Ala Moana Center offers the best shopping on Oahu experience, and is considered an Oahu attraction in itself. With hundreds of stores and restaurants to explore, it can seem a bit overwhelming. But the layout is well designed, and has a calming effect being in an open-air environment with foliage and beautiful winding koi ponds that stretch through sections of the mega mall.
Opening up in August 1959, the Ala Moana Center was the largest mall constructed at the time in the United States. Today Bloomington Minnesota hold the that record, but the Ala Moana Mall still contends in the top 10 with 2,400,000 square feet of retail space. Over past decades and even most recently, additional levels and expansive wings have been added, exploding in square footage and making this into a mega mall, and the best shopping on Oahu.
There are 360 stores, restaurants, bars, and special facilities that occupy 4 levels of this grand mall. Elite designer shops can be found on the 2nd and 3rd levels. Take the escalator up to the 4th floor to explore a hand full of restaurants including Bubba Gumps, and an open-air Mai Tai Bar that gets quit lively in the evenings. There are 2 huge food courts located on the 1st floor and third one located on the 2nd level near Macy’s. If you’re wondering if a certain store exist, take a guess and it probably does. Naming them all would be pointless, but there are some unique places that you must see when visiting the Ala Moana Center.
They are located on every corner in Waikiki, and it’s hard to walk into one without buying something. ABC Store has every Hawaii souvenir possible, including some postcards that you can mail around the corner at the mall post office.
Take a moment and create your own pair of flip flops. That’s right, simply choose a size, color, and some foot straps. Then decorate it with some jewels, beads, or treasures that you’ll find in the selection bins.
you don’t have to be a surfer to appreciate this surf shop! If the wall of shirt designs does not impress you, the hanging surf boards that rotate on an elaborate mechanical conveyor belt throughout the store will.
It’s easy to fall in love with these pineapple shaped shortbread cookies that come in many different flavors. They make great gifts and the best part is that you get to sample all of them when you visit their store.
How many malls do you know that has their own post office? Take advantage of picking up some post cards and sending them off in between shopping.
Also make sure to pick up a pair of Hawaii’s favorite flip flop slippers called Locals. They are simple and inexpensive…and you’ll fall in love with them once you wear them around!
Another special shop that displays handcrafted Hawaii print on beautiful quilts, pillows, bags, and other apparel for purchase.
This local grocery store has been one of the longest running tenets in the mall. But not until they rebuilt in a new 47,000 sq ft location on the ocean side of the mall. Foodland has it become a spectacle in the mall that is well worth visiting. Beyond an expansive display of local foods, I love their Poke Station, Naples Pizza Style Station, Shave Ice Station, a Wine Tasting Bar, and so many more unique features beyond your typical grocery store.
The Ala Moana Center Stage has been a big source of entertainment and has played a big part in the community over the decades. Some say it’s the heart of mall, and the beautiful koi ponds are the veins that run through it. The center stage is notoriously known for a daily hula show that takes place from 1 PM to 1:20 PM. Folks still crowd around for the short but sweet performance. Check out their schedule for concerts, performances, demonstrations, and more.
Can you believe there are over 100 restaurants in the Ala Moana Shopping Center. A majority of them reside within one of three food courts. But don’t confuse these food courts as ordinary. Can you believe there are over 100 restaurants in the Ala Moana Shopping Center. A majority of them reside within one of three food courts. But don’t confuse these food courts as ordinary. They are absolutely huge and have different themes and restaurant selections in each.
The Makai Market Food Court is the original, and well-designed restaurant row market place. There are lots of tempting choices, including the Poi Bowl that has been part of the Makai Market from the beginning. You can get your Hawaiian food fix here.
Another incredible restaurant market place that recently opened on the first level facing makai (ocean side), is called Shirokiya Japan Village Walk. It’s an experience and spectacle to walk through this Shirokiya Japan Village. Get lost walking through the hanging cherry blossoms, and glowing Japanese lanterns, and wall of shrines and statues…and all within the 32 Japanese food stalls, that specialize in either ramen, sushi, barbecue bentos, desserts, and lots of other treats to be discovered. There’s even a side stage with scheduled ongoing entertainment, and an attractive beer garden selling $1 beers. Be advised, you might not get any shopping done once you enter this village walk.
A third food court, known as The Lanai, that also stands on its own with a tropical island bar and good selection of restaurants to choose from, is located on the 2nd level next to Macy’s. Among the tempting choices, take note of Ike’s Sandwiches which are super yum, HITea Café for some island flavored boba tea, and Mahaloha Burger for an ono treat!
Mahaloha (Mah-aloha) Burger is not just another burger joint, but offers unique island style items like a Chicken Katsu Sandwich, Mahi Mahi Burger, and my favorite…the Loco Moco Hot Dog.
Describing it almost doesn’t do it justice, but it’s a tasty hot dog in a toasted brioche bread bun, served with a fried egg, crunchy dried onions, and a mild gravy on top that gels this creation together. I’m always temped to order a second one for dessert!
A forth restaurant area in the Ala Moana Center is located on the top level. Here you will find a hand full of full-service restaurants and the Mai Tai Bar. Notably, Buba Gumps has been a fun experience for visitors over the years, and GEN Korean BBQ House contends in Best Voted Honolulu Restaurants.
Other noteworthy restaurants within this mega mall are Goma Tei. Leliha Bakery, Vintage Cave, and Foodland.
Goma Tei just might be the best ramen on the island! I’m tempted to say pass on the food courts and satisfy your food craving right here. The broth, the noodles, and the magic used to create one delicious bowl for the soul! It’s an inexpensive meal that is such a treat!
Recently moved into the former Pineapple Room on Macy’s 3rd floor, Leliha Bakery instant popularity for their baked goods and fulfilling meals. Don’t pass up on their famous cream puffs…they are divine and will melt in your mouth!
you never would think that one of the most expensive dining experiences is right here in the mall. The unique artwork, designer lighting, and cave like setting will help set the mood for a special “Japan Wagyu French” or “Sushi Kaiseki” prefix $300 menu. Bring an appetite to the Vintage Cave, and set aside sometime for an extensive selection of courses that will entertain for sure.
By no surprise, there is some good entertainment and nightlife options to enjoy here at the Ala Moana Center! Whether you want to enjoy a drink at one of many bars & restaurants, go bowling and conquer the arcade at Lucky Strike, or go dancing into the night at Haus Super Club…you decide.
Have you ever been to a Lucky Strike? They have taken the sports bar concept to the next level with a huge bar with mega viewing screens, bowling alleys, an expansive arcade, and even the food is better!
You would never think, but there are close to a dozen full scale bars and even a nightclub at this Honolulu mall. Even the mall grocery store, Foodland, as an enticing wine bar in the middle of the store! Enjoying $1 beers in the Japan Village Walk is a novelty, and lounging upstairs at the Mai Tai Bar is all the prestige and more.
Take the escalators up to the 4th level to discover an oasis open air bar with lots of seating options, nice décor, an entertainment stage, and nice layout. The Mai Tai Bar has been voted the best bar on the island in recent past years, and remains popular in Oahu’s nightlife and daily shoppers. This is the place to be for televised sporting events and live local music in the evenings.
If you prefer to enjoy a drink in a peaceful upscale restaurant with beautiful eclectic art décor and stimulating murals to admire, wonder into the Vintage Café and you’ll be pleasantly surprised that this even exist in a mall!