Neighborhood Spotlight: Kapahulu

Edging the east side of Waikiki, the Kapahulu neighborhood is known for its iconic eats, locally owned boutiques, and surfer vibes. Stroll down the sunny sidewalks here and you’ll find a mix of mom-and-pop restaurants, sportswear shops, and nightlife hangouts. We’ve compiled a guide with our favorite spots along this bustling avenue, located just a 10-minute drive or a 20-minute walk from Coconut Waikiki Hotel. 

Lunch Like a Local

Kamaaina (Hawaii residents) love brunching at Sweet E’s Cafe. Think: omelets with Kalua pork, Hawaiian Sweet Bread French Toast, and Oriental Chicken Salad. At Haili’s Hawaiian Food, get a taste of poi, poke, chicken long rice, lomi salmon, and laulau when you order the Big Kahuna Plate. Or, if you’re craving local comfort food, pick-up a hefty plate lunch from Rainbow Drive-In (don’t miss the macaroni salad!).

                                                                                           Hawaii Tourism Authority / Tor Johnson

Eat Sweets

Multi-cultural and multi-colored treats abound here. Famous for its Portuguese doughnuts, called malasadas, Leonard’s Bakery is a fixture in all the guidebooks for a reason. You’ll also want to stop in at Nanding’s Bakery for Filipino favorites, like Spanish rolls and goodies filled with ube. Cool off at Waiola Shave Ice with a custom creation of rainbow flavors topped with condensed milk, mochi balls, or azuki beans.  

Shop For a Souvenir 

Hunt for the perfect vintage aloha shirt or muumuu at Bailey’s Antiques and Aloha Shirts, packed with retro, second-hand finds. At Island Paddler Hawaii, admire the decorative outrigger canoe paddles made of precious koa wood, pick out a locally-designed bikini, or stock up on some new slippers (a.k.a. sandals). Rent or buy masks, fins, and snorkels at Snorkel Bob’s, so you can explore the reefs and waters around the island.  

                                                                                           Hawaii Tourism Authority / Tor Johnson

Play Around

Make a tee time at the Ala Wai Golf Course, a casual, flat 18-hole challenge managed by the city & county with nice views of Diamond Head. Visit the Honolulu Zoo and say ‘hi’ to the new baby rhinoceros born last month, as well as the resident giraffes, orangutans, and zebras. Animal lovers will also love a visit to the Hawaii Cat Cafe where you can sip Kona coffee and cuddle kittens. 

Stick Around After Sunset

THE spot for pupu (appetizers) and drinks, Uncle Bo’s is a perfect place for sharing snacks and sipping on cocktails with friends. Order the Boca-Rota cheesy bread, trust us. If you want to watch a sports game on TV, head to Side Street Inn and nosh on their famous pork chops and fried rice. For a special night out, slip into The Blind Ox, a speakeasy with opulent decor and a premium whisky selection.

Header Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority / Ben Ono