What to Do in Downtown Lahaina

What to eat, see and do in this historic Maui neighbourhood
 

 

Once the capital of the Hawaiian kingdom, Lahaina occupies a central place in Maui’s history. Today, its low-slung buildings and oceanfront shops and galleries offer a taste of Old Hawaii.

Eat at Mala Ocean Tavern

Veteran chef and restaurateur Mark Ellman is a pioneer of the Hawaiian regional food movement. At Mala Ocean Tavern he turns out dishes that play up local seafood and produce like his signature ahi bruschetta—flax toast topped with edamame puree, seared ahi slices and local tomatoes.

Go on an art crawl

Lahaina’s downtown offers a concentration of art by local and international artists. Check out the live glass-blowing at Kai Pua, the only working studio on the strip, and time your visit for Lahaina’s weekly Friday Art Night, when galleries stay open late.

Cool off with Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice

In Hawaii, the ultimate frosty treat is shave ice—ice shaved off a giant frozen block and topped with fruit and flavoured syrup. With two Front Street locales, Ululani’s Hawaiian Shave Ice offers more than 45 flavours.

Stroll the Lahaina Historic Trail

Listed on the National Historic Register, Lahaina has 65 sites that allow a glimpse into the town’s 500 years of history, all within walking distance. Follow the plaques for a self-guided tour of the Lahaina Historic Trail, starting at the Baldwin Home Museum, Maui’s oldest surviving house.

See a giant Banyan Tree

The 143-year-old, 60-foot-tall Banyan Tree in Lahaina Banyan Court Park takes up almost an entire city block downtown and is the site of a monthly art fair, along with numerous other festivals through the year (it even gets its own birthday party every April).

Go whale-watching

In winter and spring, the channel off Lahaina is one of the world’s best places for spotting humpback whales. The Pacific Whale Foundation’s whale-watching cruises feature certified marine naturalists and hydrophones, so guests can listen in as the whales sing.

Getting there: WestJet flies to Maui twice a day from Vancouver.

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