Insider’s Guide: Honolulu

Insider’s Guide: Honolulu

25/01/2014 0 By Gayle Dickson

Cabin crew member Kula Barbieto has lived in Honolulu her whole life and is an expert on this diverse and vibrant city. For the first instalment of the Hawaiian Airlines Insider’s Guide she shares the best things to see and do in her home town, Honolulu. 

What do you love the most about this city?

It’s a very cosmopolitan city and has the best of both worlds. There is great shopping, nightlife and entertainment in the city, yet only 20 minutes away, you can hike beautiful cliffs or enjoy quiet, picturesque beaches tucked away from the hustle and bustle.


What’s the one thing you can’t miss in this city?

Shave ice on a hot day! It’s truly a local specialty with so many delicious flavours to enjoy.


What’s Honolulu’s best kept secret?

The hole-in-the-wall restaurants on Kapahulu Avenue are a local favourite. Irifune is BYOD with a fun atmosphere, the friendliest staff and freshest sashimi. That’s my favourite, but I’d recommend asking locals for tips too.


Where’s the best place to take in views of Honolulu?

Diamond Head Crater is an easy hike with a rewarding view of the famous Waikiki Beach.


What’s the hot spot locals are going to right now?

The Study at The Modern Honolulu in Waikiki is the hot spot for creatively mixed and delicious cocktails.


Best hotel in the city?

Again, The Modern Honolulu. It’s located right between Waikiki Beach and Ala Moana Center, the world’s largest outdoor mall.


Best place to eat?

Kalapawai Café in Kailua is my favourite place to eat in all of Hawai’I and only a short drive from Honolulu. The intimate café has delicious creations made from local produce.


Best place to shop?

For all the designer brands, Ala Moana Shopping Center has everything in one place at great prices. However, I’d recommend shopping local for something different to what’s in the chain stores. Oahu has so many one-of-a-kind, specialty boutiques like Pedal & Piper, Beach Babe Hawaii, Pa’akai, Olive, Tiny Manini and The Fighting Eel with unique designs and fashions.


Best thing in the city for kids?

Waikiki AquariumHonolulu Zoo and Sea Life Park are all great experiences for kids. For older children, a hike to Makapu’u Light House is a fun activity for the whole family to do together.


Best thing to see for sports fans?

University of Hawaii Football games at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium is the best place to catch local sport and join in the atmosphere with dedicated local fans. Go Rainbow Warriors!


The best place to study up on Hawaii?

The Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum on Bernice Street is Hawaii’s largest museum dedicated to studying and preserving the history of Hawaii and the Pacific. The museum also has one of the largest natural history specimen collections in the world.

Honolulu’s best theatre to take in a local stage show?

The historic Hawaii Theatre has hosted some of the best artists and musicians from Hawaii and around the world. The iconic theatre has a unique vaudeville design. It was called the ’The Pride of the Pacific’ when it opened in the 1920s and hasn’t lost any of its charm.

Best tip for Honolulu International Airport?

Head to Pinkberry at Honolulu International Airport, it’s the only one on the island. Ticketed passengers can cool off with frozen yoghurt after checking in.


Visit or call 09 977 2227. 

Honolulu Event Guide – January/February 2014:

January 26: NFL Pro Bowl – National Football League’s pro players compete in the annual all-star game at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium.

January 31: Chinese New Year – one of the biggest celebrations in Honolulu’s Chinatown.

February 17 (Washington’s Birthday): The Great Aloha Run – a race involving thousands of runners from the Aloha Tower to Aloha Stadium

February 22: Hawaii Chocolate Festival – a celebration of all things chocolate. Spotlighting Hawai’i grown cacao.


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