Shopping on Kauai
They call Kauai the ‘Garden Isle’, but there is a lot more to do here than just stare at the vegetation. If you enjoy shopping, you are going to find plenty of options for expressing your passion on the island including farmer’s markets, shopping malls, and boutique stores.
What to Buy on Kauai
Interesting things to buy on the island of Kauai include:
- Poke (a type of local raw tuna salad)
- Local jewelry
- Local artwork
- Ni’ihua shell necklaces
- Kauai coffee
- Kauai honey
- Lilikoi butter
- Kauai cookies
- Chocolate with macadamia nuts
- Island soaps
- Best Shopping Areas on Kauai
Kapaa is a small town, but it is a popular tourist destination so there are plenty of shops aimed at enticing visitors to spend their dollars. There are a number of shopping malls in the area including Wailua Shopping Plaza, Kinipopo Shopping Village, and Coconut Marketplace. Kapaa is also home to many small boutique stores, tour operators, and nice places to eat.
Lihue is the second largest town on the island, and this is where you are going to find decent shopping options such as the Kukui Grove Center, Wal-Mart, and Harbor Mall. There is also a good selection of restaurants in the local area.
Hanalei is probably the most beautiful town on Kauai. The shopping options here include ABC Stores, The Hanalei Center, and Kong Lung Trading.
Best Malls on Kauai
3501 Rice Street #50, Lihue, HI 96766
Harbor Mall can be found within walking distance of Kalapaki Beach on Rice Street. If you are staying close to Nawiliwili Harbor (or you are arriving by cruise ship), you can use the fun and free trolley shuttle service to travel to this venue – there are also special tours of the island using this shuttle trolley on certain days (check at Trolley Stop Tours & Gifts for details).
Harbor Mall gives a unique shopping experience because it offers options not available anywhere else on the islands such as: Beachrail Hobby & Collectibles, Elite Hunters Hunting Shop, Kauai Island Treasures, Twisted Turtles Yarn Shop, and Blue Hawaiian Helicopters (they can arrange helicopter tours of the island).
This mall is also a good option if you are looking for something to eat. There are a number of options to choose from including: Put it in a Pita, The Feral Pig, Mariachi’s Mexican Restaurant, Rocco’s Pizza, Splash Cafe, and Kalapaki Joes.
The Harbor Mall offers free Wi-Fi to visitors. If you want to use this service, you need to obtain the daily password from inside Trolley Stop Tours & Gifts.
Kinipopo Shopping Village (aka Kauai shopping mall)
4-356 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, HI 96746
Kinipopo Shopping Village is a tiny mall, but it is fairly popular because it offers a good mix of tourist-orientated boutique shops and interesting places to eat. This is an outdoor shopping experience with a charming garden courtyard.
Shops and services at Kinipopo Shopping Village include: The Main Attraction (hair studio), Goldsmiths Kauai, Old Republic, Some Like it Hot, and Sacred Waters Healing Arts.
Eateries at Kinipopo Shopping Village include: Korean BBQ, Monico’s Taqueria (Mexican Food), Passion Bakery Cafe, Tutu’s Soup Hale, and Cake’s by Kristin.
Kukui Grove Center
3-2600 Kaumualii Highway, Lihue, HI 96766
Kukui Grove Center is the largest mall on Kauai – if you are in the mood to do some serious shopping, this is the place to go. Kukui is open-air, and it can be particularly nice to wander around here in the mornings and late afternoons. This mall opens most days between 9:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. – except on Fridays when it remains open until 9:30 p.m. and Sundays when it is open between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.
The Kukui Grove Center has some of the big name stores including: Kmart, Longs Drugs, Times Supermarket, GameStop, Radio Shack, and Macy’s. There are also smaller shops like: Jeans Warehouse, Sunglass Hut, Kay’s Jewelers, Vitamin World, Zales, Verizon Wireless, and The UPS Store.
Restaurants at Kukui Grove include: La Bamba Mexican Restaurant, Ho’s Chinese Kitchen, McDonald’s, Quiznos Subs, Starbucks, and Sone’s Deli and Catering.
5-5161 Kuhio Highway Hanalei, HI 96714
The Hanalei Center once served as a schoolhouse, but it is has been renovated into a charming mini-mall. Most of the outlets here sell souvenirs and memorabilia from the first half of the twentieth century, but there are also a few places to eat and drink. You can buy food inside and eat at the picnic tables in the park around the center. They have yoga classes here on the second floor, and they also have a well-stocked health food store.
