things to do in Waikiki, Hawaii

Tall swaying palms, unending golden sunshine, waves for days and idyllic resorts, Waikiki really is a beach paradise.

One of the reasons travelers fall in love with the seaside neighborhood is that it has a small trendy city feel, while still being chilled-out at the same time, and there are many things to do in Waikiki and much natural scenery to explore.

Enjoy endless beach endeavors and arrive home tanned for the gods as the sun never stops shining in Hawaii.

Take advantage of Waikiki’s fancy shopping and fabulous dining scene — whether you’re a couple or family troupe, plus there are some romantic spots to spoil your palettes and loved ones.

Jet ski, snorkel, canoe, surf (or learn how to), or simply sit back, relax and enjoy the island vibrations.

Waikiki is a vibey neighborhood found within the capital city of Hawaii, Honolulu. Honolulu is located on Oahu island, the third largest of Hawaii’s eight islands. After a few days in this part of Aloha State, you’ll never want to leave. Add this list of 51 blissful things to do in Waikiki to your holiday plans!

1 – Snorkeling at Turtle Canyon

Turtle Canyon Snorkeling

Has it been your dream to go swimming with giant sea turtles? Now is the chance in Waikiki when you join an expedition at Turtle Canyon, one of the best snorkeling spots in Oahu.

Named Turtle Canyon for a reason, one of the best places to snorkel and see Hawaii’s green turtles is around its shallow reef waters on the Ko Olina coast.

A popular activity to do in Waikiki, there are different snorkel tours to the famous spot … Choose to board a luxury catamaran for the day or hop on board a BYOB (bring your own booze) boat and set sail.

Cruising the waters, look out for other magnificent creatures that roam the oceans like spinner dolphins and schools of angelfish.

Thanks to the reef’s positioning, the waters around here are not that deep, and snorkeling is suitable for all levels. Don’t worry if you haven’t got your own gear either, all equipment is provided as well as a short instruction lesson before diving into the ocean.

Spend two to three hours adventuring to Turtle Canyon, or if that’s not enough, there are plenty more snorkeling tours in Oahu to embark on.

2 – Prepare for a day of TLSea at Waikiki Beach(es)

best beaches in Waikiki

Did you know that Waikiki Beach is made up of eight different stretches of ocean and sandy areas, and each one is named a different beach? So technically, there are eight beaches to explore in Waikiki.

Duke Kahanamoku Beach is the most visited out of the eight and is renowned for its excelling offering of all watersports from jet skiing to surfing (and schools to learn to surf), SUPing to windsurfing. Find everything you need for the ideal beach day, from restaurants to lifeguards on duty.

Fort DeRussy Beach Park offers the best of both worlds, including a sandy beach and grass picnic space next to it. Filled with oceanic rocks, it’s great for some snorkeling.

Smaller in size (and crowds of people), Prince Kuhio Beach and San Souci Beach are great for surfing calm waves or building sandcastles.

Queen Kapiolani Beach (also commonly called Queen’s Beach or Kapiolani Park Beach) is popular for surfing and Royal Hawaiian Beach is nicknamed after the accommodation that is built behind the shores.

Located between hotels, Gray’s Beach is small and intimate with powdery white sands. For something super private, visit Outrigger Canoe Club Beach (known as Colony Surf Beach).

3 – Eat your way through Waikiki during a food tour

food tours in Oahu

There are some dishes hailing from Hawaii that have caught attention globally, like delicious and fresh poke bowls, but there is also a variety of not-so-common eats to taste while you’re in Waikiki. This is where a food tour is useful.

The next few hours are spent getting to know the local produce, from fruit to vegetables to spices, and you will get to sample local snacks and dishes as you go along.

Try favored fares like spam, malasadas, poke, loco moco (known as the ultimate “Hawaiian comfort food”) and lau lau (not to be confused with a Vietnamese hotpot, it’s a parcel of butterfish and pork wrapped inside taro and ti leaves, served with sticky rice).

Tour some of Waikiki’s best restaurants, cafes and bars as you venture through different neighborhoods, such as Kaimuki and Kapahulu.

Some food tours in Waikiki are done on foot, while others have the option to explore by bicycle, and most include a private pick-up from your stay in Waikiki.

Foodies, there is even a tour conducted by The Great Food Truck Race winner, Lanai Tabura, so don’t miss out on a chance to learn from the professional.

Travelers that aren’t food-crazy, opt for a food tour that focuses on sightseeing the city, with food stops in between.

4 – Blow air kisses to the sea animals at Waikiki Aquarium

Waikiki Aquarium

Luminescent jellyfish, reef sharks and schools of colorful parrot fish are just a few of the spectacular marine creatures to spot at Waikiki Aquarium.

Home to sea wildlife for more than 100 years, it opened up in 1904, and to date, is the United States’ second-oldest aquarium. Over the years, the facilities within have seen renovations and maintenance, and modern amendments have been added to its features.

Fish, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates are the different animal groups that live at Waikiki Aquarium, from the endangered Hawaiian monk seal to Green sea turtles to crustaceans and coral.

Explore 19 exhibits to see the aquatic species, such as the Coral Farm, Hawaiian Monk Seal Habitat, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Hunters on the Reef and the Amazing Adaptations exhibit to spot seahorses.

There is also a range of ocean plants and various seaweed to see and the Waikiki Aquarium is a part of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

5 – Shop and eat in style at the Royal Hawaiian Center

Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikiki

Unlike regular shopping malls, the Royal Hawaiian Center stays true to the island vibes of Waikiki and is set up in an open-air complex, yet it retains that distinctive upmarket feel.

Located on the sleek Kalākaua Avenue, the center comprises three buildings filled with luxury shopping brands to browse, and the mall has been serving the Waikiki crowds since 1980 when it first opened its doors.

