How to Comic-Con in Hawai‘i with the Aloha Spirit

Make an Amazing! Comic Con Aloha experience an adventure with good planning and a few suggestions for Hawaiian culture.

By MJ Wilke and Dr. Keao NeSmith

Amazing! Comic Conventions hits island time February 22-24, 2019, at the Hawai‘i Convention Center in Honolulu. A hurricane skipping over the islands ended the convention early in August and pushed it forward six months for a do-over. Who doesn’t love bonus time! Hawai‘i is a favorite place and home for Wayward Nerd staff and contributors; we often cover nerdy events here. Below are tips from us on effortlessly experiencing Hawaiian culture during your busy con schedule, ideas to make the most out of your time in the Ala Moana/Waikīkī area, and things to keep in mind as you pack for your trip. Whether you are a new attendee or veteran, first-time visitor or frequent guest/resident of Hawai‘i, these tips are here to help make this comic convention in Honolulu a trip to paradise.

 

Before You Go

Hotel Options. Waikīkī is home to an enormous amount of lodging options. Here are two of our favorites, one for proximity and the other for amenities.

  • Ala Moana Hotel. Host hotel and conveniently located across from the convention center, the location of the comic con. Also adjacent to Ala Moana Center and walking distance to the beach.

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village. A village-style large resort on the beach with a rich history as a movie and TV show filming location. As noted below, many Hawaiian culture amenities as well. About a 15-minute walk to the convention center.

                                   

Remember to pack: 

  • Layers of clothes. The weather will be hot and humid. Although, most of the public areas on the Hawaiian Islands are open air, including hotel lobbies and restaurants, flights and the convention center can be cool. If flying in, the walk from the gate to baggage claim in Honolulu is open air – thus hot and humid. Plan your wardrobe accordingly.

  • Sunscreen. Typically a huge markup price at hotel shops; it’s best to bring it with you. Double bag it or pack a solid stick style to avoid leaks in your suitcase.

  • Shopping bags. Stores on the islands do not give bags; so bring your own or you will have to buy one.

                                   

Plan a Nerdy Side Trip: Visit Dharmaville. Hawai‘i plays host to numerous film and TV productions, including the cult TV show LOST. If you are a Lostie, a day trip up to the other end of the island brings you to Dharmaville, survivors’ camp, Sawyer’s tree, Hurley’s golf course, and more. As a bonus, by arriving in Hawai‘i a day or two early to take a nerdy side trip, you will get acclimated to the weather and time zone change before the start of the con. For more information on LOST filming locations, check out our Hawai‘i Nerdy Places.

Keep in Mind

Skip the rental car. A rental car is not needed to get around Waikīkī, and hotel parking can be expensive. If you plan a nerdy side trip, rent a car for the day from the hotel, thus avoiding the airport surcharge.

Stock up. Resorts charge a premium for bottled water, etc. Upon arrival, plan time to stock your hotel room with beverages and healthy snacks. The Ala Moana Center, across from the convention center, has a Foodland grocery store and a Target. Numerous convenience stores are also within walking distance.

Hawaiian Culture

Participate in the Hawaiian way at a few Honolulu icons a short distance from the convention center:

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village.

    • Torch-lighting ceremony. 6 pm daily on the resort grounds.

    • Waikīkī Starlight Lū‘au. An amazing experience available Sunday through Thursday.

    • Rockin’ Hawaiian Rainbow Revue. Friday poolside at 7 pm with a finale of fireworks.

    • Tapa Lounge. Live traditional Hawaiian music most nights.

  • ‘Iolani Palace. To understand the amazing and intriguing history of the Hawaiian Kingdom, visit the Palace located in downtown. It’s best to book a tour online beforehand.

  • Bishop Museum. A natural and cultural museum of history for Native Hawaiians, Hawaiian Islands, and the Pacific.

  • Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory. Situated just outside the Ala Moana Shopping Center. It is  locally known for the best manapua, a Chinese pastry stuffed with sweet-sour pork, in the city.

  • International Market Place. Stroll through this renovated historic market place with its iconic central feature, a giant banyan tree with a tree house. It’s a great way to learn a bit of history of Waikīkī and of the celebrities over the years who helped make it the attraction it has become.

  • Kapahulu Avenue. An avenue that runs mauka to makai (inland to sea) on the east end of Waikīkī. Famous for its diverse restaurants representing cuisines from around the world. Notable are the Rainbow Drive-In and Haili’s Hawaiian Food for a genuine local cuisine experience.

  • Musubi. A filling snack of rice and glazed spam, wrapped in seaweed found at ABC or 7-Eleven stores.

  • E ala Ē. Sunrise walk around the lagoon or on the beach. Not an organized event but a solitary experience. For those of us normally on central time, we are already up before sunrise.

 

Note: When it’s time to head home, plan extra, extra time for departure at the airport in Honolulu, even with TSA pre-check!

For more about Amazing! Comic Con Aloha and galleries of past years, check out our Comic-Con Travel Page.

 

It is often said Hawai‘i is like another country, so enjoy the environment and culture, and experience the spirit of Aloha!

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MJ Wilke is the founder of Wayward Nerd. She is a road warrior. A nerd. A trekkie. A whovian. A Star Wars fanatic. She will go where no one has gone before, come back and post it here.

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