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Ala Moana and Kaka'ako Named #2 Most Frugal and Fun Place to Live

When a person thinks of Hawaii, the word fun comes to mind, but frugal? I can’t even imagine that someone booking their flight today at the rate of $600 (if you’re lucky!) round-trip from just California, would consider it a “frugal” trip to Honolulu. Amazingly, we are.

A map of the Ala Moana—Kaka'ako area

According to Netscape’s Article, Top Ten Most Frugal and Fun Places to Live, Ala Moana—Kaka’ako is second to only Ocean City, Maryland! I Googled what to do there, and trust me, Ala Moana/Kaka’ako is SOOOOO much more fun.  

In Ocean City, you can “hit the boardwalk,” go to museums, catch a sunset, shop, and enjoy Sundays in the park. I’m sure if they are number one, there is a reason, but let me tell you what life is like for this “city girl,” who goes out on the town enough to truly value what Honolulu has to offer.

A little background, approximately 80% of my clients purchase or sell in Metro Honolulu, which includes Ala Moana and Kaka’ako. I currently live towards the mountain a couple miles up from Ala Moana Shopping Center. So, if anyone knows the “fun and frugal” lifestyle that we were rated for…ahem, that would be me. Especially when I was purchasing my place, I had to save money somehow.

Frugal Fun Thing To Do #1: Go to the Beach

Living in the area, you are so close to Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island, you can taste it. Daily, I see people running along our version of the “boardwalk,” paddle-boarding in the calm waves near shore, swimming laps back and forth, and just plain hanging out with their friends barbecuing up a storm.

Believe it or not, some people pay for this, but it’s free. I started my own exercise regimen of running ten minutes and then treading water for 30 minutes to watch the sunset as it goes down beyond the horizon, paddle-boarders in tow. It’s a such a beautiful sight and way more rewarding then going to the gym.

Beautiful sunset worth waiting for after running and then relaxing on the sand

Frugal Fun Thing to Do #2: Networking Events

This is the MOST POPULAR area in town where they host amazing networking events, where you can be seen and get amazing happy hour moments with your friends—for free! Well, almost for free, you just purchase your drinks and food, which is always at happy hour prices and it’s all good. Everyone’s got to eat!  

So why not mingle, check out the scene, and be SEEN? Why this is fun is that they have it hosted at different venues around Metro Oahu, usually in the Ala Moana/Kaka’ako area, at places such as Chai’s Island Bistro at Aloha Tower Market Place, Pearl Ultra Lounge at Ala Moana Shopping Center, and Amuse at the Design Center, in the heart of Kaka’ako, just to name a few.  

There are actual networking events such as Nextworking, which is a free quarterly networking event located in Honolulu, Hawaii dedicated to connecting Hawaii’s business community. The Shidler College of Business also puts on their own networking events, which are usually $10 and include food. Check out Catherine Toth’s article in the Hawaii Business Magazine on Best Honolulu Bars for Networking. They truly are!

This was taken at a Nextworking Event this summer by Travis Okimoto. This event had over 600 people in attendance and free pupus from one of the most popular chefs in town, Chai!! It was well attended, fun, and probably paved the way for the most recent event, also at Aloha Tower (September 1), also with over 600 people in attendance

Frugal Fun Thing to Do #3: Art After Dark, First Friday, Slow Art Friday, Art District—Anything Downtown!!

With the revitalization of Chinatown in Downtown Hawaii’s art district, it is coming back with a vengeance! Almost any Friday night in Hawaii is blessed with a scene at one of the “it” places of choice, your choice, usually starting at Bar 35 and sometimes ending there.  

But that’s not at all where everything ends. There are so many places to check out, so many friends to visit. While Honolulu is a major international city, it has an amazing small town feel without feeling claustrophobic. We are on an island after all. There are many great restaurants to visit if you decide not to start off your Friday night at a bar, such as Brasserie Du Vin, Epic, Little Village, Soul de Cuba, and more.  

If you are in the mood for drinks before food, even if you are not much of a drinker, any night in downtown has its perks. There is Bambu Two, Bar 35, 39 Hotel, JJ Dolan’s, and many more. Some people come early after work and others make the trek late into the night. Again, your choice. 

During First Friday, you get to check out the art, performances, dancing, they have swing dancing performances, street performers, so much to see, even for the kids in us—all for free, with the small price of dining or drinks.

Celebrating a friend’s birthday at 39 Hotel, one of "the" places to be on a First Friday of the month night! Everyone who's anyone heads to Honolulu's downtown as early as 5:30 p.m. after work or as late as 10:30 p.m.—I am of the earlier variety

They always say, “the price to live in paradise.” Who knew? It’s fun, frugal, and you can do practically anything with “free” in this economy. “Lucky we live Hawaii” has always been the motto of our state, but don’t you find it even more lucky, with its even more-frugal-than-you-thought price tag?

There are more fun and frugal things to do in Ala Moana and Kaka’ako than meets the eye, I haven’t even touched on all of it. If you’re interested in hearing more, please feel free to call or email me. I’d be happy to help you with living your Hawaiian lifestyle.

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mahinadragon

September 12, 2011

Caron,
Another great blog! This is full of great tips for any newcomer or potential townie. And reminded me of a few “fun, frugal” things I haven’t done in a while! thanks…

mahinadragon

September 12, 2011

Caron,
Another great blog! This is full of great tips for any newcomer or potential townie. And reminded me of a few “fun, frugal” things I haven’t done in a while! thanks…

Dean Masai

September 12, 2011

Wonderful blog, Caron! It is well researched, informative, fun (and humorous) to read! I love your photos, too.

Dean Masai

September 12, 2011

Wonderful blog, Caron! It is well researched, informative, fun (and humorous) to read! I love your photos, too.

Kelly Lee

September 14, 2011

Fantastic blog Caron!! Perfect way to showcase the Kakaako lifestyle!

Kelly Lee

September 14, 2011

Fantastic blog Caron!! Perfect way to showcase the Kakaako lifestyle!

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