Both international and local names line the walkways, and boutique stores sell fashionwear, accessories, jewelry, souvenirs and gifts.

Shop at Fendi, Apple, Hermès, Jimmy Choo, Valentino and plenty more powerhouses, as well as some of Hawaii’s finest such as Royal Hawaiian Quilt, Leather Sole, and House of Mana Up.

Feeling hungry? Pāʻina Lānai Food Court (on the third level of the shopping complex) has a fantastic variety of restaurants, fast food and dessert shop options. The Cheesecake Factory, Subway and Starbucks are some names you may recognize, or try the local flavors instead at Mahaloha Burger, Poke Waikiki and Potama.

Other delicious eateries include Tsurutontan Udon Noodle Brasserie, Wolfgang’s Steakhouse By Wolfgang Zwiener and Noi Thai. Plus, Dean & DeLuca is located here too.

6 – Sightsee Waikiki on a hop-on hop-off trolley tour

bus tours in Waikiki

All aboard the authentic old-school trolley for a super fun hop-on hop-off tour around Waikiki with the wind blowing through your hair.

The transportation system started in 1986 and has been in operation ever since. Today, pick between three city tour lines that each venture to different parts, covering various things to do in Waikiki. Plus, you can choose to purchase a one to seven-day trolley pass.

For example, a three-day pass allows you to hop on and off the trolley for three days, and it acts as a great mode of transport too.

The Red Line covers the ‘City Art District’, stopping by sites like the Honolulu Museum of Art, Chinatown and the King Kamehameha Statue.

Focusing on the shopping, entertainment and dining side of things, the Pink Line (also known as the ‘Ala Moana Shopping Shuttle’) crosses famous Kalakaua Avenue spilling with fancy boutique stores, and the Duke Kahanamoku Statue is located along this beachfront strip. Jump off at Ala Moana Center.

‘Ocean Diamond Head’ is the name for the Blue Line and ventures out of the city center and towards Diamond Head. Around here, unearth other things to do in Honolulu.

Travel to places surrounding Waikiki like Diamond Head, Halona Blowhole, Sandy Beach Park and Hanauma Bay. There is also an option to ride a double-decker bus instead of the Waikiki trolley for a hop-on hop-off tour.

7 – Take a magical glass-bottom boat tour

boat tours in Oahu

The oceanic adventures are endless in Waikiki … it would be wrong to think otherwise as this is Hawaii after all … and a glass-bottom boat tour is especially for those enthralled by the sea and all it beholds.

Hop on board the special Haleiwa Queen boat, designed with a see-through glass floor so as you cruise across the coastline, you see everything below you and under the sea.

Tours make for Lē’ahi (Diamond Head), sailing over shipwrecks, rainbow-colored reefs and schools of marine life. Try spotting reef sharks, eels and turtles and if you’re lucky, dolphins may swim by.

Some glass-bottom boat tours depart around sunset, especially pretty as the sun creates glowy reflections off of the water.

8 – Solve the puzzle at The Escape Game

The Escape Game in Honolulu, Oahu

Take some time out from all the fun in the sun and put your minds to the test at The Escape Game. An activity for the entire family to enjoy, there are six themes to challenge yourselves, each one with a different storyline.

Given a certain amount of time, you and your friends, or family, are locked into a themed room where you will have to solve a set of clues in order to escape the room, unlocking your return to freedom.

Which room to pick? Our favorites are the ‘Prison Break’ and the ‘Heist’ themes.

During a game of ‘Prison Break’, players are split into two different prison cells and must work together to get out of a 1950s style prison. While the ‘Heist’ room asks players to find a priceless Monet painting recently gone missing from the Barclay Museum of Historical Art.

Designed for different levels, the diversity of escape rooms lets you choose a quest that best suits your travel party.

9 – Revel in the artworks at Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design

Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture and Design, Waikiki
credit to Shangri La

Dedicated to the world of Islamic art and culture from around the globe, the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design is a fantastic opportunity to dive a little deeper into the art world.

It all began with Doris Duke (born in New York City), a world traveler and an avid art collector who began curating artworks during her travels to North Africa, Asia and parts of Hawaii.

Over the space of 60 years, the philanthropist gathered more than 4,500 pieces and items from countries such as Egypt, Morocco, Spain, Iran, Central Asia, and other Southeast Asian countries.

Duke held an affinity for ceramics, textiles, wood and glass-made art, and interestingly, some of the art was incorporated into the Shangri La’s design and building construction, for example, ornate tiles and carpets from her collection were used to decorate the museum.

There are changing and permanent exhibitions. Fixed expos include the Arts of the Islamic World Gallery and murals like ‘My People’ in the Banyan Courtyard, ‘Exile’ located at the Playhouse Garden, ‘Phoenix (Again)’ by the Mughal Galleries and ‘Cycles’ situated at the Moon Garden.

10 – Watch a traditional hula show at Kuhio Beach Hula Show

Kuhio Beach Hula Show, Waikiki

Flower garlands and grass skirts are always related to Hawaii’s beloved hula dancing with scenes of ladies swaying their hips and singing under the sunshine.

However, there is more to this traditional performance. A fantastic opportunity to learn is witnessing the Kuhio Beach Hula Show.

Completely free for anyone who wants to watch the show, a professional group of hula dancers from one of Hawaii’s hālau hula (hula schools) take to the open-air stage under the palm trees at the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound (opposite Kalakaua Ave).

It begins with the blowing of the Conch shell just before sunset hour, and the story dance spectacle is accompanied by Hawaiian music.

It’s believed that when the Polynesians first created the hula, it was a type of religious activity to honor their gods. In the 1800s, the dance was mainstreamed to suit colonial times and adapted as performance art.

