Keep up to date on all there is to know for your journey to the Ironman World Championship on the beautiful island of Hawai’i

Every October the island welcomes triathletes from around the world in the biggest endurance event of the year. Follow us to find the best vacation rentals, shopping, local foods, beaches, snorkeling, and things to do to make your trip memorable.

Kailua-Kona, located on the beautiful Big Island of Hawai’i, is a vibrant and lively place with plenty of exciting events and activities happening throughout the year. In October, the town comes alive with a variety of events that celebrate the local culture, arts, and natural beauty of the island. From music festivals to food truck festivals and everything in between, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So, if you’re planning a visit to Kailua-Kona in October, here’s a guide to what’s happening in our charming town.

Ongoing Events

Free Hawaiian Music and Hula Show

Carved Hawaiian Tiki Totems along the ocean

Every Friday at Keauhou Shopping Center, you can enjoy a free Hawaiian music and hula show in the center courtyard from 6-7pm. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural heritage of Hawai’i as talented musicians and graceful hula dancers take the stage. This weekly event is a fantastic opportunity to experience the beauty and artistry of traditional Hawaiian music and dance.

First Friday After Dark in Holualoa

On the first Friday of every month, the quaint village of Holualoa comes alive with a block party. From 5:30-8:30pm, locals and visitors gather to explore the town’s art galleries and boutiques, listen to live music, and indulge in gourmet “grab and go” food. This festive event is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local art and culture scene 

while enjoying the warm hospitality of the community.

Kokua Kailua Village Stroll

Once a month, on Alii Drive near the Pier, the street is closed for the Kokua Kailua Village Stroll. On October 22nd from 1-6 pm, the street transforms into a bustling market with local vendors and artists’ booths. Explore the vibrant stalls, shop for unique crafts and souvenirs, and enjoy the festive atmosphere. Leashed dogs are also welcome, so feel free to bring your furry friends along for the stroll. This event is a perfect opportunity to support local businesses and artists while immersing yourself in the lively spirit of Kailua-Kona.


Highlighted Events in October

Astroday at 

Kona Commons Shopping Center

On October 7, head to Kona Commons Shopping Center for Astroday, an 

event dedicated to astronomy, robotics, and natural sciences. From 10 am to 3 pm, the shopping center will be filled with science demonstrations, activities, and informative exhibits. Meet scientists and educators, learn about the latest discoveries in astronomy, and even view the

surface of the sun through a solar telescope provided by the UH Institute for Astronomy. It’s a day of fun and educational exploration for learners of all ages.

Street Eats, a Kailua Village Food Truck Festival

On October 7, from 11 am to 5 pm, Ali’i Drive in Kailua-Kona will be transformed into a food lover’s paradise for Street Eats, a food truck festival. Enjoy a variety of delicious cuisines from a range of food trucks parked along the street. With a diverse selection of flavors and dishes to choose from, this event is a must-visit for food enthusiasts. Explore the 

vibrant food scene of Kailua-Kona, savor mouthwatering treats, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of the festival.

2023 VinFast IRONMAN World Championship

In 2023 the VinFast IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i will host the very best female professional and age group triathlet

es from around the world. Their 140.6-mile journey will present the ultimate test of body, mind and spirit. The historic VinFast IRONMAN World Championship, Kailua-Kona race will take athletes through the clear waters of Kailua Bay, along the wind-swept coast, and through the barren lava fields of the Island of Hawai`i, providing a unique setting for the ultimate test of strength, grit and heart.

Taste of Hilo 2023

On October 15, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce presents the annual Taste of Hilo at Sangha Hall in Hilo. From 1-3 pm, the event showcases the culinary delights of East Hawai’i, featuring more than 30 local tastemakers and beverage purveyors. Sample a wide range of sweet and savory dishes created by talented chefs, restaurants, and patisseries, and indulge i

n locally crafted beer, wine, and sake. It’s a culinary journey through the flavors and ingredients unique to the islands, supporting Hawai’i Community College and celebrating the vibrant food scene of Hilo.

