Activity Finds: Downtown

1) Honolulu Museum of Art

Painting a picture of Hawai‘i's art landscape, the Honolulu Museum of Art is nestled on the outskirts of Downtown Honolulu with two cafes, gardens, a film and concert theatre and courtyards.

Founded in 1927 the Honolulu Museum of Art (formerly the Honolulu Academy of Arts) is considered one of the world's premier art museums with international-caliber exhibitions and collections including more than 50,000 works from the likes of van Gogh, Picasso, Monet and Warhol in addition to traditional Asian and Hawaiian artwork. Be sure to take advantage of the museum's optional audio guide featuring 40 selections from the current collection.

Open to the public Tuesday through Sunday, Waikiki Parc guests can save the $10 admission fee by simply showing your Parc Key Card for complimentary access. For those with families or young keiki (children), sketch out plans to make Bank of Hawai‘i Family Sundays the third Sunday of every month. Free to the public, the family-focused event features additional art activities, entertainment and film exhibitions with a different theme each month.

After the sun sets, put up your hair and throw on a pair of heels (or a nice shirt for you guys) and catch the Honolulu Museum of Art's ARTafterDARK, a monthly art party with entertainment, food and drink booths and lots of mixing and mingling hosted the last Friday of every month. Trust us, the artwork isn't the only thing you'll be checking out.

Find out more about the Waikiki Parc Perks Program.


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2) Hawaii Theatre

Entertaining Hawai‘i for more than 90 years the Hawai‘i Theatre is a Downtown Honolulu icon, its stage playing host to everything from vaudeville acts and silent films to musicals, ballets, concerts and more.

Today this brilliantly restored center sits on the list of Outstanding Historic Theatres in America and its historical edifices and décor make visiting here, just as much an event as what's on stage. And no matter what you're interested in, you'll find something to tickle your fancy -- Hawai‘i Theatre has played host to a variety of talents from David Sedaris and Margaret Cho to hula, taiko drums and wearable art.

An easy stroll along Bethel Street at the edge of O‘ahu's Chinatown, Hawai‘i Theatre is a perfect Friday date spot for a crazy cool night on the (down) town. Grab a martini from Bar 35 or some escargot from Du Vin before catching an evening of Hawai‘i's best entertainment. Tip: Check their website or call the theatre in advance to see what's waiting in the wings.


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3) Iolani Palace

Once home to Hawaiian royalty, the ‘Iolani (ee-oh-lah-nee) Palace is the very picture of luxury, innovation and historical intrigue. Today it remains the only palace in the United States that has housed a reigning monarch. Grab lunch to go from your favorite Downtown Honolulu eatery and plan a picnic here on Fridays when the Royal Hawaiian Band performs on the grounds, for a regal treat.

Built in 1882 by "The Merrie Monarch," King David Kalakaua (kah-lah-kow-wah), as a symbol of the Hawaiian kingdom's promise the ‘Iolani Palace featured European architecture including Hawai‘i's first electric light system, flush toilets and intra-house telephones. Two monarchs ruled from beneath its roof - King Kalakaua and his sister, Queen Liliuokalani (lee-lee-ooh-oh-kah-lah-nee) who was imprisoned at the palace until the Hawaiian monarchy was overthrown in 1893.

The palace was restored and reopened to the public in 1978, and today takes visitors on a tour of the palace's throne room and private living quarters - including the upstairs bedroom where Queen Liliuokalani was imprisoned - and artifacts of Hawaiian regalia including swords and the crowns jewels worn by the king and queen.


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