Years later, locals have gone back to their original roots, and hula is used during chanting for connection to the land and spirits, performed at traditional ceremonies, or you can still watch a live hula show.

11 – Strap on your walking shoes for Diamond Head

Diamond Head, Hawaii

Mention Diamond Head (locally called Lē‘ahi) to anyone in town, and chances are, you’ll be pointed in the right direction — plus, you can spot the dormant coastal volcano sticking out from many places like Waikiki Beach.

Forming over 300,000 years ago, it’s the most popular hiking trail on the island, providing gorgeous views en route, as well as passing by historical military features.

Standing 232 meters above sea level, it’s right next to the ocean and the summit (including the trek back down) takes around two hours. Begin in the early morning to miss the Hawaiian heat, enduring some tricky terrain along the journey as well as inclines with steps.

Utilized by the military in the early 1900s, the first trails were forked out by these troops. It was nicknamed “Diamond Head” as when soldiers originally landed at the crater top, they thought glistening calcite crystals were diamonds at first, unfortunately, they were not.

Some military sites to investigate include army tunnels, the Fire Control Station, a lighthouse, wartime bunkers and from the top of the mountain, look out to sea and try spotting humpback whales and dolphins.

Most of the vegetation and birds were introduced in the late 1800s to early 1900s. As you ascend the mountain, enjoy the natural scenery and wildlife and the total distance of a round trip is 2.5 kilometers.

The best time for hiking in Oahu is late winter and springtime when the weather is cooler. Autumn usually sees a lot of rainfall, and the slippery walking conditions are not the best for hiking.

12 – Refuel at Island Vintage Coffee

Island Vintage Coffee, Waikiki
credit to Island Vintage Coffee

Inspired by Hawaii’s seasonal produce, the entire menu at Island Vintage Coffee naturally pops with color.

Famous for its excellent coffee, the shop specializes in Kona coffee (the local name for the finest arabica coffee locally grown in South Kona, Hawaii), and they locally source their beans and sell them fresh too.

Serving up cuppas since 1996, purchase a bag of beans to take home with you or sit down and simply enjoy a freshly brewed (in-house roasted) coffee.

Scrumptious foods on the menu include acai bowls, moana bowls, poke bowls, bagels, salads and more yummy delights. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, they serve Japanese shaved ice desserts here too.

Apart from coffee beans, pick up other goodies and treats like organic granola, matcha green tea latte mix, white kiawe honey and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts.

13 – Pick up a water hobby at Magic Island Lagoon

Magic Island Lagoon, Waikiki

Calling all water babies, spend the entire day at Magic Island Lagoon swimming, surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing these shallow waters.

The man-made water bay was formed in 1964 and makes up part of the Ala Moana Beach Park, located on the east reef side. Not deep at all, the lagoon is perfect for families and travelers with young kids. There are no raging waves in sight and it’s comfortable to play in.

Surrounding the waters is a lovely green park space and the grass area is ideal for picnicking or catching a break on land, and there are tables and benches provided and plenty of trees if you need to catch some shade.

There are restaurants close by, as well as the Ala Moana Shopping Center and Waikiki’s famous fireworks procession can be seen from Magic Island Lagoon, happening every Friday evening.

14 – Grab sundowners at Mai Tai Bar

Mai Tai Bar
credits to Mai Tai Bar

Enveloped by tall stretching palm trees and pink umbrellas, Mai Tai Bar is hard to beat, not only because of its beachfront location, but it’s a total vibe too.

One step away from the sands of Waikiki Beach, with the ocean right in front of you, there’s all the natural ambiance you could desire for happy hour as the sun begins to set. But, serving both lunch and dinner, this spot is great for either time of day.

When the stars come out to shine, live music fills the air from musicians, adding an extra romantic touch. Sip on a signature Mai Tai cocktail or order bites like fresh market fruit and berries, chilled marinated clams, Ahi poke bowl, braised short ribs and more.

15 – Take a Waikiki segway tour

segway tours in Waikiki

Gaining more and more popularity over recent years, opt for a segway tour around Waikiki and visit iconic attractions and not-to-miss areas around the island.

Instead of trekking through the city on foot, or hopping from one taxi or bus to the next, take in the scenes in one go on a motorized self-balancing hoverboard.

Covering more ground than usual, enjoy two hours of cruising Waikiki as you’re guided to the famed Diamond Head area, or passing through to Kaimana Beach, a small, less-touristy beach with some great restaurants nearby.

Tour on over to the Ala Wai Yacht Harbor and then move onto the Ala Moana Beach Park, which is just right around the corner.

A great activity for couples, but not limited to, opt for a sunset beach segway tour. Pass by Kakaʻako Waterfront Park and the Ehime Maru Memorial.

If you’ve never used a segway before, don’t stress. Before the outing begins you’ll be instructed on how to maneuver and ride the two-wheeled hoverboard.

16 – Greet the animals at the Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo
credits to Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is steeped and rich in history, originally belonging to the royal family in the 1800s and dedicated to the queen of the time, Queen Kapiolani.

The area around the now-zoo was once a mix of marshes, lagoons, islets and fishponds which King David Kalākaua (the last reigning king forming the monarch of the Kingdom of Hawaii) opened up to the public in 1876.

Spanning 121 hectares of land, a portion of this was given to the city council, who officially opened the space as a public park. In the 1930s, it was a renowned bird park and by 1947, it was operating as the Honolulu Zoo.

Over the decades, it’s undergone changes and the modernized version that travelers see today was upgraded in 1984 and turned into a “Tropical Zoological Garden”. Different areas were built to replicate the animals’ natural habitats, such as the African Savanna, Asian and American Tropical Forests, and the Pacific Islands.

