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Official Review by Drew Cieszynski, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
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.
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".
Credit to Aloha Stadium for offering some truly unique Hawaiian dishes. Many of the items found here cannot be found in any other venue in college sports. Examples include the hot andangi (doughnuts) and saimin (noodles).
More typical stadium foods, including hot dogs and burgers, are also available. Some of the more surprising selections include Garlic Fries, Corn Cob, and even Papa John's pizza.
Aloha Stadium is one of the few college venues that does serve beer for its fans. Domestic beers include Budweiser products at $7 and some premium beers such as Heineken, Blue Moon, and Gordon Biersch for $8.
If you are on more of a budget, you can simply eat the food of your choice in the parking lot as tailgating is permitted and many of the fans participate.
The atmosphere is largely contingent on the caliber of the opponent that comes to town. When Aloha Stadium is full for a high-caliber opponent, the atmosphere is much better.
The Hawaii fans seem to love the offensive-focus of the team and usually feeds off of the many big
offensive plays the Warriors complete.
The sound system is a bit distorted and could probably use a replacement in the near future.
There doesn't appear to be a lot in the neighborhood in terms of local restaurants or bars. A McDonalds is to the south of the stadium, but we've all probably had a meal there before. To the north is Blazin' Steaks, which could be a good option for someone in the mood as they serve steak, chicken, and fish dishes with sides for under $10.
A shopping center is nearby to the south that offers a Pizza Hut, Little Caeser's, Taco Bell, and Jack In The Box among others. Brandy's Bar & Grill is also nearby and appears to be popular with the locals.
While the neighborhood is not necessarily getting gold stars for its restaurants and bars, it compensates with its lure of American history. Within a few minutes of the stadium, you can get to Pearl Harbor and see both the USS Missouri and USS Arizona Memorials. You could also stop by Makalapa Park or the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park.
The fans at Hawaii games are very similar to the culture throughout the islands in that they are
extremely friendly, accommodating, and relaxed. Before the game, you wil often see the Warrior fans
co-mingling with fans from the opposing teams. In fact, many members of the opposing team's fanbase were participating in the Hawaii tailgates.
Of course, with many of the fans doing tailgating before the game, there was some typical trash-talking, but at no time during my observations did it elevate beyond a reasonable level.
The stadium is a mere two miles from the Honolulu International Airport and approximately 30 minutes
from downtown. Aloha Stadium is accessible from the H1 and the H201, just a few minutes away from both.
If you don't have your own form of transportation, "TheBus", which is the bus transportation of
Honolulu can get you there.
Plenty of parking is available for a mere $5. The lot is pretty substantial, but there are times where you may need to seek out overflow parking.
The restrooms are small and often a bit crowded, but I understand there are plans to add more.
With ticket prices ranging from $25-$38, Warrior tickets prove to be very affordable. Add in a very
reasonable parking fee of $5 and you can spend the better part of a day at Aloha Stadium for under $50.
Even if you are on vacation, these prices prove to be more inexpensive than many of the tours or other attractions in Hawaii.
The investment could ultimately come down to the quality of opponent that the Warriors are playing on any given day. The WAC is not loaded with talented teams that would come to town week after week, so when opponents such as Boise State or USC come to town, the investment becomes much more worthwhile.
At the end of the day however, Aloha Stadium proves to be an extremely good value. The opportunity to tailgate and see division I football at these prices is an opportunity that no fan should pass up.
Before even setting foot in the stadium, a fan could find this to be a great value for simply the opportunity to do some great tailgating in the parking lot.
If there is not a game during your stay in Hawaii, it may still be worth your while to stop by Aloha
Stadium. A Swap Meet is held three days a week where you can spend hours walking around and haggling with the 700 local merchants. Whether you are in search of a new surfboard or interested in trying some local Hawaiian fare, you can find it here.
Aloha Stadium also serves as the typical location of the NFL Pro Bowl. While it took a hiatus in 2010, it was home to the Pro Bowl from 1980-2009 and again in 2011 and 2012. NFL players such as Peyton Manning, Ray Lewis, and Andre Johnson have spoken out on the Pro Bowl and their desire for it to remain at Aloha Stadium.
The stadium has four movable sections of 7,000 seats that allows the stadium to change into either a baseball stadium or a concert venue. The MLB has held games here in the past and a few seasons of minor league baseball also called Aloha Stadium home. The stadium has maintained its football configuration since 2007 due to the expense of moving the sections.
In very few locations in college football can you get such consistently warm weather, beautiful blue
skies, and even the occasional appearance of a rainbow or two.
While I cannot score this experience as a Hawaii Five-O, it is the best sports entertainment in the state of Hawaii. Next time that you are booking a trip to Hawaii, be sure to check out the Warriors' schedule so that you can stop in for a game during your next visit.
Special thanks to Jonathan Kam for contributions on this review.
Follow Drew's Travel's Through Southern California on Big10Drew.
Member Review by traxiii on Nov 23, 2010
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.
Member Review by HarshCritic on Sep 06, 2013
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.
2446 Koa Ave
Honolulu, HI 96815
3253 N Nimitz Hwy
Honolulu, HI 96819