Truth be told, Boca Raton, that odd name for the affluent city on Floridas Atlantic coast, doesnt really mean "rats mouth" after all, but rather a rocky-bottom ocean inlet. Located in Palm Beach County, approximately 50 miles north of Miami, the municipality claims about 87,000 residents, but its daytime business population is much higher, and upwards of 200,000 people share its postal zip code. Boca Raton is popular for both business and entertainment. It was once home to a sprawling IBM plant, now "recycled" into a business/research center, and it boasts major shopping and entertainment facilities.
Although homes and condos are selling in Boca at a rapid pace and prices are up almost 25 percent over last year, statistics indicate that there are still as many properties in foreclosure or bank-owned status as there are existing or new properties for sale. The median sales price for the last quarter was $230,000, while the average listing price of homes on the market today is well over $700,000. There are homes for as much as $25 million and condos for under $75,000. Although it is possible to find rent to own homes in this market, transactions are overwhelmingly home sales, and the majority of single-family homes are owner-occupied. Rentals tend to be in two to ten-unit buildings, with condos in mid-to-high-rise buildings also owner-occupied and expensive. Housing in all categories costs more than state averages.
The city is known for its culture, including a fine Museum of Art and frequent performances at the Mizner Park Amphitheater. Musical and dance productions are common; Lynn University Conservatory and Florida Atlantic University Theater also offer performances throughout the year. Jazz and Latin dancing are popular nightlife pursuits, and an impressive number of dining spots offer entertainment to complement the food. Of course, for the younger crowd, there are plenty of pubs and crowded beach-bars located just across the city line in neighboring beach towns.
Bocas beaches are well-maintained. Three with unique personalities are worth exploring: South Inlet County Park has a fishing jetty as well as great sand; the reef just off Red Reef Beach Park offers great snorkeling and is a pleasant alternative to a standard beach; and Atlantic Dunes just north in Delray offers inexpensive parking. When you leave the beach, visit the 200-acre Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens to regain a sense of peace and learn about the agricultural community that was established in 1905. You can see butterflies, turtles and marine life during a stroll through Gumbo Lindo Nature Center. Or you could browse the upscale shops radiating from the Mediterranean city center, and then visit the popular Sample Road Flea Market for a unique experience in bargain-hunting.
Although there are many places to go out at night, classy casual is the dress code for dining out in Boca, rather than beachy funk; and there arent many truly informal spots. Two beachfront restaurants, however, offer a wide variety of dishes and youll be sure to find something to your liking at either JBs or WaterColors. Other superb choices for dining include Seasons 52, Chops Lobster Bar, Racks and Abe and Louies. You'll also find good options at Boca Town Center Mall; try Legal Sea Food, The Capital Grille, and Pinon Grill. You won't go hungry in Boca.
Diehard sports fans in Boca Raton can play golf, watch local school and extracurricular team competition, or find favorite teams on television. This is not really a sports-oriented community, but dont despair; there are plenty of other activities to keep you occupied. Then, there's Sports Immortals. It's not a spectator sport, but if you'd like to relive some of the great moments in sports history, or just view memorabilia of the great names in sports, this is the place for you. The current Showcase Museum and Memorabilia Mart is the culmination of a dream held by Joel Platt. Platt, who has been collecting for more than 50 years, says his collection of Jim Thorpe memorabilia is his "most endearing." With more than one million mementos lovingly collected and displayed, this is truly a one-of-a-kind place for the sports lover. Traveling exhibitions take some shows on the road, and there is also a commemorative book.
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