The Best Shopping in Hawai‘i

Want to take a little bit of the islands back home with you? Sure, you can hit the outlets and open-air malls; but also take time to explore some of the quintessentially Hawai‘ian shops and boutiqes, where you’ll find everything from fun Hawai‘ian kitsch to hand-made jewelry and fine art.

122 Kamehameha Avenue
For a subtler aloha shirt or shell dress (a simple shift), try this place in Hilo’s old downtown. Opened in 1985, it’s now a second-generation shop steeped in local rites and rhythms. Designer Sig Zane creates patterns based on traditional plants and legends, some incorporating elements from kapa (mulberry-bark paper fabric) or the kupukupu fern, symbolizing continual growth and expansion.

3 Kuhio Hwy, Lihue, HI 96766, USA
Once you’ve seen your first Hawai‘ian quilt, you’ll want to buy them all! The distinctive fabric art uses appliqués—usually symmetrical—in bold colors, often depicting botanical designs on a white background. Many experts consider it the marriage of missionary handicrafts with the indigenous kapa (mulberry-bark cloths with geometric patterns). Opened in 1973, Kapaia Stitchery on Kauai remains the largest and longest-operating retailer of batiks, quilting supplies, and Hawai‘ian-print fabric on Kauai. It also sells finished masterpieces, for those who don’t sew, as well as aloha shirts, wall hangings, locally designed visors, and animal-shaped pot holders. One especially charming gift: little stuffed-animal chickens with simple pyramid bodies of flowered fabric and cloth faces, beaks, and combs.
Waikiki Beach Walk 2nd Floor #227, 226 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
This lovely, nostalgic shop has been selling traditional Hawai‘ian designs—bright and botanically themed—alongside contemporary creations by owner Michael John Gillan for decades. The classic buy is a kapaeke (an heirloom quilted handbag), but you can pick up everything from USB-stick holders to kits that teach the craft. The oldest retail quilt company in Hawai‘i, it has catered to local royalty, as well as Hollywood stars, and pioneered the islands’ fabric-art tradition in Japan. Its instructors offer lessons and demonstrations at Waikiki’s Beach Walk every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon, as well as at the Big Island’s Queens’ Marketplace every Sunday from 1–3 p.m.
22 S Pauahi St, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
Founded in 2004, this exquisite Chinatown boutique sells unique jewelry pieces designed by Cindy Yokoyama. “I started as a painter and fell in love with abstraction,” she says. “Many of my pieces still reflect elements of this, including asymmetry.” She also plays with order and chaos, and mixes urban elements with natural organic ones beautifully. Expect seeds and shells mixed among metallics... and the azure hues of Hawai‘i’s sea and lush greens of its slopes. Of special note: earring sets where two teardrops complement each other, rather than matching—showcasing stones like lapis lazuli, fossilized coral, and bumble bee jasper.
19 N Pauahi St, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
Big baggy aloha shirts—that could double as canoe sails—goodbye. Instead head to this Chinatown boutique, featuring the sharp, tapered designs of the eponymous Roberta Oaks. She draws on her hippie, farmhouse childhood and mid-century modern Hawai‘ian flair to create prints, which she then combines with a more fitted and form-flattering modern silhouette. These fabrics also take a star turn on graceful day dresses and even doggie bandanas. Open since 2009, this alluring boutique goes beyond attire, selling jewelry, candles, surf photography, and scents like Sándalo (a moody meditation on the islands’ vulcanism with ash, patchouli, and Royal Hawai‘ian sandalwood).
76-5893 Mamalahoa Hwy, Holualoa, HI 96725, USA
Once common, the art of carving and dyeing Hawaiian ipus (gourds) is fading. But artist Bill Wright still sells detailed masterpieces—both traditional and contemporary—in the village of Hōlualoa. His gallery also displays engravings from the late 18th century, which illustrate the age of European discovery in Polynesia. Open Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

