Five-0 Redux: Do it yourself

Apr. 9, 2013 | 20 Comments

BY WENDIE BURBRIDGE / Special to the Star-Advertiser

It’s not a big surprise “Hawaii Five-0” fans from around the world love coming to Hawaiʻi. And when they arrive, they usually want to visit all of the places they have seen on television.

Some fans have been lucky enough to participate in a whirlwind trip around Oahu as part of the “Sunset on the Beach Fan Tour” organized by local travel agents Bruce and Yaling Fisher last September.

 The author, right, with fan Kat Cole at Aliʻiōlani Hale. Fans of the popular CBS television show only need a few hours to visit a number of shooting locations in metro Honolulu. (Courtesy Kat Cole)

The author, right, with fan Kat Cole at Aliʻiōlani Hale. Fans of the popular CBS television show only need a few hours to visit a number of shooting locations in metro Honolulu. (Courtesy Kat Cole)

But others who didn’t make the trip last year often ask for tips on where to go and what to see. They’re often here for just a few days, and while there is so much to see and do, they want to squeeze in a day specifically to see all the “Hawaii Five-0” hot spots.

I’ve written many posts about certain areas the production crew have filmed at over the years, like the USS Missouri and other spots iconic to Hawaiʻi, but I thought that I would put together a “do-it-yourself” tour.

All of these spots are within approximately 10 miles of each other and are all close to Waikīkī. You could start and finish your tour in a few hours, with great pictures, and still have time to hit the beach or grab a Blue Hawaiian by the pool.

Fuel Up

You definitely need to eat, since you will be walking a lot once you get to “Five-0″ headquarters, so stop where McGarrett and the team would eat before they head out on a big bust.

Wailana Coffee House, on the corner of Ala Moana Blvd. and Kalia Rd., is a good spot to have pancakes — Max loves them here, so I’m sure you will too. If you don’t need all-you-can-eat pancakes to start your day, fill up on coffee and other local favorites like sweet bread French toast or spam, eggs, and rice.

If breakfast is not your thing, you can always end your tour around lunchtime and visit Side Street Inn on Hopaka St. near Ala Moana Center. You may not see Danno buying McG a celebratory meal after closing a case, but if nothing else, their pupu-style plates of fried rice or pan-fried pork chops will be a perfect ending to your tour.

Filming often takes place in Kaka'ako, just a few miles from Waikiki. (Courtesy CBS)

Filming often takes place in Kaka’ako, just a few miles from Waikiki. (Courtesy CBS)

Drive Through

You can see a lot just by taking a drive down Ala Moana Blvd. to Kakaʻako. Take a short detour and drive through Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island, where you’ll recognize many spots — like the corner of the park where McG took down a bicycle-riding diamond thief, as well as where Kamekona first started his shave ice enterprise.

Across the street from the park you’ll see where the “Five-0″ team arrested Sean Combs in the Ala Moana Shopping Center parking area near Neiman Marcus.

After Ala Moana, head toward Kakaʻako and drive through a favorite shooting spot for the stunt crew to stage car chases and crashes.

The building at 605 Kapiolani Blvd. is used as a sound stage that's transformed into HPD headquarters. (Courtesy CBS)

The building at 605 Kapiolani Blvd. is used as a sound stage that’s transformed into HPD headquarters. (Courtesy CBS)

You’ll also recognize the arty graffiti on the buildings and alleys in many scenes, like when Fryer and Max were shot in the season two finale, and most recently when Leland Chapman chased down an unfortunate suspect in “Na Kiʻi.”

After Kakaʻako, head up South St. toward Kapiolani Blvd. and you can drive by the building that houses “Hawaii Five-0” sound stages (at least until CBS’ lease on the space runs out in a few weeks). You can still see burn marks from the explosion in “Ua Hala”, as the original entryway to the building at 605 Kapiolani Blvd. has stood-in for the Honolulu Police Department the past three seasons.

Next year, your tour will take you past the Hawaii Film Studios near Diamond Head, a secure facility where “Five-0” will film season four.

The Walking Tour

Once you pass Five-0 headquarters, head to South Beretania Street and find a public parking lot around the area of the State Capitol. Once you’ve fed the meter, walk toward the Capitol Building and ʻIolani Palace to see several “Five-0″ filming locations.

The State Capitol building was most recently seen in “Hookman” when Governor Denning and McG took a walk to discuss McGarrett’s handling of the death of fellow cops, Keoki and Ookala.

Also take a moment to check out the unique design of the building, as it was created as symbolic representation of Hawaiʻi. The columns resemble palm trees, the building is surrounded by water, and the center is open to the sky to connote a volcano. The statue of Hawaiʻi’s last queen, Liliʻuokalani, stands between the Capitol and the grounds of the ʻIolani Palace.

