Aloha Stadium is located in Halawa, Oahu, a western suburb of Honolulu and is Hawaii’s largest outdoor arena. Built in 1975 with a 50,000-seat capacity, Aloha Stadium is located just two miles north of Honolulu International Airport, and is home to the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team. The stadium has hosted the annual NFL Pro Bowl game since 1980 and currently hosts the NCAA’s Hawaii Bowl every December, a Christmas Eve mainstay since 2002.
Prior to 2007, Aloha Stadium had the ability to reconfigure four movable 7,000-seat sections, each 3.5 million pounds in order to take shape to host multiple sporting events. Using air casters, the stadium could reconfigure into a diamond shape to host baseball and soccer games as well as a triangle for concerts. However, due to the costs and maintenance issues to reconfigure the stadium, it has been permanently locked for the past 8 years.
A design flaw in the weathering steel used to build the stadium is a key contributor to its aesthetically unappealing appearance. Much of the stadium is rusting, as the initial builders failed to take into account Honolulu’s sea-laden air. In 2008, the state of Hawaii approved $185 million to refurbish the diminishing stadium. The money was used to add a high definition scoreboard, seat replacements as well as rusting treatment. In 2011, the playing turf was upgraded through a sponsorship deal with Hawaiian Airlines, hence its name, Hawiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium.
However, even with the recent renovations, Aloha Stadium still feels outdated as you walk the concourse, and is an eyesore from the highway. Fortunately, the variety of local treats is a positive for any food lover along with a wide variety of beer options. But since the recent demise of the University of Hawaii football program, the atmosphere and energy throughout the stadium is quite lackluster resulting in a below average fan experience.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Aloha Stadium offers a wide variety of local treats and drinks for fans to indulge in. Concession lines are short, service is fast, but this may be due to the 50% full capacity. Only cash payments are accepted.
The typical stadium foods are offered such as chili dogs, hot dogs, nachos, boiled peanuts, Papa John's pizza, chicken strips, and French fries. But for the more adventurous eater, one must try the local flavor infused Korean BBQ plate lunch stands located near the entrance, which offers steak plates, garlic shrimp plates, kalbi plates (teriyaki flavored short ribs), fried noodles, BBQ chicken, musubis (local favorite spam and rice wrapped in seaweed), and even roasted corn. If that is not appealing, there are Greek concession stands offering Gyro sandwiches, chicken wraps, Greek salads, and a gyro plate. For dessert, one can choose from flavored mini donuts, pretzels, churros, Dippin Dots ice cream, kettle corn, and cotton candy.
The concession stands offer Pepsi product fountain drinks, and there are a few slush stands offering slushy flavored fruit drinks, tropical iced tea and lemonade. A variety of beer options are available, including premium drafts Shock Top, Heineken, Heineken Light, Blue Moon, New Castle, and Corona Light. Domestic drafts are also available which include Bud Light, Coors Light, Miller Lite, and Primo.
The garlic shrimp and steak plate is highly recommended along with roasted corn and a nice cold Heineken to wash it down. For the non-alcohol drinkers, the tropical iced tea is great as well.
Due to the Rainbow Warriors' recent string of losing seasons in the last half decade, attendance has dwindled at Aloha Stadium. In the homecoming match up versus Mountain West divisional foe San Diego State, approximately 25,000 fans made it to the game, resulting in a venue that looked half full for the optimistic, but mostly half empty.
Aloha Stadium is not a beautiful structure by any means, due to its rusting over the years, and plain dark brown paint job. The stadium consists of stands stretching across the length of the field and behind the end zones, leaving four big gaps in each corner. Each seat in each section is the same, no cup holders and made out of hard plastic. The spaces between the seats and between rows are also the same throughout the stadium. The only difference is the color it is painted. The lower section is orange, middle section blue, the loge is brown, lower upper is red and the upper section is yellow. The field turf is nice featuring the "H" logo at the 50 yard line along with HAWAII painted in the end zone in the Rainbow Warrior font in white. The large video scoreboard is located in the north end zone along the loge area of the stands, and has video replay ability. The screen is split in half with the left side providing the score, quarter and time, while the right is used for replay and animation.
