Honolulu Culture & Arts District

Welcome to the Honolulu Culture & Arts District. The Honolulu Culture and Arts District Association (HCAD) was established as a 501(c)3 nonprofit to achieve an aesthetic, social and economic renaissance in the Downtown/Chinatown area by creating an 18-hour district that is a popular center for the arts, entertainment and dining out.

The Arts District has made incredible strides in the last few years in becoming one of the Oahu’s destination places. A newly active Arts District Merchants Association, the addition of over 10 new businesses in the last three years, and a consistent stream of lively events and activities in the area are some of the major contributors to and manifestations of the area’s popularity. Over the past few years, HCAD has made an effort to complement and add to the area’s most well-known event – the monthly First Friday Gallery Walk. Our objectives in this effort are to:

  • create/sustain the impression amongst visitors and the general public that there is ‘always something happening’ in the Arts District – that it is a cultural focal point of Oahu
  • bring a continuous stream of visitors to the area in order to create enough foot traffic to support the area’s unique businesses, almost 100% of which are locally owned and operated
  • continue to promote the area as a unique cultural entertainment, shopping and dining experience

HCAD accomplishes its mission through the following four-pronged Main Street approach (see below for an overview and About Us for more details.)



getting everyone working toward the same goal and assembling the human/financial resources to implement a revitalization program. HCAD helped form the Arts District Merchant Association (ADMA) to further the neighborhood’s revitalization. This 50+ member organization has cooridinated numerous joint efforts and successfully advocated on behalf of the neighborhood on various issues of interest.



means getting the district into top physical shape. Capitalizing on its best assets — such as historic buildings and pedestrian-oriented streets — and creating an inviting atmosphere and positive visual message.  HCAD organized a collective project with landowners on Hotel Street, between Nu’uanu Avenue and Smith Street, that will result in the renovation and tenanting of three empty buildings.



sells a positive image of the district and encourages consumers and investors to live, work, shop, play and invest in the area. HCAD has created and/or assisted with the development of a number of major area events that have brought an average of over 5,000 people to the neighborhood and created invaluable positive publicity on all major local television networks, newspapers, and radio stations.

Economic Strengthening


strengthens a community's existing economic assets while expanding and diversifying its economic base. HCAD facilitated the federal “Preserve America Communities: Neighborhood” designation for the Chinatown Special District – only the seventh urban district in the country to receive it. This designation enabled the City & County of Honolulu to apply for $150,000 in matching federal funds to help develop heritage tourism as part of Chinatown’s economic revitalization strategy.  HCAD is currently working on a mini-museum Preserve America Heritage Tourism project.  See Heritage Toursim section for details.