Guests will get the chance to see some of the wildlife at the zoo during a visit. Be guided around the different animal species spaces, or for something extra cool, choose a ‘Twilight Tour’, which takes place after hours.

They offer educational wildlife learning programs at Honolulu Zoo, as well as zoo camps for kids during summer and autumn.

The Aldabra giant tortoise, alligator, Burmese python, Komodo dragon and spider monkey are a few of the wildlife creatures to meet here. Animal lovers will be happy to know there’s an on-site animal health center that acts as an animal hospital.

17 – Experience a whale-watching cruise

whale watching cruises in Oahu

There’s something special about every single season in Hawaii, and if you’re traveling to Waikiki in the cooler months, you’re just in time for the whale-watching season.

Migrating to this side of the world from around December through to April, the best way to experience the Humpback whales up close is during a bucket-list whale-watching cruise around Waikiki’s ocean.

Board a catamaran at Kewalo Basin Harbor and head onto the waters where the experienced professionals on deck point you in the right direction to see the magnificent creatures of the ocean gliding over the waves or breathing through their blowholes.

Offering a variety of whale-watching cruises in Waikiki, there are some tours more specified than others, for example, pick an ocean expedition that includes a traditional hula performance onboard.

18 – Get festive at Hana Koa Brewing Company

Hana Koa Brewing Company
credits to Hana Koa Brewing Company

Looking for fun things to do in Waikiki with a group of mates? Consider a trip to the Hana Koa Brewing Company, where things are sure to turn out merry.

Slightly out of the center of town (about a 10-minute drive), spend a couple of hours enjoying great food and even better beer inside the brewery, taproom and restaurant set-up.

Producing their own beer label (which is super funky), order a cold one from their range of beer on tap, with a variety of ales, lagers, pilsners and even beer cocktails to suit all palettes.

Speaking of, some unique concoctions to taste are the ‘That Thyme O’ Day’ cocktail made with vodka, thyme and pale ale, or ‘The Chadillac’ (a mix of rum, pineapple, lime and a hazy IPA).

Food-wise, menu items range from tacos to salads with flavors from around the world like Vietnam, Italy, Korea and Mexico.

19 – Soar above the ocean parasailing Waikiki Beach

parasailing in Waikiki Beach

Fly 366 above the waves and take in a bird’s eye view of your aquatic surroundings during an ocean parasailing adventure from Waikiki Beach.

From the shore, set sail on a boat into the ocean, and your parasailing expedition starts from out at sea. This is because the parasails are attached to the back of the boat, adding extra safety measures.

Enjoy 10 minutes of weightlessness as you lift off into the air, hovering over the ocean with views of Diamond Head and other parts of Waikiki. From up above, and even the boat, see tropical fish swim by, or if it’s season, whales.

Afraid of heights or just keen to try a lower flight for the first time? Opt for a parasailing excursion where you’re released only 244 meters from sea level. All rides are guided but you still receive a pre-instruction and safety lesson before parasailing.

20 – Buy big brands at Waikiki Shopping Plaza

Waikiki Shopping Plaza, Hawaii

The prominent Kalakaua Avenue is the place to be if you’re itching to spend some dollars, and the fancy Waikiki Shopping Plaza captures shopaholics for a good few hours.

Explore five levels of shopping and dining options, and retailers are both local and international brands. Attached to the plaza is also the Waikiki Business Plaza, filled with more stores.

Shop your favorite cosmetics at Sephora, the latest fast-fashion at H&M, or local labels such as Hamilton Boutique, Makani and Opal Haus. Enjoy margaritas and Mexican at Buho Cocina y Cantina, an authentic teppanyaki experience at Tanaka of Tokyo, or the freshest lobster from Royal Lobster.

For incredible city views, head to the 19th floor of the building to the rooftop bar, SKY Waikiki and stay for their happy hour from sunset time.

21 – Get involved in a Waikiki scavenger game

scavenger games in Waikiki

An affordable and fun way to sightsee the island town is during a Waikiki scavenger game — all that’s required is a smartphone and a bit of brain.

It takes two hours, and instead of a mundane sightseeing experience, uncover parts of Waikiki with this interactive endeavor. This is especially fun if you’re on holiday with the entire family.

Using your mobile, you’re required to unravel clues to guide you from one point of interest to the next until, eventually, you’ve ticked each attraction off the list and completed the quest.

Some well-known pinpoints included in these scavenger hunts are the Duke Kahanamoku Statue, International Market Place, and the Moana Surfrider and Royal Hawaiian hotels.

Before the games begin, you will be sent your Quest. If you’re traveling to Waikiki with a large group, break up into smaller teams and race each other.

22 – Yoga, volleyball or run at Kapiʻolani Regional Park

Kapiʻolani Regional Park, Waikiki

Once leisurely grounds for the royal family, the land of Kapiʻolani Regional Park (also called just Kapiolani Park ) belonged to King David Kalākaua. In 1877, the natural space was deemed a public area by the king, dedicating the park to his queen. It’s rather a romantic tale if you think about it…

Today, the huge grounds are home to multiple attractions as well, such as the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Shell (an auditorium that hosts live music).

As one of the biggest parks in the region, there’s much to do here if you’re the outdoorsy type, from jogging pathways to yoga on the massive green lawns, there are sometimes small craft markets or enjoy a morning picnic.

The entire park was dedicated to his majesty’s queen, but the Queen Kapiolani Garden was specifically named in her honor and is truly one of the prettiest features. Stop to smell dozens of sweet Hibiscus flowers in varying shades of red, pink and oranges inside and take a peaceful moment.

