Shop for locally made crafts on Oahu

by Kris Bordessa on August 16, 2010

A local carving a mask in an Oahu marketplace

Sure, you can pick up cheap souvenirs in Hawaii. T-shirts and key chains abound, as do wooden tiki statues. But check the fine print; these souvenirs of your Hawaiian vacation were likely made far from the islands. If you’d rather support local artisans and take home a truly authentic souvenir, it’s simple: avoid souvenir shops. Instead, check out these three locations. You’ll find a great selection of products made right here in the islands.

Shop Pacifica: The Bishop Museum gift shop, Shop Pacifica, offers a wealth of hand-crafted items including woven lauhala, wooden implements, and Hawaiian quilting kits. There’s also a wide selection of locally published books for kids and adults. If you’re looking for high quality artwork or gifts related to Hawaiian nature and history, this is the place to shop. Bishop Museum is located not far from bustling Waikiki and the oceanfront Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki.

Native Books: You will have a hard time deciding what to take home from this bookstore that focuses on books related to the islands. Books in English and Hawaiian mingle on the shelves, covering topics from Kumulipo (the Hawaiian creation chant that accompanies lei making), Polynesian voyaging, and cooking. In addition to books, you’ll find music CDs by local artists, DVDs, and products made in Hawaii. The store also features ongoing cultural classes and a free monthly concert. It is located in Ward Warehouse.

Little Hawaiian Craft Shop: With arts and crafts handmade in Hawaii (as well as some from around the South Pacific) the Little Hawaiian Craft Shop has a wide selection of souvenirs to bring home. Check out the assortment of koa boxes, quilt kits, Christmas ornaments, seed lei, and petroglyph art. It is located in the Royal Hawaiian Center adjacent to the famous pink (and not cheap) Royal Hawaiian Hotel. Budget travelers will want to look a block or two away for hotels like the Aston at the Waikiki Banyan or the Best Western Coconut Waikiki.

–Kris Bordessa of Honolulu On The Cheap and Big Island On The Cheap

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