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Tennis and Travels in Delray Beach

February 11, 2009 10:50 AM

By: Tulsi Desai

All-American City in ’93 and ’01, Delray Beach has developed into a picturesque getaway exemplifying Florida sunshine and beach fronts. What began as a small agricultural hub in today’s Palm Beach County, Delray now hosts the arts, trendy restaurants and non-stop nightlife. Not to mention, a little something called the Delray International Tennis Championships. The ITC is an ATP World Tour 250 series men’s tournament on hard courts and has, in recent years, attracted players like Andy Roddick, James Blake, and Tommy Haas. Even Andre Agassi has been known to show up. So while your time here may be dominated by tennis, tennis and more tennis, you can rest assured that when the courts are empty, you’ll have more entertainment than extended cable in a hotel room.

USTA Booth and Membership Appreciation Day (MAD)
Stop by the USTA booth at the ITC anytime during the day and pick up a complimentary USTA gift, renew your membership, or just talk to fellow tennis enthusiasts about the days’ events. Membership Appreciation Day, or “MAD”, will be held on February 24th from 2:00-3:30 pm. Bring your USTA membership card for access to delicious refreshments and special giveaways!

Exhibits and Shows

Kick starting the ITC week, the Street Painting Festival is a relaxed and light-on-the-wallet (admission is FREE) event that will get your creative juices flowing. Located in nearby downtown Lake Worth, this local favorite is in its 15th year and will be bringing over 400 artists to the streets from February 21st-22nd to create a museum of original and classic pieces on the pavement.

You can also look forward to cool live music, theatre and street vendors with delicious eats. If fresh fruits and bakeries are your style, the Delray Beach GreenMarket in the Park also begins on February 21st. Operating from 8am- 1pm till February 28th, this open air market provides a unique opportunity for your sight, smell and taste buds with its straight-from-the-farm produce, flowers, citrus and perfect for breakfast before tennis bakeries.

On a more eccentric note, the popular Florida Renaissance Festival takes the stage from February 7th-March 8th in Deerfield, about 15 miles from the Delray Beach Tennis Center. Live acts ranging from minstrels and drunken sailors to Robin Hood and the first large scale Roman Reenactment in Florida, the fair is expected to be full of the frivolities it’s become famous for. Tickets are a little pricey, though, so be sure to buy online in advance to get a discount.

Also storming the stage in early March is “Three Men and a Baby…Grand! Salute the Rat Pack”. A part of the 2009 Broadway Cabaret Series, this group made a strong impression when they performed at the Metropolitan Room in New York and are likely to continue their success at the Crest Theatre.

Museums and Art
The Palm Beach area has a surprisingly wide array of museums and art galleries for all ages and tastes. Whether it’s you and your friends or a day with the kids, there’s edutainment to be had. For example, the Children’s Science Explorium at Sugar Sand Park is wonderfully hands on introduction to everything science. Recommended for children ages 5-12 and their guardians, the museum has permanent and seasonal exhibits. For instance, a “vortex” that experiments with gravity and orbits, a “sand plotter” which uses the principles of magnetic force to create patterns in the sand and “Bernoulli’s blower” which makes balls float in mid-air.

Other children friendly museums (admission for 12 years and under is FREE) are the Boca Raton Museum of Art and the Palm Beach Institute of Contemporary Art. For an international experience, try the world-renowned Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens. Their breathtaking Japanese gardens have been consistently ranked among the world’s best and they even offer classes for calligraphy, tea ceremony preparation, and much more.

Restaurants and Nightlife
A single dining experience can either make or break a vacation and the eateries around Delray seem to understand that quite well. The region combines variety and trendy to offer good food and entertainment in one place. Dada, restaurant and bar, has a great International and American menu that can be pricey but they give new meaning to “kill two birds with one stone” with extras like live entertainment, art, and terrific outdoor dining. In step with the rage that is tapas-style dining, The Falcon House boasts a fusion menu and tasty cocktails in a relaxed but hip atmosphere. Prices are average, but you could easily run up the tab on those Angel Food Cake Martinis!

If you’ve got energy to spare and love House music, Delux nightclub is the upscale hot-spot in Delray. Just remember- dress to impress!






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