23 – Day trip to the iconic Pearl Harbor site

Pearl Harbor site, Hawaii

The infamous attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy is a memory that remains engrained for many, made even more public when the 2001 blockbuster movie Pearl Harbor was released.

If you’re obsessed with historic sites or World War II, a day trip to the Pearl Harbor area to experience a significant moment in time. It’s even a great venture for travelers searching for something different and interesting to see in Waikiki.

The area surrounding the attack is officially the Pearl Harbor National Memorial site (formed in remembrance of the lives lost during the raid) and within here, there are numerous places to discover to pay your respects.

Start at the Pearl Harbor Memorial Center, where the lessons start and you gain insight into the momentous event that shook US forces in 1941. There are two exhibits within that use photographs, artifacts and personal items to provide more insight into the event.

From here, hop onto a navy vessel and get transported to the famed USS Arizona Memorial in the middle of the sea. Another interesting feature is the USS Missouri museum ship, which was a battleship constructed for the US Navy to use.

Swapping maritime war crafts, board a used US Navy Balao-class submarine called the USS Bowfin, also converted into a museum and open to the public for tours, forming a part of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park.

Under the guidance of park rangers only, take a designated Ford Island bus tour to an active military base and the home of a few more Pearl Harbor sites.

The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is on Ford Island, as well as the USS Oklahoma and USS Utah Memorials. The little ones will also have a blast and there is a special ‘Junior Ranger for a day’ program for them to join or a fun scavenger hunt!

Read more about Pearl Harbor Tickets Price & Best Pearl Harbor Tours

24 – Shop for trendy goods and munch delicious food at Ala Moana Center

Ala Moana Center, Waikiki

With more than 160 dining options to choose from, Ala Moana Center is a great pick if you’re not sure what to eat, or traveling with a family who all want something different for lunch/dinner.

Whether you’re in the mood for a sit-down meal, fast food or something easy to snack on, there’s a plethora of options.

GEN Korean BBQ House, Himalayan Kitchen, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Mama Pho and Buffalo Wild Wings are some of the typical restaurant options, whereas Ala Moana Poi Bowl, Charleys Philly Steaks, Honolulu Sushi and Curry House CoCo Ichibanya are more casual dining spots.

For a quick refuel, grab a cuppa or sweet treat from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Dior Cafe, Starbucks, The Cookie Corner, Surfers Bakery and many other cafes.

But, Ala Moana Center isn’t just about the eating and there are plenty of stores to shop. Stock up on accessories, electronics, children’s clothing, shoes and tons more.

Bloomingdale’s, Gap, Aēsop, Miu Miu, Valentino, Abercrombie & Fitch, Zara, Havianas, Volcom and The LEGO Store are some examples of shops to find here.

25 – Test out Outrigger Canoe surfing in Waikiki

canoeing in Oahu

Fun fact: Outrigger canoe surfing originates from Hawaii, and back in the day, was only used by royalty. Try a traditional outrigger canoe surfing experience in Waikiki for all the fun on water.

So, what’s the difference between a regular canoe and an outrigger canoe? Attached to the canoe is an outrigger that aids in balancing the boat as well as helping it glide over the ocean swells.

The canoe crew uses paddles to drive and direct the canoe, surfing Hawaii’s waves. This activity is ideal for anyone who wants to try surfing but isn’t comfortable free-standing. It’s also a great way to find your balance in the water, even if you’re sitting down.

The outrigger canoe fits four to six people and you’ll spend from 30 minutes to one hour out at sea. During the surfing adventure, pass by scenic lands and take in the views of natural attractions like Diamond Head and the Waikiki coastline.

Accompanied by your captain during the ride, you will also receive a short introduction and instruction lesson before you try outrigger canoe surfing.

26 – Grab a board and go surfing Waikiki’s beaches

surfing in Oahu

While you will find waves all year round, the best conditions for surfing in Waikiki are from April to October. With a pick of eight beaches, there is fun to be had in the water for all levels, whether you’re a beginner or a pro.

As Waikiki Beach is mega-popular, the waves tend to be crowded (sometimes, overcrowded), but if the swell is kicking off in the early morning, hit the water at this time when most travelers are still catching beauty sleep.

If you’re just learning to surf, head to Ala Moana Beach Park or Maunalua Bay for calm waters, and there is also a part of Queen’s Beach, that’s ideal for beginners. Speaking of, Queen’s is known for always providing surf breaks, whether big or small and is a beach suitable for all.

Four’s, on the other hand, does have small waves (sometimes), but when the waves size up, prepare for some monsters to roll in. Paddle out to Four’s surf spot near Royal Hawaiian Beach, by the Royal Hawaiian Hotel.

Another spot that should be saved for the pros is the waters around Mākālei Beach Park, particularly the surf break named ‘Suicides’, famous for its extreme currents. If you don’t mind a drive out of town, hit Sunset Beach, where international surf contests are often held.

27 – Hunt down street art around the Kakaʻako neighborhood

street art in Oahu

Creatives and photography junkies, one of the best places to find street art in Waikiki is around the Kaka‘ako district and if you’re joining a street art tour from Waikiki, the trendy area is never missed.

Littered with cool cafes, converted warehouses and other urban spaces, juice bars, craft beer hideouts, and a farmer’s market, the Kakaʻako Waterfront Park is here too (ideal for picnics, exercise or hanging out under palm trees with the ocean right in front of you).

To discover Waikiki’s hottest street art, there are walls splashed with murals by different artists between the SALT shopping complex and the Honolulu Night Market (held once a month).

Both local and international artists showcase their talents here, and the impressive artworks sometimes cover entire building walls.

A different way to enjoy street art hunting is via a segway tour, traveling to other stops surrounding Waikiki.

