Ward Centre is actually one of five components making up the "Ward Centers'' complex across from Kewalo Basin Boat Harbor and Ala Moana Beach Park on the west side of Honolulu. The other four facilities are the Ward Warehouse, Ward Gateway Center and Farmer's Market, the Ward Entertainment Center, and the newly opened Ward Village Shops.
Ward Properties began developing these low-rise shopping centers back in the 1970s, concentrating them within a four-block area of a working class neighborhood called Kaka'ako, which was rezoned for industrial-commercial use. In May 2002, Ward Properties were acquired by General Growth Properties, the owners of Ala Moana Center to the east.
Ward Centre, in particular, is focused on shopping and dining. It offers a broad selection of one-of-a-kind shops and fashion boutiques. The anchor tenants at either end of the three-level mall are The Seasonal Store (formerly occupied by Nordstrom, which has relocated to the Village Shops) and Borders Books and Music.
The categories of items found here are apparel, accessories, books, beauty products and salons, children's items, computers, footwear, gifts, home furnishings, jewelry, music, and office supplies. There are national retailers, such as Birkenstock, Franklin Covey, Sedona and Brookstone, along with uniquely local merchants.
For example, Noa Noa specializes in fashions for men and women, using hand-painted batik fabric. Jeff Chang's is an artist-owned pottery and fine arts shop, featuring works by locally and nationally renowned artisans, plus pottery-making demonstrations on Sundays.
The row of ground-level stores along Auahi Street is called the "New Streetfront Shops.'' They include Xcel Wetsuits, Crazy Shirts Factory Outlet and KICKS/HI for sneakers and apparel, among others. The parking garage is located directly behind them, with plenty of free lots available from 10am each day until midnight.
For dining, Ward Centre offers a variety of choices, from sit-down restaurants to sidewalk caf‚s. Among the Streetfront Shops are Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream, Kua'Aina Sandwich, Z Pizza and Taco del Mar. Inside the mall are Genki Sushi, Goma Tei Ramen, Kaka'ako Kitchen and Mocha Java Caf‚.
On level three, four large restaurants are located, providing excellent views of the park and the ocean just across Ala Moana Boulevard. Brew Moon Restaurant specializes in microbrews, while Compadres Bar & Grill has a Mexican theme. Award-winning Ryan's Grill caters to families with its "go anytime, order anything'' menu. And the E&O Trading Company Restaurant offers up the cuisines of Southeast Asia, ranging from Indonesian Corn Fritters with chili-soy dipping sauce to Mango Glazed Thai Ribs, Burmese Ginger Salad, and Tea Smoked Pork Lettuce Cups.
Many of the shops and restaurants at Ward Centre offer discounts to anyone carrying a Ward16 Theater ticket stub no older than one week. Coupons for savings can also be found in the Waikiki Trolley Map Guide and tour guides and magazines published locally.
Mall hours are 10am to 9pm, Monday through Saturday, and 10am till 6pm on Sundays and national holidays. The Waikiki Trolley's Yellow Line - aka the "Local Honolulu Shopping Shuttle'' - serves Ward Centre on the loop it makes from Ala Moana Center, departing every 40 minutes. For those who drive, just follow Ala Moana Boulevard west, one mile from downtown Honolulu to Kamakee Street.
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