The band is situated in the north end zone, bottom right section below the scoreboard and can be heard playing the fight song and other standard football game band tunes. Sadly, UH has no mascot erasing any chance of any mascot entertainment or interaction with the fans. Special promotions include on-field events such as the "First Hawaiian Bank Field Goal Kick" and the "First Hawaiian Bank Quarterback Challenge" which features UH students with the chance to win big prizes (like a trip to Las Vegas). You can also sign up at Gate 4 or 6 to win the "Best Seats In the House" compliments of Papa John's Pizza Hawaii where the winners get to watch the game on the field level in the south end zone corner in comfy recliner styled chairs, along with free pizza. There is also the Farmers Hawaii Supa Bowzooka, which launches T-shirts into the stands between the first and second quarters. Half time also features an entertaining race on the field between two contestants in the Giant Sumo Wresters Suits.
The best seating option is the 50-yard line orange section on the Makai (ocean) side about halfway from the top. The logo at the center is facing upright towards you, and you are shielded from the sun at all times. Another great option is the loge area, which provides a cozy 5 row deep covered section in between the middle blue section and the upper yellow section. If you are seated on the Mauka (mountain) side during an early afternoon game, you will be battling the sun for the entirety of the game.
Aloha Stadium is located in Halawa, a residential area, located about 10 miles west of Waikiki, about a half hour drive away. Surrounding the stadium are small shopping centers. Stadium Mall is an older style strip mall located across the street with a few casual dining options such as Stadium Camellia Restaurant or Royal Palace restaurant if you are looking for Chinese food. There is also Subway, Jack in the Box and Taco Bell in the strip mall.
There are a few attractions near the stadium. Ice Palace is an ice rink located in Stadium Mall on Salt Lake Blvd across the street. The Arizona Memorial and the Pearl Harbor Visitors Center is located just a half-mile away. The USS Bowfin Memorial Park is also located a half mile away, while Pearl Harbor is a little over three miles away. The Bishop Museum is an interesting museum primarily focusing on Native Hawaiian history and is just four miles away.
Although the Pearl Harbor attractions are near the stadium, most people do not lodge in Halawa. There are a few options to stay near the stadium such as the Harbor Shores Apartment Hotel and the Harbor Arms Hotel. The Airport Honolulu Hotel and the Best Western The Plaza Hotel are also options, but most visitors would be inclined to stay in Waikiki.
The fan experience at Aloha Stadium is below average solely because of the recent struggles of the Hawaii football program. Generally, fans cheer when the team scores, and get loud during key moments of the game at most. There is a section designated for students but is less than half full and pales in comparison to major college football stadiums. No fans wear crazy passionate masks or costumes, nobody wears body paint, and there are no signs throughout the stands with witty word play in attempt to get airtime. The stadium is at half capacity at most, making the venue seem extremely empty. The lack of traditions, songs and chants make the fan experience dull and monotonous. Nothing is special about the crowd at Aloha Stadium cheering on their Rainbow Warriors.
Overall, Aloha Stadium is easily accessible both in terms of getting to the stadium and moving around the stadium once inside. There is an affordable shuttle service at two locations with details below (hours are based on a 6:00pm kickoff):
KAM DRIVE-IN: Parking opens: 3:30 PM- 1 hour after game. Shuttle Service - 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM. 7:30 PM to 1 hour after game. FEE - $5.00 for parking. Free shuttle service.
LEEWARD COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Parking opens: 3:30 PM- 1 hour after game. Shuttle Service - 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM. 7:30 PM to 1 hour after game. FEE - Free parking. $2.00 per person (round trip) for shuttle service.
An alternative option is transportation provided by Roberts Hawaii UH Football Express, which will take you between Hawaii Kai, Kahala, Kailua, Kaneohe and Mililani to the Aloha Stadium. Reservations are required and may be made online or by phone. Prices range from $15 per person for a single game round trip to $84 for a seven game bus pass. There are five different pick-up stations. Be sure to make it to the station at least 15 minutes prior to depature. Shuttles depart the stadium 30 minutes after the game. Be sure to visit the RobertsHawaii.com or call (808) 954-8625 for complete information.
Parking at the stadium lots costs $5 and you will be able to park on the outer parking lots. Certain gates require passes that allow you to park in the inner circle closer to the entrances. Gate 3 (Halawa) and Gate 4 (Lower Salt Lake) do not require passes. It is best to plan what gate you will enter in before starting your drive to the stadium. See the image below for more details on gate entrances for opening gate times / pass requirements and directions for each gate entrance.
