It’s not a big surprise “Hawaii Five-0” fans from around the world love coming to Hawaii. And when they arrive, they usually want to visit all of the places they have seen on television.
Some fans have been lucky enough to participate in a whirlwind trip around Oahu as part of the “Sunset on the Beach Fan Tour” organized by local travel agents Bruce and Yaling Fisher last September.
But others who didn’t make the trip last year often ask for tips on where to go and what to see. They’re often here for just a few days, and while there is so much to see and do, they want to squeeze in a day specifically to see all the “Hawaii Five-0” hot spots.
I’ve written many posts about certain areas the production crew have filmed at over the years, like the USS Missouri and other spots iconic to Hawaii, but I thought that I would put together a “do-it-yourself” tour.
All of these spots are within approximately 10 miles of each other and are all close to Waikīkī. You could start and finish your tour in a few hours, with great pictures, and still have time to hit the beach or grab a Blue Hawaiian by the pool.
You definitely need to eat, since you will be walking a lot once you get to “Five-0” headquarters, so stop where McGarrett and the team would eat before they head out on a big bust.
Wailana Coffee House, on the corner of Ala Moana Blvd. and Kalia Rd., is a good spot to have pancakes — Max loves them here, so I’m sure you will too. If you don’t need all-you-can-eat pancakes to start your day, fill up on coffee and other local favorites like sweet bread French toast or spam, eggs, and rice.
If breakfast is not your thing, you can always end your tour around lunchtime and visit Side Street Inn on Hopaka St. near Ala Moana Center. You may not see Danno buying McG a celebratory meal after closing a case, but if nothing else, their pupu-style plates of fried rice or pan-fried pork chops will be a perfect ending to your tour.
You can see a lot just by taking a drive down Ala Moana Blvd. to Kakaʻako. Take a short detour and drive through Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island, where you’ll recognize many spots — like the corner of the park where McG took down a bicycle-riding diamond thief, as well as where Kamekona first started his shave ice enterprise.
Across the street from the park you’ll see where the “Five-0” team arrested Sean Combs in the Ala Moana Shopping Center parking area near Neiman Marcus.
After Ala Moana, head toward Kakaʻako and drive through a favorite shooting spot for the stunt crew to stage car chases and crashes.
You’ll also recognize the arty graffiti on the buildings and alleys in many scenes, like when Fryer and Max were shot in the season two finale, and most recently when Leland Chapman chased down an unfortunate suspect in “Na Kiʻi.”
After Kakaʻako, head up South St. toward Kapiolani Blvd. and you can drive by the building that houses “Hawaii Five-0” sound stages (at least until CBS’ lease on the space runs out in a few weeks). You can still see burn marks from the explosion in “Ua Hala”, as the original entryway to the building at 605 Kapiolani Blvd. has stood-in for the Honolulu Police Department the past three seasons.
Next year, your tour will take you past the Hawaii Film Studios near Diamond Head, a secure facility where “Five-0” will film season four.
The Walking Tour
Once you pass Five-0 headquarters, head to South Beretania Street and find a public parking lot around the area of the State Capitol. Once you’ve fed the meter, walk toward the Capitol Building and ʻIolani Palace to see several “Five-0” filming locations.
The State Capitol building was most recently seen in “Hookman” when Governor Denning and McG took a walk to discuss McGarrett’s handling of the death of fellow cops, Keoki and Ookala.
Also take a moment to check out the unique design of the building, as it was created as symbolic representation of Hawaii. The columns resemble palm trees, the building is surrounded by water, and the center is open to the sky to connote a volcano. The statue of Hawaii’s last queen, Liliʻuokalani, stands between the Capitol and the grounds of the ʻIolani Palace.
If you walk through the Palace grounds, you’ll recognize the original headquarters from the classic “Hawaii Five-O.” It’s a perfect way to move from from the past to the present, as directly across the street is Kamehameha the Great’s statue fronting Aliʻiōlani Hale, which stands in for the current Five-0 headquarters on screen. (Aliʻiōlani Hale actually houses the Hawaii State Supreme Court and is the administrative center of the Hawaii State Judiciary.)
Near the Kamehameha statue, you’ll see a shady banyan tree where Rachel sat and watched Danny in her side mirror after they shared a sweet scene with Gracie, and where Chin introduced Danno to Liliha Bakery’s famous Coco Puffs. You’ll also recognize it as the place where Cath tried to lure McG away from Danno to go with her to the Pro Bowl in “Pāʻani.”
Next door to Aliʻiōlani Hale is the Territorial Building, where Fryer held the press conference when he stripped Kono of her badge. And on the other side is the United States Post Office which stands in for the ‘Five-0’ courthouse.
While there is more to see and do in all of the areas I have just pointed out, this short tour will take anywhere from two to three hours to complete, or you can linger at spots and take the entire day.
If nothing else, it will give you a taste of your favorite show, and if you are lucky you just might spot some of your favorite actors doing what they do best — shooting the next batch of episodes for you to enjoy on TV.
Redux Side Note:
“Five-0” returns next week with a new episode (“ʻŌlelo paʻa,” which means “promise” in Hawaiian) that will show us a time in McGarrett’s life before the first season’s pilot episode.
Friday, April 19, will be a special night with the rebroadcast of Halloween episode “Mōhai.”
I ran into a few of the amazing Pacific Roller Derby ladies at last month’s “Eat the Street” in Kakaʻako. Check them out at 7 p.m. Friday, April 26, when the Leahi Diamond Dolls battle the Tropic Thunder babes at Palama Settlement. See some of the same derby girls who backed up Michelle Borth aka “Alice Trouper” in “Na Kiʻi.”
Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.