Find fun things to See & Do in Greater Hilo!
Imiloa Astronomy Center
Located on the UH Hilo campus a short drive from downtown, the ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center is a gathering place that advances the integration of science and indigenous culture. The planetarium, exhibits, programs, and events harness leading technologies, environmental resources, and cultural practitioners to engage children, families, and communities in exciting ways.
Hilo Public Library / Naha & Pinau stones
On the grounds of the Hilo Public Library, the sacred Naha and Pinau stones are held in high cultural esteem. The Naha stone was brought to Hilo by canoe from the chiefly valley of Wailua on Kaua`i, many centuries ago. According to legend, ali`i (royal) infants were placed alone on the stone. If they did not cry they were said to be of high royal status. The ability to move the massive stone was also seen as a sign of high chiefly capacity. Kamehameha, while in his early 20s, confirmed the prophecy that he would become a great warrior king by moving the stone. The Pinao Stone is believed to be from the Pinao Heiau that once stood on or near the site of this State Library.
Rainbow Falls, Pe’epe’e Falls and Boiling Pots
The Wailuku River defines the western border of downtown Hilo, running through gorges, tumbling over lava cliffs, and cascading into pools on its way to the sea. At 80’ high Rainbow Falls (Waiānuenue in Hawaiian, meaning “rainbow water”), water flows over a natural cave, the mythological home to Hina, an ancient Hawaiian goddess. On sunny mornings, rainbows can be seen in the fall’s mist. A mile beyond Rainbow Falls, the Wailuku River drops over Pe’epe’e Falls, and into a series of cascades known as “boiling pots.” During heavy rains, the bubbling pools appear to be boiling from turbulence and underground lava tubes.
Lili’uokalani Gardens and Coconut Island, Moku Ola
Given by Queen Lili’uokalani and built in the early 1900s, this 30-acre park located on Banyan Drive in Hilo is the largest Japanese garden outside of Japan. With manicured lawns, koi ponds, bridges, pagodas, and a tea house, this beautiful park looks across the bay to Hilo town, backed by Mauna Kea. A footbridge leads across to Moku Ola. This small island just off shore of Lili’uokalani Park was the site of an ancient temple and is said to have been a place of refuge. A stone tower (now a popular diving platform) remains from an old footbridge that was destroyed by a tsunami. The island offers lovely views of downtown Hilo, the Hamakua coast, and the rest of Hilo Bay.
Hilo’s Beach Parks
A series of beach parks stretch down Kalanianaole Avenue, which runs six miles from downtown Hilo out to Lelei Point. The parks offer safe swimming and snorkeling in cool spring-fed rocky lagoons with grassy shores and tall trees. Some have picnic tables and pavilions. Reed’s Bay, Onekahakaha, Kealoha, Carlsmith, Leleiwi, Wai’uli, and Richardson’s are each uniquely beautiful.