I would like to think that I know the island of Oahu pretty well. It’s the island of my birth (even though we moved when I was still pretty young) and Chris and I tend to make it back at least two times a year. That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever really spent time in the Kaka’ako area of Oahu. Let me let you in on a little secret: it’s a burgeoning hipster scene that’s just begging to be explored. And it’s only going to get better.
Our Kaka’ako is a planned community that will span nine city blocks. The website states that Kaka’ako is “an emerging epicenter for Hawai‘i’s urban-island culture that is an incubator for a variety of artists, chefs, influencers and entrepreneurs. Rooted in Hawaiian cultural values, Our Kaka‘ako is built on empowering creativity, cultivating innovation and building a truly unique, local community” AKA a hipsters Hawaiian paradise.
Our Kaka’ako is the brainchild of Kamehameha Schools. The nine blocks will be a mixed-use space with studios featuring local artisans, modern housing, and unique dining and entertaining options. And while Kaka’ako is still under development, I found myself particularly enamored with the intricate street art found around every corner.
Aside from the street art, Chris and I also found ourselves obsessed with Arvo. Not really Hawaiian by nature (as “arvo” is actually Aussie slang for afternoon), the coffee shop is both beautiful and innovative. Arvo actually shares its space with Paiko, Honolulu’s botanical boutique. That means that coffee and plants (two of my favorite things) abound!
Our friend Alex from Alex in Wanderland originally posted a gorgeous photo of her breakfast from Arvo cafe and I was hooked. Two weeks later we found ourselves enjoying one of their delicious lattes. If you believe that you are what you eat, then a stop at Arvo makes you a whimsical, fresh, and scrumptious ball of delight. Just take a look at our first meal. I say “first” because you better believe we returned a few times before leaving Oahu.
We ended up ordering loaded avocado toast, loaded Nutella toast, a paradise mocha (I think the baristas at Arvo simply refer to it as a mocha but I think paradise mocha sounds better), and a tie dye latte. Gorgeous food, right? And not only was it pretty, it tasted amazing as well. Upon returning to Seattle, I even bought myself a jar of Nutella and a few avocados so that I could replicate our breakfast at Arvo.
Pro tip: Our Kaka’ako offers FREE PUBLIC WIFI. That’s right folks, free WIFI for everyone.
After our brekkie we decided to take a quick stroll around the block and stumbled upon a small alley. The alley was painted red and covered in fun phrases. And then commenced one of my favorite family photoshoots to date. We even had a nice gentleman offer to take a photo of all three of us. That almost never happens!
To be completely honest, we were so enthralled with Arvo that we didn’t stray too far from the cute little cafe. We managed to peruse a few other shops in Kaka’ako and made a note to return to try Hank’s Haute Dogs, Bevy restaurant, and Village Bottle Shop and Tasting Room. A snapchat follower recommended 9Bar HNL and we tried it but weren’t that impressed. I’m not sure if the barista was having an off day (hey, we all have them) but he was snippy with a fellow coworker and pretty chilly towards us as well. That being said, I might make it back to try the baked goods. The scuffins (scone-muffin) looked pretty amazing.
I can’t wait to see how Our Kaka’ako develops over our next few visits. I’m crossing my fingers for more street art and even more fun, local food.
Do you have any questions for us? As we forge ahead into this new land of millennial family travel, we’re happy to answer any questions that arise.