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Click for Lahaina, Hawaii Forecast

Day or Night there is always something happening in and around Lahaina.  The front street is a bustling place of action.  During the day most of the museums, art galleries, shops, cafes and restaurants are open early.

You can enjoy your day under the banyan tree in the center of town where there is plenty of people watching to be had.  Each day there is something different going on from markets, to events, to presentations, tournament related events and even festivals.

Throughout Lahaina there are plenty of cafes and bars that are open late.  There is something for everyone in your group, from country to hip-hop dance.  Check out the hotel concierge often to see what’s going hot on what days.  There is no club that is going off every night so plan your days and check out things ahead of time to be sure you have a great night out.  Since most people are on vacation, waiting to the weekend to have a great time is not always necessary like in the cities.  Every day can be a party night in Lahaina.

This is the historic capital of the Hawaiian Islands so it has a lot more history. The old buildings, canal setup and unique architecture is a wonderful place to hang out for a day. This is much more of a tourist town then Kihei. There are little museums, galleries and many shops, cafes and restaurants.

The large banyan tree in the centre of town at the waterfront is a great meeting place and a perfect place to do some people watching.




Click for Paia, Hawaii Forecast

I enjoy Paia and spent a lot of time in this little town.  I think it’s the best town, next to Lahaina,  for getting some good food and walking around in Maui.  There are lots of little shops, cafes and restaurants to check out.   During the day everything is open but by 7pm on most nights stores are closed.  The timing changes throughout the year so bet to head there a bit earlier.  It’s a great place to do a bit of shopping and then catch a bite to eat.

In the evenings the Moana cafe has something going on.  Along with their great food and beautiful presentations, they have Open Mic nights and live bands.  Check out their Facebook page to find out what new thing is going on that week.

My favorite pizza place on Maui, and possibly in the world is the Flatbread Pizza Company right on the Hana Highway.  It’s pomegranate mohitos are a local favorite.   They have many locations throughout the USA but they are not some big chain restaurant.  The use of local organic ingredients and the ever changing menu of fun pizza topping is what keeps me coming back each week.   I was introduced to the hamburger pizza here which has everything I love on a cheeseburger.  Yummy!

There are lots of little and big cafes, hole in the wall mexican or the fish stand at the main corner.  Get some Gelato ice cream too.

Now during the nights there are two places which have bands, music, dancing and late night menus.  Jaques and Charleys are right beside each other on the Hana Highway at the edge of town as you are heading out towards Hana.  Check ahead to see who’s playing and what the schedules are.   One is an open air fun, sushi club and the other is a down home country bar.  Both are a lot of fun on the right nights.

Besides eating and drinking, you can shop at the local grocery store.  They have decent prices and Mana Foods is a great place to grab things for a pinic lunch.  It’s a full service grocery and on most days have taste testings.  They encourage you to try out some of the tropic fruits before you buy so you really can tell the quality of the goods they get.


Click for Kahului, Hawaii Forecast

Maui Arts & Cultural Center is one of the top attractions and fun things to do in Kahului.  There is always some sort of event happening either out on the courtyard or in the theatre.  You can spend many a night enjoying displays of Hawaiian or modern culture.  From comedians, plays, films to orchestras, solo artists and rock bands, there is something on the schedule that you don’t want to miss.

Other things during the day in Kahului to do can range from the farmers markets held at the local malls, the weekend events that include festivals, swaps or street parties.

There are plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants doing something, day or night in Kahului.  Most of these events are tailored to the locals so in most cases they will be similar to what you got back at home.  If you want Hawaiian themed partying this is not going to be the city.

The movie theaters are about the only late night thing going on for the family.  Most of the arcades, mall galleries and box stores close at no later then 10pm.


Click for Wailea, Hawaii Forecast

During the day in Wailea there are not a lot of options besides the beach activities that Maui is famous for.  You can visit the Wailea Shops where you can peruse the high end shops and watch for celebrities.  They also have a great little deli that always has a line at lunch and some tasty pineapple topped burgers at the restaurant.

The number of high quality golf courses here will astound even the pro golfers.

Some of the best things to do in Wailea is to hang out at the Hotels.  Their lobbies are open to the public and they have plenty of great restaurants with great lunch deals if you are local and can show a Hawaiian driver’s license.

At night there are parties at most of the big hotels and everyone is invited.  You can be guaranteed that the prices for drinks will be much higher then anywhere else on the island and there will probably be some cover charges.

If you want a great overall experience then stay at a little Bed and Breakfast place called the Pineapple Inn.  This little inn is located in a beautiful Wailea neighborhood and has only a 4 guest suites and a cute two bedroom cottage.  They will make you feel right at home and give you all the scoops on what to do, when and where to do it.  The beauty of this place is that the backyard pool, hot tub, grill, lounges and everything you would dream should be in a backyard in Maui.   The views from the hottub, the privacy and incredible setting for the pool beats any other hotel hands down.  If you are traveling with a family then the two bedroom cottage is perfect for you to rest and relax.

There are some restaurants, golf courses and a mall to visit during the day but nothing really happening otherwise unless you are staying or doing activities through one of the major hotels. This is a high end area so be prepared for that. The best thing to do is Wailea is to hang out in the mall and spot celebrities. Be prepared to be disappointed, they don’t look like they do on TV, in the movies or on the concert stage.


Click for Wailuku, Hawaii Forecast

Wailuku is the capital of the county of Maui.  It has all the government offices, it’s the administration center for Maui county.   Wailuku has a long history and it can be seen at the Bailey House Museum during the day.  That building is also home to the Maui Historical Society.  You can learn all about Maui’s past and future here in Wailuku.

