Best Shopping in Honolulu: A Neighborhood Guide
Where is the best place to shop in Honolulu? There are too many to count, but this neighborhood guide promises some of the top designer shops, department store chains, and independent boutiques for all budgets and tastes. Here’s a rundown of Honolulu’s most interesting shopping scenes, with highlights of each to give you a feel for the neighborhood.
Due to COVID-19, retailers mentioned may close or reduce their hours at any time. We recommend checking City and County of Honolulu or State of Hawai‘i mandates and individual websites for operating hours, updates, and social distancing measures before visiting.
Located in the most eastern part of Honolulu, the neighborhood of Hawaiʻi Kai is where you’ll find Hanauma Bay, breathtaking lookout points along Kalanianaʻole Highway, and a few shopping centers that are excellent places to pop into for some light shopping. Bring your credit cards and stop by Hawaiʻi Kai Shopping Center, Hawaiʻi Kai Towne Center, or the waterfront Koko Marina Center. The outdoor plaza features unique eateries, locally-owned boutiques, and convenience retailers, while offering an abundance of activities like water sports and salon experiences.
The upscale neighborhood near Diamond Head is mostly dedicated to gorgeous residences, waterfront restaurants, quiet beaches, and spas, but the trendy district is also home to the popular KCC Farmers’ Market and Kahala Mall. The indoor shopping mall features over 100 premier retailers and charming local shops including Magnolia, a boutique and gallery that includes a curated collection of art from over 60 Hawai‘i artists.
Just north of Kahala, the historic neighborhoods of Kaimuki and Kapahulu are known for some of the best local shops on the island. Koko Head Avenue and Wai‘alae Avenue have a plethora of stand-alone retailers and mom-and-pop specialty stores. Among our favorite boutiques are ‘Awa and ‘Olena, Amié Honolulu, and Sugarcane, a quaint gift shop that carries a mix of locally made gifts like tea towels, jewelry, and handmade soaps.
Most shops and plazas in Waikiki sit along the vibrant Kalakaua Avenue, the area’s main palm-lined thoroughfare. Shoppers will love the tri-level International Market Place’s collection of mid to high-end shops like Hawai‘i’s only Saks Fifth Avenue, Michael Kors, and Burberry. Find more high fashion houses such as Tiffany & Co., Gucci, and Yves Saint Laurent at Luxury Row and local boutiques offering one-of-a-kind accessories and apparel at the Royal Hawaiian Center.
Without a doubt, Honolulu is a shopper's paradise. Across the Ala Wai Canal from Waikiki, the neighborhoods of Ala Moana and Ward are home to more specialty shopping centers that are not to be missed. The Ala Moana Center is the ninth largest shopping mall in the country and the largest open-air shopping center in the world with nearly 350 stores, 160 dining options, live hula shows, and rotating art exhibits. Find elegant retailers like Diane Von Furstenburg, Jimmy Choo, and Nordstrom within the Ala Moana Center or, for more budget-friendly finds, visit the South Shore Market at Ward Village.
West of Ala Moana, the up-and-coming neighborhood of Kaka'ako is where you’ll find the Aloha Tower Marketplace, an outdoor market bazaar by the port with a few specialty shops, and SALT at Our Kaka‘ako. The dynamic city block that is SALT comprises 85,000 square-feet of curated retail, restaurant, and mixed-use space and was even named 'Shopping Center of the Year’.
There is always great browsing in Chinatown. Between hip bars, street art, and Chinese family-style restaurants, the artsy district has a slew of specialty boutiques like Fighting Eel, Valia Honolulu, and Ginger13. You’ll also find a matrix of Chinatown shops tucked inside the Chinatown Cultural Plaza.
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