Honolulu is the home to government offices and financial district of Oahu. Located near Aloha Tower, downtown Honolulu is a comfortable blend of the old and the new, with large office and residential towers in the neighborhood amidst historical landmarks, monumental artwork and the hustle of the city.
Art in the City
Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts (HiSAM) has four galleries including a sculpture garden, accessible Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is always free. You can also view public art for free around town, like Sky Gate, located on the Honolulu Hale (City Hall) grounds. Stop at the sculptures you see throughout the city and learn their story. Everyone’s got one.
The Capitol District – Honolulu
King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, also known as Aliiolani Hale, is a government building originally designed as a royal palace in 1871. Kings and queens have walked its halls, revolutions have been lost and won around it, including the overthrow of the Hawaiian Monarchy, and it’s open to the general public for tours and visits to the exhibits and courthouses within. As seen on TV, fans of Hawaii Five–O will recognize Aliiolani Hale as Five-O Headquarters.
Across the street from Aliiolani Hale is the only royal palace in the United States ever to have been used as an official residence by reigning monarchs, Iolani Palace. After the monarchy was overthrown, it was used as the capitol building until it was restored and opened to the public as a museum in 1978.
The streets are lined corner to corner between the business district and Chinatown with trendy eateries, stylish boutiques, art galleries and bars. Within a block of the Hawaii Theatre, you can find Cuban, French, Japanese, Moroccan, American and Asian Fusion cuisine in an elegant ambiance, or turn the corner into Louis Pohl Gallery, one of several art galleries in the area.
Chinatown is an up-and-coming, upscale, Asian-inspired arts district blended with traditional Chinese bazaars and family owned stores. Diverse with Pan-Asian and Pacific Islander businesses, you’ll find markets, bakeries, Chinese porcelain shops, herbal medicine, jade jewelers and silk clothiers all the way to Nuuanu Stream, interspersed with temples as old as the 19th century.
Photo by Shutterstock/Allen G.