Hawaii May 05, 2017
The Small Town In Hawaii That’s One Of The Coolest In The U.S.
Conveniently located just 10 minutes from Maui’s main airport in Kahului and serving as the gateway to the lush Io Valley, Wailuku is often overlooked for more popular beach destinations on the island. With a perfect mix of old and new, this eclectic town is home to popular local shops, restaurants, and bakeries that have been around for generations, as well as emerging boutiques and laid-back cafes and coffee shops. With a population of 15,000, Wailuku is easily one of America’s coolest small towns – and here are 9 reasons that prove it.
1. Wailuku is close to the action and off the beaten path at the same time.
In the early 20th century, Wailuku was Maui's main tourist destination, but has since been passed by many other destinations, and there are now no hotels to speak of within this eclectic town.
2. The surrounding natural beauty will draw you in.
Wailuku serves as the gateway to the lush Iao Valley, and is home to some of the most stunning natural beauty around.
3. You’ll find amazing restaurants and cafes.
Like Sam Soto's, an incredible Japanese noodle eatery, and Wailuku Coffee Company, known for their bakery and stellar latte art.
4. The art galleries are incredible.
Who doesn't love some incredible Hawaiian art? U'i Gallery, above, is home to the coolest local art and gifts you'll find on Maui.
5. Wailuku’s First Friday is a must-visit.
On the first Friday of every month, the streets of Wailuku turn into a huge (kid-friendly) party - with retailers, local artisans and crafters, delicious food and energetic music.
6. You’ll find countless amazing mom and pop establishments in cool storefronts.
The Hawaiian Islands as a whole are home to some incredible local establishments, but nowhere is that more true than Wailuku, where you'll find a plethora of locally-owned shops with unique finds and iconic treats in classic wooden storefronts.
7. There’s no better place to hang out than the Maui Ocean Center…
Rated as a top family attraction by Zagat surveys, the Maui Ocean Center is home to an amazing exhibit called The Open Ocean, which is a 54-foot acrylic tunnel that offers 360-degree views of marine life, including manta rays, sharks, stingrays, and tropical fish. The 3-acre marine park is the largest tropical aquarium in the Western Hemisphere and features the largest collection of living corals in the United States, and more than 60 exhibits.
8. ...except maybe Maui Tropical Plantation.
Located in Waikapu at the base of the West Maui Mountains is the Maui Tropical Plantation, a beautiful slice of paradise that is home to a restaurant so good, we would travel across the world just to visit. Seriously, you will not be disappointed with a meal from the Mill House, nor the views at this stunning plantation.
9. There’s plenty of history and culture to be found.
Top historic sites include the potentially haunted Iao Theatre, the Bailey House, an art and Hawaiian history museum, and Kaahumanu Church, which still holds services in both Hawaiian and English.
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