2023 Hawai’i Festival of Birds

On October 21, the 2023 Hawai’i Festival of Birds takes place in Hilo. This full-day event celebrates the diverse bird species found in the Hawaiian Islands. The festival includes a Bird Fair, where you can learn about bird conservation efforts, a Manu Hula Hōʻike featuring expert hula dancers, and guest speakers sharing their knowledge and passion for avian conservation. The festival raises funds for the conservation work of the Hawai’i Wildlife Center and the Conservation Council for Hawai’i. It’s a day to appreciate the unique birdlife of the islan

ds and support important conservation efforts.

Taste of the Philippines; Culture, Couture, Cuisine

On October 21, celebrate Filipino culture at the Taste of the Philippines event in Kailua-Kona. From 5:30-8:30 pm at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Resort, you can enjoy an evening filled with cultural performances, fashion showcases, and a delectable feast of Filipino cuisine. The event is presented by the non-profit Fil-Am Hawaii Foundation, and all donations are tax deductible. It’s a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in Filipino culture, support scholarship

s for Filipino students, and savor the flavors of the Philippines.

VASH Hawai’i Island Fundraiser

On October 28, support the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawai’i, Hawai’i Island (VASH) at their fundraising event

Kailua-Kona November Events

Don’t miss the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Nov 3-12. Since its inception in 1970, the Kona Coffee Cultural Festival organization has sought to preserve, perpetuate and promote Kona’s unique nearly 200-year coffee heritage. The Festival and the local community embrace visitors and residents by sharing the unique history and culture of Kona coffee pioneers, farmers and artisans throughout the 10-days that celebrate the Kona coffee lifestyle.

Are you ready to indulge in the vibrant and diverse food scene of Kona, Hawaii? As the host city of the Ironman World Championships 2023, Kona offers a plethora of fantastic restaurants that cater to all tastes and preferences. From traditional Hawaiian dishes to international fusion cuisine, there is something for everyone to enjoy. In this guide, we will take you on a culinary journey through Kona, highlighting some of our favorite places to eat and introducing you to the mouthwatering local specialties that make this city a food lover’s paradise.

Kona, located on the Big Island of Hawaii, is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. The rich history of immigration to the island has resulted in a unique food scene that blends traditional Hawaiian dishes with influences from around the world. Whether you’re a coffee lover, a chocolate aficionado, or a fan of local beers, Kona has something to satisfy every craving.

Vibrant Colorful Sunrise Over Ali'i Drive Kona

Coffee, Chocolate, Beer, and Macadamia Nuts

Hawaii’s tropical climate and fertile volcanic soil create the perfect conditions for growing a variety of exotic crops. Kona is famous for its coffee, particularly the world-renowned Kona coffee. The unique combination of volcanic soil, elevation, and weather patterns gives Kona coffee its distinctive flavor profile. You can visit local coffee farms and learn about the cultivation and processing of this beloved beverage.

In addition to coffee, Kona is also home to chocolate farms that produce organic, locally sourced chocolate. The cacao beans are grown on the Big Island and then processed into delicious chocolate products. Take a tour of a chocolate farm and taste the rich flavors of Hawaiian chocolate.

If you’re a fan of craft beer, Kona has several microbreweries where you can sample locally brewed beers. The Big Island Brewhaus in Waimea, the Kona Brewing Company in Kona, and the Hilo Brewing Company in Hilo offer a wide selection of artisanal beers, ranging from IPAs to stouts. Enjoy a cold beer while experiencing the vibrant beer culture of Kona.

Don’t forget to try the local macadamia nuts, which are known for their health benefits and delicious taste. Grown on the Big Island, macadamia nuts are a popular snack and a key ingredient in many local dishes. Sample roasted macadamia nuts or try them in desserts for a truly authentic Hawaiian experience.

The “Real” Local Food in Hawaii

While coffee, chocolate, beer, and macadamia nuts are iconic products of Kona, there are many other local specialties that you must try during your visit. These dishes represent the diverse cultural influences that have shaped Hawaiian cuisine.


Poke is a beloved Hawaiian dish that consists of raw fish marinated in a variety of seasonings. Typically, poke is made with soy sauce, onions, and lemon, but there are many other marinades to choose from. It has gained popularity worldwide, but the best place to enjoy poke is right here in Hawaii. You can find poke in most restaurants and supermarkets, (Yes, in supermarkets!) so be sure to give it a try during your stay. Da Poke Shack is well known but if you stop at Costco you will want to check out Pau Hana Poke which is just around the corner.

