Best of Oahu Off the Beaten Path: Aloha Stadium Swap Meet

Top Picks: Aloha Stadium Swap Meet (Shopping, Leeward)

It’s always nice to return to the mainland with gifts from Hawaii for your Ohana. Staying in Waikiki, all of the shops had ridiculously overpriced tags. I looked for gifts everywhere I went that would be meaningful and spoke to the recipient. I wasn’t sure what the swap meet was going to be like, if it would be full of commercialized crud which would hold no meaning, so I tried to keep it on the back burner and see if I would find things organically first. I really didn’t find much other than my mom’s favorite gum in a tropical flavor, salad dressing, and ice cream toppings. Needless to say I was off to the swap meet. The place is easy to find with tons of parking (99-500 Salt Lake Boulevard, Aiea, HI 96701, may be an attraction in your GPS, will also be signs off the highway and visible from the highway), and it is huge! We parked, made note of our number, brought some water, and went on to shop. I hate bringing Jeff to shop I know it is torturous for him, so I try to do it quick. He was in need of some new swim trunks and actually scored a great deal on them (you can haggle here). We made our way through the junk and found a handful of quality vendors. One lady I spoke to said she normally did craft fairs and this was her first time at the swap. She had really fairly priced and very unique jewelry. She used a lot of seashells and sea glass in her work, which I dig. I hope she continues attending the swap because she was definitely one of the top picks of the entire place. There were a few (maybe two or three) vendors selling sterling silver products. They were willing to cut a deal and had some very beautiful islandy looking pieces. There was a funky spot with lots of different macadamia nut varieties, real odd dried fruits, and candies I’d never heard of. Lots of fresh fruit, cold drinks, and trinkets galore. The place is open air, there is no cover from the sun and we were there at noon. It was hot! The walk wasn’t quite as long as we thought it would be around the stadium, so I held off grabbing things I wasn’t sure if I would want. I had two regrets. There were these awesome huge bags hand crafted out of coffee sacks, and cheap $5 sarongs I use as beach towels. By the time we had circled back to our spot there was no way I was going to do it again, too hot and I didn’t want to spend any more time there. I can console myself with the fact that I don’t need more stuff to clutter my little apartment! We had a really amazing time at the swap in Maui where there were a lot of artisanal vendors, while this was different, it was still a good experience. You are going to find something for everyone here, it’s almost impossible not to, so if you plan on bringing back souvenirs this is a great place to look. You definitely have to sort through the junk here, a lot of the vendors aren’t so great, but there are a few treasure to be found for sure! Normally admission is $1, but for the holiday season entrance was free.

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