Top ChoiceSupermarket in Waimea

Ishihara Market

The eye-popping deli counter at this famed Japanese supermarket is guaranteed to revive even the most jaded palate. With local favorites like kim chee sea snails or seasoned iidako (disconcertingly complete baby...

Top ChoiceCultural in Waimea

Waimea Town Celebration

Spreading over two weekends and the week between, the fun includes a paniolo (Hawaiian cowboy) rodeo; hula performances; storytelling; canoe, SUP and surf-skiing races; local food vendors; film screenings;...

Barbecue in Waimea


Promising ‘aloha in a bun,’ this much-loved little town-center diner keeps things simple. Everyone’s here for the juicy pulled pork, and you can have it on rice, in a grilled-cheese sandwich or on the signature bun.

Archaeological Site in Waimea

Menehune Ditch

Little is now visible of Hawaii’s most remarkable example of pre-contact cut-and-dressed stonework, supposedly constructed within a single night by the menehune, or ‘little people.’ A seven-mile aqueduct that...

Historic Site in Waimea

Russian Fort Elizabeth State Historical Park

A Russian fort in Hawaii? Yes, really. Constructed in 1817 above the southern bank of the mouth of Waimea River on the site of an ancient heiau (temple), the octagonal Fort Elizabeth was named after the Empress...

Barbecue in Waimea

Chicken in a Barrel

The roomy and rather lovely wood-built bar/restaurant at the Waimea Plantation Cottages has been through various incarnations over the years, including stints as a fine-dining haven and then a microbrewery. It...

Coffee in Waimea


Watch Waimea’s world go by from the spacious front porch of this ramshackle plantation-era building facing the town park. Inside, a large gallery-lounge has island art on the walls and comfy sofas; the espresso...

Diner in Waimea

Gina’s Anykine Grind Cafe

‘Friendly, filling and reasonably priced’ sums up this local institution, formerly known as Yumi’s, where you can get a plate lunch with chicken katsu or teriyaki beef, a burger, a mini loco moco or special...

Beach in Waimea

Waimea State Recreational Pier

Flecked with microscopic green crystals called olivine, this wide, dark-tinged beach stretches between two scenic rock outcroppings and is bisected by the eponymous fishing pier. It’s especially beautiful at...

Health Food in Waimea

G's Juicebar

Your quest for Kaua‘i’s top acai bowl might reach the finish line right here. A Marley Bowl comes with hemp seed, kale and bee pollen, and the Avatar with rice milk, blueberries and shaved coconut. Fresh tropical...

Museum in Waimea

West Kauaʻi Technology & Visitor Center

Waimea’s friendly visitor center holds modest but interesting exhibits on Hawaiian culture, Captain Cook, sugar plantations and the US military. Its gift shop sells local artisan crafts, including rare Ni‘ihau...

Desserts in Waimea

Jo-Jo's Anuenue Shave Ice & Treats

This shack delivers icy flavor: all syrups are homemade without additives and won't knock you out with sweetness. The superstar item is the halo halo (Filipino-style mixed fruit) with coconut.

Ice Cream in Waimea

Super Duper Two

This place lives up to its moniker. Stop in for tropically flavored shakes, sundaes, floats or old-fashioned scoops of Maui-made Roselani ice cream in crispy handmade waffle cones.

Church in Waimea

Waimea United Church of Christ

What’s now the Waimea United Church of Christ was originally erected in 1847 by Reverend George Rowell. Protestant missionaries had lived in Waimea for over twenty years by then, but the previous church on this...

Architecture in Waimea

Waimea Town Center

Waimea’s plantation-era core offers some interesting architecture. Take a short stroll to admire the neoclassical First Hawaiian Bank (1929), the art deco Waimea Theater (1938) and the historic, restored Waimea...

Steak in Waimea

Wrangler's Steakhouse

Yes, it’s touristy, but this Western-style saloon dishes up plantation lunches in authentic kaukau (food) tins full of shrimp and vegetable tempura, teriyaki steak, rice and kim chee. Sizzling dinner steaks are...

Mexican in Waimea

Island Taco

Tortillas at this island fusion taquería are stuffed with wasabi-coated or Cajun-dusted seared ahi, fresh cabbage and rice, and they’ll do the same trick with mahimahi, tofu, shrimp with papaya seeds or kalua...

Church in Waimea

Waimea Hawaiian Church

Sunday’s Hawaiian-language mass at this simple low-slung church makes an interesting way to connect with local culture. Waimea’s first Christian missionaries arrived in 1820. This church is a century-old replica...

Park in Waimea

Lucy Wright Park

It’s a telling reflection of how locals feel about Captain Cook that the beach where he first landed is named not for Cook but for Waimea’s first Native Hawaiian teacher. This small riverfront park holds picnic...

Cinema in Waimea

Waimea Theater

This art deco movie theater is the place for a rainy day or for an early-evening reprieve from sun and sea. Kaua‘i is a little behind with new releases and schedules are erratic, but there are only two...