Top things to do

Top Choice Bistro in Hilo

Cafe Pesto

Café Pesto is a safe choice, whether for business lunches or dinner with your mother-in-law. Set downtown in a lovely historic building, the versatile kitchen covers all bases with creative salads, risotto, stir-fri…
Top Choice American in Hilo

Hilo Bay Cafe

Since 2003, this casually sophisticated eatery has wowed critics and put Hilo on the foodie map. The eclectic menu features gourmet versions of comfort food, such as Hamakua mushroom pot pie and a local beef burger …
Top Choice Park in Hilo

Liliʻuokalani Park

Savor Hilo's simple pleasures with a picnic lunch in Japanese gardens overlooking the bay. Named for Hawaii's last queen (r 1891–93), the 30-acre county park has manicured lawns, shallow ponds, bamboo groves, arched…
Top Choice Museum in Hilo

Mokupapapa Discovery Center

The Hawaiian archipelago extends far beyond the eight main islands to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, forming a long chain of uninhabited islets and atolls containing the healthiest coral reefs in the USA. Learn …
Top Choice Museum in Hilo

Pacific Tsunami Museum

You cannot understand Hilo without knowing its history as a two-time tsunami survivor (1946 and 1960). This seemingly modest museum is chock-full of riveting information, including a section on the Japanese tsunami …
Top Choice Museum in Hilo

ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi

ʻImiloa, which means 'exploring new knowledge,' is a $28 million museum and planetarium complex with a twist: it juxtaposes modern astronomy on Mauna Kea with ancient Polynesian ocean voyaging. Who would've thought …
Top Choice Beach in Hilo

Onekahakaha Beach Park

Popular with local families, this beach has a broad, shallow, sandy-bottomed pool, protected by a boulder breakwater. The water is only 1ft to 2ft deep in spots, creating the perfect 'baby beach.' An unprotected cov…
Top Choice Music in Hilo

Big Island Hawaiian Music Festival

A mid-July, two-day concert featuring virtuoso musicians playing ukulele, steel guitar, slack key guitar and falsetto singing.
Top Choice Cultural in Hilo

Merrie Monarch Festival

The Merrie Monarch Festival swoops into town around Easter (late March or early April) and turns laid-back Hilo into the place to be. Forget about booking a last-minute room! This sellout three-day hula competition …
Top Choice Books in Hilo

Basically Books

A browser's paradise, this shop specializes in maps, travel guides and books about Hawaii. Good selection for kids too.