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Two Days in Honolulu

Surfers at daybreak on Waikiki Beach, with Diamond Head Crater in the distance.

Photo: Susan Seubert

Garden State: Follow the winding road through Palolo Valley’s residential Kaimuki neighborhood to Kawamoto Orchids (2630 Waiomao Rd.; 808/732-5808; kawamotoorchids.com), a three-acre nursery where a gruff Les Kawamoto—the second-generation owner—will advise on which of the kaleidoscopic flowers have a fighting chance in your hometown. He will pack and ship your buds for you. For more immediate gratification, head to Lin’s (1017 Maunakea St.; 808/537-4112; linsleishop.com) and Cindy’s (1034 Maunakea St.; 808/536-6538; cindysleishoppe.com), two family-owned lei makers in Chinatown—their fragrant pikake and plumeria leis start at just $5.

Hawaiiana: If retro island ephemera is your thing, Tincan Mailman (1026 Nuuanu Ave.; 808/524-3009; tincanmailman.net) is a must. The shop pays homage to 1950’s-era kitsch with silk Aloha shirts, hand-tinted postcards, and mahogany and mother-of-pearl ukuleles.

Drinks: Once-gritty Chinatown is undergoing a mini renaissance, thanks to the likes of French-inspired Brasserie du Vin (1115 Bethel St.; 808/545-1115; drinks for two $16). The candlelit space, across from the historic Hawaii Theatre, offers more than 200 wines from around the world.

Small Bites: Finding Hale Vietnam (1140 12th Ave.; 808/735-7581; dinner for two $30), down a tiny side street in Kaimuki, is part of the fun. You’ll be rewarded with fresh rice noodle salad topped with grilled pork and crispy, tender-on-the-inside spring rolls (the secret ingredient: taro).

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