Home Events + Community Finding Aloha in L.A.

Finding Aloha in L.A.

As a proud military brat born on the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, my family and I were later transferred to the island of O’ahu, Hawaii, where my brother was born. Though I call L.A home, Hawaii (Polynesia) holds a special place in my heart and is part of my history and culture. L.A. County has the largest population of Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders on the mainland, so  Polynesian culture and ohana is not hard to find.

If you live in L.A., you can get a taste of what makes the Polynesian community so great, right in your own backyard. These experiences are a great place to start.

1. Find Food

Lick your fingers with Sweet Lou’s BBQ. This food truck delivers scrumptious meals around Westminster and has an unbeatable 5 stars on Yelp.

For a sit-down meal in a relaxed atmosphere, try the awesomely authentic Aunty Maile’s Hawaiian Food in Torrance.

Want something more broadly Polynesian, and with the atmosphere to boot? LONO Hollywood is a beautiful restaurant with a great tiki bar. Perfect for your next night out.

2. Learn Some Music

U-Space Ukuleles offers classes in Little Tokyo. The business has been featured in Ukulele Underground, Boing Boing, NBC L.A., and Ukulele Magazine.

In Atwater Village, Jason Myers teaches classes for a variety of string instruments, including the ukulele.

3. Visit a Museum

USC Pacific Asia Museum (which also offers ukulele classes) is home to 5,000 years of Pacific Islander and Asian art.

The International Surfing Museum, located in Huntington Beach, is full of memorabilia dedicated to surfing and Hawaiian culture. Duke Kahanamoku, an Olympic gold medalist, is honored with a bronze bust.

4. Get Movin’

Aloha Hula Dance Studio is run by Lyn-Del Laua’e Pedersen and her two sons, Taimane and Kaikea. They teach Hula and Ori Tahiti in Granada Hills.

Take a Tahitian dance class at Te Varua Ori in Buena Park

KnokXPro (Wrestling Academy)

When your faamily tree is known as the “Samoan Dynasty,” you know you’re bred from greatness”

This family tree has been huge in the sports entertainment industry and includes showstoppers from The Rock, Tongan Kid,Roman Reigns, Rikishi and Black Pearl.  Take a class or watch a family-friendly show. Find more at https://knokxpro.com/


5. Find an Event

Seal Beach: Ohana Day, April 13, 2019

Participate in this environmental conservation beach event with vendor booths and live music to capture the spirit of “Ohana.” The event takes place at the Seal Beach Pier and is hosted by the Surfrider Foundation.

Long Beach Pacific Islander Festival, May 4-5, 2019

This event takes place at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Enjoy music, dance, and cultural crafts.

Santa Fe Springs: Heritage of Aloha Festival, May 18-19, 2019

Head inland to the Santa Fe Springs Heritage Park for this two-day festival that will feature a cultural marketplace, ukulele contest, island food booths, and more… including a raffle for a cruise to Hawaii! This free event is put on by The Ho’oilina Foundation.

Long Beach: Celebrate 25 Years of E Hula Mau by Na Mamo, Hawaiian Concert, June 15, 2019

Gather at The Westin Long Beach for Hawaiian music and hula. Details of last year’s event is available on their website.

The best way to understand a culture is to immerse yourself in its community. I (Blaxican) and my husband (Korean) love opening our children’s world up to the beauty of cross-cultural connection. It brings nations and peoples together into one big “Ohana.”

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