Hotspots in Honolulu, HI

Ala Moana Beach Park

From the calm and warm water to the lovely jogging trails and nearby bathrooms, this is the perfect spot for families. Pack a picnic, bring a barbecue, or seek a snack from the concrete snack hut on the beach.   Wedding ceremonies and Independence Day fireworks mark one end of the park, at Magic Island, while pole fishing and a camp ground mark the other end, at Kakaako Waterfront. Orange lifeguard shacks overlook the shallow waters, and a breakwater wall keeps out big waves, making Ala Moana appropriate for swimmers of all ages. Beachgoers can use binoculars to check out the ripped surfers working Ala Moana Bowls, a surf break just beyond the breakwater wall.  Public tennis courts, volleyball nets, and a huge expanse of open grass shaded with a few huge banyan trees complete this urban beach park. 

24 Hour Fitness

Smack dab in Honolulu, there lives a large gym open 24-hours, dubbed, appropriately enough, 24 Hour Fitness Kapiolani Branch.  A girl may be in the minority when lifting on the two floors of weight machines, but stray downstairs to the sea of cardio equipment or take a Zumba class to assure yourself that girls rule the world.  Park in the garage for $1, drop $3 to leave the tykes in the Kids’ Club, drop coins in the lockers, then go to town in the full size basketball court, racquetball court, sauna, aerobics room and more. This club may be due for renovation, but it has all the essential fixings.

Hawaii Luxury Car Rentals

Remind him of the 1000 reasons he loves you when you zoom around Oahu in a luxury sports car for the day (or week)!  Rent a car of James Bond-worthiness and tour an exotic locale in an exotic vehicle. Select from dream cars made by Porsche, Ferrari, Viper, Hummer, Prowler, Corvette, and more.  Free courtesy delivery to Waikiki area hotels. 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., seven days.

Liliha Bakery

Liliha Bakery is the neighborhood bakery/diner that’s been around for . . . forever, and launched into Hawaii-wide fame some time since the last World War due to their decadent Coco Puffs.  A coco puff is a staple pot luck dessert, and can be identified by it’s golf-ball-like size, chewy choux pastry exterior, coconut pudding interior, and sweet chantilly dollop of a hat topping. Coco Puffs have sinced branched out from the original flavor to include chocolate-topped puffs and green tea chantilly puffs, resulting in sales of 4,800 to 7,600 Coco Puffs every day.  Their chantilly cake, dobash cake, and haupia cakes deserve mentions as well. The Diner half of Liliha Bakery is famous in its own right for its giant plate-sized fluffy pancakes and greasy-fork late-night menu.  Open 24 hours; closed Mondays.

Salon Cherie

Gentle care, no scary nail machines, and cute, fun, 3-D nail art mark Salon Cherie's personality.  Let the wild side of your personality extend right down to the tips of your fingernails with colorful plastic bows, pearls, tiny Hello Kitties, polka dots, zebra print and rhinestones.  With only two nail chairs and two pedicure stations, clients can expect super attention to detail from the adorable Anri and Mariko, Salon Cherie's owners. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 - 7. Parking in garage. By appointment only. Accepts credit cards. 

Hula's Bar & Lei Stand

Don't let the double entendre in the name of Hula's Bar & Lei Stand fool you . . . actually, yes, let it! At the anchor of Honolulu's gay scene, picture yourself with a cosmo in one hand and a girlfriend in the other, while googling--in the pre-1999 sense of the word--the gogo dancer boys and the well-groomed bartenders.   As you toss your hair along with the queens in the tropical breeze, you'll see panoramic Diamond Head Crater and Queen's Surf Beach, from the 65-foot expanse of open windows.  Come to Hula's with your girlfriends and forget about (straight) men! Prepare to be friendly with the locals and partake drag shows, DJ events, pool tournaments, and weekly Saturday booze cruises, all sans the usual man drama.  Park on the street or at the Honolulu Zoo lot.

Photo by Linny Morris, Honolulu Magazine

Wet ā€˜nā€™ Wild Hawaii

For the thrill seekers amongst us, Wet ‘n Wild is as good as it gets in Hawaii. Hawaii’s only waterpark features unique and towering rides like The Superman, The Shaka, and The Flying Hawaiian. Quite a few attractions require riders to haul inflatable rafts up to the top to speed down on. The requisite lazy river “Kapolei Kooler” and wave pool also make an appearance at Wet n Wild Hawaii. We recommend water socks or shoes to prevent burning your feet on the cement, and lots of sunscreen. Look for raves and other nighttime events to happen here, especially during the summer months. The food tastes like a disaster, so try not to get hungry. Parking is $5.00.

Aloha Stadium Swap Meet

Maybe you don’t need that tacky “Welcome” sign with the tiki bird carved on it, and maybe you already have one too many beach cover ups that are so cheap and so cute, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. Early each morning, vendors unpack their trucks into tents ringing he Aloha Stadium parking lot, hawking deals such as eight t-shirts for $20, shell jewelry, Hawaiian print seat covers, knockoff handbags, imported handmade merchandise, and Asian crack seed snacks to meandering shoppers. 

Living Art Marine Center

Have you ever looked deep into the eyes of a crab? You can do this and one better when you shake hands with a sea star at the Living Art Marine Center. Part aquarium, part discovery center, part ornamental marine life breeder, this place inspires wonder in every age visitor. See fish brains and fish ears up close and magnified, make gyotaku (ink prints made from fish) on paper or a t-shirt, learn about our fragile coral reef and how not to let it disappear, behold the beautiful aquaponics garden, touch a shark's jaws, and even adopt a fish as you learn about the Marine Ornamental Industry. For those who want to wade through Hawaii's amazing tide pools and shallow waters, take a guided reef walk and find the critters you've been missing all your life. Open Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 2. Self-guided tours allowed, but calling ahead for a guided tour is recommended.

Twist at Hanohano Room

Shoot up to the stars at the top of Waikiki in the glass elevator leading to the spectacular views from the Hanohano room. Gliding down the hall into the totally glass panoramic splendor will whisk you to another place and time, where the tinkling of a grand piano accompanies every bite of shellfish cassoulet and every sip of sparkling wine.  At night,  slide up to the full bar where Honolulu lights will twinkle like stars under your feet.  Unimpeachable service and equally heaven-ward prices recommend Twist at Hanohano room for the specialist of occasions. Valet parking available.