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Hawai‘i: Springtime on O‘ahu

Experience the art, music, and culture of aloha in the heart of Hawaii



While every season is special in O‘ahu, April through June is a truly exciting time to take in the island’s extraordinary Hawaiian music, art, and cultural offerings before the summer crowds appear.


Mele Mei

Music, Hula, and More all May Long

May is perfect for immersing yourself in the signature sounds and dazzling talents of Hawai‘i’s performing artists during Mele Mei, a monthlong celebration of the music, language, dance, and culture of Hawai‘i. Concert halls, hotels, and beachside venues will play host to a variety of performances, from ‘ukulele to steel guitar, traditional Hawaiian music to slack-key guitar, island reggae to hula, plus rock and more. The festivities will culminate with the Nā Hōkū Hanohano Awards, Hawai‘i’s most prestigious musical accolades.



A King's Birthday

The people of Hawai‘i are proud of their history and revere the royals who reigned here until the late 19th century. Every June 11 is King Kamehameha Day, a celebration of the legendary monarch who united the Hawaiian Islands under his rule in 1810. This year, the 100th Annual King Kamehameha Celebration Floral Parade begins in downtown Honolulu and proceeds to Kapi‘olani Park at the base of Diamond Head. An all-day ho’olaule‘a (celebration) begins at 11 a.m. and a special concert will be held at the Waikiki Shell from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.



A Cultural Treasure Chest

Honolulu’s vibrant museums are gateways to Hawai‘i’s multicultural past and present with fascinating exhibits and live events. Bishop Museum (bishopmuseum.org), founded in memory of a beloved Hawaiian princess, tells the story of the people, history, and islands of Hawai‘i and the Pacific. The Nā Hulu Ali‘i: Royal Hawaiian Featherwork exhibit (March 19–May 23, 2016) will feature exquisitely crafted feathered capes, helmets, and standards originally created for Hawai‘i’s royal chiefs in the 18th century. At the Honolulu Museum of Art, Hawai‘i in Design (March 10, 2016–March 12, 2017) will showcase designers who are making sense of Hawai‘i as a place where natural and urban elements plus local and global aesthetics intersect. Works by contemporary local textile and clothing designers, furniture designers, a wooden surfboard maker, and a multitalented surfboard shaper and tattoo artist will fill the galleries. The musical traditions of Hawai‘i are the focus of a special concert series at Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives. Nā Mele Aloha: Songs of Aloha takes a look at distinct meanings of aloha. ‘Ano‘ai ke Aloha (March 12) explores distinctly Hawaiian hospitality, while Aloha Ali‘i (May 14) features songs about Hawaiians’ love for their ali‘i (royalty).


North Shore

Hidden Waimea Valley

Less than an hour by car, but a world away, O‘ahu’s North Shore is a dramatically beautiful coastline where epic winter waves give way to gentle swells and a laid-back vibe in spring and summer. Visit Waimea Valley, an ahupua’a—a historic mountain-to-sea land division where Native Hawaiians once thrived in self-sustaining communities. View Waimea’s recently restored kauhale (living site) and explore the valley on a cultural hike with Hawaiian Hiking Company.


Mele Mei Preview

At Los Angeles Grammy Museum, February 10, 2016

Discover Hawaiian Slack-Key Guitar, one of the world’s greatest acoustic guitar traditions—and the title of a special concert and exhibit at L.A.’s Grammy Museum. The February 10 concert features some of Hawai‘i’s most celebrated slack-key guitarists, including Cyril Pahinui, Kawika Kahiapo, and Charles Brotman. The exhibit (through mid-April) celebrates the traditions of this uniquely Hawaiian guitar style before traveling to O‘ahu for May’s Mele Mei.

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