Artist Heather Brown’s Ideal Day on O‘ahu

Inspired by the surfing lifestyle, this painter and former North Shore resident finds the coolest places to chill on O‘ahu.


On O‘ahu, there’s always something happening and cool new hotspots to explore. So even if you’ve lived here all your life, you can discover new places and eats. Seeking an artist’s perspective, we tapped Heather Brown, known for her colorful, surf-inspired paintings, to find out her go-to hangouts and recommendations.


Heather Brown stands in front of greenery

Photo: Courtesy of Heather Brown


You’ve likely seen Brown’s coastal art in hotels and cafes and shops across the island. With an aesthetic that features cheery color palettes, stylized swells and lush, tropical foliage, Brown’s appreciation for island style is apparent. Since moving to Kaua‘i after living on O‘ahu for years, she’s missing her old haunts, making this the perfect opportunity to share her favorite, must-visit spots when she’s in town.


Most days, Brown gets a wake-up call from her dogs and cats at home. With a new puppy and more animals who don’t like to let her sleep in, her household is always busy. Then it’s one-on-one time with her husband over coffee. For a breakfast out on O‘ahu, they love the sandwiches at Blondies Vegan Kitchen, a mother-daughter-run spot. After that, it might be time for a late morning surf, admiring Diamond Head and keeping her eyes peeled for honu.


Arvo latte

Plants and lattes. Photo: Brie Thalmann


“I have a weakness for plants. I’m a plant lover!” says Brown. When she wants to grow her plant family, she visits Paiko in Kaka‘ako for the interesting variety of species and cute selection of pots. While there, she has to stop next door at ARVO for a lavender oat latte.


The tempeh katsu plate at Peace Cafe

The tempeh katsu plate at Peace Cafe. Photo: James Nakamura


One of her favorite lunch places is Peace Cafe, where she loves the fresh, tasty, and healthy food and the friendly staff. “I’ve been eating there ever since my days in college at UH,” says Brown.


Mānoa Falls Trail Shipping Container

Photo Credit: Laura Dornbush


It wouldn’t be a perfect day for Brown without spending time in nature. A go-to spot is Mānoa Falls, where she loves to smell the jungle and listen to the sound of the streams as she hikes. “Nature is what inspires me and gives me a connection to all the beauty around me.”


Brown loves to cook, especially if it involves lots of fresh, organic fruits and veggies (Whole Foods and Down to Earth are her staples), but if she’s not feeling the kitchen, she looks forward to dinner at Tane Vegan Izakaya. “Every dish is so full of flavor and beautifully presented. I feel like I’m in Japan when I’m eating there.”


A view of Diamond Head from DECK., the restaurant at the Queen Kap‘iolani Hotel

Photo: Courtesy of Queen Kapi‘olani Hotel

To finish off a great day, Brown stops by Queen Kapi‘olani Hotel to browse the art at Greenroom Gallery and discover new local artists and creatives. After that, she heads to DECK. on the third floor for sunset drinks. Pau hana cocktails outside with one of the best views of Diamond Head in town? Lucky we live Hawai‘i indeed.