Boca Raton is an affluent retirement community of 83,000. Having a home in “Boca” ironically provides a certain cachet. The irony comes from the derivation of the city’s name in Spanish– “rat’s mouth”. The city has benefited from a carefully thought out Master Plan and strict zoning and signage laws that have helped make it a desirable place to live. The Master Plan helped to revitalize decaying areas – some of its features included mass landscaping, expansion of the downtown park, Sanborn Square, and restoration of the old city hall to become a museum. Up until the 1990’s the city was the headquarters of IBM. The city also made headlines in 2001 as the site of the first anthrax attack in the country.
A new downtown shopping center, Mizner Park, was completed over the site of the older Boca Raton Mall. Featuring a landscaped central park between two cobblestone roads (collectively called Plaza Real) with stores only on the outside of the roads, Mizner Park resembles a Mediterranean suburban "town center" with a more contemporary look. It features many restaurants and it has since become a cultural center for the city. This affluent city is warm in the winter, has a decidedly upscale town center with world class shopping, and has a rich array of choices for retirement living. The city has many public beaches and parks. Photo of Mizner Park courtesy of Wikipedia and Elfguy.