If you’re going to Hawaii and want a tan, then you’re covered. The almost perfect weather all year round on the island, with free and mostly secluded beaches, will be waiting with open arms. But if you’ve become the colour of a roasted pig or cooked lobster and want shade from the sun, take a break and find shade in one of these shopping establishments. These shopping establishments are not to be taken lightly, as you can get easily lost by the sheer size of it, they’ve even made maps available to navigate yourself in this foreign space.
There are 3 main shopping areas I want to mention in this post:
1. Ala Moana Shopping Mall
2. Waikiki Shopping Strip
3. Waikele Premium Outlets
ALA MOANA SHOPPING MALL:
I have found that these shopping spaces to be worth the travel and effort of getting there. If you’re staying in Waikiki location you would have read somewhere that Ala Moana Shopping Mall is the main shopping centre in the Oahu Island, they are not kidding with 340 merchants including high-end luxury brands such as Gucci, Celine, Chanel, you get the idea and affordable brands like my new favourite, Target USA. Target USA does not skimp on quality made products, available in fair prices.
From exploration I came across 3 food courts in Ala Moana Shopping Mall:
i. Makai Market food court
ii. Shirokiya Japan Village Walk
iii. Ala Moana Center
Foods ranged mostly from Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, Native Hawaiian food, Mexican, South American, Filipino, Sandwiches, Burgers, and Fast food restaurants. The prices differed between $10USD-$15USD also note that tax is excluded from the advertised prices. The portions are quite large, it can be shared with another person or saved later for another meal unless you have a large appetite.
Ala Moana Shopping Mall is not only a place of shopping, if you also want to experience some free Hawaiian culture with a daily Hula show at 1pm on the Centerstage, make sure you find a spot early, as it gets packed.
If you need 3G/4G Data for your international mobile phone, can I recommend you immediately make your way to AT&T on the bottom floor of Ala Moana Shopping Mall. From memory, they had several options of data only or with a number, but we chose the basic $25USD 3GB data only to use for our GPS travelling around Oahu island.
WAIKIKI SHOPPING STRIP:
For the first couple of nights my partner and I kept trekking our way to Ala Moana Shopping Mall, wondering why there were only a few people more like tourists/locals around, then on the third night by accident, while looking for parking at Waikiki beach, we drove past the illuminating and buzzing strip. We had discovered where the others were.
Waikiki Shopping Strip is an open-air shopping along the main road Kalakaua Ave, stretching from 2km to 3km tops. Like Ala Moana Mall it caters to high-end shopping as well as affordable brands. My favourite among the many merchants is T-galleries where I was able to buy local and nicely packaged Hawaiian items all on duty-free prices, I even found the 100% Kona coffee beans.
The amazing thing I saw was during a radiant sunset, while we drove past hordes of people on the beach, and seeing theirs and the palm trees silhouettes on the Waikiki main beach against the sunset, all hypnotised by the beauty of the scenery.
Food Court Options:
i. Pa’ina Lanai Food Court
ii. The Street A Michael Mina Social House
iii. Waikiki Yokocho
iv. Mitsuwa Marketplace
For food there were several options on the lists of the common Food Courts we saw along the Waikiki Shopping beach strip. The above list is just affordable Food Court options, but there were also other several slow dining options that others may prefer. Some of the places for slow dining are Bills, Cheesecake Factory, Dean & Deluca, Doraku Sushi, Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar, Noi Thai Cuisine, Tim Ho Wan, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse By Wolfgang Zwiener.
WAIKELE PREMIUM OUTLET:
Now unlike the first two shopping destinations, Waikele Premium Outlet is outside Waikiki. You’ll either need to organise your own vehicle/driver or a tour/transportation to get there. It is a 30-minute drive from Waikiki.
Unlike Ala Moana Shopping Mall and Waikiki Shopping strip, the number of shops available may be a tad minuscule and underwhelming. Again it is an open-air shopping destination, having only what seems like one working toilet, as there was a long queue to accommodate visitors. The Kate Spade store there seems to be a hit, the only store to which also has an endless queue. I joined in and got myself some steals for under $70AUD. The Coach store another American brand that may interest visitors, had on sale products affordable under $30USD, nice gift suggestions for your women friends and family at home.
So if you’re travelling to Hawaii and want to experience a little bit of everything including the man-made phenomenon of shopping, try exploring these places. You might find a gem or two.
Disclaimer: Please note I have not been paid or sponsored to do this review. This write-up is based on my own opinions, research and experience. Pictures used are personally taken, unless stated otherwise. I hope you find it helpful.
Images: Credit to user for the images I used and gathered from Google. Placement 1, 5 and 6.
Visited on: February 2019