Hanapēpē’s main drag looks like a clip out of an old Western movie. Someone counted more than 40 structures that have been standing long enough to be listed on state or national historic registers. Of course, the paperwork has never been done.

Fine Art Galleries

Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson.

Hanapēpē claims to be home to more fine art galleries than any other place on the island. There are at least eight galleries and a touring children’s theater listed among the gift shops and restaurants that make up the business section of this river town.

Each Friday night, from 6 to 9 p.m., artists open their galleries to the public and put on a fine community open house.

Tenacious to Its Roots

The Hanapepe Valley as drawn by Alfred Thomas Agate.

Hanapēpē is a town that has held tenaciously to its roots. It looks just as it did when Asian immigrant entrepreneurs developed it over a century ago. Moviemakers love this town. Disney’s Lilo & Stitch, for example, featured its historic buildings.

There is a garden honoring the late U.S. Senator Spark M. Matsunaga, a peace advocate who grew up in Hanapēpē. The Children’s Garden of Peace is adjacent to the Storybook Theatre in Hanapēpē.

Hanapepe’s Famous Swinging Bridge

If you’re interested in an informed walking tour of this teeny town, there are maps available from most merchants. Many people start their walk at the swinging bridge on the east side of the business district, but begin anywhere, you’re not likely to get lost.

To find Hanapēpē, turn off Hwy. 50 at a sign that reads “Kauai’s Biggest Little Town.”