28 – Find anything and everything at ABC Stores for a beach holiday

ABC Stores, Waikiki

If you’ve been to Vegas before, you may recognize the department store brand, but ABC Stores originate from Hawaii, originally opening up to customers on Waikiki Beach back in 1964.

The convenience department store has always sold a mix of must-have items when traveling, from over-the-counter drugs to cosmetics, groceries, souvenirs and beach goods.

Visitors can shop across a wide range of categories. Find ‘made in Hawaii’ products, apparel and jewelry, stock up on your beach needs from towels to tote bags, refill on cosmetics and sunblock, or purchase trinkets, novelty items and Hawaiian gifts.

Moving to the perishables, buy snacks like nuts, chocolate, chips, cookies and candy, and you will also discover a selection of spreads, seasonings and other cooking necessities.

Travelers with enough space in your suitcase, ABC Stores also stock ukuleles and home decor.

29 – Go SUPing (Stand-up paddle boarding) on the North Pacific Ocean

SUP in Oahu

Glide across the ocean as the Hawaiian sun glistens off the water in front of you when you try SUPing in Waikiki — blessed with some of the most spectacular oceanic-island landscapes.

Stand-up paddle boarding is a fantastic and fun form of exercise, and a watersport suitable for all, whether young or unbalanced. Think of it as a mixture of surfing and canoeing.

Standing on a flat, wide-shaped surfboard, known as the paddleboard (or a SUP board), riders use one paddle to steer as well as keep you upright and balanced. Starting out, you can begin kneeling until you feel comfortable enough to stand up and ride the waves.

Have you tried SUPing before? One of the most magical experiences to have is a stand-up paddle boarding ride at nighttime and under the stars.

Or, yogis, there are even yoga paddleboarding endeavors in Waikiki. This is a beautiful way to connect with all senses and Mother Nature. Enjoy yoga on a paddleboard during the day or in the evening times too.

There are stand-up paddle boarding family lessons available, suited for troupes with younger children. If the little ones have fallen in love with the watersport, send them to a paddle board yoga adventure camp in Waikiki.

30 – Dine all day at LuLu’s Waikiki

LuLu’s Waikiki, Hawaii
credit to LuLu’s Waikiki

Boasting great views of the ocean directly in front of LuLu’s Waikiki, arrive for breakfast, lunch or dinner at this local, laid-back favorite.

Focusing on wholesome cooking using the freshest seasonal ingredients, the diversified menu appeals to all taste buds, with familiar classics as well as Hawaiian staples.

Brekkie-people, their pancake game is strong, specializing in mochi-type pancakes (a Japanese type using rice flour) or try other yummy delights like the Longboard Burrito, Beach Benny or Guava French Toast.

For lunch, order the Spicy Ahi Poke, Beachboy Nachos or Buffalo Cauliflower and if you’re dining here for supper, there’s a wide range of burgers, pasta, salads, steaks and seafood to indulge in.

As the sun begins to set and the palms on the ocean boulevard cast their silhouettes, order a delicious cocktail, taking advantage of Happy Hour.

Open from early until late, it’s always vibey at Lulu’s. Travelers who can’t bear to miss a game, join Football Sundays, which starts as the NFL season begins.

31 – Trail underwater onboard the Atlantis Submarines

Atlantis Submarines, Waikiki

“Swim” among reef sharks, sea turtles, eels and schools of fish deep under the sea, all the while staying completely dry during an Atlantis Submarine ride.

The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity takes passengers 30 meters below the surface of the water in a real-life (recreational) submarine. Choose to ride the world’s largest submarine onboard their eco-friendly 64-seater vessel, or the 48-seater submarine is slightly smaller.

Explore shipwrecks, or warplanes lying on the bottom of the ocean’s floor as the ship glides quietly through the waters, and look out for ancient structures in the shape of pyramids hinting at forgotten lands.

Operating since 1988, the submarines are battery-powered, emitting no pollutants into the sea, and are completely air-conditioned inside. Underwater tours start at Waikiki Beach.

32 – Zip along the ocean during a jet ski adventure

jet ski in Oahu

Whizz across the ocean as splashes of water zoot up around you, feeling all the thrills of fast speed during a jet ski ride in Waikiki.

Beaches are in abundance around you, however, the best place for jet skiing in Waikiki is at Maunalua Bay, about a 20-minute drive from town and southeast of Honolulu. Sporting soft white sands and shallow, calm light turquoise waters, this beach is loved among water sports fanatics.

During an epic jet ski adventure, spend 30 minutes riding around the ocean while you drink up the views of your surroundings from this unique viewpoint. The Koʻolau Range mountains stick out in the background and the scenery is more wild and rugged on this side.

Choose a solo or tandem mission (jet skis can accommodate up to two people), and if you’ve never tried the sport before, a safety lesson prior to heading out to sea is mandatory. Learn how to steer the watercraft and how to ride the waves.

All equipment is provided for too.

33 – Perfect your backswing at Ala Wai Golf Course

Ala Wai Golf Course

Tee off at Ala Wai Golf Course with vistas of Diamond Head and parts of the Koʻolau Range mountains surrounding you.

Whether you’re traveling for business, here on a family vacation, or friends’ trip, some just can’t live without their golfing. It’s a fun sport to learn, or a day at the golf course with the kids is a perfect bonding experience too … especially in the palm-tree dotted setting.

Talking course, most of the green is flat, there aren’t many bunkers to interrupt your shot and play time moves relatively fast on the straight-forward course. Brush up on your skills before your official round begins if you’re feeling rusty, or if you’re here with children, its driving range is a fantastic place to start off for a practice round.

After the game, grab a round of drinks at the Club House (or the wife and kids can relax here).

