Stroll Along Kalakaua Avenue
If you want to be where all the action is, visit Kalakaua Avenue. This street spans over three miles from Kapiolani Park to Ala Moana and is Waikikis beating heart.
The area is a bit touristy but still fun. It is edged in skyscrapers, restaurants, shopping malls, boutique stores and the ever essential ABC Stores which is a great place to pick up your sunscreen, buy a snorkel and goggles, a beach towel, or any last minute items you left at home.
A few places you should stop for a shop and a bit to eat while strolling down Kalakaua Avenue are the Royal Hawaiian Center in the heart of Waikiki. Here youll find stores like Tiffany & Co., Saint Laurent, Hermès, Fendi, Jimmy Choo, alongside local boutiques and souvenirs. But this is also a cultural center with hula lessons, ukulele lessons and lei making.
which is the newest retail and hospitality area with great restaurants and bars to enjoy in a lovely open air setting.
And International Marketplace. You might remember this if you last visited Hawaii many years ago. These days the cheap stores have been replaced by higher end stores and boutiques, but the open air food court remains under the big banyan tree.
If youre looking for a nice rooftop bar, grab a drink at the famous SKY Waikiki Raw & Bar. There are spectacular panoramic views and outstanding food and drinks at this locale.
Pro tip: Catch free live performances at the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound!
Honolulu Museum Of Art
Jeff Whyte / Shutterstock
With more than 50,000 pieces on display, the Honolulu Museum of Art is one of the premiere destinations for art aficionados on the island.
Not only does it house everything from wood blocks to watercolors, but it also represents each and every culture of Hawaii, spanning more than 5,000 years of history to include both prehistoric relics and modern, cutting-edge art.
When youre done admiring the galleries, you can also sign up for classes and workshops to learn more about art or even master the techniques to create your own.
Another great thing about the museum is that theres no admission fee on the first Wednesday and third Sunday of every month, so if youre looking for free things to do while on vacation, this could be an option.
Go for the art.
Stay for the breathtaking beauty and legacy of Hawaii preserved in picture form.
Thats the experience that you can have at the Honolulu Museum of Art, so its well-worth a visit.
Address: 900 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96814, United States
Small Group Oahu Highlights Tour From Waikiki
The Small Group Oahu Highlights Tour from Waikiki is a fantastic thing to do in Waikiki for people who want to see the most important sites in a full-day tour. Your 11-hour excursion begins when your expert guide picks you up at your hotel in a minibus where you will then proceed on your adventure. Your first stop will be Pearl Harbor where you can visit the museum, the USS Arizona Memorial where you will be given expert insight on all the events that took place on December 7, 1941. From here you will travel to the North Shore with a stop at the Dole Plantation, the picturesque Sunset Beach, Waimea Bay and you will relish the coastline views from Laie Point. You will stop at the Tropical Farms Coffee Plantation where you will feast on buttery flavored macadamia nuts before setting off for the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Here you will enjoy plenty of fun things to do in Waikiki: interactive exhibits, live presentations and interpretive signs that explain the history and culture of the Polynesian people as well as indulge in a complimentary Polynesian style lunch. You excursion continues to the serene Byodo-In Temple which resembles the original Buddhist temple that is found Kyoto, Japan. The last stop on your tour is a breathtaking view of the coastline from the cliffs at Nuuanu Pali Lookout. Your tour concludes with drop-off service at your hotel.
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Stroll A Botanical Garden
The island of Oahu is home to a bunch of different botanical gardens at least eight of them!
Aside from having thousands of interesting plant and tree species, these gardens are nice for taking a stroll or snapping photos, usually featuring their own ponds or waterfalls.
Arguably the best botanical garden in Oahu is Hoomaluhia, which has free walking paths that wrap around a koi pond, and stunning green mountain backdrops that are fit for Jurassic Park.
Two other great ones to check out are the Lyon Arboretum and the Waimea Valley on the north shore, which also has a nice waterfall of its own.
Ride Through Jurassic Park On An Atv
Let the rev of the engine transport you into a trance of adrenaline and you scoot through Oahus heavy forestry on a quad bike!
But this isnt just any forestry, this is the location of none other than Hollywoods very own Jurassic Park!
Or, better yet, combine it with a half-day adventure that includes not one, not two, but SIX ziplines!
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Explore The Arts Scene In Kakaako
Located between Waikiki Beach and Ala Moana Center is Kakaako. This is an up-and-coming neighborhood that has a killer local brewery scene, hipster coffee shops and trendy boutiques.
But, the big reason to head here is for their incredible street art.
Each February, theres a big event called Pow! Wow! Hawaii where more than 100 international and local artists head to Kakaako to paint murals all over the neighborhood. And then they stay up the rest of the year for the public to admire.
While there are lots and lots of murals all over the neighborhood, youll want to head to Lana Lane. This is a functioning artist collective featuring artists like Simone Legno, co-founder and artist of Tokidoki.
