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Honolulu’s Art Scene in Chinatown: “First Friday”

On the First Friday of every month, Honolulu’s Chinatown hosts an event showcasing Chinatown’s unique art galleries, retail boutiques, restaurants, and live entertainment. It’s an awesome scene, and highly recommended for anyone visiting or living in Honolulu (or Oahu).

My wife and I decided on a whim last Friday to fly over to Honolulu (the burdensome 20 min flight from Kauai) to attend.  It’s not very often that we get to live the big city life (Kauai is, well… rural).  The aptly named ‘First Friday’ is apparently so popular that hotel concierges stock multiple maps detailing the locations of the art galleries, restaurants, nightclubs and even parking.  The evening is slated to start at 5pm and go until 9pm (even though it was clear that 9pm is when a lot of things are just getting started).  Parking was a bit of a challenge, but well worth the hunt.  Once you’re out of your car (or even better, taxi), everything in Chinatown is within walking distance.

'Yellow Dak' Lion Dancing and Drumming

It’s a popular event, so expect a crowd.  I took this photo of the ‘Yellow Dak’ Lion Dancing and drum troupe… it’s a little blurry, but somehow that’s appropriate.  The troupe walked up and down Chinatown, drumming and dancing.  The loud drums could be heard throughout the night, and the nearly full moon helped with the ambiance, too.

Some of Hawaii’s finest artists were featured in the galleries, everything from more traditional Hawaiian art to modern art… and a variety of media; photos, paintings, collages, etc.  The event has its own website featuring the artists.

The restaurant selection in Chinatown is incredible, too.  We ended up in a French restaurant, Du Vin, where the food was as outstanding as the people-watching.  And, of course, after hours, there are numerous nightclubs to dance the night away (we didn’t, but judging by the lines out the doors of all the clubs, it’s a busy nightlife on First Fridays).

I have to say, I think more highly of Honolulu after First Friday.  The art, food, music, and equally important… the people, all combined for a particularly unique experience, unlike any other city in the world could provide.  We, especially on the “neighbor” islands (I use quotes because some take offense to that name) often love to complain about Honolulu… but it’s really just a big version of a small town, and First Friday really tells that story.  I’m always looking for suggestions for events in Hawaii… so feel free to share if you know of any.

A hui hou, Honolulu!

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David Buck

September 8, 2009

Matt,

“Art After Dark” http://www.artafterdark.org/ Is a great event every month at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. They’ve always got a different theme each month & always offers something new & exciting in Honolulu.

David Buck

September 8, 2009

Matt,

“Art After Dark” http://www.artafterdark.org/ Is a great event every month at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. They’ve always got a different theme each month & always offers something new & exciting in Honolulu.

Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

September 9, 2009

Aloha, Matt – I’m cracking up that you and Elif were in Chinatown and ate French Food!!! Hee. I’m guessing no dim sum is open at night?? Man, I miss dim sum… (The Big Island is, well…rural too.)

Katie Minkus, R(BIC)

September 9, 2009

Aloha, Matt – I’m cracking up that you and Elif were in Chinatown and ate French Food!!! Hee. I’m guessing no dim sum is open at night?? Man, I miss dim sum… (The Big Island is, well…rural too.)

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