Where to Shop on the Island of Hawaii

and, Kamehameha Avenue, Mamo St, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
The Huffington Post named the Hilo Farmers Market the best in the United States. For fresh local flavors, the market is open every day except Sunday. The big market days are on Wednesdays and Saturdays where more than 200 vendors including farmers and crafts people gather to sell their goods. If you’re looking for local souvenirs to take home or just a place to grab a quick fresh and tasty lunch, the Hilo Farmers Market will provide a beautiful morning or afternoon of shopping and eating.
75-5669 Ali'i Dr, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Kona coffee is famous around the world as one of Hawaii’s best known products. The relatively small coffee growing area on the Big Island of Hawaii produces only a small fraction of the world’s coffee beans. The limited production makes Hawaii Island’s caffeinated product like liquid gold for Kona coffee lovers. Among the hundreds of coffee farms on the Big Island, Country Samurai Coffee Company operates a lush and green outfit on the Kona slopes and still grows their coffee trees in a natural and traditional method that enables them to grow tall—up to 18 feet. Harvesting requires ladders and can be time-consuming, but the trees are able to develop a larger root system, pull in more nutrients from the volcanic soil, and produce more coffee berries. To try these distinctly grown beans, visit the family owned Country Samurai Coffee shop in Kailua-Kona. The shop sells several other items including chocolate covered coffee beans and macadamia nuts and Hawaiian teas.
16-701 Macadamia Road, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Living in Hawaii, I find it’s not hard to appreciate macadamia nuts. After moving to the Islands, I did not waste any time determining my favorite kind of chocolate-covered mac, Mauna Loa. As with many other companies, mac nut orchards dot the Big Island, which has a great growing environment for the unusual nuts. The Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Company operates a visitors’ center on the Big Island along with their orchards and processing plant. A tour of the area includes a farm to final product education and, of course, free samples for your enjoyment. I always keep several boxes on hand to give to my house guests to welcome them to Hawaii, but mac nuts are also a great gift for tourists to bring back home.
75-5744 Alii Drive
Both Hilo and Kona have quaint downtown areas with small shops and cafes. Kona has been updated more recently to accommodate travelers who predominantly stay on the Kona side of the Big Island. With coffee shops, restaurants like the Kona Canoe Club and Mahina Pizza, and shops including the Pacific Fine Art Gallery and ABC Stores, you can spend an entire day browsing for Aloha shirts, art, and souvenirs before enjoying the sunset from one of Kailua-Kona’s many beachside restaurants.
831 Leilani St, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
For travelers who visit Hawaii and want a quiet, tucked-away vacation from the rest of the world, Hilo is a fantastic town to find a condo for rent and sunrises from the local beaches or to enjoy quiet evenings staying in. While no one needs to get lost in a book when there are so many beautiful things to enjoy on the Island of Hawaii, Hilo Bay Books compliments a tucked-away, quiet, beachy lifestyle perfectly by selling secondhand books (their motto is “get used!”) to help you unwind and enjoy the time away from home.
111 Puainako St, Hilo, HI 96720, USA
Souvenirs galour is what you’ll find at Hilo Hattie’s, an Islandwide chain filled with aloha-wear, macadamia nuts, hula dolls, sunglasses, ukuleles, and key chains. It’s the perfect place to choose from a variety of aloha shirts, or splashy, hibiscus flower printed dresses so you can look the part on your holidays in the Hawaiian Islands. The store is also the perfect last stop before departing Hawaii to pick up gifts for everyone back home.
45-3490 Mamane St, Honokaa, HI 96727, USA
Catching the Honokaa Trading Company during “open” hours is a little hit-or-miss these days. Grace, a respected elder of the Honokaa community, has put her time in the old shop and can be forgiven for easing up a bit on her work. She has been selling her curiosities, aloha shirts, and antiques for years from an unassuming storefront that belies a rustic warehouse filled with as much history as sellable items. Beyond the electic mix of goods, if you’re patient to stick around, you will find out a bit about Grace’s life and perspective on Hawaiian culture. The value of her lessons is much higher than any cash you will spend in her shop.
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.
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.
12-5038 Kalapana Kapoho Beach Road
If there is one thing you will take away from the Island of Hawaii’s small towns, it’s the sense of community the locals share. A fantastic place to experience this friendly, hippy group of small business owners and artisans is at Uncle Robert’s Awa Club for the Wednesday Outdoor Market. For the small town, the market is busy—the place where the town can catch up with each other while visitors can explore the community’s creativity. With an intense local vibe, Big Island creativity, a little live music, food from the land and served by the town’s restaurants and cafes, there is shopping, eating, drinking, and enjoyment for everyone at the Wednesday Market. The Wednesday market is only part of Uncle Awa’s Club that encourages mindfulness and education about the values of the Kingdom of Hawaii and taking care of the aina (Hawaiian word for “land”). Uncle Awa’s host markets, live music, a private events menu, and it is open daily serving up items sourced from the Island like smoothies, burgers, fish, and awa (or kava) which was brought by canoe to Hawaii by the original Polynesian explorers.
585 Hinano St. Hilo, HI. 96720
Very few people have the willpower to resist a candy shop. Anyone with curiosity about the candy making process will be drawn to Big Island Candies with the big picture windows into their production room. Their small batches ensure fresh shortbread cookies and chocolate truffles are distributed to their resellers and customers. The shortbread comes in several Hawaiian flavors like macadamia nut, pineapple, and kona mocha. There are so many chocolates to choose from, but my pick is the Hawaiian macadamia nut caramel cluster, with a side of milk chocolate macadamia nut toffee, and a last course of dark chocolate covered whole Kona coffee beans. If your candies make it home, they will be the perfect gift for friends and family.
