Where Art and History Unite

July 25, 2023

When staying at Shoreline Hotel Waikiki, you quickly learn that you are in the heart of Oahu and just steps away you can be transported into the past or flung into the future. This is exactly what the neighborhood of Kakaako represents. Filled with history and art just minutes away from Waikiki, Kakaako is an eclectic community with a rich history and thriving art scene. Two hundred years ago, ali‘i (royalty) called Kakaako home. Chief Boki and Chiefess Liliha made their home there in the 1820s, and later raised Prince Kuhio and his brothers in Kakaako. Princess Ruth Keelikolani, who co-founded Kamehameha Schools with her cousin Bernice Pauahi Bishop, also lived in this historic neighborhood. Today it is the home of many new businesses, families, and an evolving community.

It has been a fishing village, home to royalty, and an industrial hub where many local businesses we know today got their start and thrived for generations. This community continues to evolve, and today it’s also a cultural art district. As you wander through its streets, you can’t help but appreciate the mix of old and new, where contemporary art blends seamlessly with the historic landscape.

One of the most striking features of Kakaako today is the abundance of street art. Talented local, national and international artists have transformed these industrial walls into larger-than-life masterpieces. From exciting murals to thought-provoking graffiti, every corner tells a unique story.

While exploring, be sure to visit some of its historical landmarks. A notable site is SALT at Our Kakaako, which pays homage to its industrial past and its cultural history with fishing villages, fishponds, and salt flats. Enjoy local craft beers, delicious cuisine, and unique entertainment throughout the neighborhood.

The street art you see in Kakaako is product of Pow! Wow! Hawaii, one of the most anticipated community events for a number of years. The festival, which initially only focused on the Kakaako area, has evolved into what is now known as World Wide Walls Hawaii. This week-long celebration of art, music, and culture has attracted talented artists from around the world. The festival breathes new life into neighborhoods throughout Oahu. This year’s neighborhood was Kapālama Kai where walls have been transformed into stunning canvases.

Whether visiting Kakaako or Kapālama Kai, these neighborhoods hold a strong sense of community with an abundance of culinary choices and are the perfect way to immerse yourself in the local culture. With captivating street art, historical landmarks, culture and cuisine, grab your camera, slip on your walking shoes, and let the magic begin as you embark on a memorable journey through the past and the creativity of the present. When you stay at Shoreline Hotel, make sure to plan a visit to Kakaako and Kapālama Kai to discover communities that unite beautiful street art with a rich cultural history.