Season Kicks Into “Hi” Gear in Delray

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By Stephen Chrisanthus  Special to The Pineapple With the New Year upon us, it’s time for “hi” season in the land of Delray Beach. Snow birds and visitors from all over have joined us for a few months of warm weather and fun in the sun. It’s the perfect time to stop in to your favorite hotspots to say hi to old friends and see what’s happening, or check out all the new restaurants, stores and attractions that have popped up since you’ve been away. If you’re lucky enough to enjoy the Delray Beach lifestyle year round, there’s no better way to start the year off than exploring some fresh places and meeting some new people. If you’re looking for a little South Florida culture, cruise into the Surf Museum at 255 N. Federal Highway. With tons of cool pictures, memorabilia and hours of interesting reading, it’s a hip way to plunge into the history of one of our grooviest water sports. You’ll be surprised to see the West Coast wave riders have nothing on us! They also have monthly events and surfer movie showings. Visit www.surfhistoryproject.org or call (561) 601-6703. Another rocking joint you may not have discovered yet is the newly opened Jamnasium. Once a week, The Fieldhouse at Old School Square (formerly the Vintage Gym) is transformed into a playground for awesome concerts, top-notch comedy and any other creative shows programmer and director Matthew Farmer can conjure up. Having only been open a month, it’s already becoming the venue for high caliber live music and performances in Delray Beach. Visit www.oldschoolsquare.org/about/vintage-gymnasium/ for details. Think you know all the restaurants in town? Think again. With dozens on the “Ave” alone, there are sure to be a few you haven’t tried or an owner you haven’t met yet. Rocco’s Tacos opened this past fall to the locals’ delight. Max’s Social House also has been a big hit this year. With a mouth-watering menu and impressive cocktails, it has been an off-the-Ave destination to find your way to. Thankfully it’s not too far off the Ave at 106 Northeast 6th Avenue (Federal Highway). Having hosted Bar Brawls, a weekly cocktail competition, this past fall, MSH has won over the taste buds and festive hunger of the locals. Delray Beach also boasts an extraordinary number of unique boutiques filled with designer fashions. So if you’re seeking to do some serious shopping or just want to stroll the Ave to find a rare treasure you won’t see at the mall or any other chain store, you won’t be disappointed. Pineapple Grove (Second Avenue just north of Atlantic Avenue) is the place to start. But don’t be afraid to venture out of downtown either. With Project Runway designer Amanda Perna creating her new line at the House of Perna a few miles north of Atlantic, and the new Delray Place shopping center a few miles south, there are plenty of reasons to take a little drive for a lot of great shopping. So whether you’re only here for a few months or you’re a full-time Delray resident, do yourself a favor this year and explore the ever-evolving “Village by the Sea.” You just may find some new places to stop in and say hi. For a complete list of attractions, shops, galleries and restaurants, go to www.visitdelraybeach.org and www.downtowndelraybeach.com.