Spam Musubi

Spam Musubi is a unique local adaptation of traditional sushi. Instead of using raw fish, Spam Musubi features SPAM, a canned meat product that is hugely popular in Hawaii. The combination of grilled SPAM and rice, wrapped in seaweed, creates a delightful and flavorful snack. You can find Spam Musubi in local supermarkets, gas stations, and even some restaurants. Don’t be deterred by the unconventional ingredient—this is not your grandma’s Spam pie!

Lomilomi Salmon

Lomilomi Salmon is a refreshing salad made with fresh tomatoes and salmon. It is a traditional side dish served at Hawaiian luaus and is known for its vibrant flavors. You can find Lomilomi Salmon at local supermarkets, restaurants, and fish markets. Be sure to try this delicious and healthy dish during your culinary adventure in Kona.


Laulau is a traditional Hawaiian dish that consists of fish and pork wrapped in taro and ti leaves and then smoked in an underground emu oven. The slow cooking process results in tender and flavorful meat. Laulau is available at local restaurants and supermarkets, such as KTA. Although it takes time and effort to prepare laulau, the taste is well worth it.

Kālua Pig

Kālua Pig is a staple of Hawaiian cuisine and is prepared using the traditional cooking method of kālua, which involves roasting the pig in an underground oven. The meat is tender and flavorful, with a smoky aroma. Kālua Pig is often served at luaus but can also be found in local restaurants, plate lunches, and buffets. For a new way to eat Kālua pork try the Luaua pizza at Kai Eats.


Haupia is a popular Hawaiian dessert made from coconut milk and cornstarch. It has a smooth and creamy texture and a subtle coconut flavor. Haupia is commonly served at luaus, but you can also find it in most supermarkets and restaurants. It is a delightful way to end a meal and indulge in the sweetness of Hawaiian cuisine.

Loco Moco

Loco Moco is a hearty local dish that combines steamed rice, a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. This indulgent meal is guaranteed to keep you fueled and satisfied throughout the day. While you can find Loco Moco almost everywhere on the island, Café 100 in Hilo and the Tex Drive-In in Honoka’a are known for their exceptional versions of this beloved dish.


Mochi, small Japanese rice cakes, have gained popularity in Hawaii and are now a favorite local snack. For an authentic and delicious taste of the island, head to Two Ladies Kitchen in Hilo and try their Strawberry Mochi. These soft and chewy treats are sure to delight your taste buds.

Huli Huli Chicken

Huli Huli Chicken is a Hawaiian favorite that gets its name from the cooking method—huli means “to turn” in Hawaiian. The chicken is roasted over a grill and continuously turned to achieve a golden-brown and juicy texture. You can sometimes find Huli Huli Chicken at local farmers’ markets, where vendors serve up this delicious dish but really, just save yourself for Thursday or Friday and go to Randy’s Huli Chicken and Ribs. You’re welcome!


Malasadas are Portuguese sugared and fried balls of fluffy yeast dough. While not traditionally Hawaiian, they have become a popular treat on the island. Tex Drive-In in Honoka’a is known for serving some of the best malasadas in Kona. Also, try Manuela’s Malasadas in the trailer by Puako Beach. Indulge in these sweet and delectable pastries for an unforgettable culinary experience.

Sure there’s a big race but you can still try some great local food

Experience the vibrant and diverse food scene that reflects the cultural and ethnic diversity of the island. From coffee and chocolate to local specialties like poke and Spam Musubi, there are endless opportunities to taste the unique flavors of Hawaii. Whether you’re exploring the local farmers’ markets or dining in one of the many fantastic restaurants, Kona promises a culinary adventure like no other. So, grab your appetite and embark on a journey to discover the great local food that makes Kona a food lover’s paradise.

Check out our Area Guide for more Activities and Local Attractions

There’s so much to do and if one of those things is booking a room, you still have time!

Chelsea Sodaro Winning Ironman World Championships 2022


Qualifying for the Ironman World Championship is a dream come true for many athletes and even for their supporters. One of the first steps in planning your trip to Kailua-Kona is finding the perfect place to stay for the event! With its stunning beaches, vibrant culture, and rich history, the tropical paradise on the Big Island offers a unique and memorable experience. Here’s a guide to help you navigate your last-minute accommodation options.

