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Hawaii's capital is well-known for the white-sandy shores of Waikiki Beach, but the city has a lot more to offer than just that. A growing shopping scene coupled with new farm-to-table restaurants, trendy hotels, and local favorites make Honolulu a great place to spend a few—or more—days while exploring the Aloha State.
Consult our list below for a look at the area's can't-miss boutiques and poolside bars, plus where to pick up the best shave ice in town.
Paiko Hawaii + Brue
675 Auahi Street between Ala Moana Boulevard and Auahi Street
A floral shop/coffee bar hybrid is the best place to fuel a big day ahead. Order an espresso (made with beans from the California-based Verve Coffee Roasters), then browse the selection of local and exotic plants while you wait for your order. The orchids might not be able to make the trip back to the mainland, but you can at least take home the inspiration.
1161 Nuuanu Avenue between S. Pauahi and S. Beretania Streets
You'll find everything from retro Hawaiian print shirts to stunning '60s evening gowns at Barrio Vintage, which recently opened a new location inside the Historic Mark's Building. The shop updates its Instagram frequently with new arrivals for men and women, with a rotation that includes plenty of island prints.
Owens & Company
1152 Nuuanu Avenue between S. Pauahi and S. Beretania Streets
This bright, charming boutique is great for giftable home goods and small decor items that'll fit snug in your suitcase. Owner Missy Owens Mull adds new items monthly to an already well-stocked mix that includes Delphine pants, Samudra tees and clutches, Turkish towels, and the perfect Aloha necklace.
2716 South King Street between Kahuna and Kahoaloha Lanes
Surf Garage is the best place in town for progressive boards and gear that's for sale and rent, depending on your level of commitment. Classic surfwear brands like Toes on the Nose, HippyTree, Captain Fin, and an in-house label round out the options.
3458 Waialae Avenue between Ninth and Tenth Avenues
Grab a bite at this new farm-to-table sandwich joint that boasts a menu infused with local ingredients like Shinsato Farms sausage and MA'O greens. Grab a grilled lemon lemonade and pair it with the South Shore He'e Roll, the Sprouted Lentil Terrine, a Sloppy Jose, or Kaimuki's melt of the day.
We Are Iconic
1236 Waimanu Street between Pensacola and Piikoi
Hawaiian blogger and former Miss Hawaii Teen USA Emma Wo credits this boutique with some of her favorite closet staples. Find cool kid brands—like Cameo, Tylie Malibu, Lovers and Friends, and Paper Denim & Cloth—lining the shelves at this Ala Moana spot.
Waiola Shave Ice
2135 Waiola Street; 3113 Mokihana Street; and 1050 Ala Moana Boulevard
No true Hawaiian day in paradise is complete without shave ice. This local favorite, which now operates three locations, uses small-batch homemade syrups for all the flavors on its robust menu, which include Hawaiian specialties like Haupia, Li Hing Mui, and Melona. Out-of-towners will find it helpful to consult this guide on how to order like a regular. Another pro tip: the newest location at Ward Warehouse on Ala Moana takes credit cards ($10 minimum), and stays open until 8:30pm, Monday through Saturday.
22 S. Pauahi St. Honolulu between Nuuanu Avneue and Bethel Street
1775 Ala Moana Boulevard between Hobron Lane and Kahanamoku Street
In a sea of tourists, The Modern is a hip reprieve. Change into something waterproof and sidle up to the locals at the hotel's pool bar. When the sun goes down, make like a pro and head to The Study, another bar that's located in the lobby behind a bookshelf door.
Ready to plan your trip? Check out our Pinterest to see each spot on a handy map.