First time in Hilo Hawaii - things to do on the Big Island Hawaii - Hawaii Trip - Emma's Edition -

Are you looking for things to do in Hilo Hawaii? Here are ten things to do in Hilo, HI, for your first time!

I recently visited the Big Island of Hawaii for the first time. My husband Brandon and I went to the Big Island to celebrate my friend Chelsey and Samson’s wedding. We made it a four-day trip to attend the pre-wedding festivities and explore Hilo. I’m also five months pregnant, so I wanted to find relatively chill and easy things to do in Hilo.

Whether you’re planning a long weekend trip to the Big Island or preparing for a friend’s wedding:

Here are ten things to do in Hilo Hawaii for your first time.

1. Visit Rainbow Falls

Address: Rainbow Falls, Hilo, HI

Rainbow Falls in Hilo Hawaii - weekend in Hilo Hawaii -

While we didn’t see any rainbows at Rainbow Falls (it was raining almost every day in Hilo), the Rainbow Falls was still beautiful to see. This waterfall didn’t require hiking (I had to be mindful of this since I’m pregnant) and was accessible to get to from the parking lot.

2. Grab mochi at Two Ladies Kitchen

Address: 274 Kilauea Ave, Hilo, HI 96720

Two Ladies Kitchen in Hilo Hawaii - mochi - hilo hawaii things to do -

One of the highlights of our long weekend in Hilo was visiting the Two Ladies Kitchen. For almost 20 years, the Two Ladies Kitchen (a Japanese confectionary shop) has been creating fresh mochi from their original location. We stood in line for half an hour in the rain to try this world-famous mochi.

Personally, I’ve never seen fresh fruit mochi. My favorite mochi we ordered were the fresh fruit strawberry, plum flower, and the Oreo mochi. The mochi is made to order, so be prepared to wait after placing your order. But honestly, the mochi was worth the wait!

3. Walk through the Liliuokalani Gardens

Address: 189 Lihiwai St #151, Hilo, HI 96720

fun things to do on the Big Island - Big Island of Hawaii - Hilo Hawaii -

If you’re looking for a free family activity in Hilo, I recommend walking through the Liliuokalani Gardens. The Liliuokalani Gardens were named after Hawaii’s last reigning monarch: Queen Lili’uokalani. The garden was created to honor Hawaii’s first Japanese immigrants.

Banyan tree drive in Hilo Hawaii -

4. Sit down for lunch at Vibe Café

Address: 750 Kanoelehua Ave Suite 101, Hilo, HI 96720

Vibe cafe in Hilo Hawaii - vegetarian restaurant Hilo Hawaii - where to eat Big Island -

If you’re looking for a vegetarian/vegan café in Hilo, I highly recommend stopping by Vibe Café. Not only is the café aesthetically beautiful and offers a range of vegetarian/vegan salads, burgers, sandwiches, and more!

5. Wander through the Hilo Farmers Market

Address: Corner of Kamehameha Avenue and Mamo St, Hilo, HI 96720

If you’re wandering downtown Hilo, you’ll likely see the Hilo Farmers Market. The Hilo Farmers Market is open daily, and the Big Market Days (when all the vendors are set up) are on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I highly recommend coming to the farmers market with cash. Some local businesses don’t take a card, and I wish I had brought some cash to purchase local crafts and goods!

6. Grab shave ice at Kula Shave Ice

Address: 57 Mamo St, Hilo, HI 96720

Shave ice is one of my favorite things to grab while in Hawaii. Kula Shave Ice makes all of their syrups from scratch, and they are open daily.  

7. Check out Richardson Beach Park

Address: 2355 Kalanianaole St, Hilo, HI 96720

Richard Beach Ocean Park in Hilo Hawaii

If you’re looking for a local black sand beach in Hilo, Richardson Ocean Park is an easy one to get to. This beach is a family-friendly beach with picnic areas. It’s also a good spot for snorkeling.

8. Sit down for fish and chips at Mohala’s Bayfront Fish & Chips

Address: 50 Waianuenue Ave, Hilo, HI 96720

Fish and Chips in Hilo Hawaii

Mohala’s Bayfront Fish and Chips is a local, family-owned business. Brandon and I decided to stop by here for lunch. I loved the décor inside, and the mahi fish and chips were delicious.

Mohala's Fish and Chips in Hilo Hawaii

9. Grab an acai bowl at Makani’s Magic Pineapple Shack

Address: 54 Waianuenue Ave, Hilo, HI 96720

Makani's Magic Pineapple Shack - Acai bowl in Hilo Hawaii

Makani’s Magic Pineapple Shack was one of the first places we went to in Hilo. While tempted to order the Ube soft serve ice cream, I returned twice for a classic acai bowl. I always eat lots of acai bowls when I’m in Hawaii.

10. Eat breakfast at Ken’s House of Pancakes

Address: 1730 Kamehameha Ave, Hilo, HI 96720

Ken's House of Pancakes in Hilo Hawaii

If you’re looking for a historic spot or a stack of macadamia nut pancakes, I highly recommend checking out this local diner. Ken’s House of Pancakes opened in 1971 and was the first 24-hour business in Hilo. While they’re known for their breakfast offerings, Ken’s House of Pancakes also offers lunch and dinner favorites like loco mocos and noodles.

What other fun things to do in Hilo Hawaii do you recommend?

hilo hawaii

For more travel recommendations, I recommend:

6 Girls Weekend Trip Ideas in the US

Your First Time Guide to Seattle

10 Eiffel Tower Photo Spots for Your First Time in Paris

Your First Time Guide to Denver

Thank you for reading!