Have you had a chance to tour the newly-renovated Royal Hawaiian Center yet?

Formerly known for its shops and boutiques, the center has since expanded across three blocks of Waikiki and includes everything from dining to entertainment to cultural education. It took more than five years to complete the many different phases of this multimillion-dollar project. But it was totally worth the wait (and traffic inconveniences).

Today, the complex houses the largest concentration of flagship stores in Hawaii, including Hermes, Salvatore Ferragamo, Bebe, LeSportsac and Kate Spade, to name a few. There are more than 100 shops, restaurants, casual food eateries and a permanent theatrical venue called Waikiki Nei.

Since completion, the center has been pushing its role as a gathering place for visitors and locals. At the heart of the complex, a 30,000-square-foot landscaped garden called The Royal Grove hosts live Hawaiian storytelling, dance and music. The Royal Hawaiian Band performs monthly, while other local artists, like Sean Naauau, take to the stage nightly.

Historically, the grove sits on a very important coconut grove known as Helumoa – which housed more than 10,000 coconut trees. It had also been the home to several different royal Hawaiian homes, including that of King Kamehameha I, III and V.

If there’s one thing you do while touring the Royal Hawaiian Center, be sure to stop by Helumoa Hale, a state-of-the-art building dedicated to cultural education and guest services. At any given time, there will be a film screening or lecture; otherwise, peruse through the collection of historic photos.

ROYAL HAWAIIAN CENTER

• 2201 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, HI 96815 • 808-922-0588 • www.royalhawaiiancenter.com • One-free hour validated parking with $10 minimum purchase, $1 per hour for next three hours

Photo Courtesy (second): Royal Hawaiian Center Twitter (@RoyalHwnCtr)

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