Marvel at the wonders of the natural world and discover traditional Hawaiian cultures, America’s colonial past and modern science all in one place.
Located on Hawaii’s Big Island, the historical town of Hilo has rain forests, black-sand beaches and volcanoes oozing lava that runs into the sea. Once a thriving farming and fishing village, Hilo was transformed into a sugar plantation in the 1800s. Today it’s a charming town with tropical gardens, museums and an internationally recognized biosphere reserve just a short distance away.
Discover Hilo's history with a stroll down Keawe Street. Admire the wooden storefronts, art galleries, independent stores and restaurants reminiscent of the plantation years. Visit the Lyman Mission House and Museum and see historical houses built by American Christian missionaries. Enjoy the festive atmosphere at the Hilo Farmers Market. See cultural performances and traditional Hawaiian arts at the East Hawaii Cultural Center. Stroll through the Liliuokalani Gardens or relax at the World Botanical Gardens and Waterfalls. Drive beneath a canopy of banyan trees and sample coffee at the Hilo Coffee Mill.
One of Hilo’s most popular attractions is the Imiloa Astronomy Center. Tour the planetarium to learn how the astronomical research of the summit of Maunakea connects with local traditional culture.
Head to the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, internationally recognized as both a World Heritage Site and a world biosphere. This park is extraordinary for its biodiversity and significance to native Hawaiians. Hike through rain forests, volcanic craters and deserts. Get close to two of the most active volcanoes on earth: Kilauea and Maunaloa. Watch lava eruptions flow into the sea and discover the centuries-old rock carvings known as petroglyphs.
Take a trip to other Hawaiian islands, without leaving town. Hilo's Mokupāpapa Discovery Center offers insight into the fascinating marine life, culture and geology of Hawaii’s remote northwest islands.
To get around Hilo, rent a car or taxi, take a guided tour or use the low-cost Hele-On (Let’s go) bus. Unwind and take your time in Hilo to discover some of the most fascinating wonders of the world.