Thursday, March 30, 2023

Head to Honolulu, happy place! Explore it on fun Waikiki Trolley

The best hotdog in Honolulu is one of the treats you'll discover aboard the Waikiki Trolley,
which offers various tours for discovering this exciting east-meets-west city and Oahu's capital.
Here, John's World Famous Hawaii hotdog stand is popular with locals and tourists alike.


Even on a slightly cloudy day, Waikiki Trolley
brings a sunny spin to Honolulu sightseeing. We
recommend our base, Hilton Hawaiian Village.

HONOLULU HARKENS! It's our happy place, just five-plus airplane hours from San Diego, but a continent away from mainland  life. We love the city for its variety of activities, ethnic food, fine hotels and fabulous climate.  Even when it rains, it's only that warm "liquid sunshine." What a beautiful place.
We love to explore Honolulu from Hilton Hawaiian Village and its range of lovely hotels. One may book through either Hilton Grand Vacations, or  Hilton hotels since the range of Hawaiian Village properties offer both options. We climb aboard Waikiki Trolley, Oahu's only "hop on and hop off" transportation. Besides offering a crash course on the city's wonders, it's just plain fun.
The bronze of King Kamehameha I
stands proudly out the front of
Ali’iolane Hale, downtown Honolulu.
We opted for the famous trolley to fit as many of Honolulu's sights and attractions into three days as we possibly could. We were happy with the trolley system because we saw tons more in our few days based at Hilton Hawaiian Village than we would have with privately arranged tours. On the easy-access trolleys, we explored the history, mystery, food and fun of this lively Hawaiian city.  We saw new sights, learned new facts about Honolulu and the Hawaiian Islands.
We base at Hilton Hawaiian Village, with a
splendid array of hotels and great location.We
 chose Grand Waikikian, a quick stroll to the trolley.

We appreciated the directional help of friendly drivers, whose devotion to the islands and their comfy, informative trolley rides is legendary.
Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers
at Bishop Museum, a Honolulu attraction.
WE HOPPED ON and off with hour-long stops at points of interest: Iolani Palace, Punchbowl Crater and the beautiful war memorial, the Hawaii State Art Museum, Sea Life Park, Honolulu Museum of Art and Bishop Museum, Chinatown for lunch one day and the locals' favorite hot dog stand next day.
We strolled by the majestic statue of the great ruler, King Kamehameha, 
Punchbowl Crater has become a well visited and much loved
 memorial to the war dead. Officially known as the National
Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, it's a trolley stop.
ALL OUR drivers were personable, knowledgeable and eager to share their city's wealth of sights, history and attractions. 
Each time we exited the trolley, we checked to make sure where we'd find it and at exactly what time.  Each time, within an hour or a few minutes more, the trolley arrived as promised at the same place we'd left it.
To board, we were delighted to stroll less than a block from our hotel in Hilton Hawaiian Village. We found our trolley at the venerable Ilikai Hotel on Ala Moana, where it arrives each morning. It transport tourists to the tour "hub" where one chooses which route he wishes to explore and a friendly staffer guides tourists to the proper vehicle. 
WE LOVE city tours and Waikiki Trolley offers fine ones, including a bird's eye view of Honolulu’s historic sites and neighborhoods.  Toss in beautiful scenery, the Pacific Ocean, world-class shops and delectable food from a United Nations of restaurants.
Four lines offer convenient hop-on hop-off options with fun, open-air vehicles for enjoying people watching,  famous landmarks and Waikiki with all its glitz and wonder.  Plastic pull-down shades are handy if it sprinkles. Our driver even supplied rain ponchos for one brief cloudburst.
We joined families, couples and a mix of international tourists as we tried all four lines.
Waikiki Trolley's pink line makes its way
to the famous Ala Moana Shopping Center.
Passes are available for several lengths of time and if you buy a pass for several days, you'll save money.  That's what most people do. The four color-coded lines visit nearly every place or sight you'd care to see in a few days of visiting.   
Bruce Keller and Mike, a
friendly Waikiki Trolley driver,
explore the sights of the city
with flair in a fun vehicle.

