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International Marketplace, Waikiki

Oahu, HI
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International Marketplace, Waikiki, Oahu Hawaii

Description

The International Marketplace is an outdoor mall in the center of the main shopping strip of Waikiki, on Kalakaua Ave. It is a magical spot where lanterns hang from a huge banyan tree. A stream runs through the mall lined with hundreds of pink heart-shaped anthuriums. It's so beautiful! There is a lawn where concerts are held (Saturdays 3-5pm mid-June to early Sept), and it has unique rock-shaped seats that kids love to explore. Here you can see a large image of the constellations of Hawaii and read plaques about the history of the Hawaiian monarchy. Further back in the mall is an unusual rain fountain which kids adore. At the very back are two coffee shops, Kona Coffee and Lamill. Kona Coffee has the most delicious banana and chocolate croissants! Both have outdoor seating on Kuhio Ave. 
It's too bad a nice mall like this wasn't built in a different place because the International Marketplace used to be a little spot with great history and charm. Here, little stalls that were lit up at night sold candles, sparkling jewelry, and sarongs shimmering in the breeze. It's sad to see these gone.
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 had quite a varied history, from royal ground, to magical souvenir bazaar, to high-end outdoor mall.
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, among 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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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.
Historical photo: A candle stall at the International Marketplace, before it became a high-end mall.
Historical photo: A candle stall at the International Marketplace, before it became a high-end mall.
This is what the colorful stalls looked like at the International Marketplace before it became a high-end mall.
This is what the colorful stalls looked like at the International Marketplace before it became a high-end mall.
What the International Marketplace used to look like, before it became a mall.
What the International Marketplace used to look like, before it became a mall.
The entrance to the International Marketplace on Kalakaua Ave.
The entrance to the International Marketplace on Kalakaua Ave.
Stream under the banyan tree.
Stream under the banyan tree.
Tarzan ropes hanging from the banyan tree.
Tarzan ropes hanging from the banyan tree.
This area looks much more sterile than it looked when it was a souvenir bazaar.
This area looks much more sterile than it looked when it was a souvenir bazaar.
Sad to see how sterile the entrance looks compared to what the marketplace used to be.
Sad to see how sterile the entrance looks compared to what the marketplace used to be.
Pink anthuriums that make your heart melt.
Pink anthuriums that make your heart melt.
Pink anthuriums in the middle of the mall.
Pink anthuriums in the middle of the mall.
Water lilies in the stream.
Water lilies in the stream.
Interesting wooden benches.
Interesting wooden benches.
Beautiful crinkly plant.
Beautiful crinkly plant.
Lovely water feature and ferns.
Lovely water feature and ferns.
Anthuriums by sparkling water.
Anthuriums by sparkling water.
Stores and ferns.
Stores and ferns.
Delightful anthuriums.
Delightful anthuriums.
A constellation chart in the concert area.
A constellation chart in the concert area.
Seats like giant pebbles in the concert area.
Seats like giant pebbles in the concert area.
Rain fountain.
Rain fountain.
Lamill Coffee Shop.
Lamill Coffee Shop.
Looking up at the blue sky from the mall.
Looking up at the blue sky from the mall.
Stores by the lawn/concert area.
Stores by the lawn/concert area.
Outdoor seating at Kona Coffee on Kuhio Ave, in the back of International Marketplace.
Outdoor seating at Kona Coffee on Kuhio Ave, in the back of International Marketplace.
   

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.
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, 08 Aug 2017 03:58:01 GMT