Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
Towards the western edge of downtown lies a compact district that the Asian community made its own as far back as the 1850s, when they came to Hawaii to work on sugar and pineapple plantations. Opting to be merchants rather than workers, they established their own businesses and created a thriving district. Although Chinatown was destroyed by fire in both 1886 and 1900, residents rebuilt, and the area is bustling yet today. Folks often come for the vibrant atmosphere, the scent of spices and flowers, and the exotic items displayed in open-air markets. When you visit, make sure to explore the Cultural Plaza and the Maunakea Marketplace.