There are several ticketing gate entries that you can enter through to get into the stadium. None are quicker or less busy than any other since attendance has been down. You can expect just a short line where security will check your bag to make sure you are not bringing in outside food and beverages. There is minimal security pat down and inspection upon entrance. You must have your actual ticket in hand to enter, there is no phone app / paperless option for entry.
Once inside the stadium, it is easy to move about the concourse. The main concourse does not have a view of the playing field unless you are standing on the top level concourse with a view of the gap between the stands in the corners of the stadium. There is easy access and flow to seating area and the restrooms are somewhat clean with short lines.
Handicap seating areas are located at the top of the orange section (lower section), and are easily accessible for those who need assistance with mobility. These seats not only are easily accessible but also offer some of the best views in the stadium.
If you are looking to experience a big time college football atmosphere with tradition, crazy passionate fans, at a state of the art facility, catching a University of Hawaii football game should not be at the top of your list, and may not provide you the most bang for your buck. If you are a college football fanatic and just want to say that you've been to a University of Hawaii football game, then the time and money spent may be worth it.
Between the 35-yard lines near midfield, the lower orange section will cost you $65.00 a pop. The brown loge section is the most expensive at $75.00 a seat around midfield. Sideline seats away from midfield near the end zone will cost $10.00 less, and the blue section (middle) will be $5.00 less than the lower orange section. End zone seats will go for $40.00, and the upper end zone seats are offered at $29.00 each. There are discounted rates for senior citizens and kids ages four through high school at $22.00 a ticket, but these discounts are only offered for seats in the north end zone.
If you do not wish to drive to the game, the best option will be to utilize the Park and Ride options at Leeward Community College or Kam Drive Inn, which will cost you less than $5.00 per person. If you are not able to get to those locations, Roberts Hawaii UH Football Express has a range of locations on Oahu offering single game round trip tickets at $15.00 per person that may be purchased before hand through their website. I would recommend driving to the stadium, and taking part in the tailgate party where many people will be barbequing and enjoying the nice weather! Parking to enter the stadium is just $5.00. Pack up the coolers, hibachi grill and the pig skin and you will be set to have a great time.
Upon entry, be sure to grab a free game day newspaper styled program. Once you are in the stadium, grab yourself a delicious steak or garlic shrimp plate going for $13.00 along with a premium draft beer for $9.50 and you'll be ready to enjoy the game.
Ticket deals and discounts are limited. A few notable times when discounted tickets are up to 50% off is during home coming weekend, where the tickets are packaged with Women's Volleyball tickets, which may be the best sporting event Hawaii has to offer. Also, at least one game throughout the year when UH faces a military affiliated opponent, members of the military can buy tickets at a much discounted rate.
One thing missing from Aloha Stadium is the feeling that you "know" as a visitor that this is the home of the Rainbow Warriors. There are no jersey's featuring retired numbers or banners celebrating past seasons hanging around the stadium. Instead, this type of memorabilia decoration is underneath the tunnel where only players and select personnel are allowed, hidden from all fans and the casual spectator. There are a few tiny merchandise stores scattered throughout the stadium but Aloha Stadium fails to engage the fan by connecting them with the home team, nor does it create any special ambience that is unique to University of Hawaii football.
Hawaii is often thought of as a premier vacation destination, but it also offers some great entertainment for the sports fan.
Aloha Stadium serves as the largest outdoor arena in the state of Hawaii. First opened in September of 1975 at a cost of $37 million, the stadium now seats 50,000 football fans. The stadium is owned by the state of Hawaii and is one of the few stadiums to have its website end with a .gov suffix.
If you make it down to the field, you'll find the playing surface to be field turf and if you make it to the highest seat in the stadium, you will be at the height of a ten story building. The seating is segregated into two tiers and four sections with a main section that surrounds the playing field.
Hot with no breeze at all to cool things off. It is surrounded by nothing but a parking lot, but is not too far from Pearl Harbor. Fans are borderline obnoxious and the food and facilities were just average. I would go back in a heartbeat, but only for the week of fun that goes with the game.
The stadium is big (they play the NFL Pro Bowl here or at least did or maybe now they decided that they will sometimes; NFL Pro Bowl decisions are made by idiots. But I digress. The stadium is beautiful and it's in a beautiful state. Easy to get to because it is somewhat close to the main touristy spots. I only wished Hawaii fans would be more supportive and create a stronger home field advantage.
4510 Salt Lake Blvd # C6
Honolulu, HI 96818
3253 N Nimitz Hwy
Honolulu, HI 96819