Attractions are where Boca really gets interesting. You want beach? It’s here. You want wildlife? From verdant wetlands to purpose-built education centers, it’s here. You want culture? Whether that means concerts at Mizner Park’s amphitheater or the expansive collections of the Boca Raton Museum of Art, it is all here. For a combination of the botanical and the historical, the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens has been delighting visitors with an immersion into Japanese culture since 1977. Closer to Boca’s beautiful beaches, the 20-acre Gumbo Limbo Marine and Coastal Environmental Complex delights visitors even as it educates them.
Hot Tips: Sugar Sand Park is a lesser known but fabulous find for families featuring an enormous tri-level play area, Science Explorium, nature trails and a beautiful carousel thatÂ's ideal for photo-ops.
Where to Stay
Boca Raton is known as the City of all Seasons, perhaps because it really only has two: heady South Florida summer and sublime South Florida winter, the latter of which is most notable for its bright sun, low humidity and the brief appearance of twinkling holiday lights on the palm trees. The point? It sure is a nice place to visit. Hotels such as the Boca Raton Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria Resort (which includes the oceanfront Boca Beach Club) are A++ offering top-of-the-line restaurants, beautiful rooms, championship golf and stately architecture fall in line with Boca’s posh rep.
Hot Tips: Feeling Presidential? The Embassy Suites Boca Raton, located in the Arvida Park office complex, is not only convenient for business travelers, but proved good enough to host Barack Obama during a 2012 campaign stop in South Florida.
Steak to sopapillas, sushi to shepherd’s pie, Boca’s restaurant scene is rich and varied. Mizner Park is arguably the city’s heart and soul for shpatziring, a plaza of sorts loaded down with shops, restaurants, nightlife and arts venues. Eateries here are plenty, including New American at Max’s Grille or Asian fusion at Kapow Noodle House; be prepared for a possible case of car-envy as you make your way through the well-heeled parking lot. Yes, Boca has its share of fancy, but hidden away in many a strip mall or ubiquitous highway you’ll find more local, less expensive options â€“ Las Fajitas on Dixie Highway, for example (and Mexican).
Caution: Generally speaking, Mizner ParkÂ's eateries require a modicum of resort-casual dress. Save your cutoffs and flip-flops for the bars on the beach.
Sultry South Florida evenings pair well with al fresco cocktails and Boca has no shortage of nightlife offering all that and more. Mizner Park’s Dubliner hosts a popular happy hour, as does Blue Martini at the Town Center Mall (reward smart shopping with cosmos!). Nearby Boca Center is home to Rocco’s Tacos â€“ a restaurant, yes, but one with an impressive tequila selection. Ensconced in the Royal Palm Place, an older Spanish-style plaza infused with moss-draped live oaks and the sound of trickling fountains, you’ll find the popular Biergarten as well as the Funky Biscuit, popular for fans of live music.
Avoid: A parking-related embolism by noting the pay structures and numerous valet stands located around the Atlantic Avenue area. Friday and Saturday nights are busy Â'round these parts!
Hot Tips: Keen to venture just slightly north? Atlantic Avenue in neighboring Delray Beach boasts a concentration of great nightspot options from casual pub to straight-up swanky.
Boca residents, whether year-round or snowbirds, love their retail therapy. Opportunities abound. It’s easy to kill an entire day perusing the upscale wares of Mizner Park (they have seven jewelry stores alone!) or the air-conditioned atriums of Town Center Mall, home of names recognized the world over: Bloomingdales to Burberry, Coach to Cartier, Macy’s to Mont Blanc, Neimann’s to Nordstrom and dozens of others in which to peruse for that perfect gift for the suckers back home in the snow.
Best Local Souvenir: A tan. But since you canÂ't bring one home for your dog sitter, how about a posh-looking chapeau from one of the tonier boutiques in town? They pair beautifully with flowery frocks and upscale sunshades, two fashion staples here in Boca.