 This statue of Queen Liliʻuokalani stands between the State Capitol building and ʻIolani Palace. (Courtesy Kat Cole)

This statue of Queen Liliʻuokalani stands between the State Capitol building and ʻIolani Palace. (Courtesy Kat Cole)

If you walk through the Palace grounds, you’ll recognize the original headquarters from the classic “Hawaii Five-O.” It’s a perfect way to move from from the past to the present, as directly across the street is Kamehameha the Great’s statue fronting Aliʻiōlani Hale, which stands in for the current Five-0 headquarters on screen. (Aliʻiōlani Hale actually houses the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court and is the administrative center of the Hawaiʻi State Judiciary.)

Near the Kamehameha statue, you’ll see a shady banyan tree where Rachel sat and watched Danny in her side mirror after they shared a sweet scene with Gracie, and where Chin introduced Danno to Liliha Bakery’s famous Coco Puffs. You’ll also recognize it as the place where Cath tried to lure McG away from Danno to go with her to the Pro Bowl in “Pāʻani.”

Next door to Aliʻiōlani Hale is the Territorial Building, where Fryer held the press conference when he stripped Kono of her badge. And on the other side is the United States Post Office which stands in for the ‘Five-0’ courthouse.

While there is more to see and do in all of the areas I have just pointed out, this short tour will take anywhere from two to three hours to complete, or you can linger at spots and take the entire day.

If nothing else, it will give you a taste of your favorite show, and if you are lucky you just might spot some of your favorite actors doing what they do best — shooting the next batch of episodes for you to enjoy on TV.

Redux Side Note:

“Five-0″ returns next week with a new episode (“ʻŌlelo paʻa,” which means “promise” in Hawaiian) that will show us a time in McGarrett’s life before the first season’s pilot episode. 

Friday, April 19, will be a special night with the rebroadcast of Halloween episode “Mōhai.”

I ran into a few of the amazing Pacific Roller Derby ladies at last month’s “Eat the Street” in Kakaʻako. Check them out at 7 p.m. Friday, April 26, when the Leahi Diamond Dolls battle the Tropic Thunder babes at Palama Settlement. See some of the same derby girls who backed up Michelle Borth aka “Alice Trouper” in “Na Kiʻi.”
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Wendie Burbridge is a published author, playwright and teacher who lives and works in Honolulu. Reach her via Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nardia.mcphee Nardia McPhee

    Mahalo Wendie great way to post all of the spots to visit wonder in under 3-4 hours very surprised! There’s a lot of other spots I have noticed too like Waikiki Beach, Koko Head Halaiwa Prison and heaps heaps more hopefully will get a chance to do this myself wen I eventually go over there :)

    • http://twitter.com/WendieJoy Wendie Joy

      HI Nardia-
      There are definitely other places to see- but I had written about Waikīkī Beach before and I wanted to stick to one area so that you could park and walk. But if you drive around Oʻahu you can see many many other spots. But Halawa Prison is not really one spot I would encourage you to check out! LOL You will definitely get to see these spots when you get here:) Excited for you! Aloha, Wendie

  • http://www.facebook.com/FabFourLover Linda Stein

    Thank you …thank you…thank you Wendie. You wrote this just for me, didn’t you? You sweet girl!!! LOL I just can’t wait to get there and see EVERYTHING Five-0 related and not! This has already been printed out and placed in my “things to do in Honolulu” folder for next month! As always…you are a JEWEL!!!!! Mahalo nui loa sistah!

    • http://twitter.com/WendieJoy Wendie Joy

      Linda! I did have to do a practice run before you got here:) Thanks for being such a big support of the Redux:) XO Aloha, Wendie

  • http://twitter.com/BertHayling Bert Hayling

    What else is cool is looking at Wendie’s route via Google Earth — gives you a really good idea of where things are in relation to Five-0′s home of the past 3 seasons at 605 Kapiolani. I hadn’t realized how many location-shoot sites were close by, many within easy walking distance!

    What’s really fun, too, if you have the time and the gumption (and a decent map of O’ahu) is a driving tour. Whether you drive out to Makapu’u Point, across to the Windward coast and up the Kamehameha Highway, along the North Shore, across the middle of the island, or along the Leeward coast, you’re going to spot places that have appeared on the show — not to mention great places to pull over and eat or shop or just enjoy the scenery.

    Maybe it’s letting my geeky fan flag fly a little bit, but you can’t help but grin when you realize someplace looks familiar, and then figure out why. :)

    Great read as always, Wendie!