2435 Kaanapali Parkway
The small, dry, mysterious island of Niʽihau is unlike any in the Hawai‘ian chain. This arid island to the southwest of Kauaʽi was sold in 1864 to the Robinson family by King Kahemameha V. For 150 years, the island has existed under the domain of a single family. Completely cut-off from modern development, there are no roads, no restaurants, no stores, and no police. Hawai‘ian is still the official language, and outsiders who aren’t of Hawai‘ian descent aren’t permitted to visit the village. There is one school run completely on solar power. Though, with limited opportunity for full-time employment, the island population struggles to surpass 100 permanent residents. While the future of Niʽihau remains uncertain, the lone bright spot for the island’s economy is handmade Niʽihau jewelry. Rare shells no larger than pinheads accumulate along a shore that’s devoid of people. From off-white momi to black kahelelani, these shells are found nowhere else in the world. In addition to their rarity, the shells are masterfully formed into lei that are handcrafted using ancient techniques. Sizes and shapes are painstakingly matched, and a single lei can take months to create. In West Maui, the best selection of Niʽihau jewelry can be found in Whalers Village at Totally Hawai‘ian Gift Gallery. From earrings to lei to exceptionally rare pieces, each item includes a letter of authenticity stating that the shells are, in fact, from the Forbidden Island of Niʽihau.
78-6831 Alii Dr #142, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Local shops and the Big Island go hand in hand. Kona is home to plenty of homegrown shops, but if you are just looking for that great piece of literature to read on the beach, Kona Stories is a fantastic little book shop worth browsing around. Beach goers and holiday makers should be able to find something to pass the time or entertain them while they stay in Hawai‘I.
316 Kuulei Rd, Kailua, HI 96734, USA
Handmade soaps with local scents, island and Kailua themed artwork, the good kine slippers, greeting cards, books, treats, floral purses, Hawai‘ian honey, tees, fresh tropical flowers and other goodies will delight you at Kailua General Store. Sit outside and enjoy a cooling shave ice before you shop or sip something and ask owner Steven Parker for the latest Kailua news. You will love this old-time family store reminiscent of plantation days expertly designed and built with recycled materials. Wander over to the shop next door that shares a door way: 3rd Ave Shore. Friendly, well curated and definitely recommended.
1026 Nuuanu Ave # 1A, Honolulu, HI 96817, USA
If you’re looking for vintage Hawai‘ian stuff then head to Honolulu‘s Chinatown and visit the Tin Can Mailman! This place is full of old Hawai‘iana. They sell vintage Hawai‘i related ephemera, postcards, books, maps, photos, pin-up girls, Hawai‘ian clothing & jewelry, hula dolls, tiki cups & more. Fun place to browse and get a taste of old Hawai‘i.
Folks in Kailua really work together to protect the uber cool beach factor of the town. But face it, since a major landholder of commercial properties (now sold to another) began bussing in Japanese tourists for day-tripping from Waikiki a few years ago, and Obama makes your town his holiday hideout, you’ve been discovered Kailua. So Kailua sells tee shirts, fresh juice smoothies, haute muumuus, soaps, canoes, water sport rentals and tours, has great eateries, all manner of " made in Kailua” goodies, and even a Whole Foods. What they all come looking for is the “Kailua vibe” an indescribable laid-back, coconut tree, walk to the beach, surf board under your arm, lifestyle. Kailua tries to balance entrepreneurship with protecting what makes it so special and that’s why I love 3rd Ave Shore. Here Sam (Samantha) and Ted Hardin’s imaginative original SURFace designs are made into removable decals of all sizes, so take a little bit of the elusive Kailua vibe home to put up on your wall. Who wouldn’t want a honu ( turtle), surfboard or orange VW bus peeking at you from your wall every time you think of Kailua?
77-996 Hualalai Road
In the Hawai‘ian language, lauhala means “leaf.” A fourth generation family business, the Kimura Lauahala Shop is more than just a roadside store, it is a landmark of sorts, and a steadfast member of the Holualoa community. The custom made hats, baskets, handbags, placemats, and slippers made for the shop are woven by hand by artisans like they have been for years. The beautifully woven pieces that shoppers take home are great value for the quality of workmanship. Beyond the woven goods, Kimura’s sells local greeting cards, koa wood products like bowls and utensils, and kona coffee.
73-5613 Olowalu Street
One of the most charming souvenirs from the Big Island is a Hula Lamp. The lamps are a great way to bring the spirit of aloha into your home. They are a much grander version of a dashboard hula doll. Charles Moore is the artist who began creating the lamps based on vintage topless hula lamps he had seen from the past. He’s created a variety of designs, colors, and shades for the hula lamps so anyone can find something they like to suit their home. He’s always thinking ahead to new ideas including hula coffee tables, vases, and sculptures. When you walk into his shop, you’ll be impressed by his creations and likely end up taking one home!
65-1279 Kawaihae Road
In The Gallery of Great Things, visitors will find much more than “things” to experience when they walk in the shop. The actual building was a nurses’ quarters during WWII serving an estimated 50,000 soldiers who passed through during the war. Maria, the shopkeeper who founded the gallery, has filled her store with art, antiques, and curiosities that reflect the Pacific culture, history of the Islands, and Hawai‘ian lifestyle. She has endeavored to preserve the culture of the Islands through her work in the store and sells the work from more than 200 local artisans, including the best known Hawai‘ian artists. One walk through her crowded shop guarantees everyone will find a treasure—whether it’s a wind chime, koa wood sculpture, painting, or just postcard.
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