There is an on-site restaurant and a snack bar, and you can stock up on golfing gear at Ala Wai’s Pro Shop. Thanks to Waikiki’s fabulous weather, you’re always guaranteed a great golf day.

34 – Cruise around and sightsee Waikiki during a bike tour

bike tours in Oahu

Tired of the mundane tour groups? Spend the day exploring Waikiki and the sites and attractions that are close by when embarking on a bike tour.

Peddle in the fresh island air outside of Waikiki, and with a few different bike tours to choose from, pick the cycling tour that’s best for your travel preferences. Passing through Waikiki, take a food tour by bicycle, for example, and head to some of the best places for local Hawaiian food over the space of five to six hours.

If you’re not keen on traveling around the city, head straight into the heart of nature and enjoy a few hours of cycling downhill into lush rainforests and valleys covering grounds of eight kilometers.

If you cycle on the regular, consider an electric mountain bike tour from Kualoa Ranch — a private nature reserve. Cruise uphill and down trials, whizz through green pastures and more valleys. Equipped with a small electric motor, this trip is also suitable for beginner mountain bike riders.

35 – Helicopter tour Waikiki for endless views

helicopter tours in Oahu

Surprise your special someone with a helicopter tour around Waikiki, an assured way to knock anybody’s socks off as you lap up the sweeping views of Waikiki from up in the sky.

Photographers, the bird’s eye angles of the island above are also priceless, so consider a helicopter ride for this option.

What sets helicopter rides in Waikiki apart from most destinations, is that you can choose to fly with the doors open or closed during your flight. Spend close to one hour hovering above famous attractions and beautiful sites like Waikiki Beach, Halona Blowhole and Pearl Harbor.

Have you been planning on popping the question in Hawaii? There are even packages designed for special proposals … Revel in a romantic helicopter tour and as you near the beach sands, a “marry me” banner will be pre-set before disembarking.

Already tied the knot or simply looking for a dreamy date idea in Waikiki? Opt for a sunset helicopter tour!

36 – Taste the best malasadas at Leonard’s Bakery

Leonard’s Bakery, Waikiki

If you’ve seen the deep-fried donut-looking balls all around Waikiki, before you do anything, you have to sample your first-ever malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery — famous for the sweet confection.

Fun fact: In the late 19th century, many Portuguese immigrants arrived in Hawaii and worked to cultivate the land, specifically the plantations. Hailing from Madeira and the Azores, in particular, they would bake and cook traditional foods from home, including the malasadas.

Very similar to a donut, using yeast flour, the round balls are deep-fried and coated in sugar. They are served as is, or sometimes filled in the middle with flavored custard cream.

The difference between a regular donut and a Portuguese fried donut (as they’re also called) is the texture of the dough.

Look out for the pink and white candy-stripe shopfront and order yourself a box of malasadas, malasada puffs (filling flavors are original custard, chocolate, coconut, guava and Macadamia nut) pao doce (Portuguese sweet bread), cupcakes, cookies, pies or a selection of other breaded goods.

37 – Reel in a big one during a fishing tour in Waikiki

fishing in Oahu

With the wide North Pacific Ocean literally on your doorstep in Waikiki, it makes sense that there are some fishing expeditions to delight in. The beautiful thing about Hawaii is its respect for the ocean, and you can witness this firsthand during these types of experiences.

If fishing is one of your, or the entire family’s pastimes, opt for a private fishing charter, designed for a family or group of friends. Set sail to designated reefs around Hawaii known to local fishermen as hot spots.

Put your reeling skills to play and see how big of a fish you can catch, which you then release right back into the big deep blue.

Instead of only a few hours out at sea, lap up the entire day off land, chartering a private boat for eight hours around the island. Throw in your line to fish for large game species like mahi-mahi, Ahi tuna, Pacific blue marlin and wahoo.

If you’re a fishing veteran, consider a sport fishing expedition and spend four hours on deck on a luxury yacht… jacuzzi tub included!

38 – Walk along Kalākaua Avenue for the best experience

Kalākaua Avenue, Waikiki

If the name seems familiar by now, that’s because Kalākaua Avenue is the main street running through Waikiki and many attractions, landmarks, and things to do in Waikiki are around this ocean strip.

Parallel to Waikiki Beach (and the different beaches that make up Waikiki Beach like Duke Kahanamoku Beach and Fort DeRussy Beach Park), it stretches on for 5.6 kilometers.

The rather fancy road is sort of like the hub of Waikiki, and many boutique stores, shopping malls and complexes, restaurants, cafes and entertainment features are found along Kalākaua Avenue.

There is a boardwalk built-in for visitors to meander along right next to the beach, and it feels like a mixture of Waikiki-meets-Florida.

39 – Uncover the past at the US Army Museum of Hawaii

US Army Museum of Hawaii, Waikiki

With historic sites like Pearl Harbor around the corner, Waikiki may surprise some as a great destination for history buffs, particularly those with an affinity for the world wars.

From the moment you step into the museum grounds, be greeted by army helicopters, artillery such as tankers, and canons.

Situated by Fort DeRussy Park, the museum was founded in 1976 to provide insight, as well as pay remembrance to the US defense team, including Hawaiian citizens, who fought in previous wars, including the Vietnam War.

Through its permanent exhibition, become a bit more educated on related matters and historic moments in time, and it houses many artifacts (including photographs) for an in-depth understanding.

Aiming to shed light on the country’s military history, some of the display themes at the museum are ‘Hawaiian Warfare’, ‘Hawaii on Defense’, ‘Hawai’i’s Japanese Americans’, ‘The Vietnam War’, ‘Defending an Island’, ‘Gallery of Heroes’ and the ‘Battery Randolph’ exhibit.