Location Considerations

When choosing your accommodation, consider what part of Kailua-Kona you’d like to stay in. With its shops, restaurants, and water activities, Ali’i Drive is a popular choice for its proximity to the Ironman events before and on race day. If you prefer a quieter setting, look for options farther away from the town center.

Vacation Rentals

If you’re looking for a more private and spacious option, vacation rentals can be a great choice. There are numerous vacation homes, condos, and villas in Kailua-Kona. With multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas, and outdoor spaces, vacation homes provide ample room for everyone to spread out and unwind. Renting a private residence allows you to have a home away from home and experience local life. Plus, you will generally have a full kitchen to be sure you are fueling properly for the big day. Check out some of our properties closest to the course.

Vacation Rentals Near Ironman Course


Kailua-Kona has a variety of hotels to suit different budgets. You can find well-known chains like Marriott, Sheraton, and Holiday Inn, as well as locally-owned boutique hotels. Staying in a hotel can provide you with a convenient and hassle-free experience, often with on-site dining and other amenities.

Bed and Breakfasts

For a more intimate and personalized experience, consider staying in a bed and breakfast. Kailua-Kona has charming B&Bs that offer comfortable rooms and homemade breakfasts. This option allows you to connect with locals and get insider tips on exploring the area.

Resort Experience

Kailua-Kona boasts several luxurious resorts that offer unparalleled comfort and amenities. These oceanfront properties typically feature beautiful pools, private beaches, world-class dining, and spa facilities. Popular options include the Hilton Waikoloa Village, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, and the Mauna Lani Auberge Resorts Collection. While these are great options you’ll want to consider the distance to Kona and the limited access to Queen K Highway on race day.

Finish Line on Ali'i Drive Ironman World Championships 2022

Book soon

Kailua-Kona is a popular tourist destination even without the race, so it’s wise to book your accommodation well in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. This ensures you have the widest selection of options and the best rates.

Special Considerations

If you have specific needs or preferences, such as accessibility requirements or pet-friendly accommodations, be sure to communicate these with your chosen lodging to ensure a comfortable stay.


The journey to the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona is an extraordinary one, filled with anticipation, training, and dedication. Securing the perfect place to stay is a vital part of this adventure, offering you not only comfort but also the opportunity to immerse yourself in the unique beauty and culture of this tropical paradise. Whether you opt for the bustling Ali’i Drive, the privacy of vacation rentals, the convenience of hotels, the charm of bed and breakfasts, or the luxury of resorts, there’s a perfect accommodation option to suit your preferences. As the race day approaches, don’t delay in making your reservation, considering the high demand for lodging in this sought-after destination. Be sure to communicate any specific needs or preferences with your chosen lodging, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable stay in Kailua-Kona as you prepare to tackle the Ironman World Championship.

Keahou at Night

Happy Fall! I thought I’d run down a list of some of the best, biggest upcoming Fall Festivals and Events in Hawaii!

Kona Coffee Cultural Festival will run from November 4-13th! This is Hawaii’s longest running food festival. It kicks off with a lantern parade and is not just a celebration of food and coffee but also includes; art, shopping and even a scholarship competition.

The Hawaii Food and Wine Festival runs from October 21st to November 6th in Honolulu. This is the 12th Annual one and you can find more information on events and tickets at the link.

You also may want to check out the schedule and events for the Festivals of Aloha!

There’s everything from luncheons and golf to music and classes and takes place in different locations so do pay attention to the schedule.


So much delicious food at these events!

There’s also film! The Hawaiian International Film Festival will be taking place in Honolulu in November. More information on this one here: HIFF.

And of course there is Ironman taking place early October in Kona but I’ll have more details on that in another post.

Last but definitely not least you may want to check out Hawaii Volcanoes National Park No Fee Free Days. Which this fall includes September 24th and November 11th and is a great chance to visit if you are there!

IRONMAN today announced in conjunction with host city partners and authorities in Hawaiʻi, that due to the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the 2020 editions of the IRONMAN® World Championship and IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship cannot take place on their originally scheduled dates. The IRONMAN World Championship will now take place on February 6, 2021 returning to its historic original race month and marking 40 years since it first took place in Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaiʻi. While a new date for the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship has not yet been determined, teams are working diligently with local and national officials and authorities to secure a date for early 2021.