Yes, you may, as their slogan says “Get Lost on a Shopping Safari”- but you don’t have to.

If you are staying in Waikiki it won’t take you long to discover the famous International Market Place, right in the middle of the shopping strip on Kalakaua.

This open area of stalls and shops is a destination for shoppers who want to browse all the small but packed kiosks of jewelry and gift items. It’s an overwhelming place, at best, especially to those who are visiting for the first time. When I visited there yesterday as a veteran shopper, I still felt a sense of hesitation when entering due to the somewhat aggressive shop attendants who man the first few rows of kiosks. Therefore I did what I’ll suggest you do (at least for the first time). And that is to walk about a half a block west (away from Diamondhead) till you reach a lane called Dukes.

Turn right and walk back into another smaller, more manageable, but just as interesting market that is a long strip of venders that line the alley all the way through to Kuhio. Yes, it’s smaller but I believe it has the same or very similar merchandise of its bigger brother, but with an easier and quieter attitude. (Case in point: on Sunday more than a few shops open only after church.) And it’ll have the same deals. You’ll still hear the same pitch: “you are my first customer, so for you, a good deal”…… “80% off today!”…… “if you buy 2, I’ll make a deal”. But you can stroll slowly and make up your mind at your own pace, and practice your haggling technique before you move on to the larger market, if you even care to.

Personally I like the Markets. I have some favorite jewelry pieces from there. I always take my visitors there, but will say that I get mixed reactions from them. Some just love the chaos of it and the thrill of the hunt, while others get turned off by the whole process of what it takes to shop there, or prefer higher scale merchandise.

Either way, some tips:

Restrooms are located in the large market, off to the right of the banyan tree.

Don’t be hesitant to haggle. The vendors expect it. Do NOT pay the first price they quote you. I’ve gotten so much better at it, but admit to overpaying my first few visits to the market.

They take cash and credit cards.

Bonus: they have free local entertainment every weekday (usually in the evenings) and some weekends. Your hotel can tell you the times , as does their website. I think you’ll enjoy the entertainment just as much as the shopping. Those Polynesian Reviews are so much fun to watch!


  1. I SO wish I had this advice the first time I visited the International Marketplace! I enjoyed it but got so lost! I never even found the food court.

  2. I think I walked past that smaller market many times without ever seeing it.  Someone finally told me about it, and from then on, that's where I head first, and only if I don't find what I want, will I go on to the larger market.  As it turned out, when I first moved to Hawaii, while on the plane, I couldn't take my eyes off of a necklace one of the attendants was wearing.  Just before we landed I asked her where she got it.   International Market.    So off I went in search of it.   Never found it after several visits.   Then later, when I heard about the smaller market, I went there, and lo and behold…. there! was that necklace – which now sits on my daughter's neck after she 'borrowed' it from me when she visited last year.  😉    Now my Mom and my sister also have the same necklace.  

  3. Yes, it's a great place to pick up souveniers. Even if you don't get their lowest price, everything is so inexpensive that you can get so much more than if shopping ANYWHERE else.

  4. Thanks, Katherine, for the overview. My husband and I are thinking of a vacation there in the near future (will retire soon). All of your descriptions and photos have been very helpful. It is good to hear about these places from a 'citizen of the area' and not from a high pressured promotion rep. I always feel uncomfortable when vendors "sell their wares a little too loudly". Your suggestion to visit the smaller version of the market was wonderful, " with an easier and quieter attitude". Thanks for the tip on "haggling", we got our first taste of that type of buying on our Mexico vacation. Very glad to hear about the free entertainment  for us budget-minded seniors. We will follow your blog. In the future blogs, could you tell us a little about the 'island etiquette' and are there really geckos everywhere, and what are the local 'delicacies' and where to dine (on a senior'sbudget) ?? Thanks, again, from the mainland, Diane.

  5. The food court there is fantastic and I also reccomend the "Return to Waikiki Luau" thats right in the middle of the market place. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Click for the BBB Business Review of this Travel Agencies & Bureaus in Honolulu HI
Travel Industry Logos