When visiting Kauai, the top sights and attractions are almost always food or nature-related. You can hike in tropical forests, zip-line across trees and rivers, and experience the gorgeous scenery of Hanalei Bay.
So, going to a shopping mall is not usually on anyone’s “must-do” list.
That said, Kukui Grove Center is a shopping hub popular with the locals. So much so that you’ll rarely find any tourists wandering through the open-air marketplace. Kukui just has a single level, and it has one of the best backdrops with Kauai’s mountainous terrain looming over you while you shop.
Fortunately, unlike most other malls you’ll find on the mainland, Kukui is small and full of mostly local shops and restaurants. Typically, a mall food court has run-of-the-mill chain eateries and fast food – convenience over quality. At Kukui, however, you can find delicious eateries like:
Sone’s Deli and Catering
Everyone who eats here recommends it, and it’s an excellent spot for lunch plates to go. You can choose between Hawaiian barbecue favorites (like Kahlua pork) or livelier gourmet fare.
Some people love conveyor-belt sushi, while others prefer their plates to be made on-demand. Fortunately, you can get sushi both ways at Genki, so you get convenience and quality.
Billed as the “Westernmost Sports Bar in the U.S.,” we recommend this spot for happy hour if you need an hour or two to kill.
Hawaiian pastries and treats are always welcome, and Kauai bakery takes great care to make the best baked goods possible. If you just want a quick bite or a dessert after your meal, this place is incredible.
When it comes to shopping, Kukui has a blend of national chains and local retailers. If you’re looking for essentials and sundries, you can find them here, along with unique souvenirs and gifts for those waiting for you back on the mainland.
Kukui is also family-friendly, thanks to its outdoor playground and kid-friendly boutiques. Overall, while Kukui isn’t exactly a destination, it’s definitely worth visiting while you’re in town.
-Depending on when you go, Kukui is often pretty vacant. So, parking is always abundant, and you won’t have to face crowds to go shopping. That said, a lack of customers means that the store selection is far smaller than what you’d find on the mainland. There are a few major retailers, but most of the shops are locally owned and operated.
-Kukui is an excellent hub if you’re planning on spending the day in Lihue. You can leave your car parked in the lot, and there are accessible public bathrooms. The food court offers mostly local fare, so be sure to check it out. There is also a kid’s playground called Kukui Kourt, which often has plenty of children running around.