Rainy Day Itinerary

Sure, its paradise but even Hawai‘i experiences a rainy day (or two). And while nothing beats surfing or sunbathing, tucking into hot and hearty meals and learning about Hawai‘i's history is nothing to sneeze at. Because no matter the weather, there are O‘ahu activities abound that will having you splashing out and exploring the very best the island has to offer.

Steamed buns from (1) Char Hung Sut make for a delicious meal on the run. Escape the rain inside this little hole-in-the-wall and you'll find dozens of darling old ladies churning out perfectly wrapped dumplings and boxing buns faster than you can say "one dozen manapua to go." Grab a manapua and a few half moons to munch in the car as you roll on over to your next rainy day romp.

A dive into Hawai‘i's history is the perfect diversion on a damp day. Pay a visit to the (2) Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the state's largest history and science museum, which is home to collection upon collection of Hawaiian artifacts and documents. Here, you'll want to carve out some time to visit the newly renovated Hawaiian Hall, a perfect place for keiki (children) and families to you learn all about old Hawai‘i with exhibits and collections on Native Hawaiian history and culture. The best part? Waikiki Parc guests can simply flash their Parc key card for complimentary access to the museum, open from 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. except on Tuesdays, when the museum is closed.

Anytime the temperature in Hawai‘i dips, our craving for ramen steams up. And (3) Kiwami's new location on Ke‘eaumoku (pronounced kay-ay-ah-moh-koo) Boulevard is the perfect place to dry out over a lunch of tsukemen ramen. Pronounced tsooh-keh-men, this ramen is known as their "dipping ramen" where the noodles and concentrated dipping sauce are served separately. At just under $10 for a bowl of noodles and a complimentary bowl of char siu and rice, a meal here will warm your belly and keep your wallet full.

Before heading back into Waikiki for an afternoon siesta (because a rainy day is a great way to rest up for the next day of fun in the sun) head over to the (4) U.S. Army Museum of Hawai‘i. Housed on the grounds of Fort DeRussy, the museum allows visitors to experience everything from early Hawaiian warfare through the Vietnam War. Work off lunch checking out the museum's exhibits including the Gallery of Heroes -- which honors local soldiers who have been recognized with the nation's most prestigious military awards - or the popular General Eric K. Shinseki exhibit which features information on General Shinseki's bright military career.

Nothing warms you up on a cold day, better than a hot meal. And putting a sizzling twist on Japanese hot pot, (5) Ichiriki is well-known across O‘ahu for its selection of shabu shabu, sukiyaki and most famously for its nabe. Since a little retail therapy is great fix to lift your rainy day spirits you might consider checking out Ichiriki's Ala Moana location. Here we go pupule (poo-poo-leh or crazy) for their pirikira nabe (with tiny slices of chili it adds just the right amount of heat), which provides the perfect base for the bounty of goodies you'll get to toss in. Just be sure to save room at the end for the noodles - your choice of ramen or udon - to complete the meal.

Before heading back to your room for the night, take in some Hawaiian entertainment at (6) House Without a Key. The popular Halekulani restaurant has the perfect beach-chic ambiance to drink in tropical libations and live Hawaiian song and dance - which moves indoors in wet weather. It's just the right note to end your day on.

 

1) Char Hung Sut

For steamed buns you can grab on the run, make a pit stop at Char Hung Sut, the perfect place to eat manapua literally etched into Chinatown's concrete jungle.

Step inside this little hole-in-the-wall and you'll find dozens of darling old ladies churning out perfectly wrapped dumplings and boxing buns faster than you can say "one dozen manapua to go." The perfect finger food for a picnic at the beach, a few mouth-watering manapua (Hawai‘i's rendition of char siu bao), at least a dozen savory pork hash and a taro or rice cake - or two -- will take your dining experience over the half moon. If you like your dim sum on the spicier side, don't forget to request a few cups of hot mustard -- these run $.05 each but are the perfect pork hash complement.

And with prices ranging from $0.65 to $1.25 for a manapua, a visit to this Honolulu hot spot won't burn through your wallet either.

 

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2) Bishop Museum

Dive into Hawai‘i's history with a visit to the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, the state's largest history and science museum featuring collection upon collection of Hawaiian artifacts and documents. Tucked away in Kalihi the museum is a perfect diversion if you're stuck with one of Hawai‘i's few-and-far-between rainy days.

Make sure to carve out some time to visit the newly renovated Hawaiian Hall, a perfect place for keiki (children) and families to you learn all about old Hawai‘i with exhibits and collections on Native Hawaiian history and culture. The $20-million renovation has taken the hall into the 21st century with new computer technology, lighting and surround sound, offering recorded Hawaiian chants. And for those who have dreamt about doing it, this is your chance to go toe to toe (or nose to fin) with a complete 50-foot sperm whale skeleton suspended in the hall's foyer or get up close and personal with the museum's luxurious collection of Hawaiian regalia.

