Inside Look: Best of Honolulu Festival 2017

Our top tips on what to eat, where to play and what not to miss.


Photo: Kelli Bullock

Looking for a place where your kids can burn off some energy, be entertained and learn something while you eat, drink and shop? Saturday, Aug. 5, you can have it all at the second annual Best of Honolulu Festival, presented by American Savings Bank, at the Honolulu Hale Civic Grounds.

First, let your kids run around, literally, at HONOLULU Family’s first ever Fun Run presented by Kaiser Permanente. That kicks off at 8:30 a.m. Then hit the festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to browse more than 60 vendors including ‘ono food stands, a keiki zone and marketplace with your ‘ohana. Here are our insider tips for getting the most out of your day.

Our Tips

1. Know where and when to park. There are plenty of free spaces in the municipal lot under the Honolulu Civic Grounds. The entrance is on Beretania Street near the intersection with Alapa‘i Street. You won’t be able to enter during the Fun Run. So, be sure to arrive before 8 a.m. if your family is in the race, or after 9:30 a.m. for the festival.

2. Start your day off right with the HONOLULU Family Fun Run and Keiki Dash, presented by Kaiser Permanente. This fun and festive event will get your keiki moving and grooving while raising money for the school of your choice. If you have a reluctant runner, a guaranteed medal for the Keiki Dash and snack stops along the 3K route should keep him or her moving. Check out our insider tips on where to find Elsa, Ariel and Spiderman and what to stop for along the route. Then sign your keiki up here. 

3. Enter HONOLULU Family’s Cover Kid Search for free. Our professional photographer will be there to coax a smile out of your kids. Plus, HONOLULU Family is waiving the $10 Cover Kids entry fee for all keiki who enter at this event. Tip: Bring a comb or brush but leave the styling products at home. Watch honolulufamily.com on Friday, Aug. 4, for our tips for the best Cover Kids entries.


Photo: Kelli Bullock

4. Hit the Dave & Buster’s Keiki Zone. If your keiki aren’t worn out from the run, youʻll find a lot more to do at the festival. You may want to wait until after your Cover Kid appointment to do anything active to avoid a sweaty keiki photo.

  • Play plinko and spin the wheel to win prizes at Dave & Buster’s Keiki Zone.
  • Hit Best of HONOLULU Family winner ColorWhims Hawai‘i for free glitter tattoos, face painting and balloon animals.
  • Ride Xtreme Fun rides and jump in inflatables, for a fee, on the mauka side of Honolulu Hale near Punchbowl Street.
  • Take your toddler to My Gym, a Best of HONOLULU Family winner, located next to the Xtreme Fun rides. Hang out with your little ones in the free, enclosed play area.
  • Control a robot at the aio Foundation’s hands-on VEX Robotics display 

5. Plan your snacking. If you want the kids to have a substantial lunch or dinner first, steer them toward the food booths along South King Street. There you’ll find Inferno’s Pizza, Bao Tao’n, Teddy’s Bigger Burgers, Da Hawaiian Poke Company, Café Kaila, Crepes No Ka Oi, Big City Diner, Pagoda and more. If you need something to bribe the kids, hit the booths near the Keiki Zone for treats from Jamba Juice, Il Gelato, PopCorn Express, NOSH, The Stick & The Ball, Ice HNL and Sweet Revenge, which will be debuting its new gelato pies. Read more about all the great food youʻll find on honolulumagazine.com.


Photo: Kelli Bullock

6. Bring a recycled tote and be ready to shop. While your kids are distracted with dessert, hit the nearby marketplace. The shops closest to the snack food booths offer children’s items from local businesses including Death by Scrapbooking, mommy and me designs by 19th and Whimsy, trucker hats by Auds & Ends Shop and super-soft swaddling cloths by Coco Moon, which will be will be offering discounts on most of its baby clothing. Closer to the parking structure, you’ll find local fashion favorites including Jana Lam’s Sunday Funday totes, YIREH’s socially conscious dresses, HVN Apparel’s upcycled tees made from plastic bottles and Kira Hawai‘i’s locally crafted jewelry pieces. See the full list of retailers on honolulumagazine.com.

7. “Pay a Friend” and win. Stop by the American Savings Bank booth, next to the event entrance, to make a little money. American Savings will be giving out $5 for using the “Pay a Friend” feature on its mobile app or for showing your ASB card. You can also enter a lucky drawing for a $100 Amazon gift card every hour. There’s fun for the kids, too–keiki can join a football toss for prizes.

8. Bring a picnic blanket. There are several shady spots all around the civic grounds. Snag a spot near the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card and Mileage Plan stage around noon to listen to Kimie Miner and Paula Fuga, starting at 12:45 p.m. Then pump up the jams with DJ 720 and DJ Jimmy Taco. Na‘ehu, Shawn Garnett and The Performing Artist Academy’s “Rhapsody” Choir will also perform.

9. Check out the Health and Wellness Zone. Kaiser Permanente will have a booth with information and activities for the entire family. Take the kids there for some hands-on, healthy games and for tips for keeping parents and children happy and healthy.

10. Give back. Find out if you can help another family by registering with Hawai‘i Bone Marrow, learn about Make-A-Wish Hawai‘i and the Hawaiian Humane Society at the booths near the stage.

11. Plan for restroom breaks. Honolulu Hale’s restrooms will not be open, but there will be 10 portable toilets set up along South King Street next to the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building.

The 2017 Best of Honolulu Festival, presented by American Savings Bank, is on Aug. 5, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Honolulu Hale Civic Grounds.