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One of Honolulu’s liveliest communities is Chinatown, a once brothel-packed neighborhood that’s become trendy. While you’ll still find traditional markets, lei stands and crack-seed stores, much of its worn architecture is making way for hot clubs, a fresh crop of restaurants and creative venues such as The ARTS at Mark’s Garage (ArtsatMarks.com).
The highly popular “First Friday” (FirstFridayHawaii.com) brings together a stylish crowd with local artists who share Chinatown’s artistic and cultural resources. This hipster event runs from 5 to 9 p.m., and features live entertainment along with a hopping nightlife scene taking place afterward in local bars. In particular, check out Fete, Livestock Tavern or Bar Leather Apron for nosh and spirits.
To make any Chinatown visit more memorable, give these special activities a try:
- Visit an herbalist or acupuncture store
- Learn what the future holds from a fortune teller
- Take a selfie at the statue of Sun Yat-Sen
- Engage in incense burning at Kuan Yin Temple in the Chinatown Cultural Plaza
- Savor the smells of fresh flower leis and delicious delicacies
-Watch true masters playing mahjong or checkers throughout Chinatown’s courtyards and plazas
For a more traditional celebration with multigenerational appeal, the 70-year-old Aloha Festivals (AlohaFestivals.com) features music, dance, culture and history in colorful events from the spirited Waikiki Hoolaulea street party on Sept. 17 to the vibrant Floral Parade on Sept. 24.