484 Kuhio Highway, Kapaa, HI 96746
Coconut Marketplace offers a unique shopping experience and the kiosks here offer a good selection of products. This is one of the best places to pick up souvenirs or gifts – although some items can be a bit overpriced. Coconut Marketplace has its own farmer’s market on Tuesdays and Thursdays (9 a.m. to noon), but there are vendors selling fruit and vegetables throughout the day.
Some of the most notable outlets at Coconut Marketplace include: Crazy Shirts, By the Sea (clothing and jewelry), Del Sol Hawaii (beach clothing), Mystical Dreams (gift items), and Paradise Music (CDs and DVDs).
If you are feeling hungry there are a number of eateries to choose from including: TC’s Island Grill, the Fish Hut, Harley’s Tropical Barbecue, and Zack’s Famous Frozen Yogurt and Café.
Poipu Shopping Village
2360 Kiahuna Plantation Drive, Koloa, HI 96756
Poipu is a tourist-focused mall that is open-air and nicely designed. There are 22 shops to choose from including: Honolulu Surf Co., By the Sea, Whalers General Store (souvenirs and gifts), Sunglass Hut, Sand People (beachwear), Overboard Clothing, Crazy Shirts, Elephant Walk (art and jewelry), and Xan Designer Jewelry.
The dining or drinking options at Poipu Shopping Village include: Puka Dog (the tastiest hot dogs on the island), Papalani Gelato, Starbucks, Poipu Tropical Burgers, Keoki’s Paradise, and Roy’s Poipu Bar & Grill.
Best Markets on Kauai
Koloa Fish Market
5482 Koloa Road, Koloa, HI 96756
If you are a lover of seafood, you are probably going to want to check out Koloa Fish Market – this is also where you are going to find the best poke on the island. This is primarily a fish market, but they also sell a good selection of cooked dishes, so it can be a good option if you are feeling hungry. There is nowhere really to sit at Koloa Fish Market, so your best bet is to pick something up and have a picnic elsewhere.
Kalaheo Sunshine Market
Paplina Road, Kalaheo, HI 96741
This small farmer’s market is open on Tuesdays between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. The vendors in stalls here sell locally grown fruit, vegetables, and flowers. There is also a farmer’s market at Coconut Marketplace (see above).
Best Places to Buy Books on Kauai
You can find reading material at a number of locations on the island including:
Talking Book Store (3785 Hanapepe Road, HI 96716) has the honor of being the most westerly located bookstore in the US – it also offers a good selection of new and used books.
Blue House Booksellers (4504 Kukui Street, Kapaa, HI 96746) is open every day between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. This store is located inside of the dragon building, and they have a wide selection of titles to choose from.
Best Places to Buy Computers and Other Electronics
If you are looking for electronics or IT equipment, the obvious choice would be Kukui Grove Center. There are also some small outlets and repair shops in Lihue and Kapaa. If you are looking for Apple products, you might try Mac Made Easy (4480 Ahukini Road, Lihue, HI 96766).
Where to Buy Souvenirs on Kauai?
Besides the malls, souvenir shops are plentiful on Kauai. If you are looking for a wide selection of options, you might want to try Coconut Marketplace – just keep in mind that you can probably find the same items cheaper elsewhere. It may also be worth checking out the small boutique gift shops in Hanalei, Lihue and Kapaa if you want something a bit different.
Where to Buy Food on Kauai?
If you are looking fresh fruit and vegetables your best bet will be one of the farmer’s markets (see above). Koloa Fish Market is the place to go for fresh seafood. Cheap groceries can be purchased at Whalers General Store, Safeway (Kapaa), or Foodland (5-4280 Kuhio Highway, Princeville, HI, 96722).
Where to Go Shopping with Kids on Kauai?
Shopping with kids can be a bit of an ordeal if they become bored. There are some good options to keep them entertained while you shop including:
- A Fun Factory at Kukui Grove Center.
- Coconut Marketplace offers cultural shows.
- Live entertainment at Poipu Shopping Village every Monday and Wednesday at 5 p.m.
There is a kid’s reading hour every Wednesday between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. at Blue House Booksellers in Kapaa.