This is where you want to go to find cool Oahu Instagram walls or just stroll around while sipping coffee.
Where Is Waikiki Located
Waikiki is the tourist neighborhood located in the City of Honolulu. Just east of the business and towntown district of Honolulu. The Waikiki neighborhood is on the southern tip of the city and bordered by the Ala Wai canal and Kapiolani park. If you are visiting Oahu, Waikiki is where you want to be based to experience the best of the attractions around the neighborhood and surrounding city of Honolulu.
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Visit The Battleship Missouri Memorial
Open from Tuesday to Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm, the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Pearl Harbor is one of the most historically relevant things to do in Oahu.
One for the history buffs, a tour on this great ship will teach you all about the day of infamy, the sinking of the USS Arizona, and Japans formal surrender.
What To Do In Waikiki Beach
Waikiki Beach is world re-known for its magnificent beach, gorgeous sunsets, cruising on the many catamarans or dinner cruises and just an easy stroll and window shopping or find some cool bars with live music to even fine dining venues to enjoy world class cuisine. If youre into more active lifestyle you can snorkel, sail, surf, SUP board or do so many other fun outdoor adventures right on the beach area.
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Fun & Unusual Things To Do In Oahu
Oahu might only be the third-largest Hawaiian island, yet it boasts arguably the most diverse, exciting, and unforgettable list of experiences across the entire archipelago.
From historic battle sites like Pearl Harbor to incredible hiking opportunities and stargazing spots Jurassic Park tours and plenty of beaches, snorkeling, and diving spots, youll never run out of things to do in Oahu.
Go For A Romantic Walk At Kapiolani Regional Park
One of the best parks to visit as a couple is Kapiolani Park. Going here together is definitely one of the most romantic activities in Honolulu!
Kapiolani Park is one of the oldest parks in the city and the nature you find here is beautiful. Moreover, you can get a beautiful view of Diamond Head from the park. These aspects make the park great for a romantic walk for two! That’s also why it is one of the best date ideas in Honolulu.
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Exploring The North Shore
Top things to do on Oahu include visiting the North Shores world-renowned surfing spots Waimea Bay, Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach. Haleiwa, a laid-back surf town, is a fun place to stop for shave ice and local artwork.North Shore eateries include shrimp food trucks and Teds Bakery, known for its chocolate haupia .
Birds Eye View Of Oahu
You might think you need a hike to get a great view of Oahu. Well, not always. One of the best activities on Oahu, especially if youre on your honeymoon or want to make your trip memorable, is looking from the sky. Yes, we mean a helicopter ride on the island.
Embark on this incredible hike to see the Waikiki skyline, the immense magnificence of Diamond Head , the windy coastal volcanic cliffs, and the mesmerizing views of the Koolau Mountains.
Luckily, the helicopter tour comes with a helpful guide that will tell you what you are looking at. This is an experience you have in your memories lifelong.
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Why Go Surfing On Waikiki Beach
Outside of bragging rights that you actually did this in Waikiki, the soft sands, long surf rides and friendly and watchful guides make the experience fun and easy to pick up for beginners to all different levels and can be customized depending on your needs.
Check out this surfing lesson experience on Waikiki Beach here with an outfitter with a cause for more information and planning for your surfing fun on the beach.
Diamond Head Summit Trail
While youre relaxing on Waikiki Beach, youll probably notice a lush, green mountain in the distance. Thats Diamond Headan extremely popular hiking trail on Oahu. And spoiler alert, its not a mountainits actually a volcanic cone.
Diamond Head State Monument is located in Honolulu, and its just a short 2.2-mile drive from Waikiki Beach. I would highly recommend biking or driving to Diamond Head. Even though its on this list for the best things to do in Waikiki, its a long walk. We walked to and from the hiking trail and clocked more steps than we usually do during a day at Disneyland . However, the hike was worth it, and its undoubtedly one of the best things to do in Waikiki!
Admission to Diamond Head is $10 per car or $5 per person. The hike itself is shortonly 1.8 miles out and back, but offers panoramic views of Honolulu from the top! If youre staying in Waikiki, its fun to look for your hotel at the end of the hike.
Tip: Diamond Head State Monument is closed on Wednesdays. However, its opened every other day of the week from 6 AM 4 PM!
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Walk Along The Main Beach In The Evening
The best time to visit Waikiki Beach to escape the crowds is once the sun has set. I love walking along the darkened beach past the bright lights of the waterside resorts.
If you time it right, you could catch a hula performance at the Royal Hawaiian. You will only be able to see it from the back when sitting on the beach but its free.
Waikiki is a fun and lively holiday destination and if you mix some of these chilled things to do in Waikiki to your visit, you wont get burnt out by its hectic pace.
Experience Oahu From Above
One of the most amazing experiences is taking it all in from above!
