The month of May brings more with it than warmer weather and the promise of spring. It’s also Asian Pacific Heritage Month, and what better way to celebrate than by educating yourself? Luckily, there are plenty fascinating ways to have lots of fun while learning and embracing these rich cultures. We’ve got a handy list of great places to explore, learn about, and celebrate this very special month, so go ahead and dive right in!

Immigration Station Barracks Museum – California

Located on picturesque Angel Island in San Francisco, this Immigration Station has been called the Ellis Island of the West Coast — and with good reason. From 1910 to 1930, roughly one million immigrants entered America through this passage, most of them of Asian descent. While many passed through Angel Island, others weren’t so lucky. Most would-be immigrants spent at least a few days, if not weeks, in detention waiting for approval. Some remained on the island for months at a time, suffering from isolation and forced work. Today, the spot has been turned into an immersive museum that documents this intriguing time period in detail. There’s plenty to check out, so head to the ferry and make a day of it. You’ll come away with a deeper understanding of a turbulent time in American history, and a true appreciation for what immigrants had to endure to gain entry to America.

Wing Luke Museum – Washington

https://www.instagram.com/p/BhWu1C1H1-J/?hl=en&taken-by=winglukemuseum

Head over to Seattle for one of the most cutting-edge museums devoted to the Asian American and Pacific Islander experience in this country. Located in Seatle’s Chinatown, the museum has everything you could hope for: art from an assortment of locales, comprehensive historical information on virtually any subject that touches on the history and culture of Asian Americans, and a constantly rotating run of tours. Whether you want to learn about the life of Bruce Lee or understand the cultural significance of rice, you’ll be blown away by this incredible experience.

Looking for a cheap weekend getaway? Find the most affordable flight for you right here!

Downtown Historic District – Washington, D.C.

Friendship Arch at Chinatown of Washington D.C.

It’s hard to pick exactly where to start in D.C.’s famous Chinatown — there’s tons to see and do. From tiny shops selling unexpected treasures to restaurants offering up tantalizing foods, there’s no end to what you can find while exploring the colorful neighborhood. Some adventurers prefer to explore on their own and see where they end up; for those that want to make sure they don’t miss anything important, there are an assortment of walking tours sure to delight and inform everyone in your group.

Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Festival – New York

What better way to celebrate spring than with a massive festival in New York City? It’s one of the largest events in the country, and this annual festival that’s held in the month of May is a great way to embrace Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures. There are performances, food galore, tons of creative costumes, and music. It’s a wonderful day for the whole family; no matter your heritage, this is one festival you won’t want to miss!

Metropolitan Museum of Art – New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York at Night

If you’re still in New York, make sure to stop by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. The museum is home to a vast array of historical and artistic pieces that hail from Asia and the Pacific Islands. Ancient artifacts from New Guinea, intricate armor from Japan, and breathtaking weaponry from China are just a few of the treasures waiting for you in this world-famous museum. Be prepared to spend a day exploring; you’ve never seen history like this before.

Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail – Hawaii

Beauty and history, beauty in history; along the trail. #alakahakainht #alakahakaitrail

A post shared by Ala Kahakai Trail Association (@alakahakaitrailassociation) on

Want to add some adventure to your historical exploration? Then set sail for Hawaii! Besides the breathtaking sights and natural beauty you would expect from Hawaii, the Ala Kahakai Trail has an abundance of historical wonders. The path meanders across ancient Hawaiian settlements and through national parks. It’s a rare look at Hawaiian history and culture, and a journey you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

Know of any other places that highlight Asian Pacific American Heritage? Tell us about them in the comments.

About The Author