Honolulu, Hawai‘i October 9-12

by Suelem Lee

Take a peak at some local living while you are here for EPIC2018!

The much-loved Waikiki Beach at the doorstep of the conference is a surf scene with a board culture unlike any other. In easy reach are hiking trails with views of a lifetime. This guide helps you get a glimpse of a less touristy itinerary, a little of the hipster community, concept bars, eclectic markets and buzzing nightlife. In case you wanted a more immersed culture tour, let me know! I’ll be around for the whole conference, often wearing and EPIC2018 Volunteer t-shirt.

Eat and Drink

Moku Kitchen
660 Ala Moana Blvd #145
(808) 591-6658
Features an unusual selection of creative brewed beers and cocktails, chef-driven concept cuisine with a buzzy environment and live music and long bar counter. They’ve elevated the Mexican fish tacos and chips to a gourmet level, with the crispiest, plumpest hand-cut chips with fresh seafood to match.

Mud Hen Water
3452 Waialae Ave
(808) 737-6000 (make reservations)
Find an authentic taste of Hawaii with a contemporary touch and an organic menu in the most natural sense and authentic taste. Don’t miss the beet poke, and for those who don’t want to get it wrong, Smoke Meat Carbonara.

2 North Hotel Street
(808) 369-1390
Fete is partnered with Local L’a Hawaii for freshest local fish, increasing accessibility and consumption of locally sourced seafood while improving profitability for the hard working pono fishers and encouraging sustainability in local fisheries. Offers authentic fish recipes designed with great elegance and sensibility.

Lewers Lounge
2199 Kalia Rd (inside the Halekulani Hotel)
(808) 923-2311
Head here for a jazz fix! Dim lighting and a stylish, antiquated interior makes its a perfect place to take someone on a first meetup—or go ahead alone. A fine wine bar and cocktails.

Sky Waikiki
2270 Kalakaua Ave
(808) 979-7590
Great place to spend your Friday night. A rooftop restaurant with an eclectic touristy crowd, electronic and hip hop vibe, great lounge space with a fireplace. Check the website for dress code.

2255 Kalakaua Ave
(808) 922-4422
Sip on tropical rum drink amid a happy and charming crowd—a tourist location but a fun, elegant environment with a view to the sea. Great place to have cocktails with or without dinner, chill out enjoying the watching the crowd arrive, and dance until you can’t any longer.

Mahina & Suns
412 Lewers St
(808) 924-5810
“Honolulu-born chef Ed Kenney is credited as a leader in Hawaii’s field-to-fork movement. His latest restaurant, the chic yet cozy Mahina & Sun’s inside Waikiki’s Surfjack Hotel & Swim Club, specializes in innovative twists on Hawaiian home-cooking favorites.” Breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails and live music nightly.

Gorilla in the Cafe

Coffee shop sources beans from local producers; also serves pastries and sandwiches.

Lonohana Chocolate Tasting Bar
344 Coral St Unit 104a
“We propagated our own cacao seedlings, planted our first trees in 2009, and now farm 14 acres of cacao by hand on the North Shore of O‘ahu. We harvest the fruit, ferment and dry the beans, then hand craft small batches of chocolate bars every few weeks at our factory in Honolulu.”


Kakaako Murals
691 Auahi St, Honolulu, HI 96813
Take the time to Uber to over to the Kakaako neighborhood, then switch to a bike or stroll the blocks full of murals. Read about the effort to bring art to the neighborhood spearheaded by POW!WOW! Hawaii—here’s their Mural Map.

Foster Botanical Garden
180 N. Vineyard Blvd. Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 768-7135
This is the spot for an immersive dive into Hawaiian flora with an impressive collection of tropical Hawaiian plants. For the botany nerds: call before you go and ask about the free and self-guided tours.

Honolulu Museum of Art
2411 Makiki Heights Dr
(808) 237-5225
The Honolulu Museum of Art has several locations—check out all their collections and installations. I like Spalding House, with galleries of art, a permanent installation of David Hockney’s L’Enfant et les sortilèges, a café, pop-up gift shop, and sculpture-filled gardens overlooking Diamond Head and Honolulu.

