A brief break from the nature and heritage experience on Big Island is easily provided through shopping. The open air markets, farmers’ markets, high end shops and authentic Hawaiian-made crafts are all part of the retail mix.
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A classic car museum, divine chocolate treats, fine jewelry, quilts and high end apparel are a few places to check out at Queens’ Marketplace, which is more than just a shopper’s paradise. Daily koi feedings, chocolate and coffee tastings, quilting classes, hula and ukulele lessons, wildlife awareness presentations, Polynesian performances and even ipu (gourd drums) making are activities throughout the year at this bustling marketplace. While it’s shopping on the surface, it’s also an entertaining way to explore Hawaii’s heritage.
Fine art and fine things are among the items available at the Kings’ Shops. Rent island transport (bikes, motorcycles, Segways and scooters), plan your day trips through the Visitor Center and outfit yourself with apparel, handbags, watches and jewelry. Make sure you visit Under the Koa Tree, a boutique that holds the work of Hawaii’s artisans who create fine woodwork, art, quilts and other handcrafted items.
In addition to kings and queens, a prince is usually not far behind. Prince Kuhio Plaza is a shopping mall with a variety of stores plus a movie theater on-site.
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Parker Ranch Center, Waimea Center and Parker Square in Kamuela are smaller shopping areas, a neat way to experience local life. If you’re staying on Big Island a week or more, the conveniences of banking, groceries and other services are here in one place. You’ll also find local eateries, including coffee, pizza and burgers. A must stop shop is Reyn’s, the classic island wear store.
The islands are home to macadamia nuts and a trip to Big Island to take home these island treats is a fun shopping and sightseeing experience. Take a tour of the site, orchards and watch the confections being created on-site at Mauna Loa in Hilo. Want coffee to go with those macadamian treats? Explore the Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative and tour the oldest and largest coffee processing Coop in the United States. Taste local eats and shop for the items you can’t leave to go home without.
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Keauhou Shopping Center in Kailua-Kona has gifts, groceries, a few places to eat and a movie theater. Big Island is also home to multiple farmers markets, also known as sunshine or green markets. Shopping at these markets isa wonderful way to meet locals, find local foods and watch handcrafted items created before you. Big Island has six different farmer or flea markets, including Alii Gardens Marketplace, and farmers’ markets in Hilo, Keauhou, Kona, and Panaewa.
If you’re short on time, or aren’t one to spend too much time shopping, find a few hours to see a shopping center (for local artisans and places to eat) and a farmers’ market or food tour site, which counts as shopping and sightseeing in one.