Our Guide: Shopping Target at Ala Moana Center

Our 10 tips for parking, navigating and finding a place to check out at the big box retailer's new store in Honolulu.

Photo: Gregory Yamamoto

Target opened in the former Nordstrom spot at Ala Moana Center on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

My sisters and friends will tell you Iʻm kind of a Target fan-atic. Every stop results in at least an hour-long shopping trip. I have the Red Card, know where the discount areas are and, during the Christmas season, Iʻm usually the designated Target shopper for my entire family.

So, when Target opened its doors at Ala Moana Center Wednesday morning, I had to check it out. The two-story store eliminates the trek to Salt Lake, Kapolei or Kailua for Honolulu families. The fact that it is in bullseye view of the center’s new play area makes the location even better. Target has added some improvements, including checkout stations around the store, but there are other big differences in the smallest Target in the state. Here are my tips to navigating the new location.

Photo: Gregory Yamamoto

Produce is competitively priced for common vegetables including celery, broccoli, berries and other fruit.

1. Get used to the layout and a smaller selection. Ala Moana Centerʻs Target is 139,500 square feet. Itʻs a little bigger than the Kailua store, but the square footage is spread over two-and-a-half floors, and includes escalators in the center of the store as well as a small gallery in the Kapi‘olani Boulevard entrance. The smaller layout can be confusing for those used to the more spacious locations.  Here were a few of the main differences I found.

There are four check-out areas.

  • Second floor: Seven cashier-only counters are just inside the Target parking garage entrance. This is also where you will find the exchange and return desk and a separate area for online order pick-up.
  • Second floor: Four self-checkout counters are near the elevators.
  • Third floor: A large bank of cashier and self-checkout counters is right inside the Target parking garage entrance.
  • Third floor: Additional self-checkout counters at the mall entrance, with a view of the kids play area.

There are five entrances.

  • From the Target parking garage: The second floor entrance leads to bedding and womenswear, the third floor entrance goes into the largest checkout area, grocery and seasonal.
  • From the mall: The second floor entrance takes you into into a small sporting good section with toys and tech to the left, the third floor entrance takes you to the $1 and $3 bin area then kids clothes.
  • From Ke‘eaumoku Street: An escalator takes you up to the second level near Starbucks, toys and cards.


  • Clothes are separated. Womens and mens collections are on the second floor. Kids are upstairs. Shoes for each are separated into the individual departments.
  • Kitchenware is not near the groceries. Dishes, knives and small appliances are downstairs between bedding and the furniture area. Groceries are on the third floor across from kids clothes.
  • There is no fine jewelry.
  • The selection of strollers, pack and plays and other big baby gear is tiny.

Photo: Christi Young

The family dressing room in the kids’ clothing area.

2. If you want to try on clothes, be ready to wait. There are a total of four dressing rooms: a single family one in the middle of the kids section, and three rooms for women and men to share in the center of the bottom floor.

3. You may not want to depend on a cart. 10/24 Update: The “no carts allowed out of the store” signs have disappeared from the doors leading to the Target parking garage, and there are cart return stations there. Keep in mind, aisles are smaller, meaning, in some areas, including the diaper aisle, you will have to play right-of-way. Carts are stashed at every entrance, but the small amount inside the third floor entrance from the mall level (near the kids play area) disappear quickly.

4. Shop the $1, $3 and $5 bins, but check the prices for now. There are more of these teacher-gift and goodie-bag friendly items than in the Kapolei location, less than Salt Lake. For the opening weekend, at least, check the prices. Many of cute kids socks, crafts, Halloween and Christmas decor and gifts were hanging under the wrong price tag. 

Photo: Christi Young

Bullseye’s Playground has a nice selection of $1 to $5 items. Amid the Halloween and Christmas goods, we found $1 bathtub fingerpaints we’ve been trying to find at Salt Lake for months.

5. Do stop by the produce. The grocery section has very competitive prices. We often pick up celery for $1.34 a bunch or cauliflower for $2.64 a head at other Targets.

6. Restock your wine collection. The wine and spirits section is the biggest one in Target in Hawai‘i.

7. Don’t count on finding a lot of holiday decor. On the flip side, the seasonal section, located by pet care, is smaller. We found just a few Halloween costumes, lots of candy and just a few inflatable and paper decorations.

8. Go early or late for the best parking. Even on the first day of business, parking spaces near the entrance were filled by 10 a.m. Fortunately, Target opens earlier and closes later than most of the mall–hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily–so you can avoid the usual mall traffic.

Photo: Christi Young

The Starbucks inside overlooks the busy intersection of Ke‘eaumoku Street and Kapi‘olani Boulevard.

9. There are a lot of Hawaiian items in the Aloha Shop. And there are a lot of visitors shopping for them.

10. Know where the bathroom is located. Target’s restroom is definitely closer to the kids play area than others (yay!) but, it’s still a walk away. You will need to go down the escalators and walk to the back wall through kitchenware.

Target, Ala Moana Center is open 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. 1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Ste 2401. (808) 206-7162, target.com.

For more on the local art, locally designed items in the Hawai‘i collection and the grand opening giveaway, click here to read more from HONOLULU Magazine.