Lana’i was a surprise! It was a surprise because we’d never been there, and since each Hawaiian island is different, we didn’t know exactly what to expect. But also, it was a surprise because there is very little information out there from previous visitors! I usually depend on blogs, Trip Advisor Reviews, Pinterest, and a little Googling to figure out what to do and what to be prepared for–opening and closing times, what’s worth it and what’s better to skip, etc.
If you do your own searching, you’ll find a handful of blogs from influencers who spent a day and night as a guest of the Four Seasons (meaning they didn’t pay for it). Steve and I paid for our trip in full, including accommodation, rental car, flights, food, shopping, everything, and we genuinely enjoyed everything about our trip. To help future travelers, we tried to hit up every shop, activity, and restaurant. We missed a couple due to either bad timing, or closings due to COVID (we visited in November 2021). Here’s everything we found to do in Lana’i City!
You know what I love about Lana’i. Every shop is a small business! The only chains are the two Four Seasons Resorts, which employ almost everyone on the island. Every other business is a mom-and-pop shop, and it makes my heart happy. You can hit them all up in a single afternoon, so plan to spend a couple of hours in Lana’i City while you’re on the island!
This little shop is conveniently located between Richard’s Market, which we frequented, and Cafe 565, which is the only restaurant where we ate twice! It’s the most adorable little blue building, and they sell every souvenir you might want from a trip to Hawaii: tee shirts, beachy dresses and rompers, bags, knick knacks, and locally-made jewelry.
In fact, I was surprised and impressed to find several rare, expensive pieces of Ni’ihau jewelry, including necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and anklets. They were selling these for what I know to be a reasonable price, so if you want something truly unique, consider one of these from the Hula Hut!
This little art center is a place for community art classes and an art supply store, but also a shop where local artists can sell their work! They have everything from pottery to to jewelry to colorful window hangings. When I visited, I could hear an art class going on outside, and cards posted around the shop stated that proceeds go to benefit children’s art programs! I love supporting locals, and I equally love when kids are encouraged to be creative. Defintiely stop in!
Read on: Where to Go on Lana’i WITH 4WD
If you’re in the market for something a little high-end and a little less local, The Local Gentry is the place for you! You’re still supporting a small business, but they’ll have more of the things you think of when you think of shopping on vacation–dresses, tee shirts, sandals, beachy bags, floppy hats, beach towels, and the like. You’ll also find some Hawaiian wares here as well. I picked up a bar of lilikoi-scented soap from a company on the Big Island to take home with me!
See also: Where to Go on Lana’i WITH 4WD
Mike Carroll and his wife, Kathy (who also happened to start the Lana’i Cat Sanctuary in 2004), moved here over two decades ago because they came to visit and never left! I had the most wonderful conversation with Kathy in the shop, so definitely pop in if you just want to chat! Mike’s artwork of Lana’i is absolutely stunning, and he will paint anything you want–one couple asked him to paint the view from their room while on the island for their honeymoon, and he did!
But even better, he doesn’t just display his own artwork. His shop is also a home for other local artists, including woodworkers, to sell their work as well. I did not take photos inside out of respect for the artists, but you can see some of what they have here on their website!
This was an unexpected delight! Of course you’ll find the normal pharmacy items here–pain relievers, toothbrushes, sunscreen, deodorant, etc.–they also have wonderful gifts! I got the most wonderful bath product gift sets, made right there on Lana’i, to give as gifts, and I wished later I’d gotten one for myself! They also sell chocolate, candles, body oils, and more right here.
More here: Hiking Hawaii: Lana’i
What’s a local shopping trip without a stop into a local coffee shop? Coffee Works was voted one of the top 5 coffee shops in Hawaii this year, and it’s located just a block off the main square. Get it hot or iced, order breakfast or lunch, and don’t forget to grab a gigantic pastry as well! My favorite was the iced macadamia nut latte.
Want more? Check out every restaurant in Lana’i City in my What to Eat on Lana’i post!
Not a shopper? No worries! There are still things for you to do and see in Lana’i City.
You can’t miss it! This is the large park in the middle of the town square, and most of the shops and restaurants are centered around it. We actually really used this park quite a lot. We worked out here in the mornings, we took food here to picnic a few times, and we walked among the Cook Pines here. It’s usually greener, but we were here during a drought, so the grass was not so green. We were told it’s usually even more beautiful!
More here: What to Know Before You Visit Lana’i
This historic movie theater has been lovingly restored, but unfortunately for us, it was not open while we visited due to COVID. Hale Keaka means “house of pictures” in Hawaiian, so hopefully they will have some movies here again soon! In the meantime, the restoration job won awards after its completion, so it’s worth a look!
Read next: Where to Go on Lana’i WITHOUT 4WD
This FREE museum and cultural center is certainly worth an hour (or more!) of your time. You will need to e-mail Shelly at email@example.com to make a reservation, and it was easy to coordinate with them because they were very flexible. The museum itself is very well-laid out, and they have a few videos to watch with more information as well. They have a wonderful timeline of the history of the island, as well as artifacts from every era–even the Dole era of the 20th century!
Read next: How to Plan a Trip to Lana’i
Want more about Lana’i? You’ll find everything you need to plan your trip on my dedicated Hawaiian Islands Page!
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