There is a wide variety of holiday events throughout the Hawaii that are centers of countless family traditions. Parades and light festivals abound, and shopping malls turn in shining beacons of holiday cheer and consumer enthusiasm.
But the biggest of them all each year is the Honolulu City Lights Parade and lights festival that kick of the holidays in Honolulu. The parade took place over this past weekend, but the municipal campus around Honolulu Hale (City Hall) attracts thousands through December, generations of families, happy couples, packs of teens: there is just something irresistible about all of the lights, the children’s midway rides, confections from Leonard’s Bakery and other local businesses. It’s as close to a winter wonderland that we can get here in paradise.
But the real stars of Honolulu City Lights are the giant Santa and Mrs. Claus, who take up residence at the foot of Honolulu Hale. Jolly old Saint Nick, towering over 20 feet flashes a meaty shaka at passers-by, surrounded by cheeky friends from the North Pole.
Honolulu City Lights is hugely popular with families from all over Oahu. Even on weeknights, hundreds stroll the municipal campus, marveling at the galaxy of elaborate displays as keiki run about squealing with delight.
Waikiki visitors looking for some Christmas cheer during a December vacation have a variety transportation options to visit Honolulu City Lights. Several routes of TheBus make regular trips to the municipal campus every hour from Waikiki. It’s only a 15-minute ride using the City & County’s new “Biki” bike share program.
There is also a trolley ride through Honolulu City Lights, based out of Ward Villages in Kakaako. Tickets can sell fast, but there are a number of local businesses and restaurants that offer rides. In fact, many local businesses, from law firms to landscape companies rent a trolley each year as part of their own employee holiday tradition.
For more information about Honolulu City Lights, visit www.honolulucitylights.org.