Introduction to Delray Beach, Florida
The city of Delray Beach is located in the southern end of Palm Beach County, Florida, about 9 miles north of Boca Raton. The city is also situated 30 miles north of Fort Lauderdale and 60 miles north of Miami, both cities which are accessible via Interstate I-95.
First settled by a small group of Michigan settlers in the late 19th century, the community then known as Delray had an early history dominated by agriculture. Incorporated as a town in 1911, Delray later merged with the area between the canal and the ocean which had itself been incorporated as the Town of Delray Beach. In 1927 the two towns merged and became the City of Delray Beach. As the 20th century progressed Delray Beach evolved from a farming community into a bustling city which also became a winter resort. In recent years, Delray Beach has seen large scale renovations to its downtown area and today is considered a leading force in Florida's growing historic preservation movement. Several of its neighborhoods have been designated as historic districts and Delray Beach was recognized as an All-America City in both 1993 and 2001, the only Florida city to ever win the designation twice.
Delray Beach Attractions
Dedicated in 1990, the Cornell Museum of Art & History is housed in the restored 1913 Delray Elementary building and includes four galleries, a two-story atrium used as exhibit space, a tea room and a gift shop. The city's historical archives are located in the Cornell Archives Room on the museum's second floor. Located near the museum at Old School Square is the Crest Theatre, a restored 1925 Delray High School building redesigned as a 323-seat performing arts theatre. The venue offers a variety of professional theatre, dance, music, and Broadway shows and also serves as a convenient locale for community presentations and town meetings. One of Palm Beach County's top attractions is the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, named after George Morikami, a pineapple farmer who donated his land for use as a park. The museum, the only one of Japanese culture in the United States, features a library, classrooms, a 230-seat auditorium and interactive exhibits, and hosts regular special events and festivals that showcase Japanese culture. Located adjacent to the Morikami is the new international headquarters of the American Orchid Society (AOS), the world's largest special-interest horticultural organization. Another popular site in Delray Beach is Wakodahatchee Wetlands, home to an abundant variety of wildlife including turtles, frogs, alligators and more than 140 different species of birds.
Delray Beach is also a short drive away from dozens of other attractions. Within a 30-minute drive, Delray visitors and residents can visit the Deerfield Beach Arboretum (also known as the Tree Zoo), the Caldwell Theatre Company in Boca Raton, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, and the Raymond F. Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach. A 60-minute drive south provides access to the city of Miami and dozens of its attractions, including the Gold Coast Railroad Museum, the Miami MetroZoo, the Miami Seaquarium, the Bass Museum of Art, and the Jackie Gleason Theater of the Performing Arts.
Tennis fans in Delray Beach can enjoy the Delray Beach Tennis Center, host site of several major international tennis events such as the Davis Cup, Fed Cup, and Chris Evert/Bank of America Pro-Celebrity Tennis Classic. More first-rate sports can be found a short drive away. The nearby city of Sunrise is home to the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League. A little further south are other Miami-area teams, including the Florida Marlins (MLB), Miami Heat (NBA), and Miami Dolphins (NFL).