The first Friday of every month, tourists and locals alike descend on Chinatown to eat, drink, mingle, and enjoy the myriad of art galleries tucked throughout the quaint streets. Pubs and restaurants offer First Friday food and drink specials, and live musicians set up on the streets to create a festive affair. Galleries and boutiques extend their regular hours for the event, and often offer wine and pupus appetizers for guests to enjoy while they browse.
AT A GLANCE:
The small sector of Honolulu that makes up Chinatown draws a crowd for a number of events and often for no reason at all, and First Friday is no exception. The evening begins at 6 pm, but visitors typically trickle in slowly until 7:30 or 8:30 pm, when the streets begin to burst to life with college students, locals, and tourists.
The historic Hawaii Theatre is located in the heart of Chinatown, and a great land-mark to watch for if you're trying to find your way to the event. Most of the galleries are on the streets surrounding the old theatre including Nu'uanu Ave, Hotel St, and Bethel St.
The ARTS at Marks Garage is a good starting point, and offers some information on the history of Chinatown in addition to a creative range of artistic mediums. Be sure to pick up a map of the other galleries in the area while you're there!
Other must-see galleries include the Louis Pohl Gallery, the Pegge Hopper Gallery, the Hawaii State Art Museum, The Art Treasures Gallery, and The Cathedral Gallery. Typically, artists will be present at the studios and visitors can meet them and discuss their work, and occasionally even watch them in action.
In-between each gallery are numerous eateries ranging from fairly large restaurants to hole-in-the-wall pubs. Some of the best nightlife in Honolulu is located on these streets, and it is worth checking out.
Hours: Main events are from 6-9 pm, with most of the bars continuing food/drink specials much later
Cost: There is no cost to visit the galleries
Address: Arts at Marks Garage central point 1159 Nuuanu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96817
Directions: From Waikiki, take Ala Moana Blvd past the mall. Turn right onto Piikoi St. Follow it for just under a mile, and turn left onto S Beretania St. Follow it for 1.5 miles, and turn left onto Nuuanu Ave just past Bethel St. You'll see Arts at Marks Garage on the left. Limited parking is available on Nuuanu and the surrounding streets, and there are also several paid lots in the area.