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Stroll on Over to Kaimuki

Nibbling around one of Honolulu's oldest neighborhoods

Kaimuki, bounded by Diamond Head makai, Manoa to the west and Kahala to the east, has over a hundred restaurants and markets, but we focus on the dense strip of Waialae between 8th Avenue and 13th Avenue. It’s a small area, but endlessly explorable and deliciously tantalizing.

Kaimuki is one of Honolulu's oldest residential neighborhoods, and it shows in some of the houses perched on the steep roads up to Maunalani Heights and in the faded facades of the businesses lining Waialae Avenue. The original pronunciation of Kaimuki is “Ka-imu-ki,” meaning “the ti oven,” based on the legend of menehune building their ti ovens in the hillsides. We have yet to catch a glimpse of one of these menehune, but perhaps their ovens have been incorporated into the eclectic restaurants and food markets tucked into Kaimuki's many corners. 

Waialae and 12thAlong with Chinatown, Downtown and Waikiki, Kaimuki is one of the few walkable neighborhoods in Honolulu. Within a five-minute stroll, one could pass a park, café, library, several wide-ranging shops and numerous restaurants serving different cuisine at different price points. During the day, Kaimuki is a haven for cheap lunch options such as burritos, pho or fresh sandwiches. This might be why it is such a popular spot for students (or adults) playing hookey.

But in the evening, the neighborhood transforms into the perfect place for a special night out. After parking in one of the convenient parking lots, a happy couple, celebrating friends or a large family can ramble along Waialae Avenue until they find the perfect restaurant for that evening.

Check out the slideshow for some of SYT’s favorite locales in Kaimuki.


Comments from Readers

  1. 9bb1963106144173e69f1cfe2fdb5cf3
    Lisa Asagi on 7/8/2009 at 9:45pm

    Thank you for this article. That area of Kaimuki is such a wonderful haven for food. I sure wish we could re-open the Queen Theatre for film, music and performance. That would really turn that avenue into a great hotspot for the community.

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