It was one of the first good (not to mention at creative) ideas I’ve heard since the start of the COVID pandemic. Closing down Kalakaua Avenue – not for a parade or a block party – but for local residents to walk, bike and enjoy the popular tourist thoroughfare. And hopefully drive some business that way.
We went today, on the first of four planned Open Street Sundays and got there early because the baby just happened to wake up at 5:30 am (thanks E). We arrived right around 7 am so it was still cool and not too crowded. There were lots of bicyclists, Honolulu Marathon trainers and families with kids but enough space to socially distance (unless you were rude like some runners).
We started at Royal Hawaiian Center where we parked (its free for the first three hours with any purchase at the Center) and walked the whole length of Kalakaua Open Streets which runs from Seaside to Kapahulu. It was nice to see the water not from behind a car window (lots of waves and surfers) and we grabbed breakfast from Tucker & Bevvy because one of the goals of this initiatives is to also drive business to Waikiki (and why not support a local small business while we’re at it!).
After our walk we took our breakfast and drove to the Hilton Hawaiian lagoon to enjoy a picnic and let E spend some time chasing the birds and wading in the water for a bit. The stretch of was pleasantly empty especially for a summer weekend, and we were fortunate to snag a stall given the south swell that all the surfers.
Maybe the Kalakaua Open Street Sundays will be successful enough to become a monthly event like in Tokyo where they close Ginza to automobile traffic on the weekends. Either way we’d do it again. There are three more Open Street Sundays planned for June 21, 28 and July 5 from 6 a.m. – noon.
- Go early. I saw photos later in the day and it looked a bit more crowded and difficult to social distance.
- Parking: You can also park at the lot by the Honolulu Zoo for metered parking or at International Market Place which offers three hours of free parking with a $10 purchase.
- Bring water, sunscreen and snacks.
- Don’t forget a mask. You don’t need one when biking or walking on the road but will need one when entering businesses or entering elevators.