Description: Hilo may look like a sleepy plantation town but it has a thriving business community with many mainland stores, dozens of restaurants and one of the finest farmer’s markets on the island. Hilo is the second largest city in the State of Hawaiʻi, bested only by Honolulu, but that’s where the similarities between these two great cities end. Unlike its uptown cousin, Hilo retains the feel of old Hawaiʻi from its plantation era bay front stores and shops, to the prestigious canoe races across Hilo Bay. It’s the center for the graceful art of hula and home to the world-renown Merrie Monarch Festival, the world’s most prestigious hula competition. Hilo resides in a district of tropical rain forests which give birth to an abundance of agriculture and floral products.
Activities: Hilo has a nightlife with many bars and clubs throughout the waterfront areas. Canoe clubs are very important to Hilo and bragging rights between clubs are taken very seriously. There is a golf course in town and a tennis center. Hilo Hospital is a major medical center for the island and supports many medical professionals throughout the city. The art of hula is practiced extensively across Hilo, and throughout Hawaiʻi, with many hālaus (hula schools) vying to compete in the ultimate of competitions, the annual Merrie Monarch Festival, named after King David Kalakaua and broadcast across the globe.
Heritage: South Hilo has been the eastern hub of the Big Island stretching back into Hawaiian antiquity. With its inlet bay, perfect for canoes and seafaring ships, and surrounded by rich and productive agricultural lands with plentiful rainfall, it’s no surprise that Hilo has thrived and remains the center of government and power on the Island of Hawaiʻi. This multi-cultural city supports the largest population on the Big Island yet retains much of its old Hawaiʻi charm.