Hawaii Island's east side harbor hamlet offers more than meets the eye With historic small-town charm, Hilo walks to a beat that's a contrast of culture and funk. As if it's in a time warp, Hawaii Island's capital feels like an old familiar friend-especially the quaint downtown area where repeat visitors expect things to pretty much stay the same each time they visit. And in Hilo's case, that's much of the charm. If you're into basking on a white sandy beach and livin' la vida loca until the wee hours, you won't find that here. What you will find is a laid-back attitude and mellow pace where gardens, historic buildings, a farmers' market and plenty of tasty delights take top billing. This guide is a combination of strolling to points of interest in downtown Hilo and then driving to a few other top visitor spots that help you really see what makes this town tick. You'll start at the beautiful bayfront Liliuokalani Park and Gardens, and then motor over to historic downtown Hilo for a walking tour. Then it's back in the car for the short drive to the town's showcase museum and a pair of delicious tasting rooms. As you explore Hilo's streets and take in the sites, bear in mind that this tough little town has rebounded twice from destructive tsunamis that drastically altered the landscape and day-to-day life. It has bounced back just right, inviting you to sample the "good old days" every day.