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The annual Honolulu City Lights Parade took place over the weekend, with thousands of residents and visitors making the trek from River Street in Chinatown. The route takes participants through Chinatown and Downtown’s business districts, past Iolani Palace and on to the grounds of Honolulu Hale, the seat of the City and County of Honolulu. The brilliant display of lights in Honolulu will be up into the New Year.
A tremendous amount of work goes into setting up the lights displays, and crews are at it well before the night of the parade.
There are several notable features of the extensive light displays that line King and Beretania Streets. The first major installation is at Beretania Street and Bishop Street at Tamarind Square. The tall tamarind trees that give the plaza its name are carefully wrapped with thousands of Christmas lights, dazzlingly brought to three-dimensional life in a stunning display.
Next along the route is Iolani Palace, followed by the centerpiece of the entire Honolulu City Lights experience at Honolulu Hale. A giant Santa and Mrs. Claus sits at the corner of King Street and Punchbowl Street. Waving a cheerful “shaka” and smiling with all of the aloha of a Hawaiian Christmas. Throughout the Honolulu Hale campus, festive lights and colorful Christmas displays welcome kids and their parents to stroll through the grass and take in the holiday spirit.
Of course, the City’s over 50-foot tall Christmas tree is a favorite attraction and the subject of countless family holiday photos.
One of the most beloved aspects of Honolulu City Lights is located on Beretania Street at the Honolulu Board of Water Supply. For over 20, the BWS has set up an intricate display of lights on the grass in front of it. The display includes a brightly-lit water truck and an homage to Oahu’s greatest resource, pure, clean fresh water.
In addition to the themed displays at the BWS, the fountain at the base of the Board’s headquarters is lit with multiple colors, as are the windows that look down onto Beretania Street. The Board of Water Supply’s display is a familiar and cherished sight to Oahu residents, and a memorable one for visitors who make the trip Downtown to see the lights.
For visitors staying in Waikiki, probably the easiest way to take in the lights is to ride the Waikiki Trolley, which takes passengers from Waikiki into Downtown without the need to find parking. There is ample parking throughout Downtown, and walking along the route at your own pace may just be the best way to experience the wonders of Honolulu City Lights.