During the 1920s the small town of Boca Raton first came to the attention of a group of investors, who saw the area’s potential and purchased swaths of oceanfront property.
Boca as we know it today is a paradise for both visitors and residents, with 23 hotels, three public golf courses, 11 private golf clubs, and dozens of restaurants to please every palate. It is also a shopper’s mecca, from the unique boutiques at Mizner Park and Royal Palm Place to the designer shops at Boca Town Center.
Living in Boca Raton
Boca Raton, commonly known as ‘Boca’ by locals, is a quiet change of pace from many of South Florida’s bustling towns. But the neighborhood still has plenty to offer, including designer and boutique shops which line manicured boulevards throughout the downtown area. Its proximity to airports and the major metro areas of West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and Miami also gives you access to regional transportation and entertainment centers.
The oceanfront downtown is immaculate, with picture-perfect palm trees, bubbling water fountains and pastel-colored facades. Florida Atlantic University (FAU) enrolls about 30,000 students, and much of the area’s modern infrastructure and can’t-miss events associate with the school. The public university injects a youthful energy into an area that’s also great for middle-aged and older residents.
Boca’s entertainment scene lies in the eastern part of the city. The busy university puts on a variety of art, music and sporting events, and for a taste of the city’s eclectic nightlife, you can’t go wrong in the downtown area. Hotspots include Funky Buddha Brewery, which has a unique combination of hookah smells and award-winning craft beers.
Boca Raton real estate
Boca Raton real estate varies based on proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. High-rise, modern condominiums line the intracoastal waterway along with a mix of upscale retail stores and worldly restaurants. Gated subdivisions with Mediterranean and Spanish-style single-family homes are widely available past Boca Town Center and Sugar Sand Park towards the west.
Often hard to pick out from the area’s apartment complexes, low-rise gated condominiums are also in abundance to the west of downtown. These subdivisions, with their extra space, allow for bigger yards and extra amenities such as golf memberships.
Boca Raton, like much of South Florida, contains established communities restricted to older populations. But Boca Raton real estate also entices younger crowds with condos located minutes from nightlife. The neighborhood is appealing if you desire South Florida’s tropical lifestyle and plentiful perks, but don’t want to live under Miami’s limelight.
Boca Raton history
Boca Raton began as a small agricultural community focused on pineapple cultivation in the early 1900s. The town incorporated in 1925 and remained tight-knit throughout the mid-1900s, but significant growth hit Boca Raton during a land boom affecting much of South Florida in the 1960s. When Florida Atlantic University established its campus in 1962, followed by the arrival of IBM’s computer facilities five years later, Boca Raton was firmly stamped onto the map.
The city owes much of its current appearance to downtown redevelopment during the 1980s and 1990s. With the restoration of Town Hall and the increase in kid-friendly museums and luscious city parks, the town’s population continued to grow throughout the rest of the 20th century. For a prime location in southern Palm Beach County, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Boca, with its thriving population and memorable attractions like Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, a beachfront maze of wooden boardwalks and tropical wildlife.
Boca Raton restaurants
Boca Raton’s diverse culinary scene gets a boost from nearby dining mainstays in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. Take Casa D’Angelo’s Tuscan-inspired Italian cuisine, for instance, which came to Boca Raton after its flagship Fort Lauderdale location drew rave reviews across South Florida.
Mizner Park is home to two of Boca Raton’s top eateries. The first, Max’s Grille, serves modern American cuisine with a distinct Californian flair. Here, dishes are mesquite-grilled and served with light sauces. And intimate Italian restaurant Tanzy, which is famous for its red velvet bread pudding, provides the ideal spot for a date night.
Oceanfront dining remains scarce with parks and private property along the waterfront, but gems are certainly available. One of them, Boca Landing, provides an upscale ambience and peaceful waterfront views alongside an inlet mere minutes from the Atlantic Ocean.
Boca Raton nightlife
Boca Raton locals often spend their evenings at Mizner Park for crowd-pleasing live music and events appealing to all ages. The park’s outdoor amphitheater hosts everything from symphonies and pop concerts to free family events and beer festivals.
For a taste of Boca’s thriving bar scene, you’ll do well heading out downtown. The Dubliner’s authentic Irish pub feel, complete with a moody dark interior and expansive wooden bar, contrast against the palm-lined ambience of its outdoor seating. Mizner’s Monkey Bar makes for a quirky alternative; its cozy atmosphere, whimsical decor and upscale selection of cocktails is well situated in the historic Boca Raton Resort and Club.
Sports fans flock to Miller’s Ale House to catch all the games on large HDTVs. This bustling watering hole conveniently has two prime locations on the east and west side of the city.
Boca Raton shopping
Shopping in Boca Raton is evenly split between established retail giants and enticing, family-owned shops that adhere to the area’s tropical vibe.
The Town Center at Boca Raton, one of South Florida’s premier upscale shopping destinations, features a variety of classy household names like Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue under one roof. French gallery Carré d’artistes also has one of its few US locations in Boca. The contemporary paintings here range from abstract and landscape to vintage.
For a local take on shopping, consider stopping by Rogue Wave Surf Boutique. The family-owned surf shop sits one block away from the Atlantic and sells beach-themed apparel, eye-catching surfboards and offbeat accessories perfect for a day in the sun.
Boca Raton attractions
Many of Boca Raton’s top attractions take advantage of South Florida’s balmy weather. The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens, with its host of rotating exhibits, first-rate bonsai garden and cultural festivals, never fails to relax and enlighten visitors. For extended time outdoors, consider visiting the 67-acre oceanfront Red Reef Park. Here you can go swimming, snorkeling and fishing against a serene backdrop of sand dunes and palm trees.
Boca’s appeal is also boosted by a number of child-friendly museums. Located in Sugar Sand Park, the Children’s Science Exploratorium offers hand-on, interactive exhibits and special events like science-inspired movie nights and stargazing spectacles. Boca Raton’s Museum of Art, a must-see for soaking up global culture, also gives children a chance to create masterpieces by learning how to mimic featured artists.
Local tips and information for going out in the Boca Raton from The Corcoran Group. Explore dining, shopping and nightlife.All Boca Raton tips