Kaua‘i is not known for mega malls or upscale stores, however many treasures can be had shopping in Kauai’s quaint and charming towns. Sometimes strolling through the small shops and boutiques can be the best rejuvenation after hours spent in the sun. Kauai is also fully equipped to cover all your needs while on island, with large stores such as Walmart and Costco and a number of grocery stores. From Poipu to Hanalei, we’ve highlighted the best places to shop on Kauai:
The Shops at Kukuiula
The Shops at Kukuiula embraces the island lifestyle in its open air shopping center filled with upscale shops and a variety of restaurants, from basic burgers to gourmet fine dining. Some of Hawaii’s best chefs have restaurants here, including Roy Yamaguchi and Peter Merriman. On Wednesdays, the Shops at Kukuiula transforms into the Kauai Culinary Market, with local farmers selling freshly grown produce and live entertainment.
Poipu Shopping Village
Shopping and dance don’t usually go hand-in-hand, unless you are talking about Poipu Shopping Village, which features a tahitian dance, fire knife and drumming show every Monday and Thursday at 4:30 p.m. The show takes place in the central courtyard, surrounded by shops and restaurants. Pick up a fun souvenir at the variety of themed shops, from local island art to children’s beach wear and a little bit of everything in between. Nearby Keoki’s Paradise is one of the premiere restaurants on the south side for fresh fish and musical entertainment in a tropical setting. Inside the shopping center, you will find american, thai, and mexican food restaurants.
Small shops, boutiques and eateries line the streets of charming Hanalei Town. The diverse shops and quaint atmosphere exude the feel of a small beach town. In the heart of the town, the old Hanalei school building was converted to house a restaurant, surf shops, and Hawaiian tropical attire. Across the street, the Ching Young Village, owned by a local Kauai family, has been in existence since the early 1900s and is home to Hanalei’s only grocery store, Big Save Market. While shopping in Hanalei, the view of Mount Namolokama, laced with waterfalls, is just the icing on the cake.
Up the road from Hanalei is the Princeville Center, an all-in-one shopping center with a post office, doctor’s offices, boutiques, real estate, a gas station and grocery store. Tiki Iniki, owned by musician Todd Rundgren, is one of Kauai’s only true tiki bar on Kauai with fun tiki cocktails, live music and food. The center also has a shave ice stand with organic syrup flavors, the perfect way to cool off.
Kong Lung Historic Market Center
The small rural town of Kilauea was primarily a plantation town. Today, mostly local residents make up this small town, which is home to Kong Lung Historic Market Center, Kilauea Lighthouse and the Kilauea Point National Refuge. Kong Lung Historic Market Center blends the old with the new, scattered around the center is the “Remembering the Past: Historic Photo Retrospective” phone display, while the fashion forward boutiques and local craft shops are a reminder of how life has evolved. A local favorite is the Kilauea Bakery and Pau Hana Pizza. Their scones are “so ono!”
Old Kapaa Town
Old Kapaa Town is filled with shops, including a music store, fine jewelry, workout clothing, hawaiian fabric and home decor. Most shops line the main highway going through the town. It is easy to spend an entire day exploring Kapaa Towns shops, eating in the restaurants or sampling from the many food trucks, savoring dessert at shave ice stands, and getting freshly made juice or coffee in its various shops. Bike rentals are available in the town to ride on Ke Ala Hele Makalae, a multi-use path that runs directly through the town.
The Coconut Marketplace is currently undergoing a huge makeover, that is expected to be completed this year. While fun and quirky souvenir shops are the main attraction, the marketplace also has hula shows and a weekly farmers market. For a real treat, go see Uncle Larry Rivera, who appeared on Blue Hawaii with Elvis Presley, perform on Fridays at 5 p.m.
Kukui Grove Shopping Center
Considered the only mall on Kauai, the outdoor Kukui Grove Shopping Center is the only shopping center with larger chain stores, such as Macy’s, Famous Footwear, Gamestop, Foot Locker and Ross Dress For Less. There are banks, postal service, hair and nail salons, as well as a food court with a variety of cuisines. Times Supermarket covers all of your grocery needs. Kmart, Costco, and Home Depot are just a hop, skip, and a jump away.
Once the only port of call for ships to deliver goods and arrival of newcomers, Hanapepe was once the economic hub of Kauai. In the 1990’s, damage from Hurricane Iniki ravaged the town, causing it to completely shut down. Fast forward to the present, and Hanapepe Town has once again been revitalized by its numerous art galleries and local artisan shops that line the street. The town maintains its plantation charm, with original buildings that have been maintained. Every Friday from 6-9 p.m., the town comes alive with street vendors, food trucks, and kanikapila, or live music.
Amid so many things to do, most may not think of shopping as a must do activity when visiting Kauai. The variety and uniqueness of special Kauai Made products are the perfect souvenir to remind you of that time you went on the best vacation of your life and experienced paradise. And will leave you longing to return.