Holiday Evenings in Downtown Honolulu

Bishop Square and its pools of waterI have to admit that downtown Honolulu, at dusk, is a place where people start to watch their back as they move through the darkening streets on their way home or on the way to their cars or the bus.

At Christmas time, things change just a little. Bishop Square at 1001 Bishop Street is one of my favorite spots. As early as mid-October, there are people with trucks and mechanical lifts who start wrapping the trees in beautiful red, green and clear lights. After working all day and leaving for home around sunset, somehow the site of something quietly festive provides a sense of security. I can’t quite explain it, obviously. 🙂

Bishop Square at sundown

Some of the trees remain lit the same color while others alternate between red and green making this simple-sounding display quite a sight once the evening shadows have started to fall.

The best part of it all is that the landscape of Bishop Square is sprinkled with a variety of man-made pools of standing water that reflect those beautiful lights and add even more to the magic and whimsicality of it all.

Bishop Square just after sundown

Maybe I’m just weird but I look forward to this little part of the annual Christmas displays that appear around Honolulu’s business and municipal districts every year. The businesses may still have staff who are working while others may be having their Christmas parties elsewhere. But, this little square is just peaceful to watch as the lights change colors and sparkle off the water just after sundown.

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12 responses so far ↓

  • 1 M.R. Field // Dec 15, 2007 at 12:57 pm

    I have a question, am I the only one who thinks that most trees wrapped in these small lights are ugly? Year after year my reaction is more one of being creeped out than of gaiety and joy. For a really beautiful light show, although at a price, you should have seen the way sunshine lit up the ice coating tree limbs and twigs earlier this week in the midwest. It was a brillant white with some red and yellow gold in the last few minutes of sunset. Today there was yet another snowfall, adding yet another texture layer to the landscape.

  • 2 Evelyn // Dec 15, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    Hey Rose, how are you? I’m sorry those lights don’t agree with your senses. Unfortunately, we don’t have snow in Hawaii, except for at the tops of the volcanoes on the Big Island. I have never even seen or touched snow.

    I like the lights on Christmas trees and the lights on a grander scale on a peaceful evening, reminding us of the season, are just a calming element for me.

    Our weather does provide us with the most beautiful sunsets and wonderful rainbows on a very regular basis. All of that is with temperatures well above freezing! Yikes!

    Now I’m curious too… what does everyone else think of trees wrapped in the lighting of the season?

  • 3 skeet // Dec 15, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    They’re beautiful and your pictures really do them justice. I haven’t been downtown at night in several years so mahalo for reminding me what I’m missing!

  • 4 Hawaii Vacation News Roundup for December 16th // Dec 15, 2007 at 11:56 pm

    […] Homespun Honolulu has a nice article and collection of photos showing Honolulu’s beautiful holiday lights. […]

  • 5 Evelyn // Dec 16, 2007 at 6:28 am

    Thanks Skeet! The pictures don’t do them justice. They really are beautiful when you see them in person. 🙂

  • 6 Terry // Dec 16, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    We are coming to Honolulu for 10 days, arriving on Dec. 29. Can you please make suggestions for New Year’s Eve activities? Thank you.

  • 7 Terry // Dec 16, 2007 at 12:58 pm

    ps. The lights look incredible… can’t wait to see them. I’ve just shovelled snow again.

  • 8 Evelyn // Dec 16, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    Hi Terry!

    I’m glad you guys are coming over to visit! Let’s see… it depends on what you’re looking for. If this is for a romantic evening out or just to kill some time, or even to do a little shopping, I would suggest Aloha Tower Marketplace. There are a lot of restaurants and entertainment in the evenings and that is one of the good places to be for the midnight fireworks!

    Either there or eat somewhere at the Ala Moana or near the Ilikai and watch the fireworks that go off at Magic Island.

    Whatever you do, have fun! 🙂

  • 9 Go Oahu Travel Blog » Blog Archive » Holidays in Honolulu // Dec 18, 2007 at 7:16 am

    […] Our friend Evelyn over at the Homespun Honolulu blog posted a great entry about the transformation of downtown Honolulu once the trees are decked out in their best holiday […]

  • 10 Jamie // Dec 18, 2007 at 7:19 am

    Hi Evelyn!

    I just wanted to let you know that I just made a post on our blog about your suggestion of checking out the lights in downtown Honolulu.

    Here’s the link:

    They look absolutely stunning and I wish I could be nice and warm this holiday sitting under those beautiful trees!

    Take care & happy holidays,

  • 11 Evelyn // Dec 18, 2007 at 7:47 am

    I saw it Jamie! Your track back came through loud and clear. 🙂 Wishing you some warm trades and warm blankets! Stay warm and have fun!

  • 12 Holidays in Honolulu | Smart Destinations Blog // Oct 12, 2010 at 8:11 am

    […] friend Evelyn over at the Homespun Honolulu blog posted a great entry about the transformation of downtown Honolulu once the trees are decked out in their best holiday […]

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