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O‘ahu Shopping Guide: The Best Boutiques in Chinatown and Downtown Honolulu

HONOLULU Magazine’s style editors spill on where to go and what to buy to shop like a local.


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Though a little off the palm-tree-lined path, Honolulu’s buzzy downtown shopping area is home to some of the Islands’ top indie labels and a slew of hip specialty boutiques. The area is easily walkable—most of its shops are clustered in a cozy three-block stretch between Chinatown and the city’s financial district. Plus, there’s a lot of interesting architecture to take in as the area is dotted with historic buildings, some dating back to the 1800s. 

 

For maximum exploring, plan to head over mid-morning as the average closing time is around 5 p.m. Early birds can perk up at one of neighborhood’s great coffee shops—The Manifest, Brue Bar and Ali‘i Coffee Co. are some of our faves. And weekdays and Saturdays are ideal as most of the stores are closed on Sunday. 

 


SEE ALSO: Chinatown’s Latest Revival is Putting it Back on the Map. But Will it Last?


Valia Honolulu 

Valia Honolulu

PHOTO: AARON K. YOSHINO

 

You can tell by the swirling floral mural that greets you at Valia’s entrance that boho goodness awaits inside. Owner Camille Heung has an eye for flirty, effortless pieces and stocks several of our favorite casual-chic Island lines, including Yireh, Kira Hawai‘i, Khush and Vermili. Be sure to peruse the shop’s charming armoires (refurbished by Heung herself) for locally made soaps, jewelry and handbags. 

1140 Bethel St., (808) 208-8585, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 


SEE ALSO: Hawai‘i Brand Mohala Eyewear Creates New Sunglasses For Asian Women


Fighting Eel

Hands down, Fighting Eel is one of the most popular womenswear labels in the Islands, beloved for its comfy-chic knit dresses, jumpers and separates featuring poppy graphic prints. Local designers and BFFs (best friends in fashion) Lan Chung and Rona Bennett launched the label back in 2003 and have since grown it to include matching girls’ fashions and an equally chic sister line called Ava Sky. 

1133 Bethel St., (808) 738-9300, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 


Ginger13

Ginger13

PHOTO: DAVID CROXFORD

 

Part gift shop, part home base for Honolulu jewelry designer Cindy Yokoyama, this gem of a shop is a little oasis in bustling downtown. Scoop up everything from tea towels and crystals to potted plants and Yokoyama’s fab gem-dotted jewelry.

22 S. Pauahi St., (808) 531-5311, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 


Haul2hi 

Island Ikea fans rejoiced when Haul2hi opened shop. The re-shipping company specializes in transporting items that can’t be ordered through the Swedish brand’s website or aren’t eligible to ship to Hawai‘i. You can peruse some of Ikea’s most popular items at Haul2hi’s downtown showroom, set up like a mini Ikea store, minus the meatballs. 

1148 Bethel St., (808) 462-9544, Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 


Barrio Vintage 

Barrio Vintage

PHOTO: AARON K. YOSHINO

 

Barrio Vintage owners Bradley Rhea and Jonathan Saupe have a knack for tracking down the coolest clothing and accessories from eras past. Snag fun finds thrifted from across the U.S. Mainland, then dive into their extensive collection of Hawai‘i-made pieces from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. 

1161 Nu‘uanu Ave., (808) 674-7156, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 


Owens & Co. 

Owens & Co.

PHOTO: AARON K. YOSHINO

 

You can’t help but feel happy stepping into this airy, sunshine-filled corner store. Owner Missy Owens Mull curates a lovely mix of gift and home items, much of which is handmade by hard-to-find indie brands. Hit up the charming kids nook for locally made small-fry finds and browse the jewelry cases for delicate layering pieces from Island designers Imi Jewelry and Jewelry by Justine. 

1152 Nu‘uanu Ave., (808) 531-4300, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

 


In4mation 

In4mation

PHOTO: AARON K. YOSHINO

 

Few labels are more synonymous with the Hawai‘i skate scene than In4mation, purveyors of cool Island-style streetwear. Join the brand’s Aloha Army and stock up on its men’s graphic tees and cult-favorite caps. 

1154 Nu‘uanu Ave., (808) 538-8898, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 


Hound & Quail 

Hound & Quail

PHOTO: AARON K. YOSHINO

 

If vintage dental molds, old-timey medical tools and taxidermy busts are high on your must-buy list, then you’ve come to the right place. Each and every piece in this gorgeously appointed curiosities shop feels special and unique. 

1156 Nu‘uanu Ave., (808) 779-8436, Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 


Roberta Oaks 

Robert Oaks

PHOTO: AARON K. YOSHINO

 

Locals looking for a hip spin on the aloha shirt turn to designer Roberta Oaks. The Missouri transplant whips up fun slim-cut options for men and women rocked best with a sleeve roll and some attitude. Decked out with a sweet checkerboard floor and a smattering of hula girl dolls, her retro-modern shop also stocks breezy women’s dresses and rompers, local art prints and great gift items. 

19 N. Pauahi St., (808) 526-1111, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 


Tin Can Mailman 

Originally located on Kaua‘i, this tiny treasure trove of a shop is chock-full of vintage Hawai‘i collectibles, from Bakelite jewelry and travel brochures to photographs and out-of-print books.  

1026 Nu‘uanu Ave., #1, (808) 524-3009, Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 


Sig On Smith 

Sig on Smith

PHOTO: AARON K. YOSHINO

 

Nestled between a kung fu training center and a travel agency, the Sig On Smith shop may be tiny (just 500 square feet) in size but it’s been known to generate some big lines. Open only Fridays, the store is the sole O‘ahu outpost for Big Island label Sig Zane Designs, stocked with a selection of the brand’s men’s aloha shirts, tees and accessories that feature bold graphics inspired by Hawaiian culture. 

1018 Smith St., (808) 524-0071, Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

 


SEE ALSO: Here’s the Secret to Shopping Chinatown’s Markets Like a Chef


Leather Soul 

Dapper gents hunting for top-quality footwear need look no further than Leather Soul. The handsome men’s boutique stocks a variety of renowned brands, such as Alden, Tricker’s and John Lobb.  

119 Merchant St., #100, (808) 523-7700, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 


Reyn Spooner 

Reyn Spooner womenswear

 

You can’t walk a block downtown without running into a few Reyn Spooner aloha shirts, a favorite of Hawai‘i businessmen thanks to the brand’s smart cuts and eye-catching tropical prints. Scoop up a few button-downs and check out its growing womenswear line, featuring chic cotton blouses, tunics and dresses. 

125 Merchant St., (808) 524-1885, Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

READ MORE STORIES BY BRIE THALMANN 

 

 

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