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When it comes to nightlife, Maui dances to its own beat. Rather than promoting big-city raves and discos, its evening entertainment celebrates the culture of the island, the talents of its residents and the beauty of its natural environment.
Following are a few ways that Maui does nightlife like nowhere else.
Maui FridaysTake TGIF, put a local spin on it and the result is Maui Fridays, a weekly outdoor party that rotates between five historic towns. Held at the end of each work week, the three-hour bash brings together island dwellers and visitors who browse the distinctive shops and galleries that stay open late for the occasion.
During a typical Maui Friday, chefs dish up tasty treats from booths and food trucks, artists demonstrate their creativity for passersby and free, live music keeps toes tapping and hands clapping.
Wailuku, Lahaina, Makawao, Kihei and Lanai City take turns hosting this feel-good, after-hours start to the weekend.
Restaurants With EntertainmentSeveral Maui restaurants lure evening revelers with live or DJ’d tunes. At Casanova, a mainstay in upcountry Makawao, clients boogie on a sparkly dance floor. Over the years, big-name performers such as Taj Mahal and Kris Kristofferson have commanded the stage.
At Charley’s Restaurant & Saloon in Paia, another small-town hub, guests can catch live music from rock to reggae, four to six nights a week. If they’re lucky, Willie Nelson — a regular — might stop by to share a few songs.
Holding forth in Wailea is Mulligan’s On The Blue, where beloved island entertainer Willie K presides each Wednesday. Other dates bring jazz, blues and R&B talents to Mulligan’s.
StargazingAstronomy tours — a different kind of Maui nightlife — invite clients to get acquainted with the island’s brilliant skies.
In the heart of Kaanapali Beach Resort, visitors can climb up to the roof of Hyatt Regency Maui Resort & Spa for its after-dark Tour of the Stars. NASA ambassador Edward Mahoney engages and enlightens guests, providing giant binoculars and a telescope to help them pick out the heavenly bodies on display.
Meanwhile, Maui Stargazing leads guided cosmic explorations from the 10,023-foot summit of Haleakala volcano. Warmed by winter gear and hot drinks, folks feel like they’re on cloud nine as they peer through a telescope at planets, star clusters and galaxies far away.
Sunset Cruises With Live TunesWhile Maui presents a flotilla of sunset cruises with food and drinks, trips with live music offer pizzazz. For instance, on Pacific Whale Foundation’s Island Rhythms Sunset Cocktail Cruise, alternating out of Maalaea and Lahaina harbors, reggae star Marty Dread sets spirits soaring with his songs.
Pride of Maui’s sunset dinner and cocktail cruise, departing from Maalaea, features acclaimed guitarist and island resident Joe Cano, who heats up the evening with everything from jazz and bluegrass to flamenco.
Clients staying in Kaanapali can step directly from the beach to the boat for the Sunset Live Cocktail Sail by Sea Maui, which promises gifted musicians and panoramic views as day gives way to night.
Theater ShowsMaui’s evening theater options range from charmingly homespun to world-class. In Wailuku’s Iao Theater — a Spanish Mission-style gem built in 1928 — live plays and musicals spotlight the talents of the community.
Wednesday is the night to head to Napili Kai Beach Resort, which lays claim to the weekly Masters of Hawaiian Music. The laid-back, intimate gathering showcases some of Hawaii’s most honored performers, with plenty of stories and laughs to go around.
Maui Arts & Cultural Center is the island’s best stop for superlative stage shows. Alongside a rich mix of Hawaiian cultural programs, it touts global names in the entertainment world, making it one of Maui’s top nightlife venues.