Green Market: Great Local Gifts
The Big Island's green markets are notable for the quality of produce and the abundance of island specialties at better-than-usual prices. Look for the cheerful green kiosks of the Alii Gardens Marketplace, where local farmers and artists set up their wares daily from 8am to 5pm.
This is not your garden-variety marketplace; some vendors are permanent, some drive over from Hilo, and the owners have planted shade trees and foliage to make the 5-acre plot a Kona landmark. There are 40 to 50 vendors on any given day, selling jewelry, woodcrafts, produce, macadamia nuts, orchids, and -- our favorite -- the fresh juices of Kay Reeves, owner of Wau, who gets up before dawn to make her sensational fresh lilikoi and lime juices with healthful ingredients. Kona Blue Sky Coffee is also here, as is Lynn Cappell, a fine painter of island landscapes, and Laura de Rosa's sensational A'ala Dreams lotions and oils.
What to buy: The local made Shell jewlery and wonderful soaps.
The Big Island does not have the large shopping malls found in Maui & Oahu but it does have The King's Shops, one of the best shopping centers on the island. This is an outdoor shopping center offering a wide variety of clothing, jewelry, & specialty stores in addition to island activity centers, real estate agents & restaurants. Many of the stores are upscale.
Shopping center is open 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
There are 5 fine dining restaurants and a food court which includes Dairy Queen, Starbucks, Subway, King's Court Pizza, Senor Nachos & Wild Boar Juice & Java.
Activities & Entertainment:
There is Hawaiian themed entertainment every evening either at 4 or 6 p.m. including hula shows and Hawaiian music.
Daily activities include ukelele lessons to Hawaiian arts and crafts. They are either free or if it's a craft a small fee is charged for materials.
Petroglyph Tours are given daily from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the paved paths that wind in the lava rock across from the shopping center. Tours are free.
Movies are shown at dusk on Tuesday on a large, digital, state-of-the-art screen outdoors. Admission is $5.
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Ali'i Gardens: Best Prices, Best Selection, Best Location
Beautiful open-air market with local crafts, fresh produce and flowers and great Aloha spirit! Friendly vendors with unique variety of gift items, including soaps, hand carved wood and clothing. Eat a coconut cut fresh, pick a handmade lei or take home unique flowers from the island. Enjoy a Hawaiian shave-ice, with vanilla ice cream!
What to pay: Items can vary in price. Reasonable pricing for Hawaiian made goods.
ABC Stores: Something for Everyone
ABC Stores are located all over Oahu, Maui and Kona. You can't walk down a block without hitting a store or several stores. The stores range from small shops to large department sized stores. Everything you could want to buy are in these stores: food items, alcohol, souvenirs, clothing, makeup, toiletries, sun block, beach towels, candy, picture frames, beach coolers, hats and more. The prices here are very affordable so it is the perfect place to pick up some cheap souvenirs for the people back home.
During our trips we always find ourselves here picking up some souvenirs and gifts for the people back home. Our last trip to Hawaii brought us to various stores in Waikiki, Kona and Lahaina. It is important to save your receipts. ABC has a rewards program that entitles you to free gifts depending on the total amount of your receipts. Our last trip we saved all of our receipts from Oahu, Kona and Maui and were given a tote bag, insulated cooler bag and a large bag on wheels for free.
**ABC is definitely a bargain store. No items will "break the bank" or budget. It's also a great place to buy the souvenirs for the people back home without spending a fortune.**
Elephant Walk: Nice Souvenir Shop
Elephant Walk was one of the first shops we visited during our day in Kona. The shop had some fun tee shirts, unique Christmas ornaments, post cards, jewelry, books and local craft. My wife found a nice handpainted Christmas Ball she had to have to add to our ever growing collection of travel ornaments. I found a tee shirt that suited me perfectly with a man in a hat lounging on a hammock. Yeah, that's what vacation means to me; relaxing in a hammock...no worries. It also helps that it said "Old Guys Rule" and I was in Hawaii to celebrate my Big 4-0.
Sunset Traders: Hawaiian Gifts and Souvenirs
Sunset Traders is one of the many souvenirs shops along the main strip in the downtown area. They sell a variety of tee shirts, post cards and other typical souvenir items. Prices are reasonable and they had a nice selection of merchandise.
Donkey Balls: Great Chocolates with a Local Flair
Donkey Balls is a local landmark business. They sell all types of coffee and chocolates with names such as dirty balls, blue balls, donkey beans, donkey balls, etc. They are all locally made, with local grown coco beans and the island's special macadamia nuts.
One is located in the Kona Inn Shopping Village. The main store and confectionery is south of Kona, near the town of Captain Cook.
What to buy: Look at the ingredients to see if you want light or dark, macadamia nuts or not, etc. But all the flavors are quite good. You can get cookies, chocolates, coffee, honey, spices, gift baskets, etc.
- Food and Dining
Crazy Shirt: Nice Tees for Everyone
Crazy Shirt is a store I have seen in many location on the Main Land of the U.S. Here in Hawaii they have several locations across the islands. They carry some nice tee shirts for men women and children along with pants, swim wear, skirts, hats and some plush toys for kids. Prices are reasonable and the quality of the merchandise is good.
We stopped into the store primarily to look for a swim shirt for me. They had a few but I wasn't thrilled with the color options. The sales woman was very helpful; a former New Yorker who once worked for Pan Am(it is a small world).
Harley Davidson Store: A Nice Tee for my Dad
My Dad's only request of me for a souvenir was to get him a Tee Shirt from the Harley Davidson Shop in Kona. The shop is about a fifteen minute walk from the pier up a large hill.
The gift shop is a small area off the side of the dealership with tee, jackets and other Harley Davidson themed items. There were several tees to choose from and we found him a good one for $25. He was quite happy when we came home with it.
Kona Inn Shopping Village: A Small Outdoor Mall
Kona Inn Shopping Village was a nice outdoor mall with soem shops selling local items and souvenirs. My wife and I wandered through some of the shops and bought a few items such as a fridge magnet, tee shirts and some necklaces for my niece.
Where drinks are sold: Natural Artesian water
The shop is not important. The water is a must on a warm humid day.
Hawaiian Springs bottled water is some of the best that you have ever tasted.
- Road Trip
Gifts, crafts, etc.: Hilo Hattie
There is a world of difference between the Hilo Hattie here and the one in Hilo. This one has some really classy things. It is well worth checking out.
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