28 Apr 2017
After 60 years, visits by millions of tourists, the International Marketplace (IMP) in Waikiki has a long history with memories of old Hawaii and days past. To think, when it opened in 1957, the International Marketplace was a South Pacific fantasyland operating on “Hawaiian Time,” with every clock on the property set seven minutes behind.
The old treehouse in the International Marketplace in the '60's. One of Honolulu’s radio stations used to broadcast from inside. The new marketplace also has a "Tree House" detailing the history of the location and timeline of the IMP.
In 2013, we learned that the somewhat run-down Marketplace was to be demolished and transformed into a high-end retail, dining, and entertainment complex. I was among the many visitors, locals, and vendors who bemoaned the charm and ambiance would be lost forever.
Photo of Marketplace entrance in the 90's, and below, the entrance today!
With its re-opening in 2016, only two things from the original remain: the name and the 60ft tall Indian banyan tree that has been the heart and soul of the IMP since its inception.
I must say, I love the new Marketplace which I stroll through every day on my way to the Ali'i Beach Rentals office. I find quiet respite from the bustle of the street, I enjoy the earthy fragrance of the Aseop store, the banyan tree, tiki torches, stream, ferns, taro plants, music, and live acts that play every night at the entrance.
Old and young relax in rocking chairs, there is free Wi-Fi, great shopping, and innovative modern dining concepts like Michael Minas “The Street” which is due to open next month. I can also recommend Kona Grill and Flour & Barley on the Grand Lanai – both offer fantastic happy hours for a pau-hana (social get-together after work) or a casual family-friendly meal.
Bargain Shoppers and Souvenir Hunters! Don’t worry, you can still find inexpensive souvenirs and Hawaiiana items in the old-style kiosks located in Dukes Lane Marketplace!
If you are looking for places to stay close to the International Marketplace, consider our vacation rental condos at the Royal Kuhio, Pacific Monarch, or Marine Surf. In fact, Waikiki is such a walkable beach town, the International Marketplace is an easy stroll from practically all our Waikiki vacation rentals!