    • http://twitter.com/WendieJoy Wendie Joy

      Hey Bert-
      Great idea using Google Earth! Love what you said about recognizing a spot you saw on H50. Even when I see it- I have to stop and grin as well! Thanks for reading and commenting! Aloha, Wendie

  • http://www.facebook.com/carols.kohn Carol S Kohn

    I’ve been to Hawaii at least 12 times but never done this kind of tour since I have several of my family members living in Honolulu. Wow, would I love to do this kind of tour if I ever get back there since my hubby is still a 100% mailohini in comparison to me who was dubbed “a part time kamaaina” by someone who knows me (due to my vacation trips out to the islands before I’d gotten married that began in 1971 and ended in about 1979) and also one of my family members too on my last trip to Hawaii which was several years before we reunited (we’d not seen each other since June of 1953 and got back together in either 1980 or 1981 which should give you a clue about how old both my hubby and I are) and eventually got married.

    • http://twitter.com/WendieJoy Wendie Joy

      Hi Carol- Next time you are in town you can just do this yourself with your hubby:) Something different for you to do- even if you took out the H50 connection you’re still getting a taste of Honolulu and it’s history. Take care, Aloha, Wendie

  • http://twitter.com/WendieJoy Wendie Joy

    I forgot to include my pic of me and Lisa Lisa from H50hana with the Pacific Roller Derby ladies. Go check them out on the 26th!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1263050188 Madaline Rico

    Awesome blog Wendie. I’ve had the pleasure of taking the last 2 seasons Five-0 tours and thoroughly enjoyed them. I’ve been lucky to see most of the sites, if not all of them you spoke of. Trust me when I tell you, the fans, that it is so worth taking the time to see these places. Each place will have you noting the episode number, dialogue, and who was in the scenes you’re remembering. A definite fan moment at every stop. Enjoy your tours!

    • http://twitter.com/WendieJoy Wendie Joy

      Hey Maddy- Thanks for commenting and adding your thoughts. It’s always fun to take folks around and show them places that they have seen on H50. Glad you liked the H50 fan tours- such fun for me too! Aloha, Wendie

  • S Barnes

    Wendie Joy, this is a great article. I was in Honolulu last April. Had a wonderful time. Took a tour around the island with Discover Hawaii Tours. Saw some places that I recognized from my favorite show – Hawaii Five-0. Thanks for all the information that you provide us. If I ever get to Honolulu again, I am going to use the information in this article. THANKS!!!!

    • http://twitter.com/WendieJoy Wendie Joy

      Thanks so much! Glad you got to experience O’ahu and see some H50 shooting spots. Thanks for reading and commenting:) Aloha, Wendie

  • jlopie1

    Wow, great tour guide, Wendy! (The list of places to eat is most important to me – LOL!) Last summer I made it to Pearl Harbor and USS MIssouri – it was such a deja vu experience to walk under the flags, eat in the Pearl Canteen, stand at the end of the long pier (where Governor Jameson and Steve walked in the wind in the Pilot). Next trip out, I want to hit all the H50 places on your list! (Still trying to figure out how to hide in Linda’s suitcase next month!) Thanks again!

    • http://twitter.com/WendieJoy Wendie Joy

      Hey Lynnette- It always is a little surreal for me to walk around the Missouri. Chief reenlisted there 3 times and has his retirement ceremony on the fantail. And with the H50 connection it’s always a treat to visit her. Glad you got to experience it as well. Thanks for reading and commenting:) Aloha, Wendie

  • wayne shinbara

    There is something happening either this evening or tomorrow….seen crew trucks headed towards the dead end of Sand Island Parkway road….I suggest visitors NOT go cuz the park is closed at 745pm….so either its an evening filming or they are gonna camp out til a very early sunrise shoot.

    • http://twitter.com/WendieJoy Wendie Joy

      Cool Wayne! Thanks for always sharing when you see something! Aloha, Wendie

  • http://www.facebook.com/catherine.partin Catherine Partin

    You captured the essence of Hawaii with the details of places to see. I miss home so much, the lt blue of the ocean at the blow hole. The way you can stand on the sandy white beaches hardly anyone there to see, or who may people crowd in Hamauma Bay (that don’t listen and stand on the live coral killing it).
    No matter where I am in this world (life) My neart belongs to the island.

    • http://twitter.com/WendieJoy Wendie Joy

      Thanks Catherine:) I’m glad you liked this and I hope you get to come home soon:) Aloha, Wendie

  • pauldunn1

    Wendie,
    Thank you for a great post. This ep filled in a lot of the backstory of Steve and Cath. North Korea is still in the news again.
    Paul