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International Marketplace, Waikiki

Oahu, HI
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International Marketplace, Waikiki, Oahu Hawaii

Description

NOTE: This area is currently under construction, and will sadly become a high-end (puke) mall. Luckily, the banyan tree will remain, though I doubt it will be as magical without the little vendor stands below.
The International Marketplace is a colorful, bustling spot in the midst of Waikiki. Stalls overflow with sparkling jewelry and multi-colored candles. Sarongs shimmer in the breeze. A delightful old Banyan tree stretches its branches over it all, dangling long tarzan ropes below. Pretty orchids are nestled beside a landscaped rock waterfall. Street performers gather nearby on Kalakaua Ave to wow the crowds.
This is the place to come in the evening for an exciting walk with your lover after you've had enough of the sea and sand. Pick out some souvenirs for your friends.
The International Marketplace was the idea of a man called Don the Beachcomber in 1955, who wanted a cultural open-air village built, with art, crafts and entertainment stalls from different ethnic groups represented in Hawaii, such as the Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and South Sea Islanders. It was designed by architects on 14 acres that had originally belonged to Queen Emma, the generous Hawaiian queen. It has now become more of a souvenir bazaar, with cheap trinkets, but it retains its magical aura.
Along Kalakaua Ave at the International Marketplace is a Quiksilver store with some great Hawaii tshirts.
Just east of the International Marketplace on the same side of the street is the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel. Walk into their lobby and you will find a bustling scene of craft vendors displaying their techniques. It turned out to be great luck when we walked in because it was a dismal, rainy day and we happened upon a wonderful activity. Their chef, a charismatic European man, was doing a gingerbread-house activity in front of the incredible gingerbread village he had made. If you are in Hawaii at Christmastime you have to come and see this! There's a mountain pass, a ski lift, a carousel, plus little cabins, Iolani Palace, Kawaiha'o Church, and the Moana Surfrider Hotel, all made out of gingerbread. Tons of glittery snow and little lights add to the magic. My husband and daughter joined the free class and had a blast making their own gingerbread house out of real gingerbread and melty chocolate and a puff of cotton for smoke above the fireplace.
Royal Hawaiian Beach is a warm place to swim, by day or night. Check it out, across Kalakaua Avenue. A pleasant spot to eat here is in the garden area of the Cheesecake Factory, amongst the tropical trees of the pink Royal Hawaiian Hotel.
Great Place to Stay
If you want to be in the midst of all the action, right beside the International Marketplace, stay at the Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort. You can walk across the street at any time of day or night and be at the very best part of Waikiki Beach! Usually this part of Waikiki is off-limits because there's no parking and it's just hard to access. But you will get to know the heart of Waikiki really well if you stay right in it! You can shop and dine at Waikiki Beach Walk, Royal Hawaiian Center, Duty Free Shop, and Macy's, and afterwards enjoy the gorgeous views from your room- ask for a room with a view. I wouldn't call this area quiet or serene, but it's great for couples, singles (you can fall into bed within minutes of being out on the town), or couples with older children.

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Photo Gallery

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A candle stall at the International Marketplace, at night.
A candle stall at the International Marketplace, at night.
The orchids and waterfall below the Banyan tree at International Marketplace, at night.
The orchids and waterfall below the Banyan tree at International Marketplace, at night.
Colorful stalls at the International Marketplace.
Colorful stalls at the International Marketplace.
Walking under the banyan tree amongst the stalls feels wonderful!
Walking under the banyan tree amongst the stalls feels wonderful!
Rainbow in the waterfall at International Marketplace in Waikiki.
Rainbow in the waterfall at International Marketplace in Waikiki.
The cute waterfall under the banyan tree- I love it!
The cute waterfall under the banyan tree- I love it!
Chef Raif Bauer and his gingerbread village inside the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel.
Chef Raif Bauer and his gingerbread village inside the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel.
The mountain pass, ski lift, carousel, and iceskaters on a lake.
The mountain pass, ski lift, carousel, and iceskaters on a lake.
The gingerbread-house class in the lobby of the Princess Kaiulani Hotel.
The gingerbread-house class in the lobby of the Princess Kaiulani Hotel.
Iolani Palace with its 88 columns took over six weeks to complete. See Kawaiha'o Church behind.
Iolani Palace with its 88 columns took over six weeks to complete. See Kawaiha'o Church behind.
The gingerbread village took a team 660 hours to make, with 100 lbs of dark chocolate, 30 lbs of white chocolate, 60 sheets of gingerbread, and 200 gallons of icing!
The gingerbread village took a team 660 hours to make, with 100 lbs of dark chocolate, 30 lbs of white chocolate, 60 sheets of gingerbread, and 200 gallons of icing!
 

Directions

International Marketplace is located at 2330 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu HI 96815.
Parking is very expensive in the heart of Waikiki. The best parking is in the high-rise parking lot next door to Ross Dress for Less (on the ocean side of Ross) on Seaside Ave. You must buy something at Ross to have your three-hour parking validated.
You could also park at the zoo for $1 an hour and walk the long walk here.
You can also search for parking along the side streets that branch off from Kalakaua Ave. If you can walk farther, you can park for free along Ala Wai Blvd if you're patient and can find a spot. The earlier in the day, the easier it'll be. You can also park at the time-limited, metered parking along Saratoga Rd, and then walk along the beach to this spot.
Quiksilver, 2330 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu HI 96815, call (808) 926-5800.
Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort, 2300 Kalakaua Ave, call (808) 922-4646.
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel, 120 Kaiulani Ave, call (808) 922-5811.

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Visitor Ratings

Overall Visitor Rating:


pauline
04/27/2012 16:45
I love this place very reasonable was there in april cant wait to return

lestier@hotmail.com
02/22/2012 01:07
How does an artist get started selling Hawaiian Art Works at The International Market Place,in Waikiki, HI.? Where do you go to get an application or learn the rules to qulify and set up?? Sincerely, Stefania Lestier. lestier@hotmail.com Mahalo, Aloha!

Melody
09/19/2011 11:03
I lived in Hawaii for 25 years now and I love the International Market Place. Lots of small family owned shops fill this open air shopping center. This place is shaded by beautiful large banyan trees. A lot of the people working at the shops are actually business owners and they are great to talk to.

shopping is fun and prices are cheap compared to the rest of Waikiki. Many of these shops have stuff that you can't find anywhere else.

I recently opened up my shop at the International Market Place and it is such a fun place to work. We run the Hawaiian Music Box Kiosk. Feel free to stop by and say hi!

http://www.hawaiianmusicboxes.com/

Sammy
06/06/2010 14:40
I miss my oceanfront room... and surfing til sunset out the front with my kids :) feels like another life!

Manny
12/21/2009 09:30
We are waiting to return :)

Last Updated Tue, 26 May 2015 15:03:05 GMT