Located on the west side of Diamond Head, and on the east side of Waikiki Beach is where you’ll find Kapiolani Park. The name of this park comes from the Queen of Hawaii, Kapiolani, and provides a surprisingly relaxed atmosphere even though it is right next to the always busy Waikiki Beach.
Say Hello to Queen Kapiolani
If you walk around Waikiki, you’ll run into many bronze statues. At Kapiolani Park, you’ll find a bronze statue right at the entrance of the park, in dedication to Queen Kapiolani. Queen Kapiolani was the wife of King Kalakaua, and was given the title, Queen Consort of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Like many statues around Waikiki, you see leis on Queen Kapiolani. With leis being a symbol of affection, to this day, you can still see how important Queen Kapiolani is to the people of Hawaii. On the day this picture was taken, there was only one lei, but most of the time, you see many more leis placed on the statues, exhibiting the people’s strong affection towards this queen, even today.
Downward facing dog at the beach
When you take a walk or run around the park in the morning, you see many like minded, active people enjoying the beautiful Hawaiian morning before it gets too hot. You see runners and walkers around the park, and also see some yogis facing the ocean to do downward facing dog (a popular yoga pose). The park has a space on the beach, as well as green grassy areas, so you will see a wide range of activities taking place. It is quite surprising how quiet and intimate this place can be, even though it is right next to Waikiki Beach. It is quiet and friendly in the mornings, and everyone has a smile on their face while getting ready for the busy day ahead.
Race with locals at Kapiolani Park
Because it’s conveniently located close to Waikiki, and also being at the bottom of Diamond Head, this park is often used for many activities, such as the starting point for marathon races. Races like the Hibiscus Half Marathon in May and the Val Nolasco Half Marathon in November, both start from Kapiolani Park. I also had my half marathon debut in May 2015, running in the Hibiscus Half Marathon, and it is absolutely beautiful to run around this neighborhood.
In addition, people run through Kapiolani Park for the internationally well recognized full marathon, the Honolulu Marathon. So if you are one of those active travelers who might be visiting Hawaii for one of your races, this is a park you will most likely hear about a lot.
A glimpse into everyday life in Hawaii
Along with those officially organized activities, you’ll also see many local events happening at this park. On the weekends, you see families having BBQs and hosting birthday parties for children, on the grassy sections of Kapiolani Park. You might also see people fishing at the pier, doing group exercises together, and elderly people bringing chairs to hang out under the trees at Kapiolani Park. At this park you get a glimpse of the everyday life of local Hawaiian natives, which you don’t really see on Waikiki Beach next to Kapiolani Park.
The convenient location
Most likely, Kapiolani Park is not a main point of interest when visiting Hawaii, or staying in Waikiki. However, it is located in a very convenient location, so if you are staying in Waikiki and want to take a walk or run during the day, this is a great place to go to. If you just want to take a break after visiting Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, or Honolulu Zoo, which are all within walking distance, stop by Kapiolani Park and take a short break. Waikiki can be a little stressful as it is always crowded with tourists, so it might not be a bad idea to relax at Kapiolani Park for a moment or two to breathe and recharge before heading back to Waikiki.
Recharge at Kapiolani Park
When you are staying in Waikiki, it is exciting because you are surrounded by gigantic luxurious hotels, boutiques, and restaurants. However, after awhile, it can be little stressful and tiring. If you are staying in Waikiki and need a little break, why don’t you take a moment or two at Kapiolani Park to recharge yourself, and don’t forget to stop by and greet the lovely statue of Queen Kapiolani
As a tourist, you are most likely to engage with many other tourists, or those who work in the tourism industry, but at Kapiolani Park you will run into the natives of Hawaii who are simply walking, running, or doing yoga at the park enjoying the beauty of Hawaii. Yes, shopping and fine dining is exciting when you are traveling, but make sure to take a moment or two to stop by this beautiful park right next to Waikiki Beach.
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