Maui’s best shopping is found in the small, independent boutiques and galleries scattered around the island—particularly in Makawao and Paia. (If you’re in the market for a bikini, there’s no better spot than the intersection of Baldwin Ave. and Hana Hwy. on Maui’s north shore.) The two upscale resort shopping malls, the Shops at Wailea in South Maui and Whalers Village in Kaanapali, have everything from Louis Vuitton and Coach to Gap—plus a handful of local designers to boot. If you’re looking for that perfect souvenir, consider visiting one of Maui’s farms (or farmers’ markets), most of which offer fantastic value-added products. Take home Kaanapali coffee, Kula lavender spice rub, Maui Ocean vodka, Maui Gold pineapple, and other tasty treats that can be shipped worldwide.
Kahului’s shopping is concentrated in two malls. The Maui Mall, 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave. (www.mauimall.com; tel. 808/877-8952), is the place of everyday retail, from Longs Drugs and Whole Foods to Tasaka Guri Guri (the decades-old purveyor of inimitable icy treats that are neither ice cream nor shave ice, but something in between) and Kahului’s largest movie theater, a 12-screen megaplex that features mainly current releases.
Queen Kaahumanu Center, 275 Kaahumanu Ave. (www.queenkaahumanucenter.com; tel. 808/877-3369), a 10-minute drive from the Kahului Airport, offers two levels of shops, restaurants, and theaters. It covers the bases, from arts and crafts to a Foodland and everything in between: a thriving food court; the island’s best beauty supply, Lisa’s Beauty Supply & Salon (tel. 808/877-6463) and its sister store for cosmetics, Madison Avenue Day Spa and Boutique (tel. 808/873-0880); mall standards like Macy’s, Sears, Sunglass Hut, and Local Motion (surf and beach wear).
Wailuku’s vintage architecture, antiques shops, and mom-and-pop eateries imbue the town with charm. You won’t find any plastic aloha in Wailuku; in fact, this is the best place to buy authentic Hawaiian souvenirs.
Central Maui Edibles
Maui’s produce has long been a source of pride for islanders. You’ll find a selection of fresh Maui-grown fruit, vegetables, flowers, and plants at the Ohana Farmers Market, at Queen Kaahumanu Shopping Center (tel. 808/877-3369), every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8am to 4pm.
In the northern section of Wailuku, Takamiya Market, 359 N. Market St. (tel. 808/244-3404), is much loved by local folks and visitors with adventurous palates, who often drive all the way from Kihei to stock up on picnic fare and mouthwatering ethnic foods for sunset gatherings. Unpretentious home-cooked foods from East and West are prepared daily and served on plastic-foam plates. The chilled-fish counter has fresh sashimi and poke, and prepared foods include mounds of shoyu chicken, fried squid, kalua pork, Chinese noodles, fiddlehead ferns, and Western comfort foods such as cornbread and potato salad.
Lahaina’s merchants and art galleries go all out from 7 to 10pm every Friday, when Art Night brings an extra measure of hospitality and community spirit. The Art Night openings are usually marked with live entertainment and refreshments, plus a livelier-than-usual street scene. If you’re in Lahaina on the second or last Thursday of the month, stroll by the front lawn of the Baldwin Home Museum, 120 Dickenson St. (at Front St.), for a splendid look at the craft of lei-making (you can even buy the results).
Across from the seawall on Front Street, you’ll find the Outlets of Maui, 900 Front St. (www.theoutletsofmaui.com; tel. 808/667-9216). There’s plenty of free validated parking and easy access to more than 2 dozen outlet shops including Calvin Klein, Coach, Banana Republic, Adidas, Kay Jewelers, and more. Ruth’s Chris Steak House serves its famed cuts of beef here, and the Hard Rock Cafe serves lunch and dinner with live music most nights.
At the northern end of Lahaina town, what was formerly a big, belching pineapple cannery is now a maze of shops and restaurants known as the Lahaina Cannery Mall, 1221 Honoapiilani Hwy. (www.lahainacannerymall.com; tel. 808/661-5304). Inside the air-conditioned building there’s a Longs Drugs and a 24-hour Safeway for groceries. Footprints Maui may surprise you with its shoe selection—everything from Cole Haan sophisticates to inexpensive sandals. In the food court, try Ba-Le French Sandwich and Bakery for great banh mi and croissant sandwiches, while L & L Drive-Inn sells plate lunches. At Lulu’s Lahaina Surf Club & Grill, you can get a frosty beer and watch big-wave surfers on the multiple flatscreen TVs.
Honokowai, Kahana & Napili
Those driving north of Kaanapali toward Kapalua will notice the Honokowai Marketplace, on Lower Honoapiilani Road, only minutes before the Kapalua Airport. It houses restaurants and coffee shops, a dry cleaner, the flagship Times Supermarket, and a few clothing stores.
Kihei is one long strip of strip malls. Most of the shopping here is concentrated in the Azeka Place Shopping Center on South Kihei Road. Across the street, Azeka Place II houses several prominent attractions, including a cluster of specialty shops with everything from children’s clothes to shoes, sunglasses, and swimwear.
Fresh Flowers in Kula
Like anthuriums on the Big Island, proteas are a Maui trademark and an abundant crop on Haleakala’s rich volcanic slopes. They also travel well, dry beautifully, and can be shipped worldwide with ease. Proteas of Hawaii, 15200 Haleakala Hwy., Kula (www.proteasofhawaii.com; tel. 808/878-2533, ext. 210), located next door to the Kula Lodge, is a reliable source of this exotic flower.
Working folks in Makawao pick up spaghetti and lasagna, sandwiches, salads, and changing specials from the Rodeo General Store, 3661 Baldwin Ave. (tel. 808/572-1868). At the back of the store, a superior wine selection is housed in its own temperature-controlled cave.
For just shy of a century, the hard-working Komoda family has been satisfying Maui’s sweet tooth. Untold numbers have creaked over the wooden floors to pick up a box of famous cream puffs at T. Komoda Store and Bakery, 3674 Baldwin Ave. (tel. 808/572-7261). The coveted pastries (filled with vanilla or mocha cream) are just the beginning; stick donuts encrusted with macadamia nuts, Chantilly cakes, fruit pies, and butter rolls keep loyal customers coming to this nostalgic piece of Maui history. Old-timers know to arrive before noon or miss out. Bring cash and be aware of the odd business hours: It’s open 7am to 5pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and 7am to 2pm on Saturday.
Paia has no fewer than five boutiques dedicated to Maui’s sun-kissed beach uniform, the bikini. And that’s not all; many of the other shops lining Baldwin Avenue and Hana Highway also sell swimwear. Head to this north-shore beach town for everything from skimpy Brazilian bikinis to full-figured, mix-and-match-your-own suits. The best of the bunch are Maui Girl, 12 Baldwin Ave. (www.maui-girl.com; tel. 808/579-9266; daily 9am–6pm), a cheery beach shack that has outfitted more than one "Sports Illustrated" cover model; and Le Tarte, 24 Baldwin Ave. (www.letarteswimwear.com; tel. 808/579-6022; daily 10am–6pm), an ultra-chic boutique with embroidered beach cover-ups so pretty you’ll want to wear them out and about. Maui Girl and Le Tarte are both owned by local designers, as are two other great spots to shop for suits: Wings Hawaii, 69 Hana Hwy. (www.wingshawaii.com; tel. 808/579-3110), and Tamara Catz, 83 Hana Hwy. (www.tamaracatz.com; tel. 808/579-9184).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.