Spend the afternoon pounding Downtown Honolulu’s pavement, taking a self-guided tour of this pedestrian-friendly parcel of O‘ahu. With so much to eat, see and shop – and just between Bethel and Smith Street! -- you can spend anywhere from one to five hours here – digging into a progressive dinner or scooping up a trove of treasures at various boutiques.
Swing into the municipal building off of Beretania (beh-reh-tan-yah), which offers one of the most affordable parking rates in the neighborhood. Other parking garages, including Mark's Garage, offer parking throughout Downtown and street parking here is free on Sundays and holidays, though it can be harder to find than a double rainbow.
Entrée your Downtown experience with a lucky lunch at (1) Lucky Belly. Grab at table and fill your opu (belly) with this O‘ahu restaurant’s edited menu including their popular Belly Bowl (which includes belly, smoked bacon and Kurobuta sausage) and their Pork Belly Bao (pork belly sandwiched between a super soft bao bun with sake hoisin and pickled cucumbers).
Work off lunch and lighten your wallet with some retail therapy checking out the seriously chic island boutiques, all within a few blocks of one another. At (2) Fighting Eel, O‘ahu-based designers, Rona Bennett and Lan Chung have captured Hawai‘i's effortless style with an assortment of island-inspired attire, jewelry and accessories. While at (3) Owens & Co. you can check out their carefully culled selection of home and fashion must-haves.
If you make your way up Maunakea (mow-nah-kay-yah) to Honolulu's Chinatown you're sure to stumble upon at least a dozen mom and pop (4) lei shops, many which have been an island staple for anywhere from two to four decades. Pick up a simple haku (hah-ku) lei (a lei to be worn perched atop the head) or ti leaf lei intertwined with your favorite tropical flower (ginger and pikake are amongst the most fragrant) to wear as you continue your Downtown expedition.
After a long day walking up an appetite decant in Downtown Honolulu's (5) HASR Wine Co. and Bistro, a quaint courtyard eatery and wine shop bubbling over with some of the best wines from around the world and an aromatic French-inspired menu. Arrive early and take advantage of HASR Bistro's pau hana (happy hour) specials from 4:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. with live entertainment and open-air seating in the courtyard.
HASR is right across the street from the municipal building -- so you can roll on over to roll back to Waikiki as full as a pufferfish and happier than a clam. As the song goes, Downtown, everything's waiting for you!