posted by M.L. Sanico
Speaking of airlines, and overwhelming travel costs, my family and I decided on a Waikiki “stay-cation” for a long weekend off. The recent specials and kama’aina rates inspired us to revisit old stomping grounds and check out the changes to Waikiki’s landmark locations… some of which we, sadly, have not visited in years!
Just two weeks ago, I serendipitously came across an interesting book on walking tours of Waikiki. Waikiki: Nine Walks Through Time is a brochure sized, spiral bound book, mapping out various “walks” through Waikiki. The trails are varying lengths, so you can do a short walk or something broader to the area, and each trail is different so you never see the same thing twice. My family and I particularly enjoyed the trail outlined along the Ala Wai, it was perfect for an evening stroll–it wasn’t too long, and we were away from the hustle of Kalakaua Avenue.
The great thing about this book, even for local residents, is that it is chock full of history and facts about almost every street and building in the Waikiki area. I learned things that I never knew and I’ve passed these streets and buildings a thousand times! The book includes old pictures so you can see the difference between then and now, short mini-bios of people who influenced the area, and the roles that certain places played in pop cultures past. Learning new things about the places we see everyday was fun for my whole family and prompted many discussions. The most valuable of which were my parent’s memories of how Waikiki used to be… a plate-lunch place here, a novelty store there, swimming at the Natatorium. It was great to hear their stories and feel the presence of the past through their words.
The experience was worth far more than the twelve dollars it cost to buy the book and we plan on using it again for the other eight trails outlined. Some trails take you through Waikiki’s most famous and recognizable landmarks, so the book is ideal for visitors as well. It’s a fantastic alternative for anyone who wants to see a few local and historic sites, get a little exercise, and have fun without spending a ton of money.
If you’d like to peruse other resources for walking tours of Waikiki, I suggest visiting this website. However, the different points of interest highlighted are not as many and not nearly as detailed as those in this book.
On the subject of walking tours, historic or otherwise, Downtown Honolulu is also a popular bet (especially for architecture). Click here to see a special insert that the Star Bulletin did on historic downtown buildings.