Why Lahaina is Hawaii's haven for cool

This beachside town in West Maui has an eclectic mix of history, culture and nightlife that’s so rock ’n’ roll, a rock star opened a bar on the main street.

The unofficial capital of West Maui is Lahaina
  • Kaitlyn Palmer-Allen
  • January 2019

Once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, a busy port and plantation settlement, Lahaina still has plenty to offer visitors. Start with a train ride or a visit to a historic museum and finish with a drink overlooking the waters of the North Pacific Ocean.

The Wharf Cinema Center

This charming shopping destination is home to a hotchpotch of offerings. Located opposite Lahaina’s famous banyan tree – a landmark in its own right – The Wharf Cinema Center opens in new window offers plenty of shopping and dining options. Head to L’Infini for souvenirs, cool down at Breakwall Shave Ice Co with an adult-style Mai Tai shave ice or explore the free Plantation Museum on the upper level. When you’re done, rest by the koi pond in the open-air courtyard before seeing a movie at the cinema.

The Wharf Cinema Center is packed with things to do
The Wharf Cinema Center is packed with things to do.

Sugarcane Train

With their sugar-transporting days behind them, West Maui’s steam trains opens in new window now take visitors on a scenic 10-kilometre trip past the corn and coffee crops surrounding Lahaina. While kids and locomotive fans alike will be delighted by the sound of the train’s departing whistle, the trip itself is equally enthralling for discovering the area’s plantation past.


Lahaina Printsellers

For over 40 years, Lahaina Printsellers opens in new window have stocked everything from maps of Hawaii dating back to the 1700s to vintage photographs of hula dancers, menu covers and movie posters. If you’re a lover of vintage, this is heaven on earth.

Fleetwood’s on Front St

Want rooftop views and a drinks list compiled by a rock star? You’ll find it at this establishment opens in new window from Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac fame, boasting ocean views, a sophisticated ambience and tasty bites. Stop in for happy hour from 2-5pm daily, with half-price drinks, plus AUD $1 oysters – you might even catch a rock concert.


The Village Galleries, Maui

Explore Lahaina’s thriving art scene at the island’s oldest gallery. Aside from exhibiting an extensive collection of works by local artists, it’s also the place to find beautiful artisan jewellery and framed prints.

Baldwin Home Museum

Discover a slice of Maui’s past at Baldwin Home opens in new window, the oldest house still standing on the island. The historic landmark in the heart of Lahaina lets you delve into the lives of the missionaries from the 1830s. Explore the various rooms furnished with period pieces, photos and letters. Wander the landscaped grounds dotted with fruit trees, where you’ll also find the historic outdoor kitchen.

Discover Hawaiian history at the Baldwin Home Museum
Discover Hawaiian history at the Baldwin Home Museum.

Down The Hatch

Craving a shrimp po’boy? This place has you covered. Started by three mates from Georgia who wanted to bring Southern tastes to the island, this seafood eatery opens in new window plates up killer sandwiches. Come for the lobster- and crab-stuffed grilled cheese and stay for the AUD $7 happy hour cocktails.

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