Travel Pono on Oahu: Shop Local, Eat Local

Hawaii Trip Planning Guide

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Travel Pono on Oahu: Shop Local, Eat Local

Each purchase at a local business during your vacation in Hawai‘i is an investment in our people, the land, our culture and all that makes our islands so special – from tastemakers reshaping cuisine to creatives sharing their native roots through art and design.

As a fellow Hawai‘i business, we proudly partner with entrepreneurs to share their ingenuity and pa'ahana (hard work) with our guests – from our in-flight meals, entertainment and products to the design elements of our aircraft cabins and crewmember uniforms.

Local shops that are critical to sustaining our island economy have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. As Hawai‘i welcomes travelers back and businesses reopen their doors, we encourage kama‘āina (residents) and visitors to experience the eclectic products, flavors and services of our partners and employee-recommended stops featured in this series. As always, we remind our guests to wear a face mask and follow each establishment’s specific health and safety guidelines.

Please kōkua and wear a mask when exploring our island's local shops, restaurants and communities.

O‘ahu, the most cosmopolitan of our archipelago’s four major islands, boasts an array of quirky neighborhoods decorated with both new and long-time businesses. One district with a charming personality is Kaimukī, a community nestled just mauka (mountainside) of Waikīkī that is known for its niche businesses, mom-and-pop shops and collection of diverse eateries.

Coffee enthusiasts can indulge themselves in Kaimukī's cafe scene, which includes The Curb Kaimukī, a source of specialty brews and coffees that you can smell from a block away. The shop boasts a wide beverage menu of hand-crafted drinks and is take-out only to keep its patrons safe.

Not into coffee? Bubble tea lovers often satisfy their cravings at Cowcow’s Tea. The tea house has implemented easy-to-follow health and safety protocols, such as shields at the order station, mask and social distancing requirements, as well as contactless payment and to-go options. Even with restrictions, customers feel welcome with Cowcow’s pink-painted interior, fun Japanese-influenced style, and an Instagram-worthy rose photo wall.

The rose wall at Cowcow's Tea is a popular backdrop for customers. Don't forget to bring a reusable bubble tea straw, if you have one!

While walking Kaimukī’s narrow streets, shoppers will pass several one-of-a-kind stores, including da Shop: Books + Curiosities, a homey, independent bookstore carrying a curated selection of national bestsellers and an array of local subjects and authors. And just around the corner is ‘Awa + ‘Ōlena, a boutique beauty and wellness shop offering natural products made from Hawai‘i-sourced ingredients and jewelry created in-house by the shop owner. Customers can browse the shelves of these businesses with peace of mind, as both require masks and have reduced their capacity for social distancing. Prefer to shop from home? They both also offer a wide product selection online.

'Awa + 'Ōlena is open to all who wear a mask, and is where shoppers can find the store owner's popular local jewelry line.

Just west of Waikīkī and Ala Moana, travelers will find the neighborhoods of Ward and Kaka‘ako, two modern, mixed-use downtown Honolulu communities. Both are known for walkable streets lined with brick-and-mortar shops, and many craft breweries, cafes and eateries popular with kama‘āina.

Social distancing sidewalk markers help neighborhoods like Kaka‘ako maintain a safe and healthy environment for both residents and visitors.

Need to scratch that poke itch? Our longtime partner Foodland offers some of the freshest fish in town at its Kaka‘ako restaurant Redfish Poke Bar by Foodland. Located in SALT at Our Kaka‘ako, patrons indulge themselves in innovative seafood dishes and poke bowls available for dine-in (group size dependent upon local restrictions) or to go.

Guests of Redfish Poke Bar by Foodland must have a temperature screening before being seated and diving into its menu.

Next to the restaurant is one of the most unique store locations of our retail partner, Kahala. The fun and laid-back boutique, which also reduced its capacity and requires masks, offers an array of aloha wear designed by an in-house art team, a special Collector’s Edition series that highlights heritage prints, and special collaborations by famous local artists.

While local businesses have enforced new health and safety protocols, shoppers can still expect to receive the same warm aloha and hospitality.

And if you find yourself in the neighborhood on a weekend, a stop at the Kaka‘ako Farmers Market is a must. The market houses scores of vendors that range from handmade home décor to produce harvested at farms throughout O‘ahu. Since the pandemic, the market has expanded to include new businesses that have struggled to maintain traffic at their storefronts due to state-imposed restrictions. Masks are mandatory, vendors have reduced the number of shoppers allowed in their tent at one time, and select stands with high traffic require guests to follow social distancing markers and stay in designated lines.

As we all continue to adapt to the pandemic, we encourage everyone to be aware of the state’s latest COVID-19 travel requirements and O‘ahu restrictions. To learn more about how Hawai‘i businesses and the visitor industry have readied themselves to welcome guests back safely, visit

HawaiianMiles members and Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard® cardmembers can earn even more HawaiianMiles when supporting our local merchant and travel partners. Click here to learn more.