Up above Wailuku is a number of great parks to visit during the day.  The Cultural Heritage park that shows different building styles of the cultures that call Maui their home.  The Portuguese, New Englanders, Philippinos, Hawaiian, Japanese and Chinese all have a demonstration building that their community upkeeps.

Further up the valley is Iao State Park and the Iao Needle.  This park deserves a few hours to explore especially if you head upstream for a swim in the pools.  On most days you can watch some of the local kids jump off the bridge into a small pool, a fall of about 20 feet or so.

At night Market Street and the surrounding area has the concentration of restaurants, cafes and bars.  Market street is lined with little cafes and shops but it’s definitely not a touristy place.   The best spot to listen to new local talent is Marc Aurel cafe.  They have open mic nights and also some live music playing on the weekend.  Their menu is tasty and innovative.


Click for Makawao, Hawaii Forecast

Located up on the mountain at 1600′ above sea level.  Makawao is an old cowboy town or what we here in Hawaii like to call Paniolos.   These cowboys of spanish descent came to Makawao to hunt the wild cattle that was brought and let loose on Maui in 1793.  The Paniolos of Spanish / Mexican heritage then began to setup ranches high up on the slopes of Haleakala.  Much of that land is still being grazed today.  You can see a lot of it as you travel up through Upcountry Maui on your way to the summit of Haleakala.

In town Makawao has many little galleries, stores, cafes and restaurants.  They are packed into an area about 1/2 sq mile so it’s easy to wander through all of them within a couple hours.   During the day many of the art galleries and jewelry shops are open.  In the evening the two restaurants at the crossroads of town and a local pub just up the street are open late.  It is definitely much more of a sleepier town then Paia which is 15 minutes down the mountain to the Northeast.

Some of the things to do in Makawao include hitting Cassanovas in the evening for some dancing and drinking.  Playing some sports at the ball park, as pickup soccer is played Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  Stopping in a Polly’s mexican for a drink and a burrito is always a nice way to end the day.  The sports bar always has something going on with some live rock music on most weekend nights.

Art of Thrift on Maui

While tourism was slow to rebound initially after the 2008 crash, Hawaii has survived the economic doldrums fairly well and tourism has been up 20% in recent months, due to Mexico’s drug cartel violence spreading into tourist areas.

There were a few Hawaiian casualties of the economic crisis though.  Aloha Airlines just up and closed it’s doors one morning in 2008 and left passengers and employees in the lurch. Then, by the start of 2009 Hawaii’s real estate market took a stiff hit and foreclosures were plentiful, and still are.

One industry however, the Hawaiian recycling industries – meaning thrift, consignment and antique businesses, are booming! Let us not forget those numerous garage sales are perfect before and after stops for beach-goers too.  If taken with a sense of adventure you can certainly find some treasures at a very nice price while on vacation in the middle of the pacific!

The current economic reality being faced by so many has made “gently used” all the rage.  And, whether buying or selling recycled clothes, furniture or other products to save on money or make some, it’s a win-win for everyone.  Of course, this trend is not something to make NY, Paris and Rome any too happy, because second hand shopping has gone from a hobby / college scene to once again a leading influence in fashion, or at least a helpful guide to coerce it towards more useful, practical indulgences.

Nowhere are there better offerings than on the Hawaiian Islands.  The two most populated islands, Maui and Oahu, both offer a slightly different fare with regards to their vibe and selection of merchandise.

Maui reminds you of that divine dichotomy that is found in the areas of Venice and Marina del Rey, CA. On Maui, Kihei and Lahina have a rebellious, artistic edginess, like in Venice, and then there are spots like Wailea which tend to remind you of more refined areas like California’s Marina del Rey.

Once we arrive on Maui we usually begin by looking at and the Maui Times for anything in particular that we might be looking for as well as what garage sales are going on or are up coming. Wailea, Hana, Makawao and Kula are known for their estate sales.  Old money up there can make for a great opportunity to discover some amazing Hawaiian art and collectibles offered for sale, not to mention some high end handbags and shoes as well, often times with the tags still on them.  We decide what sales to hit on our way in and out as we make up the the itinerary for the day.  Depending on the weather we might just spend the morning thrifting and hitting garage sales and the afternoon at the beaches nearby.  The good thing about Maui is you’re never too far from the beach.

Our first stop is Savers, a thrift store on Dairy Road in Kahului, where we use their special Savers card for an extra discount on certain days and for certain types of items.  It’s well worth it and you will not be disappointed.  They have a great selection of used and nearly-new merchandise.  It’s well displayed and is more like a mall-style department store it’s so organized and clean.  They had an image overhaul a couple of years ago and it’s done wonders for the “thrift experience” on Maui.  It’s a rare occasion that I leave this store empty handed.

Every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. there is the Maui Swap Meet down by the Kahului Beach Harbor, (50 cents admission but kids under 12 are free!).  It’s usually worth getting up a bit early to hit the Swap Meet first before the garage sales you’ve planned on searching out.  4 acres and 200 vendors.  Get breakfast there, or at least a snack.  Try some of the local food and hospitality.

There are more than just a few places on Maui that are wonderful for finding all types of recycled treasures.  High end art, fashion and jewelry consignment can be found at Elua Nani. Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Fendi, Dior and more is within this store.  Then there is La Jolie Maison in Kihei for art, jewelry, uniquely decadent home decor and luxury furnishings if you’re in the market for larger items to bring back from your travels.  Certainly worth a stop in for a luxurious thrift experience.

These are my personal favorites for a successful discount retail therapy vacation on Maui.  There will be more little stores, like in Wailuku, near the Iao Theater, that crop up from time to time and they will be featured next time.  Happy shopping!