 ALL THE ROUTES are fun, but the trolley's blue line
 offers special scenic pleasures as it visits the shoreline of Waikiki along the gorgeous coast line plus spectacular views of Diamond Head. We had stunning ocean views on the way up to Sea Life Park, stopping at famous landmarks including Hanauma Bay and Halona Blowhole. 

Shrines, museums, restaurants, beaches, shopping
 and more: all await on the fun Waikiki Trolley.
The red line visits historic Punchbowl Crater, among the oldest natural landmarks on Oahu and one of Honolulu's most visited places. Its fascinating history dates back nearly 100,000 years, a tidbit offered by our history loving and entertaining guide. Honolulu's historic Chinatown is also a highlight of Waikiki Trolley's red line. Again, our patient driver-guide helped several tourists find the restaurant they wanted, then gave them directions to their cruise ship. He asked when they were to board and assured them that they had an leisurely hour or two to enjoy lunch and make their ship on time.

WE FEEL AT our best when in this exciting American city.  It feels like we're still in Malaysia, with its intriguing mix of shops and restaurants. But the currency, language and landmarks are familiar. We're back in the U.S.A. and enjoying one of the Pacific's great cities at a delightful hotel complex with a  fabulous, user friendly and fun trolley system.

And if you want to enjoy watersports, we recommend Hawaii Nautical, with its appealing variety of cruises -- from sunset, snorkel and dinner options to turtle, whale and dolphin watching. for tour options, prices, locations 

Hilton Grand Vacations:

Grand Waikikian:

 Hilton Hawiian Village, Oahu:

Hilton Waikoloa Village on the Kona side of the Big Island: 

Kandace Crystal stars in the
verbal role, with artful support
from a dancing alter-ego,
Nicole Diaz-Pellot. Lovely
two-person show at Scripps
Ranch Theater in San Diego.
: A pair of riveting, new, small-cast, sparse-set productions in San Diego are worthy of attention. "Neat," at Scripps Ranch Theater and "Monsters of the American Cinema," at Diversionary Theatre, are designed for thinking playgoers. Each well tuned production offers the audience moments of joy and reflection.  Both transport us to complex worlds, where change, adjustment, forgiveness and understanding are essentials. Fine writing and terrific performances mark each production. "Monsters...." unfolds in a cozy theater-in-the-round format, bringing the intensity of dialogue front and center.   

Kirk Brown, right, and Nicholas Toscano forge an
 unlikely friendship in Diversionary Theatre's moving
new work, "Monsters of the American Cinema."
"Neat" -- also in an intimate venue -- elegantly combines language, dance and visual arts to tell a story of a thoughtful, upbeat woman's self-discovery and the powerful impact of a disabled auntie. Colorful characters from her past inhabit her journey. "Monsters...." encounters villains both on and off screen. The story is an unlikely friendship between a black man and his late husband's straight, white son who find a common bond in their love of horror films. Each play features a talented two-person cast, thoughtfully directed. Both are expressive and touching with doses of gentle humor. These short-run, highly recommended shows help us think, expand and understand our world and fellow humans with a bit more grace and compassion. 619.220.0097 858 395-0573.
"The Empire Strips Back" takes favorite "Star Wars"
characters and brings them to life in a burlesque parody. 
"Star Wars" buffs and fans of burlesque are shouting for more at "The Empire Strips Back," selling out in San Diego.  It's an affectionate, unauthorized parody of the 1977 blockbuster, with all the familiar characters, beautiful lighting and costumes, sexy dancing, fun music and, yes, a strip tease theme. We were part of a standing ovation recently, following sold out runs in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York. Five Australian cities have also given the show raves. Come with us to "The Force" (and farce) as we explore, learn and live. Catch us weekly for a fresh spin on travel, nature, performance, the lively arts, family and more.  We love comments, too. Please share the link with like minded people, too, at


  1. Denver Sun SeekersApril 1, 2023 at 4:04 PM

    Fun piece in a lively city.

  2. New Hampshire Travel BuffsApril 1, 2023 at 7:50 PM

    Great story and photos... Love seeing the statue of King K!

  3. We love this trolley -- the open air, commentary, convenience. Just great you shared.

  4. So much fun to get on a bus or trolley and explore a city. We do it multiple times, too, and are big fans of Waikiki Trolley.