Hawaii Trip 2016 – What’s New in Waikiki

Spent Labor Day weekend in Waikiki.

I enjoy going there every few years and seeing what’s new.

However, it’s been completely built out as a mall, so looks kind of corporate now. To combat that, plan to climb Diamondhead and go to the zoo.

Also, who would fly a quadcopter drone at one of the most crowded beaches in the world? Not surprised, just saying.

So what’s new in Waikiki?

  • Two hurricanes were approaching the Islands, but like usual did not landfall on Oahu
  • Not very busy, likely because of the Hurricane news
  • International Marketplace is now a shiny mall that opened Aug. 25. It is anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue, and has the only public restrooms in Waikiki now. It has plaques to remember the mom-and-pop stores they bulldozed.
  • Kalakaua is also a giant hand-bag mall for Japanese tourists
  • Matteo’s Italian (and Seafood) at Seaside and Kuhio closed, and a Crackin Kitchen Seafood opened next door
  • 24hour Fitness is charging $25 for a day-pass on Kalakaua, but it does have a beach view
  • Free Kuhio Beach Hula Show (Waikiki) is 6:30 pm Tues/Thu/Sat – features two dozen performers! Bring your own towel or beach chair to sit on, practise your photography.
  • 100 Japanese people were lined up outside Marukame Udon on Kuhio one night at 9 pm. Must be pretty good. Next door is a souvenir shop with the most awesomely tacky items. If you need a hula dancer for your car, get shopping.
  • Princess Kaiulani Hotel buffet ($42/person) still has free Hawaiian music and hula show downstairs, and a very good Polynesian show/dinner upstairs. (They cancelled the downstairs show at least one evening because of Hurricane weather reports.)
  • McD still serves the free pineapple cup with combos, and also offers taro pie – very sweet. They charge $10 for a combo, but you can get a BOGO Big Mac on Mondays and they have a Pick Two special, and they do have drink refills and wifi
  • Duke’s Restaurant is still packed, but the Hula Grill ($60/person) upstairs doesn’t have a wait list. Has restrooms.
  • TheBus is $2.50 per trip now, or $35/4-day tourist pass available in ABC Stores. The Waikiki Trolley is only $2/trip between Waikiki and Ala Moana and the open air cars are good for photography and sight-seeing
  • Lots of hotel and residential construction cranes
  • Flew American Airlines there – they served biscuits instead of meals, and had no entertainment systems. Ran APU for one-hour while finding pilots. Dreadful experience, but this is a USA airline, so I’m being redundant.
  • Disney Aulani is not a theme park – it’s a time-share (ie. scam) with a few hotel room rentals for $450/nite in the middle of nowhere. ok if you’re a large family that wants to cocoon, maybe.
  • if you go on a boat tour of any kind and want to have fun, buy the cheapest tickets or you’ll be stuck with grandparents

Waikiki photo vantage points:

  • beach sunsets
  • surfboard stands
  • rescue canoes
  • Kuhio Hula Show (Tues/Thurs/Sat at 6:30 pm)
  • street performers
  • Diamondhead
  • Honolulu Zoo

If you’re from the mainland, remember that Hawaii is hot and humid. Stay hydrated, wear a hat, and don’t over-exert yourself – especially around noon-time.


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