The Best Places for Tourists to Go in Hilo

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When vacationing in Hawaii, you'll want to know the best places for tourists to go in Hilo.

Depending on how much time you have in this beautiful town of Hilo, located on the eastern coast of the "Big Island," will determine how many of these attractions you will be able to see.

Hilo's History

Cultural diversity is one of the charms of Hilo. Polynesians, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, Koreans, other Pacific Islanders and Europeans make up this city's mixed-race culture of today. The history started in 1100 AD when the first settlers, the Polynesians, arrived on the island.

Enjoy the Best Places for Tourists to go in Hilo

The best places for tourists in Hilo are located in the historic downtown section. A walking tour that takes about an hour allows the tourist to view the beauty and excitement of the town.

What to See on the Walking Tour

The self-guided walking tour of Hilo, where you can experience Hawaii's largest historic core of buildings, will take you to these spots:

  • Kalakaua Park
  • Furneaux Lane
  • S.H. Kress Co. Building
  • Old Police Station
  • A.O.F. Building
  • Pacific Tsunami Museum
  • Hawaiian Telephone Building
  • Vana Building
  • Koehnen's Building
  • Central Christian Church
  • S. Hata Building
  • Kaipalaoa Landing Wharf
  • Lyman Museum & Mission House
  • Bayfront
  • First Trust Building
  • Taishoji Soto Mission
  • Palace Theater
  • Burns Building
  • The Pacific Building
  • East Hawaii Cultural Center
  • Farmer's Market

As you walk, you will learn the history of Hilo from 1870 to the present time. The Lyman Museum and Mission House, a favorite site of natural and cultural history, displays 75 years of the story of Hawaii, its people, and islands.

If you happen to be in the area during Easter, you can enjoy the Merrie Monarch Festival which is a week-long cultural event held annually. Festivities begin on Easter Sunday and culminate with the hula competition events at Edith Kanaka'ole Tennis Stadium, Miss Aloha Hula on Thursday, Hula Kahiko on Friday, and Hula 'Auana on Saturday.

Hilo by Helicopter

If you prefer to see the city by air, there is a Hilo Helicopter Volcano Tour, which in less than an hour's time, will take you into the sky. Above the town, you can observe the most current areas of volcanic activity, see red molten lava, and view the region that was destroyed in 1990 by a volcano.

Hilo by Bus Tour

Various tours are available if you and your family or travel companions would like to see Hilo by bus. The Circle Island Tour takes you to Hilo as well as to volcanic sites and coffee plantations. Wear comfortable clothing, good walking shoes, and bring a light jacket or sweater.

Restaurants to Eat in

Many snack shops, grills, cafes, and bars line the streets of downtown Hilo. Restaurants serving Filipino, Japanese, Thai, Polynesian, Vietnamese, and even Mexican food are sprinkled throughout the city. Wilson's by the Bay serves shaved ice and other goodies to eat on the beach. The Hilo Bay Cafe, a critic's choice award restaurant, specializes in organically grown local produce. Customers especially relish the home-made ravioli and lox salad.

Places to Stay

While there are a number of places to choose from to stay in the scenic city, you may also check out the Hilo vacation rentals. Hale Kai Hawaii, a bed and breakfast, overlooks the Pacific Ocean and Hilo Bay. The historic Hilo district, is only two miles from this bed and breakfast.

Relax and Enjoy

Now that you know about the best places for tourists to go in Hilo, book your trip through a travel agent or check out inexpensive flights through discount air travel and cheap air travel. Soon you will be on your way to the sunny and friendly Aloha State!

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The Best Places for Tourists to Go in Hilo