250 Waikoloa Beach Dr, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738, USA
For the shopper, fine fashion and luxury stores dot the tropically appointed walkways around Kings’ Shops at Waikoloa Beach Resort. It’s an idyllic one stop shop for a romantic evening out with dinner at Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill and a possible stop to purchase that ring at Tiffany’s—if your heart desires. Beyond waterways and lazy stone paths, surf shops like Honolua Surf Co. and Rip Curl keep the atmosphere beachy and island gift shops make Kings’ Shops a great place to pick up any souvenirs you want to bring home. On Wednesday the shops host a market and live blues music. Tours to see the nearby petroglyphs start at the Island Fish and Chips stand and if you’re fortunate, you’ll get a hula show, too.
78-6670 Mamalahoa Hwy, Holualoa, HI 96725
Cultural events, live music, and a variety of artwork can be seen at Donkey Mill Art Center. The gallery is open daily for visitors and features exhibits as diverse as the creative minds that make them. An appreciation for art and culture along with a determination for art education on the Big Island brought a group of people together to start offering classes and workshops for artists of all ages around the Kona area of the Big Island. Since their humble beginnings, the Donkey Mill Art Center has been able to take over an old coffee mill, add an artist in residence program, and expand their studio to include printmaking and ceramics. The impressive committment by volunteers has made the Art Center a well-respected venue for continued learning.
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!
55-3419 Akoni Pule Hwy, Hawi, HI 96719, USA
Ukeleles and aloha can be found at Hawi Gallery where the most authentic Hawaiian instruments can be found—even some made from rare koa wood. Well known to provide exceptional ukuleles, the shop carries vintage models and their modern counterparts for both experienced and beginner ukulele players. The shop also sells artwork, books, music, and aloha-wear. The staff are really knowledgable and passionate about the bit of Hawaii culture and history they have in their shop. Even if you’re not interested in bringing anything home, Hawi Gallery is worth visiting for the air of aloha you’ll experience from perusing their merchandise.
55-3419 Akoni Pule Hwy, Hawi, HI 96720
A recent addition to the Kohala Coast is a small market that specializes in local goods and produce. The highlight for me is the seasonal tropical fruit that is arranged colorfully for selection. Owners Leo and Jeannievie also select locally produced grocery items, personal items, books, and art at their store. You’ll definitely want to pick up a fresh coconut to sip from on your way home from their store. The Big Island community takes pride in the produce and products that come from the island itself, and this market has made a commitment to their community to procure and use these products sustainably.
78-128 Ehukai St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740, USA
Farmers, creatives, and cafes all come together on Wednesdays at the Hooulu Community Farmers Market and Artisans Fair. The market is a brilliant way for tourists to see what the Big Island is capable of producing—in terms of produce, creative works, and in developing a living culture passed down through time. At the Hooulu Market, more than 45 vendors display their products at the Sheraton Resort. Live music fills the air and the aroma of kona coffee blends in with the smells of the sea.
69-201 Waikoloa Beach Dr, Waikoloa Village, HI 96738, USA
The counterpart to Kings’ Shops in Waikoloa is Queens’ MarketPlace—a family-friendly venue for shopping, dining, and entertainment where everyone can enjoy a little hula, live music, or a movie under the stars. If you’re feeling peckish before (or after) an island excursion, the MarketPlace is home to the Daylight Mind Coffee Company, Hawaiian Fish n Chips, and Marble Slab Creamery so you can leave on your adventures with an added energy boost. In the evening, take your dinner at Sansei Seafood, Steak & Sushi Bar and investigate all the island shops like Lava Light Galleries or Hawaiian Ukulele & Guitar to find the perfect gifts to bring home. Within close proximity of the resorts on the Kohala Coast, Queens’ is a beautiful place to spend a lazy afternoon or bond with the family on a night out.
79-7407 Mamalahoa Hwy, Kealakekua, HI 96750, USA
This is a worthwhile quick stop for anyone who enjoys chocolate or innuendo and is passing through Kainaliu on the west coast of Hawaii Island (around eight miles south of Kailua-Kona, just before Captain Cook). They specialize in donkey balls, which are macadamia nuts covered in thick milk chocolate. Actually, they have a whole menagerie of balls beyond donkey: boar, goat, monkey, dolphin.... Whether you want milk, dark, or white chocolate, coconut flakes or a salty caramel crunch, or just candied mac nuts without the chocolate, there’s something for you. It’s all made on-site, and the smut doesn’t stop with the names: You’ll be asked if you “want a sack for your balls,” too. Whatever you choose, they’ll make a great gift... if they last that long. (If you’d rather save the balls for a special occasion, Rebel Kitchen is just a couple yards away.)
82-6160 Mamalahoa Highway
This small farmers’ market takes place every Sunday from around 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Captain Cook on the west coast of Hawaii Island. There’s local produce on sale, as well as the obligatory macadamia nuts, honey, and Kona coffee, but much of the market is occupied with arts and crafts by local artists, including jewelry, pottery, wood carvings, and even some magic wands. Visitors can also look forward to live music, food stands, crystal healing, and massages. The vibe is chill and welcoming, with stallholders eager to chat and offer you samples of their wares—no strings attached. Come spring, the market will add another site for vendors on Halekii Street. Called the Pure Kona International Market, the indoor spot will be open six days a week.
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