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Hawaii's Ultimate Souvenir Guide - Treasures from the Aloha State

ukulele guitars on a blue background surface
December 2023

Hawaii, a destination known for its breathtaking beaches, striking landscapes, and rich history, is a paradise for both adventurers and tranquility seekers. However, the allure of Hawaii doesn't end with its natural wonders. The island is also a shopping haven, offering an array of unique souvenirs that reflect its vibrant culture and traditions. This extensive guide will unravel the best Hawaiian souvenirs and where to find them during your captivating journey in Honolulu.

1. The Essence of Genuine Hawaiian Souvenirs

When it comes to souvenirs, authenticity matters; supporting local artisans and businesses contributes to the local economy and helps preserve Hawaii's cultural heritage. Genuine Hawaiian souvenirs are a product of love, passion, and generations of craftsmanship. They stand in stark contrast to mass-produced items that often lack the cultural essence and quality. You are taking home a piece of the island's heart and soul by opting for authentic Hawaiian gifts.

2. Must-Have Hawaiian Souvenirs


The ukulele is more than just a musical instrument in Hawaii; it's a symbol of the island's melodious spirit. Crafted by local artisans, these stringed wonders produce a sound that resonates with the Hawaiian ambiance. Stores like the Ukulele Store in Waikiki are worth a visit for their quality offerings.

Hawaiian Quilts

Unique in design and rich in symbolism, Hawaiian quilts reflect the island's natural beauty and cultural narratives. Shops like Hawaii Quilt Guild in Honolulu offer authentic, handmade quilts that make for a warm, memorable souvenir.

Koa Wood Products

Known for its rich color and distinct grain patterns, Koa wood is a beautiful indigenous wood in Hawaii. From furniture to jewelry, Koa wood products are a testament to Hawaiian craftsmanship. Stores like Martin & MacArthur are renowned for their exquisite Koa wood items.

Hawaiian Jewelry

Whether it's the intricate designs of pearl jewelry or the unique charm of sunrise shell jewelry, Hawaiian jewelry is a wearable piece of the island's heritage. Shops like Na Hoku in Honolulu offer a variety of authentic Hawaiian jewelry.

Local Food Products

From the rich flavors of Kona coffee to the crunchy delight of macadamia nuts, local food products are a must-try in Hawaii. Local markets like the KCC Farmers Market offer a range of these delicacies.

3. The History of Hawaiian Souvenirs

Long before the rise of tourism, ancient Hawaiians exchanged gifts and tokens as a sign of respect and friendship. These items, often handcrafted, were imbued with the spirit of the islands and held deep cultural significance. Today, the tradition continues, with many souvenirs reflecting Hawaii's rich history and the stories of its people.

4. Artisanal Crafts

Hawaii is home to a plethora of talented artisans who craft items that are both beautiful and meaningful. From hand-carved wooden statues to intricately woven lauhala mats, these crafts are a testament to the skill and passion of Hawaii's craftsmen and women.

5. Eco-Friendly Souvenirs

In an era of sustainability, eco-friendly souvenirs have gained popularity. These items, made from sustainable materials and crafted with environmentally friendly methods, allow visitors to take home a piece of Hawaii without harming its delicate ecosystems.

6. Fashion and Apparel

Beyond the iconic Aloha shirt, Hawaii offers a range of clothing and accessories that reflect its tropical vibe and cultural influences. Boutiques and local designers in Honolulu showcase the island's unique fashion sense, blending traditional motifs with contemporary styles.

7. Music and Instruments

Hawaii's music is a soulful blend of melodies, rhythms, and chants that tell the stories of its people. Instruments like the slack-key guitar and nose flute add to the islands' rich musical tapestry. Consider picking up CDs or digital downloads of traditional Hawaiian music or even trying your hand at playing some of these instruments.

8. Books and Literature

The islands have inspired countless authors, from historical accounts to fictional tales set against the backdrop of Hawaii's stunning landscapes. Local bookstores offer a curated selection of literature that provides deeper insights into Hawaiian culture, folklore, and history.

9. Personal Care and Beauty

Hawaii's natural bounty has given rise to a range of beauty and personal care products. Ingredients like kukui nut oil, noni, and aloe vera are used in lotions, balms, and other products that soothe and nourish the skin.

10. Customized and Personalized Souvenirs

For those seeking a truly unique memento, several shops offer personalized souvenirs. Whether it's jewelry engraved with your name or custom artwork, these items are one-of-a-kind.

11. Seasonal and Event-Based Souvenirs

Hawaii's vibrant festivals and events often feature special souvenirs that are available for a limited time. These items, ranging from commemorative pins to limited-edition artwork, capture the spirit of the celebration.

12. Souvenir Etiquette

While shopping in Hawaii, it's essential to be respectful and aware of the cultural significance of certain items. Some items, especially those used in religious or ceremonial practices, may not be appropriate as souvenirs.

13. Premier Shopping Spots Near Best Western The Plaza Hotel

Local Markets

Local markets, such as the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet, offer a variety of souvenirs from local artisans, from handcrafted jewelry to specialty foods.

Specialty Shops

Specialty shops like Nohea Gallery offer a curated selection of local arts and crafts, making them a great spot for souvenir shopping.

Cultural Centers

Cultural centers like the Polynesian Cultural Center offer a range of authentic crafts and provide insight into Hawaiian culture and history.

14. Savvy Souvenir Shopping Tips

Planning and budgeting are key to a successful shopping experience. Always verify the authenticity of products and buy directly from artisans wherever possible. Attending local craft fairs or events can also lead to unique finds.


Finding the perfect Hawaiian souvenir can transform your trip from a mere visit to a memorable journey. Best Western The Plaza Hotel is dedicated to helping guests experience the best of Hawaii, from comfortable stays to unforgettable shopping adventures. So, get ready to immerse yourself in the local culture and bring home a piece of paradise.

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