Summer fun for 20 bucks (tops)


POSTED: Monday, June 29, 2009

There's not much you get for free any more these days.

Gone are the days of 50-cent refillable cups of coffee, and eateries where you can get a generous plate lunch for less than $5, given that many of those mom-and-pop places have closed down.

And even when an item is being offered for free, there's usually some kind of catch, like “;Buy one, get one free”; or buy this gadget, and get a free additional gadget that you really don't need.

Here's the deal: There are still a few freebies in Hawaii that truly are free, no strings attached. There are also some deals to be found in town—if you look for them—for under $20.

Sometimes, there is a catch, but a worthy one.

If you donate a pint of blood on July 3 and 4 for the Blood Bank of Hawaii, Baskin-Robbins is offering a coupon for a free pint of ice cream. The “;Give a Pint, Get a Pint”; promotion is also scheduled for Admission Day and Labor Day.


For under $20

» For $19.99: Kamaaina can get admission to Wet 'n' Wild Hawaii in Kapolei every Wednesday until Aug. 26. Also, for the same price, visitors can go on select rides and watch the Dive 'n' Movies in the Wave Pool on Fridays from 6 to 10 p.m. until Aug. 28.

» For $15: Ticket to Bishop Museum's Moonlight Mele on the Lawn concerts. For museum members and military, Bank of Hawaii employees and customers, it's $10.

» For $15: Full-face Shoei motorcycle helmet at the Salvation Army (spotted last week).


For under $10

» For $7.99: A used Kahala-label aloha shirt at Goodwill (spotted last week).

» For $6.50: A mix plate lunch at Rainbow Drive-In on Kanaina Avenue. Rainbow Drive-In is one of the few bargain plate lunch spots left, given that places like Masu's Massive Plate Lunch and KC Drive-Inn have closed down.


For under $5

» For $4.29: A short stack of fresh-made pancakes from Liliha Bakery.

» For $3.50: A martini at Bambu Bar, all day long.

» For $3: Admission to the Honolulu Zoo summer concert series. Jake Shimabukuro is scheduled for the end of July. Gates open at 4:35 p.m., so you can wander around the zoo for about 40 minutes. Concert starts at 6 p.m.

» For $1.25: Admission to second-run movies at Restaurant Row theater before 6 p.m. on weekdays, plus three and a half hours of free parking. Unfortunately, this deal will be gone after the theater closes on Aug. 2.

» For $1: You can get a used CD at Jelly's in Honolulu. Recently, the selection included The Best of the Cazimero Brothers and Gershwin.

» For 99 cents (plus half-off on Wednesdays): A trade paperback copy of president Barack Obama's “;Dreams from my Father”; memoir at Goodwill (spotted this week).



That's right, these really are free—with no catch.

» Free museum admission. The third Sunday of every month, the Bank of Hawaii sponsors “;Family Sunday,”; with free admission to the Honolulu Academy of Arts. The Academy is also free the first Wednesdays of every month, while military personnel and their families get in free every first Sunday.

» Free movie on the beach. Sunset on The Beach still takes place on a big, outdoor screen at Queen's Beach, Waikiki, but not as often as a few years ago. The movies now show every other month with the help of corporate sponsors. However, there will be a movie every month this summer. Go to http://www.waikikiimiprovement.com for the schedule.

» Free fireworks, even when it's not the 4th of July. Every Friday at 7:45 p.m., the Hilton Hawaiian Village shoots fireworks into the sky. You can watch from a nearby beach. Pack up a picnic, go to Magic Island and watch it for free.

» Free mangoes. If your neighbor's mango tree is hanging over the fence on your side of the property—it's yours for the taking (but it might still be nice to ask your neighbor first). Also, mangoes hanging over a fence on to a public sidewalk are also available to the public.

» Freecycle. Sign up with .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and you'll find out what the community offers for free. As of last week, members were offering two twin mattresses, a vacuum cleaner and two cats. Many folks freecycle moving boxes. It's good etiquette to reciprocate by offering up items you no longer need for free, as well.

» Free reading. The good old library is still a place where you can borrow books, CDs, DVDs and read a large selection of magazines and newspapers (in air-conditioned comfort). Library cards are free to Hawaii residents.

» Free ice cream. Ben & Jerry's at Windward Wall offers a Free Cone Day, usually the last Tuesday of April. Put it on your calendar.

» Free Wi-Fi. The city's Kokua Wireless program continues to expand its coverage, and you can now hop on in Kailua, downtown and parts of Waikiki.

Do you know of a deal? Send it in!