Crafts / Gift shops, Oahu
The aloha shirt is definitely a nice and practical thing to buy here, for you or any other you love back home. Although, all the shirts we saw are made in China in our days the roots of the shirt go back to the late 20s when some tailors recycled leftover kimono fabric into the famous shortsleeved untucked shirt. There are dozen of different colors, some may look too kitch but you will find something for sure. The price of an aloha shirt is usually 12-15 dollars and 15-20 for a dress. The majority of the prints on the shirts are from native flora. There different sizes but the one you see on pic 1 is by the far the biggest one :)
Of course, you will find noumerous souvenirs, wooden Hawaiian fliptops, magnets with coconut trees etc The famous flower lei is everywhere and not very expensive, we saw many of them in Chinatown, they don’t last for too long but we had many nice pictures with them some days.
The ukuleles cost less than $10 but they aren’t real instruments of course, just souvenirs for hanging them on the wall. If you want a real one check the store inside the ukelele store inside at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center (2201 Kalakaua Av). It’s called Bob’s Ukelele (pic 2) and has some real ukulele (with real prices of course, the good ones start from $300 while some ukulele made in china from $100) but also books for learning how to play the ukulele. The owner was very helpful and explained us many things.
Located in the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center, Orchid Court, is this great store which sells authentic Hawaiian crafts...everything from jewelry to handmade rosary beads, to masks and musical instruments.
We met the manager, Kim Nihei, who was an absolute delight. She answered all of our questions about the crafts that were on display. Kim is knowledgeable and well versed in Hawaiian lore.
I highly recommend you check this store out, you won't be disappointed!
What to buy: I purchased a beautiful pair of earrings, as did Kris, which were "Dichroic Glass". The artist applies thin layers of metals to a glass substrate in a vacuum. The color is totally structural as light bounces between the metallic molecules and then back to the eye. There is a lot of variation even in small bits of glass, like an earring. The pair I bought which is turquoise is stunning, I purchased another pair of the diachroic glass for a friend in Germany. Kris purchased a pair in the purple red tones, beautiful!
The artist uses local materials to make these earrings, pendant and bracelets.
What to pay: Very moderately priced goods, considering the authenticity of the craft work. I highly recommend this shop if you are looking for authentic Hawaiian crafts.
Located on the north shore, this little shop is right next to a Thai restaurant.
It has all sorts of local crafts, gifts, and art work. It is worth the stop if you are in the area. It is not touristy kinds of gifts but more unique gifts such as hand made tea pots, local childrens books, and handmade ceiling fan pulls. Too many different gifts to name. It is a little pricey but less expensive than Waikiki.
What to buy: Handmade ceiling fan pulls, picture frames made out of sand and shells, and handmade tea pots-works of art! They also carry some very beautiful local jewelry including the expensive sunset shells.
What to pay: depends on what you buy.
OK OK. Doesn't sound like much. But, once you've been to Waikiki, you know the name. And why? Not only because there is at least one at every intersection, but also because they have everything you need or want. And how convenient. It really was great not having to go far for fresh pineapple or groceries. Satisfying those chocolate fixes, purchasing the sunscreen you forgot, and buying handfuls of souveniers from coffee to dashboard hula dancers. Being fresh out of the hospital, we needed only go down the elevator, and two doors down. We spent most of our time sitting on our lanai, eating fresh fruits and watching the surfers. How wonderful.
What to buy: Need souveniers? Take a look through the shop. We found many of the same gifts at othr shops for less here. And interestingly enough, not all ABC stores have all the same items. My husband bought this lighter, shaped like a woman's body, in a bikini. After you lit it, little lights blink on the "private parts." TeeHee
Hilo Hattie (which was establiihed in 1963) is the largest retail source for Hawaiian and Island Lifestyle products.
What to buy: Men's fashions, women's fashions, childrens fashions, Aloha gifts and crafts, food products, lotions, coffee mugs...you name it and they've got it.
What to pay: They offer tremendous value pricing on the largest selection of Hawaiian items backed by friendly customer service and a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Aloha Tower is a great place to window shop due to it's location in the harbour . Most of the things found here are what you get in a shopping mall except more Hawaiian.
There are some nice cafes for a drink and people watching and a good spot to take photo of Honolulu skyline.
I think i should be paid to write this!! hahaha...but i can't help mentioning that the ABC Stores are a baker's dozen in Waikiki!!! I'm only assuming that Honolulu has it's own share!!! But, seriously, if you want to buy everyone back home a souvenir, go into THESE stores...and i mean you can't just go in one...you gotta go in to all of them. With so much variety and cheap, cheap prices, you can't go wrong!
Hilo Hattie, the largest manufacturer of Hawaiian fashions, attracts more than a million visitors to its ever-expanding empire throughout the state. Its Ala Moana store is a leap in image, quality, range of merchandise, and overall shopping options. You can find great gifts here, from coconut utensils to food products and aloha shirts in all price ranges and motifs. There are some inexpensive silk aloha shirts as well as brand-name aloha shirts like Tommy Bahama and the store's own Hilo Hattie label.
It's not what the shop is, it's what not to try to take out of Hawaii. Plant starts are okay, as long as they're marked approved for export--but I noted that the airport agricultural inspection lists excluded plants in soil. I bought bare branch starts of plumeria, hibiscus, and orchid; fortunately, they survived the trip in my carry-on in good shape.
I wanted to take home a whole bag full of avocadoes. 'Tis not allowed, however, so I regretfully left my friend's sack in her office. (The inspectors do open your bags and coolers.) My daughter was able to bring coconuts out--guess they're okay in their original husks.