I checked out the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace over the weekend and was blown away by the number and variety of vendors. Now, if you are looking for farmers’ market type raw goods (fresh produce, fruit, herbs) you should go to a different market. But, if you want locally-made peanut butter, jams and honeys, plants, lanterns, carvings, Hawaiian-themed clothes and tourist gifts then you are at the right place! It took me two hours to walk around the stadium and pop into various stalls. The vendors were friendly and attentive, the parking was close and convenient, and the stadium bathrooms are open to the public!
It was my second attempt at shopping at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet & Marketplace; the first Saturday I went, it was closed for a football game. FYI: they post closures on their website, so check before you go!
I arrived around 10:30am and the place was packed with shoppers milling around the aisles and stalls. This is definitely a family-friendly outing. The paths are wide and comfortable for several passing shoppers at a time. By lunch time, I was famished from the walking and sun. I was disappointed in the lack of dining options at the market. I saw a vendor selling shaved ice, a few more selling sliced mango and pineapple in a bag, and a couple of local farmers selling fresh-cut coconuts with straws. There was one food truck and their meals looked delicious – I ate a plate of garlic shrimp over a bed of rice with a side salad and steamed corn and was extremely satisfied by the price, quantity and quality of the meal.
When I think of a swap meet, I think of a yard sale on steroids, or a traditional car boot sale in England. The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is not like that. There were no antiques, furniture, old books or art, or used goods as far as I could see among the hundreds of stalls. The goods all appeared new. There were the to-be-expected Chinese imports, the Hawaiian themed shirts and dresses, baseball caps, sunglasses, knock-off purses and glasses, Hawaiian gifts (lei, shells, carvings, hair flowers, etc.), some lovely local photography and jewelry for sale, locally made health foods, jams, honey and peanut butter, a handful of local farmers selling saplings cut from plumeria for planting or shipping to the Mainland, natural soaps and lotions, candles, and lanterns. There were too many stalls to count and each sold a special item. This is a fantastic market and a must-see.
- What to Bring: reusable shopping bag or basket; sunblock; water bottle; and hand sanitizer
- Public bathrooms are available inside the stadium
- ATM machines are spaced throughout the vendor stalls at intervals
- Bargain and haggle on prices; there are several vendors that are selling mass-produced items and their prices are pretty close so you may be able to bargain down prices
- Do not feel like you have to walk around the entire stadium or risk missing out; many of the vendors seem to have 1-2 stalls spaced around the stadium so you will see a lot of duplication as you circle the site
- There are not many options for food, so either pack a lunch or snacks, or plan on leaving the property to eat and come back later; when you pay the $1 admission you receive a ticket which allows you free reentry to the parking lot for that day.