The New Downtown: Honolulu

To experience Honolulu like a local, you’ll want to look beyond the iconic beaches and hotels of Waikiki, and zero in on Kakaako, a nine-square-block hub between the Ala Moana and downtown neighborhoods that buzzes with creativity. It’s where Honolulu’s innovative artists, chefs, and entrepreneurs congregate—and embrace a distinctive urban-island spirit. You’ll find it in the streetwear boutiques, the cocktail bars, and the galleries. See how Hawaii’s past and future come together in Kakaako.

412 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
The 112-room Surfjack Hotel channels 1960’s Hawaii, with vintage upholstery on the headboards, reed ceilings, and midcentury modern furnishings. The onsite Swim Club, with its outdoor pool bar, hosts music events and movie nights. Don’t miss a meal at Mahina & Sun from celebrated Honolulu-born chef Ed Kenney, whose menu showcases island cuisine and ingredients, or a trip to the Olive & Oliver boutique, whose clothing and accessories line are inspired by Hawaiian culture.
Honolulu, HI, USA
Duck inside this warehouse on Lana Lane for a crash course on the varied Kakaako art scene. An artist collective that spans media and genres, Lana Lane Studios provides space for creative types to collaborate and learn from each other. The artists at work here span a variety of disciplines, from videography to fine art, and styles, from the contemporary to the traditionally and uniquely Hawaiian. Members can do whatever inspires them within their own spaces, and the combined effect makes the warehouse appear like a collage of Hawaiian aesthetics.
32 N Hotel St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
Coffee shop by day; cocktail bar and artist space by night; and, sometimes, nightclub by late night. That’s the winning recipe at Manifest, which is one of a handful of bars driving Honolulu’s cocktail culture into exciting new territory. Here, you’ll be inspired to trade that mai tai for something that tastes more Hawaii modern. With concoctions like the Manifest Mule cocktail (including Buffalo Trace bourbon, ginger beer, lime, and house-made lilikoi shrub), it’s no wonder the bar is a favorite of locals and visitors alike.
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