In Lahaina, the locus of activity is along Front Street, which dates back to the 1820s. It is lined with stores and restaurants, and is often packed with tourists. Banyan Tree Square features an exceptionally large banyan tree planted in 1873 to commemorate the fiftieth aniversary of the arrival of the missionaries. It is also the site of the reconstructed ruins of Lahaina Fort, originally built in 1832.
Prior to unification of the islands, in 1795, the town was sacked by Kamehameha the Great. Lahaina was the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii from 1820 to 1845. It was once an important destination for the 19th century whaling fleet, whose presence at Lahaina frequently led to conflicts with the Christian missionaries living there. On more than one occasion the conflict was so severe that it led to the shelling of Lahaina by whaleboats.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 18.1 km² (7.0 mi²). 14.9 km² (5.8 mi²) of it is land and 3.2 km² (1.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 17.50% water.
As of the census of 2000, there are 9,118 people, 2,599 households, and 1,759 families residing in the town. The population density is 612.3/km² (1,584.7/mi²). There are 3,027 housing units at an average density of 203.3/km² (526.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the town is 26.44% White, 0.34% African American, 0.31% Native American, 43.40% Asian, 9.83% Pacific Islander, 2.18% from other races, and 17.50% from two or more races. 7.06% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 2,599 households out of which 27.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.9% are married couples living together, 12.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 32.3% are non-families. 18.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 7.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 3.50 and the average family size is 3.91.
In the town the population is spread out with 22.8% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 108.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 110.1 males.
The median income for a household in the town is $52,984, and the median income for a family is $54,879. Males have a median income of $29,583 versus $25,392 for females. The per capita income for the town is $19,921. 7.8% of the population and 6.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 7.3% are under the age of 18 and 9.2% are 65 or older.