Archive for November, 2010
As anyone who’s driven in Honolulu can tell you, Honolulu’s city streets can be a bit of a challenge. If the narrow streets don’t get you to second guess your driving abilities, the number of one-way streets will definitely make you feel like you’re in a maze with no way out.
Parking can also be a nightmare around town, or even at your own hotel with parking rates as high as $30.00 per day. Add that cost to your daily car rental fee and you’re looking at anywhere from 70 to over 100 dollars a day–money that you can spend on sipping more mai tais or doing more shopping.
Fortunately, you don’t have to spend your vacation time in Hawaii’s version of traffic hell. There are quite a few options for you to consider that will make you leave the driving to someone else (you’re on vacation, after all). Let’s look at the alternatives:
Probably not the most cost-effective way to get around town, but it will definitely do the job. There are a lot of cab companies that operate within the major Honolulu and Waikiki areas. However, if you want to go with reliability and dependability, there are only two that you can always count on: TheCab and Charley’s Taxi.
If you really want to experience Honolulu in all its metropolitan glory, nothing beats TheBus. It’s Honolulu’s only public transportation option with dedicated service around the island. For only $2.50, you can basically get around town to almost anywhere you want. You can even get a 4-day pass for only $25.00 (consecutive days only, unfortunately). However, keep in mind that both tourists and locals use the bus; it will take a while to get on one during rush hours and assuming that you do board a bus, be prepared to stand inside something that resembles a human sardine can.
If you’re just looking for a way to get to the most popular tourist attractions (not to mention major shopping and dining destinations), then the Waikiki Trolley’s the way to go. The Waikiki Trolley has three lines specializing in distinct “themes” that take you to historic stops, scenic points along the Diamond Head area or to Ala Moana Center. A seven-day pass costs $49.00 online through their website ($58 elsewhere) though their Pink Line also accepts one-way fares at $2.00 per person.
Better than bicycles but not as useful as cars, using a moped around town is a cool way to get to wherever you want to go. It’s convenient to park and use, and it’s great gas sipper. The only downside with these things is the safety aspect; just like bikes, you’re more prone to accidents if you’re not careful. They’re easy targets for thieves too, so keep that in mind at all times.
So you’ve booked your flight, reserved your hotel rooms and your rental car. Your luggage is packed and you’re just waiting to get to Hawaii’s sunny beaches and sip Mai Tais. Sooner or later though, you’re going to start to think about what to do with all that free time you have while on the islands. Look no further. Here’s our list of things to visit and do while in paradise.
Pearl Harbor is the most popular visitor attraction on Oahu, bar none. And for good reason: It’s the home of World War II’s bookends, with the Pearl Harbor attack (symbolized by the USS Arizona Memorial) marking the start of the US involvement in the war, and the USS Missouri marking Japan’s surrender and signaling the end of the war in the Pacific.
Aside from the USS Arizona and the Mighty Mo, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum, the Pacific Aviation Museum and the USS Oklahoma Memorial (the newest addition to Pearl Harbor’s attractions) are also worthy of a visit.
Getting there on your own via rental car is the best, as you won’t be tied to a set schedule like most Pearl Harbor tours (though going on a tour can be highly entertaining and quite convenient as well). Get there as early as possible to avoid the huge crowds.
Polynesian Cultural Center
The PCC is by far the most unique attraction in Hawaii. It not only features Hawaiian culture but six other Polynesian cultures (not to mention their Rapa Nui exhibit) in an interactive and colorful display of activities, games and shows. You can basically spend an entire day there, and at night, enjoy their award-winning luau and their newest show called “Ha: Breath of Life.”
Getting there on your own is preferred, though they offer shuttle services from Waikiki and vice-versa.
Go to a luau!
The PCC’s not the only game in town when it comes to luaus. There’s a list of other ones to choose from, but regardless of your choice, going to a luau is just a MUST DO thing especially if it’s your first visit to the islands. Here are our favorites:
Paradise Cove Luau – Located on Oahu’s west side, this luau is quite popular among returning visitors. Lots of interactive activities prior to the evening’s festivities such as Hawaiian arts and crafts, ancient Hawaiian games, and a hukilau on the beach to name a few.
Germaine’s Luau – Another luau that’s located on Oahu’s west side, Germaine’s doesn’t have the same pre-luau activities that Paradise Cove does, but still has a great menu and show. Perfect if you just want to eat and be entertained, Hawaiian-style.
Waikiki Starlight Luau – Located at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, this is the only outdoor luau within the Waikiki area. And for the very same reason, you basically miss out on a lot of the Hawaiian outdoor experience that you get with luaus such as Germaine’s and Paradise Cove. Not to mention that it’s held on the rooftop of a building and, well… you get the idea.
As one of the two palaces in the United States, a visit to the ‘Iolani Palace is definitely something you shouldn’t miss. There are guided tours available that takes you to the first and second floors of the palace in addition to a self-guided tour of the basement gallery exhibits. If history is your thing, then this is one of the best places to experience and see Hawaiian history first-hand.
There are also things to see around the palace. Fronting it is the world-famous King Kamehameha Statue, and across Punchbowl Street from the statue is Kawaihao Church. On the same grounds as the church is the Mission Houses Museum and the King Lunalilo Mausoleum.
The Hawaii State Capitol is also just behind ‘Iolani Palace in addition to the Hawaii State Library. Honolulu Hale (city hall) is across Punchbowl Street from the palace as well.
And of course… Hawaii Comedy Theater
As Oahu’s only comedy club, the Hawaii Comedy Theater is essentially THE only oahu attraction if you want great evening entertainment and laughter. Join us for Comedy Polynesia featuring Bo Irvine, or for Sharkey’s Comedy Club featuring great local comedians or both!
I met John, a New York comic, at the Las Vegas Convention Center this week. Very funny and nice guy. A former NYC cop. When I told him that I’ve run comedy clubs in Hawaii for quite a number of years he felt compelled to share a story with me about his first experience with the world of stand-up. It was as a member of the audience.
And it wasn’t pretty.
Before going down that road though, a little background. We are both staying at the same hotel down the block from the LV Convention Center, the Clarion Hotel & Casino, the GM of which is Steve Dennis, a very good friend of mine and Bo Irvine. Steve was one of our locally based comics on Oahu in the late 80’s while attending UH.
Okay then. Go with me to a Thursday in January 1989. Waikiki. Diamond Head. Wedding. Honeymoon. Friday. John and his new bride went out to the a comedy club.
“Was it by chance at the Ilikai Hotel?” I asked. I knew it was. We’ve pretty much been the only comedy club in Hawaii since 1988.
Yep, Ilikai. Top floor, killer view. Honolulu Comedy Club.
“That was my club.”
John was a jerk. That’s his description, not mine. “I was such a (bleeping) jerk,” he confessed. “We went to the club on Friday night, and then went back on Saturday night so I could yell out the punch lines before the comedian got to them.”
If he only knew then as a customer what he knows today as a professional comedian. He continued: “But the comic slammed me. Bad. Really put me in my place. Made me feel ‘this’ big. But boy did I have it coming to me.”
In the late 1980’s, we only had a finite number of local comics and I had to know which one did the deed so I could give him a belated high five. “Do you remember what he looked like?” I asked.
“Yeah,” John answered. “Tall, thin, big bushy eyebrows.”
“Guess what John. The hotel you’re staying at? Mr. Bushy Eyebrows is the General Manager.
A quick video of Sharkey’s Comedy Club’s Shawn Felipe:
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