Winter Activities in Honolulu, HI
Throughout the month of December, driving through downtown Honolulu means marveling at the Christmas light decorations. Lit with an electric lights parade that traverses downtown, local school marching bands, and culminating with a Christmas tree lighting ceremony the first weekend in December, the Honolulu City Lights have inspired songs, photographers, and artists.
What is winter without The Nutcracker? Ballet Hawaii stages a full production every year. Not to be outdone by any other ballet school in Hawaii, Ballet Hawaii imports principal dancers from New York City Ballet and other big-name companies to play the Cavalier or Sugar Plum to Hawaii audiences. Held only one weekend in December in the Neil S. Blaisdell performance hall, this is the one Nutcracker you want to see in Hawaii if you want to re-live a world class version of your childhood favorite ballet. The Iwilei studio’s are located at the Dole Cannery, 650 Iwilei Rd., Box 221, Honolulu, HI, 96817, next to Home Depot and Costco on the 2nd floor next to the Food Court.
Even if you're not Chinese, Chinese New Year is kind of a big deal in Honolulu. Greeted by much preparation of food and cleaning of homes, the cultural festivities overflow to all who care to visit the Chinatown Cultural Plaza. At this four-day event, food vendors provide a variety of Chinese favorites like gau, a sticky rice cake akin to Japanese mochi, peanut candy, long life noodles, and many other delectable goodies. Exhibits and entertainment include feng shui presentations, arts and crafts vendors, martial arts demonstrations, Chinese fortune readings, and Chinese dancing and singing. Friday and Saturday, January 14 & 15 and January 21 & 22, 10:00 am – 10:00 pm, Free to the public.
Long-distance runners from around the world converge in Hawaii for this annual December marathon, now in its 39th year. Recent competitors include a 92-year-old grandmother and Guinness Book of World Records Holder, the oldest woman in recorded history to complete an entire 26.2 mile marathon. Runners are treated to an all-you-can-eat dinner and Hawaiian entertainment at the Waikiki Shell after the race. Held every year on the second Sunday of December, the 2011 marathon is scheduled for 5:00 a.m., December 11.
Most people say “lucky we live Hawaii” because of the dearth of ice and snow, but if you really insist on getting your cold fix, drive to Ice Palace (est 1982). At the only ice-skating rink in the 50th state, you will more likely than not bump into a novice skater or three. Don't have your own skates? Never fear, Ice Palace rentals are here! Skating lessons for wannabe figure-, hockey-, and speed-skaters are offered for ages 3 through adult. At $89 for 8 lessons, they have almost 400 students at Ice Palace. Buy snacks like pizza, nachos, churros, and hot dogs inside. Open Sun 10:45-8:00, Monday-Friday 9:00-3:00, Thursday 7:00-9:00 p.m., Friday 6:30-11 p.m., Saturday 11:00-11:00.