Downtown Hilo, Hawaii's Big Island
Name: Downtown Hilo
What: Historic town with great attractions, shops and cultural sites
- Where: Eastern coast at the mouth of Hilo Bay
Downtown Hilo is Hawaii Island’s biggest small town, featuring centuries-old wooden storefronts — many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places — housing a variety of sophisticated galleries, shops, restaurants and cultural sites.
Start your visit with a stroll down Kamehameha Avenue facing beautiful Hilo Bay and discover a variety of local shops, restaurants and attractions including the modern aloha wear at Sig Zane Designs, the neo-classical Palace Theatre built in 1925, and the bustling Hilo Farmers Market. You’ll also find a variety of art galleries, featuring paintings, woodwork, glasswork and jewellery from artists with a unique island point of view. Visit the East Hawaii Cultural Center, the central hub of the Hilo art scene, dedicated to preserving and sharing cultural, creative and traditional arts on the island.
Historic Hilo also has notable museums, some looking into Hilo’s past and others looking toward the future. The Pacific Tsunami Museum chronicles the cataclysmic natural disasters of 1946 and 1960, which forced Hilo to rebuild further inland, using parkland as a buffer. The Lyman Mission House & Museum features a historic house built in 1839 by American Christian missionaries. The Mokupapapa Discovery Center brings to life the culture, history, natural science and virtually untouched environment of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.
Spend a day in Downtown Hilo and experience the local culture and aloha spirit of the people of Hawaii’s Big Island.