Did you know that downtown Honolulu is home to a thriving arts community bursting with culture and color? That’s right, the Downtown-Chinatown district encompasses many Oahu attractions, including more than a dozen art galleries and five theaters, filled with the talented local artists that give the district such a distinct flavor.
If you’ve yet to experience this scene, there’s never been a better time to check it out. Friday, February 7th, on the first Friday of the month, The Arts District kicks off the year with its grand opening of the First Friday Street Festival, to be continued on the first Friday of each month. On the grand opening, from 5 PM to 9 PM you can peruse all the galleries and other art venues for free as they open their doors to the public for an evening of cultural and artistic celebration. Live music, artist receptions, and free refreshments at The ARTS at Marks Garage complete the night.
As an extra treat this year, artists from 10 Grains of Rice will be giving pottery wheel demonstrations to interested audiences. Meanwhile, the Bar at Marks will be open serving handmade sake in individual cups and beer from Kona Brewing Company—these items will be for purchase.
Of course, art and culture happen 365-days a year in Oahu, so you’ll find plenty of Oahu attractions devoted to these pursuits any day of the week. One such attraction is the Honolulu Museum of Art, tucked away in a part of the city much less crowded than the Waikiki resort area. This museum has one of the top ten Asian art collections in the nation, including masterpieces new and old from China, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, and India. However, that’s not all you’ll see: From ancient Egyptian artifacts to contemporary Iranian photography, the Honolulu Museum of Art as a little bit of everything.
Just a mile away from the museum, you’ll find another unique cultural attraction of a different sort. Iolani Palace was the home of the Hawaiian Kindgom’s last two monarchs and is the only official state residence of royalty in the United States. In addition to the buildings ornate architectural style, this restored monument also features elegant furnishings and valuable paintings worthy of your attention.
One of the best places to experience Oahu’s culture is actually outside Honolulu. The Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie provides a comprehensive look at the Hawaiian Islands’ unique cultural and historic traditions. The authentic complex of recreated villages features demonstrations and activities for all ages. You’ll watch performers demonstrate the incredible art of fire dancing and take part in a quintessential Hawaiian tradition: lei making.
Looking for more Oahu attractions? Take a look at the discounts Smart Destinations offers on over 34 popular Oahu attractions. There’s no reason not to experience Hawaii’s vast cultural offerings at prices you can afford.