Sunday, December 12, 2010

Things to Do: Aloha Tower

If you've watched the opening scenes of Hawaii 5-O, then you've probably seen Aloha Tower.  That's the big clock tower in Honolulu Harbor.  It's an old, historic landmark in downtown Honolulu that serves as an observation deck, maritime communications post, and harbor control center.  Back in it's heyday, the Aloha Tower was the place to party in Honolulu.

The Aloha Tower was the tallest structure when built in 1926 and served as the centerpiece of "Boat Days".  In the 1920s and 1930s, "Boat Days" were huge parties when boats of tourists arrived in the harbor.  There were hula dancers, musicians, singers, and even the Royal Hawaiian Band welcoming the visitors.  Even the locals joined in, leaving work early to party.  However, as air travel became the preferred method of transportation "Boat Days" came to an end.

There is a shopping mall next to Aloha Tower, but in my opinion it's.......okay.  It's your average shopping mall, but there's not much of a wow factor here.  If you want to shop, I'd recommend Ala Moana Center, Waikiki, or the Waikele Outlet Mall.  Here the traffic flow makes it difficult to get to, parking is limited, you have to pay for parking, and the shops are too touristy.  However, if you want to check it out, click on the link in Aloha Tower Marketplace.

The biggest draw here is Aloha Tower, getting a drink at Gordon Biersch, wings at Hooters, or catching a boat for a Waikiki cruise.  There are observation decks in the Marketplace and at the top of the Tower which gives you a decent view of Honolulu and the Harbor.  Admission to the Tower is free and it's open daily from 9:30 am to sunset.  

If you want to do something else while you're here, right next to the Aloha Tower Marketplace is Pier 8 and the dock for the Star of Honolulu.  Click on the link in the name to check out their cruise options.  You can make reservations for whale watching, snorkeling, dinner cruises, or special occasions.  Just remember to take dramamine if you get sea-sick.  

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