Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki

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Oahu, HI
Kalakaua Ave, Waikiki
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Kalakaua Ave is the main street in Waikiki. It is beautiful, full of modern architecture and tropical flowers, and also plenty of tourists. The shopping area extends for one mile, from Beach Walk (an outdoor shopping center where you will find Hard Rock Cafe and many surf shops) in the west to Kapahulu Ave in the east, so it's about a twenty minute walk one way along the entire strip. Waterfalls, statues, and torches add to the festive feel. It's super fun for kids to walk this strip and do an ABC store shopping spree! There are dozens of stores selling tropical treats of all kinds: necklaces, bracelets, plumeria hair pins, kukui nut leis, bright tropical towels, dried pineapple, chocolate macadamia nuts, surfboard keychains, hibiscus print dresses, and much more! I don't recommend buying food from an ABC store if it's the kind that is sitting out pre-prepared (get your food hot at a restaurant instead) as I got food poisoning. ABC stores are really part of what is magical about Waikiki, though, and for sure you will see one every two minutes while you're there!

Halfway along the main strip of Kalakaua Ave you will come to the International Marketplace. While it's now an outdoor mall, it used to be a very special area with little stalls lit up with lights. They have tried to keep the magic though, with lanterns in the amazing banyan tree and wonderful pink heart-shaped anthurium flowers by a stream. There is also a rain fountain. Have a banana and chocolate croissant at Kona Coffee while you're there. And read the plaques about the Hawaiian monarchy and their history in the area. There is a lovely grassy spot where concerts are held inside the mall. Here you can sit on large rock-shaped seats under palm trees. It's a whimsical sight and kids love it!
It's wonderful to walk into the grand hotels that are situated on Kalakaua Ave. If you walk into the Royal Hawaiian Center shops you will come to the pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel. It has the loveliest salmon pink Spanish Moorish architecture from 1927. Check out the Moana Surfrider, a historic hotel which opened in 1901. It has a magnificent banyan tree under which you can have drinks by the sea.
From Kalakaua Ave, you can easily cross the street and get to the beach, anywhere east of the Moana Surfrider. West of that you have to navigate through some weird back alleys of the big hotels to get to the beach, because Kalakaua Ave goes inland a bit. The first beach you'll come to east of the Moana Surfrider is Duke Kahanamoku Statue Beach, where little grassy knolls border the road and make a nice spot to hang out (though there are some homeless people). This area is extremely crowded but colorful.
The next beach you'll come to is the Waikiki Ocean Swimming Pool, a beach with a rock breakwater that makes for calm swimming. It is perfect for kids or fearful swimmers.
And at the end of the shopping area, you'll come to Waikiki Beach at Kapahulu Ave, a slightly less crowded area.
Once the shops end, you can continue your stroll on Kalakaua Ave, past the Waikiki Aquarium, Hau Tree Beach (so nice!), and all the way to the little gingerbread houses near Tonggs Beach. As you walk along Kalakaua Ave, you'll have the beach on one side and Kapiolani Park on the other, a huge park with great views of Diamond Head.

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Waikiki Beach Walk, a shopping center on the west end of Kalakaua Ave.

Cafes at Waikiki Beach Walk.

Stores at Waikiki Beach Walk.

Shiny building where Kalakaua Ave meets Beach Walk, the west end of the shopping area.

Palm trees and plants and a happy feel on Kalakaua Ave.

Designer shops along Kalakaua Ave.

The entrance to the International Marketplace.

Lovely seats like large pebbles in the International Marketplace.

You can learn about the stars and read about the Hawaiian monarchy, at the International Marketplace.

Lamill, where you can buy coffee and pastries, in the International Marketplace.

Looking up at palm trees and blue sky from the International Marketplace.

Lanterns in the banyan tree at the International Marketplace.

Tesla shop, along Kalakaua Ave.

Palm trees galore at Royal Hawaiian Center.

The Moana Surfrider, as seen from Kalakaua Ave.

Seating outside Kona Coffee, on the far end of the International Marketplace.

Shopping inside Royal Hawaiian Center.

Kids like to play on the shady lawn inside Royal Hawaiian Center.

Hawaii-themed books in one of the ABC stores on Kalakaua Ave.

The view you come to if you walk from the west side of Kalakaua Ave through some hotel back alleys.

The historic Gump building with its blue tile roof, on Kalakaua and Lewers.

Interesting glass highrises.

Whale mural on a building, on a side street.


The main shopping area of Kalakaua Ave extends one mile from Beach Walk in the west to Kapahulu Ave in the east. You can park in the zoo parking lot (on Kapahulu Ave) and walk from there.


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Last Updated: Mon, 07 Aug 2017 01:17:10 GMT

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