Hawai’i State Art Museum
250 South Hotel St, Second Floor
Contemporary art; check out current exhibitions here. Free admission. Shop + Cafe.

Books & Gifts

Da Shop
3565 Harding Ave
Independent bookstore features “a rotating list of well-known Hawai‘i and Oceania classics” as well as general titles.

More by Art + Flea
1170 Auahi St
“Our purpose is to showcase a compelling environment that embraces the spirit of Oahu’s creative local businesses with the intention of fusing community with creativity. At Mori, not only can customers find unique and eclectic goods, but we also provide opportunities for them to witness and experience what Hawaii’s small business scene is about through various in-store workshops and pop-up events.”

Jams World
1200 Ala Moana Blvd #405
Surf & island clothing.

1170 Auahi St
“Kealopiko creates designs and clothing inspired by the natural, cultural, and historical landscapes of Hawaiʻi. We strive to bring elements of the world of our kūpuna (ancestors and elders) to contemporary apparel: native plants and animals, ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language), our aliʻi (chiefs and monarchs) and the moʻolelo (stories and history) of our existence in these islands. To get a feel for the manaʻo (meaning) behind our work, visit the Design Library and read some of the story tags that go with our designs. Here you will find the unique stories of each element of the Hawaiian world that we have created a design for.”

Na Mea Hawaii
Ala Moana Blvd in Ward Village
“Nā Mea Hawaiʻi is a community resource focused on distributing the best books, music, and DVDs on Hawaiʻi and the Pacific. We also feature made in Hawaiʻi products by Hawaiian and local artisans—wood, lauhala, Niʻihau shells, clothing and more.”

Trips from Honolulu

Hanauma Bay State Park
If you can snorkel just once while you’re on the island, go to Hanauma—a magnificent “protected marine life conservation area.” Virtually no prep is necessary; you can rent snorkel masks and fins and take a 4-hour snorkel swim to the reef (but do bring a trash bag, reef-safe sunblock, waterproof camera cover; leave your valuables behind). It’s only about 10 miles from the Marriott; you can take a shuttle ($25), taxi ($40), or city bus. Parking is available but limited.

North Shore—Waimea Bay
World-famous waves and epic surfing—but also swimming, snorkeling and diving. About an hour by car or 2.5 hours by bus from Honolulu. Have lunch at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck on the way and if you’re circling around the northern point of the island enjoy Turtle Bay as well.

Koko Head Trail
1.8 miles round trip, 2–3 hours, moderate difficulty (steep with lots of steps!)
25 minute drive (10 miles) from Waikiki
This steep, exposed trail rewards with spectacular views of the east Honolulu shoreline. It’s located on the hot dry south side of the island, so bring long sleeves, hats, sunblock, water, hiking shoes and sunglasses. Make sure you spare your phone/camera battery for sunset (starting at 4–5pm). It’s a little rough on your knees coming down, don’t rush.

Manoa Falls Trail
1.6 miles round trip, 1–2 hours, easy
20 minute (6 miles) drive from Waikiki
Manoa Falls Trail takes you through a dense bamboo jungle up to the waterfall, with a shallow pool to dive in one the way back. It’s a little heavily populated with tourist and hikers, but worth it. In case you didn’t bring walking shoes, just go to Goodwill and buy a used pair for $5–12.

Ka’au Crater Trail
5 miles round trip, 5–6 hours, hardcore (can be slippery and somewhat dangerous)
20 minutes (5 miles) drive from Waikiki
You won’t find much nearly as much foot traffic on Ka’au Crater. “This is an amazing hike with three waterfalls and gorgeous views of Honolulu, Kaneohe, Kailua, Diamond Head, and Ka’au Crater…” read more. “The trail starts in the very back of Palolo Valley. This stream flows through the valley. You follow it through the valley and cross it a few times to stay on trail. Then the first waterfall appears…” read more.