in the area.
Want to Learn More About Delray Beach Homes and Condos for Sale?
Contact the best Delray Beach real estate agents from The Pearl Antonacci Group at Compass Real Estate for help buying or selling Delray Beach real estate. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call us at (561) 463-0408 orcontact us online.
The Delray Beach Lifestyle Coastal living with a thriving art scene.
Known and loved for its relaxed, beach vibe, Delray Beach provides many of the luxurious amenities to residents. The expansive Delray Municipal Beach is pristine, serene, and delivers views only seen on postcards. Wakodahatchee Wetlands is a favorite gathering place to enjoy the trails and observe wildlife in their natural habitat. Those who appreciate art galleries, bars, and live music will love Pineapple Grove located just off of Atlantic Avenue. It’s a truly unique place and one of the reasons Delray has been rated “Most Fun Small Town”.
Pineapple Grove Arts District
The historic charm of Pineapple Grove in Delray Beach becomes a dramatic backdrop for a contemporary take on public art. The Artwalk turns century-old brick-paved streets into a gallery of contemporary sculpture and works of art.
From the stores to the restaurants, to the beautiful beach, life on and off of Atlantic Avenue means constantly making choices. Living in Downtown Delray Beach, you will appreciate having the luxury of laying claim to this spectacular Downtown whenever you wish, and however you like.
The conveniences, luxuries, and diversions of Delray Beach are complemented by the considerable cultural amenities and attractions of West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, and Fort Lauderdale. With immediate access to Interstate 95, Delray Beach is equally convenient to the international airports at West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
SofA District (South of Atlantic)
The area south of Atlantic Area and north of SE 2nd Street, from SE 1st and SE 5th Avenues, has come to be known as "SOFA" (South of Atlantic). Several multi-family residential new construction projects have recently been approved for this area. Three such plans are CODA Townhomes, 111 First Delray condos, and 236 Fifth Avenue Condos. The North and South Federal Highway has corridors have yet to develop a brand for its area or cohesive image, and remain as a mix of commercial and residential projects that tend to function independently of each other.
Recent History & The Construction Boom
After World War II, developers began envisioning upper-scale homesites in Delray Beach, which brought change to the area between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, which until then was not considered valuable land by local residents, as it was mostly swampland. Once developers excavated and dredged the canals, homes in the "beach area" of Venetian Drive, Gleason Street, and Andrews Avenue, began selling for twice what the homes were going for west of the Intracoastal. In the 1950's, the south side of Atlantic Avenue east of the Intracoastal was named "Reids Village" after the developer of that tract. The north side of Atlantic Avenue just south of George Bush Boulevard, was developed by Robert Westerman who began developing waterfront homes on the finger canals that were dredged from the Intracoastal. Those home sites were sold at a very expensive premium of $20,000, with homes selling between $30,000 and $45,000, which was more than double the average home price in America at that time. Today, homes for sale in those same neighborhoods, Rio Del Rey Shores, Delray Isle, and Delray Shores, sell for between $2 million and $4 million.
Brian Pearl and Vini Antonacci at Compass Real Estate specialize in selling Delray Beach homes and properties with a combined 60+ years of experience between them. If you are thinking about listing your Delray Beach home for sale, call Brian and Vini at (561) 714-8464 or click here for a free, no-obligation home valuation and marketing consultation. Give them 15 minutes and you will see what makes them better than the rest!
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Listing information last updated on December 4th, 2023 at 1:46pm EST.