Who would have ever thought you could find a beautiful western town in Hawaii! No this isn’t Wyoming or Montana – its Waimea, Hawaii! Located upcountry on the Big Island of Hawaii in the Kohala District. This quiet town is situated at a comfortable elevation of 2,670 feet, where the temperature is a bit cooler than down at sea level. If I’m going here for dinner I usually bring a light jacket as it can feel cool in the evenings.
Much of Waimea is still operated by Parker Ranch, Hawaii’s largest cattle ranch. The Ranch has been a cornerstone of the economic growth and culture of Waimea as the center of cattle ranching in the state of Hawaii. This ranching history is where much of today’s cowboy culture in the state originated from. The Hawaiian cowboy, or Paniolo is a familiar site if you spend time in Waimea and there are actually rodeos hosted in this little mountain town pretty regularly.
The Waimea Center celebrates this heritage with several pieces of art, including a statue known as the Waimea Cowboy who greets visitors at the door and a Cowboy Boot sculpture representing the 1908 World Champion steer ropers who took Cheyenne by storm during Frontier Days, proving to the world that Hawaiian Paniolos are world class cowboys!
The shopping center has been around since 1989 and showcases eclectic offerings with many unique shops and hand crafted products. You can find the perfect gift, stock up on beach wear or pick up groceries and essentials at the quality stores at this little shopping center.
If you’re looking for a good spot to eat, ‘Paniolo Up’ and head down to the Waimea Center where you can find everything from food court fare to delicious noodles and gourmet local burgers. Village Burger is one of our favorite hamburger spots in all of Hawaii, so give it a try if you are in the area.
65-1158 Mamalahoa Hwy # 14
Waimea HI 96743