March 7, 2016
Explore Oahu: Honolulu Arts and Culture Road Trip With The Modern Honolulu
Museums, Iconic Tattoo Parlor and Street Art Within 7 Miles of THE MODERN HONOLULU
If hula girl lamps, oil paintings of palm trees or a poolside luau are what you envision as “art and culture” in Hawaii—we’ve got a wonderful surprise for you. The arts scene has been thriving—make that exploding—for more than a decade across the islands and Honolulu is a hub for the movement. There is an eye-popping array of cultural and fine art discoveries to be found in a relatively small area. And while THE MODERN HONOLULU regularly features emerging talent and trailblazers of the arts community at hotel for special events, there are dozens of places guests can explore just less than seven miles from the hotel.
Chinatown is located within a few miles of the hotel and the number of painting, sculpture, glass and other fine art galleries that pop up in the neighborhood is ever evolving. Since the revitalization of the neighborhood in the early 2000s, many an artist has taken up residence in the spacious downtown lofts, opening their doors on First Fridays (and now Third Thursdays, too). The monthly event(s) often feature open bars, street side entertainment, local bands, live performances and restaurant specials so you can make the most of your evening downtown. Galleries to look for include: Art at Mark’s Garage, Louis Pohl, Pegge Hopper and the Andrew Rose Gallery.
Kaka’ako is in the midst of a massive transformation. This former warehouse district turned arts district is located just down the street from THE MODERN HONOLULU will soon see a dozen new glass and steel towers with luxury high-rise condos. But before the international jet set move into their digs, artists from around the world have covered the neighborhood buildings in beautiful and occasionally, provocative murals and art installations during the annual POW! WOW! Hawaii art and music festival. As an event partner, THE MODERN HONOLULU Guest Services team will be able to provide an insider’s guide to the best places to see the large scale art instillations – most within easy walking distance of the hotel. Before you head out, be sure to also ask for recommendations for nearby pop-up restaurants, brew pubs, such as Honolulu Beer Works and Real Gastro Pub, and shopping boutiques.
Mount Tantalus is a short drive away and when you travel a few miles, you’ll discover two things: stunning skyline views of Honolulu from the Pu'u 'Ualaka'a State Wayside and the Honolulu Museum of Art Spalding House and gardens. On the museum grounds, stop and enjoy a bite at the cafe, meander through the sculpture gardens (an idyllic spot for a picnic) and view the permanent exhibition of a David Hockney collection. Additional exhibits are housed inside historic buildings and feature both local artists as well as international artists who have connections to the islands.
Bishop Museum is situated midway between THE MODERN HONOLULU and the Honolulu Airport. The historic structure is home to an impressive collection of Hawaiian artifacts, weaving together Hawaii’s past with it's future. The J. Watumull Planetarium provides visitors with a unique insight into the methods used by ancient Hawaiians to navigate thousands of miles in simple sailing canoes as well as offering a virtual experience of soaring through the stars. With a dual purpose of educating visitors and encouraging local youths, the Hawaii Sports Hall of Fame showcases the devotion, dedication and pursuit of athletic excellence displayed by Hawaiian athletes throughout history.
Sailor Jerry, the unofficial godfather of tattoo artistry in the United States, first opened his shop in the Hotel St. district of Honolulu in 1945. During the 1960s, the ink artist relocated his tattoo parlor to its current location at 1033 Smith Street and although Sailor Jerry passed away in 1973, his protégés took it over. The Chinatown tattoo parlor is still there today, though it is now called Old Ironside Tattoo. Just as popular as ever, we recommend you book an appointment as far in advance as possible if you’re considering getting ink at this legendary American locale.
Photo Credits: Images of David Hockney Exhibit and Contemporary Art Sculpture courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art; Pow! Wow! Hawaii 2016 Mural courtesy of Jasper Wong; Bishop Museum images courtesy of Bishop Museum