Words can’t explain flying just a few hundred feet in an open-door helicopter above the coastline taking in panoramic views of Waikiki, Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, the Ko olau Mountains, Hanauma Bay, cascading waterfalls, and much much more. Explore a once in a lifetime experience…
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Go On A Coffee Date At The Honolulu Coffee Company
The Honolulu Coffee Company is the perfect place if you and your partner like coffee. That’s because you can experience Hawaiian coffee at this place.
What’s unique about this place s that they have their own coffee farm in Hawaii. They take this coffee to their own roastery to make the best coffee beans.
With this, they make great coffee at their Honolulu Coffee Experience Center.
What makes their coffee special is the natural fruit flavors that it contains! When you and your partner go to Honolulu, you have to try this.
Having coffee at this place is definitely one of the most romantic things to do in Honolulu!
Get The Best Value On Your Trip To Waikiki With The Go Oahu Pass
One of the best ways to save money while exploring Waikiki is purchasing the Go City Oahu all-inclusive digital pass. It includes over 45 attractions that you can experience with just one ticket that you keep on your smartphone. Plus, once you have the pass, you can mix and match activities to do as many as youd like!
If youre interested in a narrated tour of Pearl Harbor, surf lessons, transportation to and from Diamond Head, or attending a luau while youre in Waikiki, all these attractions and more are included on Go City Oahu all-inclusive pass. And the best part? The pass starts at just $82 a day!
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Eat An Authentic Hawaiian Plate Lunch
Dont go to Hawaii without tasting real Hawaiian food.
And by Hawaiian food, I mean the amazing melting pot of flavors inspired by Japan, China, Korea, and all over the world.
Hawaiian-style plate lunch usually consists of a meat entree, two scoops of rice, and one scoop of macaroni salad.
This is where you can try kalua pork, kalbi ribs, mochiko chicken, lau lau, katsu curry, beef stew, and so many other flavorful options.
And dont forget to grab a Spam musubi, which is sort of like a Spam sushi roll, for an after-lunch snack!
Check Out A Farm Tour
For decades, Hawaii has imported about 90% of its food. Not only is that expensive, but its also a bit scary when you realize Hawaii has natural disasters like tsunamis and hurricanes.
Thats why Oahus local food movement has really taken off in the past few years.
While you can taste locally grown food at Hawaii grocery stores or farmers markets, you can also get the full experience at a Hawaii farm.
Kahumana Organic Farm and Cafe is located in Waianae and they offer 45-60 minute public guided tours of their property. Their food is so delicious that they sell their produce to Roys and Monkeypod Kitchen.
They are a nonprofit that is dedicated to aiding, supporting, and improving the lives of locals in need.
Another option is Full Circle Farm in Waimanalo, which offers cooking demonstrations and farm-to-table dining.
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Legends In Concert Waikiki Rock A Hula Show
The Legends in Concert Waikiki Rock a Hula Show is a fascinating thing to do in Waikiki which is bound to entertain the whole family or couples whether young or old in age. Your evening of rock-and-roll will have you dancing to such tribute artists as Michael Jackson, Celine Dion and you will hear Elvis croon Blue Hawaii which will melt your heart. And dont worry there will be plenty of hula dancers and Polynesian music that will delight your eardrums.
You perfect night of music is at the Royal Hawaiian Center in Oahu and there are many different options you can choose from just listening to dinner and the show to superb VIP seating which includes cocktails as well as a meet and greet after the show. You will not want to miss the Legends in Concert Show which is packed with fun, food, dancing and music as you listen to the greats of rock-and-roll in a wonderful island setting.
Explore Kapiolani Park In Waikiki Beach
If you are looking for some down time then large green park area on the edge of Waikiki is a nice respite to enjoy on the edge of Waikiki. You can also check out popular attractions in the park including the Honolulu Zoo, Diamond Head Crater, Queens beach, Waikiki Aquarium and also the bandstand at Waikiki Shell that has weekly free or paid events and concerts for visitors and locals. Theres plenty to do and see in the park or you can just relax and enjoy the views and beach scene overlooking Waikiki beach area.
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Try Coco Puffs At Liliha Bakery
While Hawaii has some pretty outstanding baked goods, like the malasadas from Leonards Bakery, locals drool over the Coco Puffs at Liliha Bakery.
Liliha Bakery is a full-fledged coffee shop/diner with three locations around Oahu. But, its their Coco Puffs that really put them on the map.
These cold Hawaiian cream puff pastries are filled with chocolate pudding and topped with a buttery macadamia nut Chantilly frosting.
While you are there, you can also try out their new green tea cream puff.
Snorkel At Hanauma Bay
Considered the premier snorkeling destination on the island, Hanauma Bay is teeming with colorful sea life warm, clear waters shallow reefs, and terrific views.
Since this popular spot often gets busy as the day goes on , a guided experience is recommended plus, that way, all the equipment, and transportation is included!
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