Special rates require proof of eligibility at check-in.
You're one step closer to paradise...
Hawaii (Big) Island
Article Source: Copyright © 2012 by Fodor’s Travel, a division of Random House Inc. All rights reserved.
Buildings here have been restored to their original 1920s and '30s plantation styles. Although most shopping is along Kamehameha Avenue, the ambience on Keawe Street offers a nostalgic sampling of Hilo as it might have been 80 years ago.
After uniting the islands of Hawaii, King Kamehameha I spent his last years, from 1812 to 1819, in Kamakahonu, near what is now the Courtyard King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel. Formerly a 4-acre homestead, complete with several houses and religious sites, most of it has been swallowed by Kailua Pier. A replica of the temple, Ahuena Heiau, keeps history and culture alive.
Kainaliu is the first town you encounter to the south heading upcountry from Kailua town. In addition to a ribbon of funky old stores, coffee bars, and bistros, a handful of new galleries and shops have sprung up in the last few years. Browse around Oshima's, established in 1926, and Kimura's, founded in 1927, to find fabrics and Japanese goods beyond tourist trinkets, then pop into a local café for everything from burgers to authentic Italian. Peek into the 1932-vintage Aloha Theatre, where community-theater actors might be practicing a Broadway revue.
Stop here to admire the dark koa interior and the unusual wooden calabashes hanging from the ceiling. Be careful not to walk in while a service is in progress, as the front entry of this church, which was established in 1832 and rebuilt in 1857, is behind the pulpit.
Part Hawaiian cultural center, part astronomy museum, the Imiloa Astronomy Center provides an educational and cultural complement to the research being conducted atop Mauna Kea. Although visitors are welcome at Mauna Kea, its primary function is as a research center—not observatory, museum, or education center. Those roles have been taken on by Imiloa in a big way. With its interactive exhibits, full-dome planetarium shows, and regularly scheduled talks and events, the center is a must-see for anyone interested in the stars, the planets, or Hawaiian culture and history. The center, five minutes from downtown Hilo, also provides an important link between the scientific research being conducted at Mauna Kea and its history as a sacred mountain for the Hawaiian people. Admission includes one planetarium show. The lunch buffet at the adjoining Sky Garden Cafe is popular. www.imiloahawaii.org. COST: $17.50. OPEN: Tues.--Sun. 9--5.
Find inspiration for your journeys to Outrigger's exotic locations.
Read our travel blog.