A few years ago, much of Chinatown was unsightly, and crime was a serious problem.

Many of the buildings were in need of repairs and falling down; a large segment of our population wouldn’t even go near the place.

Today, there’s a renaissance in progress. Local merchants and immigrant merchants from many Pacific and Southeast Asian countries are bringing new life to the community while also contributing rich ethnic diversity.

A blossoming of culture and the arts in Chinatown began a few years ago with the restoration of the popular Hawaii Theatre Center. Trendy art galleries and specialty shops have opened as well as the elegant Indigo Restaurant, next door to the Theatre in Chinatown Gateway Park. The Honolulu community enjoys frequent entertainment at block parties, and parades and celebrations for Chinese New Year, Double Ten and Night In Chinatown parades.

The community-based Downtown Chinatown Task Force Committee is instrumental in the Chinatown clean up, and the City & County of Honolulu has been a revitalization leader, constructing new residential buildings and commercial space in Chinatown. The rejuvenation was long overdue. Now that it is well under way, Hawaii and its people as well as the visitor industry are rediscovering what once was a cherished part of our island heritage. This colorful legacy was lost for many years, but through hard work and dedicated vision, this cultural gem is being returned.

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