9 Reasons to Live in Boca Raton
If you’ve read our blog before, you’re aware of our infatuation with southern Florida. In many ways it is the unsung, unappreciated gem of the United States.
Cities like West Palm Beach area veritable treasure chest of resources, beauty, culture, and good food. And if your mental image of Boca Raton was little more than a retirement compound for the American aged, you should be pleasantly surprised.
Because like its city siblings of Fort Lauderdale and WPB (Boca Raton is situated between them), this city has a dizzying array of unique culture and good things to offer those who stop by, whether for a vacation or forever. This article will distill some of the most winsome.
1. Access to top education, schools and universities
Like West Palm Beach, Boca Raton has its share of good schools. This is most evident in the four colleges that call Boca Raton home: Florida Atlantic (public) and Lynn Universities (private), Palm Beach (public), and Everglades University (private). Florida Atlantic and Palm Beach State are located close by one another, so the two schools often take unique advantage of their proximity with joint events and experiences.
Besides the unusually vast offerings in higher education, Boca Raton also boasts of dozens of schools both public and private, from preschool to twelfth grade. (Note that since it is part of Palm Beach County, obviously not all of the excellent schools in the district or in the county are in Boca Raton. Some are close by in neighboring towns.)
You can find out more about the public schools in Palm Beach county, including those in Boca Raton, by going to the PBC Schools website.
2. A blossoming foodie culture
It seems Southern Florida is a goldmine for interesting, delicious and (frequently) locally-sourced food. Boca Raton is no exception to this trend. The nice thing here, as with places like West Palm Beach, is that there is a range of pricing available for quality food.
That means you can have a genuinely enjoyable meal with great service whether you’re at a fine dining establishment or a burger joint. Ethnically-unique cuisine, like Chinese, Italian, Japanese, and Greek offerings, are plentiful, and the attempts to incorporate the lovely fresh seafood for which southern Florida is famous are legion.
You can find a handy guide, complete with ratings and even table reservations, to the foodie paradise that is Boca Raton, here.
3. Great shopping for people of all interests
This offering is so special it gets its own entry! Most larger cities have malls nowadays. But people in the know about Boca Raton frequently point to Town Center as being an especially worthwhile attraction.
Located on Glades Road, the mall is known as an inviting and upscale shopping establishment, packed with numerous luxury stores as well as more routine offerings. National chains as well as local favorites make an appearance.
Among the stores on the lengthy roster are these: Abercrombie and Fitch, Alex and Ani, Bloomingdale’s, Brooks Brothers, Coach, Galleria Italia, Godiva, Kate Spade, Pandora, Papyrus, Pottery Barn, and Williams-Sonoma.
Of course, the hungry aren’t left out, as the mall offers a number of lovely eateries, including a Chick-fil-A. Additionally, Town Center is well-known for the various events it hosts throughout the year.
Beyond the typical sales and discounts offed at most malls, Town Center’s stores often open for unique events like The Shoe Box’s night Evening of Sips, Sweets, and Fashion Treats. Town Center also offers drives and charitable events for community enrichment, like the cereal drive that ends on June 9.
4. It Feels Like a Small Town
Most people love the smaller population of Boca Raton. As of 2015, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated Boca Raton was home to approximately 93,235 people. For comparison, Fort Lauderdale boasts nearly 200,000 (176, 013), and Miami over twice that (430,332).
This smaller population allows residents a unique constellation of opportunities: Boca Raton has many of the benefits and strengths of a larger, even wholly metropolitan, city (education, arts, food, culture, etc.), without being overwhelmed in a congestion of people.
5. The Bahamas are Right Next Door
Yes, it’s true: Merely seventy-five nautical miles west lies one of the most coveted paradises near North America. (Freeport, to be more specific. The other cities and islands may be further away.)
If the beaches, parks, and other attractions aren’t enough for you, there are plenty of boats and other means of transport for a vacation from your vacation. Who wouldn’t love having the Bahamas a few hours away?
