Aside from sun-soaked beaches, swaying palm trees and signature Blue Hawaiian cocktails, Hawaii is also home to a vibrant arts and cultural scene. If you are keen to supplement your swimming and snorkelling holiday with an authentic taste of Hawaiian art and ethnicity, the East Hawaii Cultural Center is the perfect place to start.
The East Hawaii Cultural Center is located in Hilo, a city on Hawaii's biggest island, the Big Island. Housed in a former police station and courthouse, the East Hawaii Cultural Center is also home to the Hawaii Museum of Contemporary Art, which celebrates the richness and diversity of Hawaiian culture across three galleries on the ground floor. A popular destination for locals and tourists, the centre holds regular exhibitions of local artists, cultural displays, dance performances, and theatre and community workshops.
Get your fix of Hawaiian culture and spirit at one of the many community workshops and classes on offer at the centre. Whether you’re keen to shake it at traditional hula dancing or get in touch with your musical side with ukulele lessons, there’s a class for all talents, ages and persuasions. Entry to the centre doesn’t cost a thing but, as this is a community-run organisation, visitors can help out by leaving a donation or visiting the gift shop to buy authentic local art and other trinkets.
Visit from Tuesday to Sunday and catch the latest art exhibitions. Don’t forget to finish off your visit with a stroll around Kalakaua Park opposite. Make the most of its lush green lawns with a relaxing picnic, or simply wander the grounds and visit the fishponds, statues, war monument and sprawling banyan tree. Also nearby, on Kalakaua Street, is the Pacific Tsunami Museum.