Waikiki Parc guests can simply flash their Parc key card for complimentary access to the museum, open from 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. except on Tuesdays, when the museum is closed. If your schedule allows, you'll be seeing stars with the Bishop Museum's planetarium shows, which take place daily at 10:30 a.m. (The Sky Tonight), 1:30 p.m. (Explorers of Polynesia) and 3:30 p.m. (Astronomy of Galileo).

 

Find out more about the Parc Perks program.

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3) Kiwami Ramen

Anytime the temperature in Hawai‘i dips, our cravings for ramen rise. And Kiwami's new location on Ke‘eaumoku Boulevard across from Walmart is satisfying our need for noodles with perfectly portioned bowls of fresh ramen.

Ever since their original location at Waikiki Shopping Center closed, we've suffered through many a Kiwami craving. Day dreaming of Kiwami's fat, chewy noodles and their tsukemen ramen (also known as their "dipping ramen" where the noodles and concentrated dipping sauce are served separately) has helped us bide our time. The noodles are traditionally served cold but can be ordered hot upon request -- perfect for those trying to warm up on a rainy day.

Now reunited with her favorite Honolulu lunch spot, Waikiki Parc's Melissa O. recommends their miso ramen. And for under $10 for a bowl of noodles and a complimentary bowl of char siu and rice, how can you go wrong? Because street parking is hard to find in this neck of town, there is parking underneath the building. With validation it's just $1 an hour.

 

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4) U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii

For history buffs looking to take a step back in time, march on over to the U.S. Army Museum of Hawai‘i housed on the grounds of Fort DeRussy in Waikiki to experience stories from early Hawaiian warfare through the Vietnam War. Today the museum salutes visitors with a piece of Hawai‘i history without ever having to leave Waikiki.

Constructed in 1911 as a coastal artillery battery known as Battery Randolph, part of the experience of paying a visit to the U.S. Army Museum of Hawai‘i is simply seeing the museum itself -- a massive concrete building with a 12-foot thick roof. Built as part of a coastal defense system with 14-inch guns it was transformed into a museum in 1976.

If you've got a free afternoon carve an hour out of your day to check out the museum's exhibits including the Gallery of Heroes -- which honors local soldiers who have been recognized with the nation's most prestigious military awards - or the popular General Eric K. Shinseki exhibit which features information on General Shinseki's bright military career. For those looking to turn the volume up on their visit, the museum now offers audio tours (available in Japanese and English) for rent for $5 each.

 

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5) Ichiriki

Putting a sizzling twist on Japanese hot pot, Ichiriki - which also offers locations in Ala Moana and Kaneohe - is well-known across O‘ahu for its selection of shabu shabu, sukiyaki and most famously for its nabe.

Ichiriki first opened in Honolulu 2006 and has been helping O‘ahu diners cook their way to hot pot heaven ever since. Perfect for lunch or happy hour, grab a seat in a booth or their tatami room and get ready to select your shiro (soup base). Or come for dinner with a group of friends for a fun and interactive evening on the town.

If you're looking for something a little tamer try their zosui, a tasty Japanese rice soup. But we go pupule (poo-poo-leh or crazy) for their pirikira nabe (with tiny slices of chili it adds a little heat, but not too much), which provides the perfect base for the bounty of goodies you'll get to toss in. Be sure to save room at the end for the noodles - your choice of ramen or udon - to complete the meal.

 

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6) House Without a Key

Drink in the beach-chic ambiance of House Without a Key, a popular restaurant at the Halekulani, the Waikiki Parc's sister hotel. Perched at the edge of Waikiki Beach, House Without a Key's ambiance transforms like the colors of a chameleon from a quiet breakfast nook to catch the softly, lapping waves, to a hot and stylish hot spot at sunset.

Arrive early to keep from getting locked out of this popular pau hana place. Get decked out and skip across the street to partake in one of the Halekulani's prized traditions, mai tais and Hawaiian music under the Kiawe tree. While "mai tai" means good in Tahitian, Halekulani's special spin on this exotic drink takes this beverage to a whole new level. What's Tahitian for unbelievable?

Between sipping and savoring (House Without a Key also has an exceptional menu of mouthwatering appetizers) you can drink in the sunset, paired with Hawaiian music and the graceful dancing of former Miss Hawai‘i's Kanoe Miller, Debbie Nakanelua and Lauren Cheape. And make sure to save room for House Without a Key's signature coconut cake - it's the icing on a perfect day.

 

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