6. Did I Mention the Beaches?
This is Florida, after all, which may tie with if not beat California to qualify as America’s beach country.
Several miles of beach are open to the public, and the city takes great pains to ensure that these beaches remain pristine, clean, and non-commercialized.
Only one of these areas (Spanish River Park) is dog-friendly; make sure you check with the Boca Raton Community Center to get an annual permit, or with the gatehouse for a weekend one. (More info is here.)
All of the beaches are lifeguard protected; lifeguards are on duty from 9 am to 5 pm year-round.
7. Those Famous Gated Communities
Boca Raton’s image as a play area for the extravagantly wealthy is doubtless influenced by the presence of several gated neighborhoods that dot its skyline. Indeed, Forbes has reported that three of the top ten most expensive gated communities in the entire nation are in Boca Raton; Royal Palm Yacht and Country Club is at the top of the list.
The Properties arm of this community boasts one of the largest annual open-house events in the city, allowing interested parties and dreamers alike to see firsthand some of the most luxurious and expensive residences in town (and really, the country). The other enclaves of the fabulously rich in Boca Raton are The Sanctuary, which is a fleet of waterfront homes on the Intracoastal Waterway, and Le Lac, which recently made headlines for being home to the largest property for sale in the city—an estate whose asking price was reduced (!) to a mere $13.5 million.
8. It’s a Center for the Arts
Most of Southern Florida is a hotbed for the arts and other rich cultural endeavors, and Boca Raton happily continues the trend. Art lovers, learners, and connoisseurs will find much to appreciate in this town, as the emphasis on preserving and cultivating a love for the arts is arguably the city’s main cultural endeavor.
Where to begin? There is the much-loved annual Festival of the Arts (to be next held February 23 to March 4, 2018), which regularly features a delightful array of speakers, performers, exhibits, and other lovely things to engage and delight the art community in Palm Beach County.
There is Art Boca Raton (next held March 14-18, 2018), the sister event of an annual art fair in Palm Beach that focuses on the creativity and contributions of contemporary and emerging artists. There’s the phalanx of outreaches offered by Minzer Park, which is not only a shopping and cultural center in its own right, but features an amphitheater and cultural arts center that offers classes, concerts, lectures, and exhibits.
The Boca Raton Children’s Museum exists to delight children with the creative potential of their own minds and features extensive interactive exhibits. And the Boca Museum of Art is perhaps the pinnacle of the arts culture in the city, creating exhibits and offering cultural services of national and international reputation, which include an art school and gild for local artists.
9. And I Have to Mention the Weather
It wouldn’t be Florida without the sun, year-round, no? While summers in Florida are definitely not for those who hate mugginess and walking in soup-like atmosphere, the rest of the year is quite lovely.
With only the rarest of variations, the weather is typically no cooler than 61 degrees (during the coldest period of the year), and (outside the hot season, of course) not warmer than 89 degrees. In Boca Raton, the “hot season” generally lasts from June through October 1, where temperatures can reach the nineties and humidity is oppressive.
The cooler season extends from December to early March, where temperatures regularly drop to the low sixties. Cloudy skies are not a frequent occurrence in Boca Raton, as the clearer part of the year generally lasts around eight months, while the cloudier season runs from late May to mid-October. While very warm weather isn’t for everyone, lots of people love the sunny warmth of the average day in Boca Raton.
Not so much of a retirement village now, is it? While every individual town caters to unique communities, Boca Raton offers its own charm and attractiveness that allures many. And remember that the highlights I’ve included here are only some of the wonderful assets to living here.
I haven’t mentioned the booming economy, the very favorable tax situation, the low cost of living, the pristine water system, the excellent traffic, or the ease of access from many different parts of the country and the region. This list will merely whet your appetite to learn more about why this impressive big little city may just be the place to raise a family or find the life of your dreams.