The Chinatown Historic District is a neighborhood located in Honolulu, Hawaii. Established in the 1800s, it is one of the oldest Chinatowns in the United States. Originally, this area is where immigrant Chinese families began to establish family-owned businesses. In the mid-1800s an influx of contract laborers came to Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations, the majority of them signing 5-year work contracts. Once these contracts expired many of the Chinese immigrants moved to Honolulu’s Chinatown in search of work or the opportunity to open their own businesses. Today, Chinatown has maintained its heritage while maturing into a thriving multicultural hub that features a diverse selection of ethnic restaurants, shopping, and a growing art scene.
Sample Diverse Cultures through Dining
Chinatown has several award-winning restaurants for you to choose from. Stroll the neighborhood and you will come across restaurants offering ramen, pizza, guava-covered lambchops and so much more. Whether you’re looking for an ethnic dining experience or a sampling of ethnic street food, you will find a tastebud pleasing encounter.
Bar hopping is easy in Chinatown Honolulu due to the close proximity of the bars. You will discover dive bars next to chic craft cocktail bars as you experience the energy of walking Chinatown. Check out Encore Saloon for a bar with a Mexican menu and flare or Murphy’s Bar and Grill for a taste of a traditional Irish Pub experience.
First Fridays are a recurring event that takes place in Chinatown on the first Friday of every month. Essentially, First Fridays are block parties full of exhibits, live music, food and art as you walk the streets of Chinatown. You will discover experiences unique to Hawaiin culture, food & drink specials and extended hours for most businesses.
Chinatown Honolulu is full of antique stores, eclectic shops and of course traditional local gifts. In addition to these trendy shops you will also see many traditional markets and stores where you can find flowers, fresh fruit and a plethora of Chinese goods. You will find some of the best shops to purchase lei while wandering Maunakea Street. These are handmade and sometimes you can even submit a special request for specific flowers and colors.
Soak up the Art Scene
Bethel Street is where you will discover most of the art shops in Chinatown. Wander the streets to find local paintings, sculptures and more. Don’t forget to visit the Hawaii Theatre Center! This 100 year old venue is home to symphonies, comedy acts, musicals and more.