Completely free to explore (but donations are always welcomed), why would you not want to visit the US Army Museum of Hawaii?

40 – Feast on Japanese at Marugame Udon

Marugame Udon
credit to Marugame Udon

Who’s in the mood for (incredible) authentic Japanese cuisine? If your stomach is calling out to you for a delicious, hearty bowl of noodles, Marugame Udon always hits the spot.

All of their udon noodles are handmade, and you can taste the difference with every bite. (Traditionally, udon noodles should be chewy, providing just the right amount of bounce.)

The Japanese fast-food chain hails from Japan, and with stores around the world, taste the traditional flavors with every soupy mouthful, which is what makes this such a foodie hotspot.

Classic udon to order from Marugame is the Nikutama (a fan favorite consisting of sweet and savory beef topped with a fried egg), or their take on a Kake-type udon soup, called the Kitsune udon, which features sweet fried tofu. Their Curry udon is another winner.

Accustomed to diners on-the-go — like many of the restaurants catering to the busy customers on the streets of Tokyo — the items on the menu center around this type of set-up.

Apart from udon, order rice bowls, salads, tempura and some typical side dishes here too.

41 – Eat and then shop til you drop at International Market Place

International Market Place, Waikiki

Plenty of shopping complexes in Waikiki have an array of impressive dining options, and the International Market Place doesn’t disappoint on the food front either, with some restaurants run by award-winning chefs.

Taste flavors from around the world at fabulous restaurants. STRIPSTEAK Waikiki is run by chef Michael Mina, and it’s renowned for its modern presentation and finest quality cuts. Focusing on the freshest line-caught seafood and high-end meats, Herringbone also serves up beautiful plates of food.

For locally-inspired dishes, grab a table at Eating House 1849 by Roy Yamaguchi or Skybox Taphouse is a great sports bar that serves up wood-fired pizza, burgers, ribs, salads and small plates like spicy meatballs.

Even though International Market Place closed in 2013 for renovations and then reopened, the complex has been an entertainment and retail destination since its earliest days in 1956.

Shop between a mix of international and local brands, from high-end labels to boutique stores. Free People, Balenciaga, Foot Locker, Billabong, DeRubeis Fine Art, Pandora, Manoa Love Design and Vans are some examples of the trendy stores to discover here.

42 – Treat yourself to the best spas in Waikiki

Moana Lani Spa
credit to Moana Lani Spa

Waikiki is one of those destinations designed for relaxing, unwinding and enjoying the good times, and a day at the best Waikiki spas is the perfect way to get you in that holiday mood if you’re having trouble destressing.

Hunting down a luxury spa? The Ritz-Carlton Spa lives up to expectations, donned in all whites and with bright and spacious corners overlooking the beach. The spa incorporates native ingredients like rainforest leaves, volcanic stones and ‘Ohi’a lehua flowers, and methods like Lomi Lomi massage techniques.

Moana Lani Spa (at the iconic Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa) has a beachfront location too, focusing on using Hawaiian rituals and ‘healing traditions.’ Consider the Lomi Ho’okipa and Pohaku Ola massages.

Paradise Massages Waikiki & Spa is ultra zen and offers a variety of different types of massage therapies, from Swedish to Lomi Lomi massages. Try the Hot Lava Rock Massage or the Tropical Freeze Massage.

If your favorite place to get a massage is in Thailand, you’ll be delighted to spend some time at Aisawan Thai Spa & Massage. Book a traditional Thai massage, herbal compress or hot coconut massage.

For something slightly more toned down, choose from Waikiki Wind Spa’s range of massages, including sports, deep-tissue, Swedish and Thai, as well as facial treatments.

Waikiki Massage and Foot Spa offers an extensive menu to choose from, focusing on the entire body from head to toe. The Head, Hand and Foot Spa Massage with Purifying Scrub is a sure winner.

Couples, from Waikiki, there are massages in Oahu with packages designed for two, as well as many spas that focus on medical and health benefits using traditional techniques and rituals passed through Hawaiian culture.

43 – Order cocktails and dine with a view at House Without a Key

House Without a Key

Whether you’re after an indoor or outdoor dining set-up, the lovely food, beautiful setting and picturesque ocean views make House Without a Key ultra romantic. Outside seating is next to a large grass area, and the beach is a stone’s throw beyond this. Colors of blue, green and sunset hues pop all around.

One of the restaurant’s most special (and historic) features is the 130-year-old Kiawe Tree in the middle of the garden. In the evenings, enjoy live Hawaiian music under the moonlight, set next to the ancient mesquite tree.

Open for lunch and dinner, the menu uses fresh ingredients and a fusion of flavors. Order the Salmon Steak served with vine-ripened tomatoes and scallion oil, or the lightly smoked and spiced Hibachi Chicken Breast with toasted macadamia nut chimichurri and a guava chili barbecue sauce.

Here for sunset hour? Check out their Sunset Cocktail menu consisting of snacks and drinks. Edamame Hummus Dip, Poached Shrimp Cocktail and Kapakahi Fries are some yummy examples, paired with a classic mojito, daiquiri or margarita.

44 – Meander around the Hawaii Convention Center

Hawaii Convention Center, Waikiki
credit to Vernon Brown

Encompassing 102,193 square meters of land, the Hawaii Convention Center was built to act as an event space in the true spirit of Hawaii.

Still home to many events and exhibitions, it serves as a public space platform. Revealing two theaters, 47 meeting rooms, a ballroom, terrace and an exhibit hall, it’s an ideal location for business gatherings — which it is often utilized for.

Travelers watching a show here or an event, or those just curious to see the convention center, it’s conveniently placed on Kalākaua Avenue and close by to many shops, hotels, attractions and other holiday-centric things to do in Waikiki.

45 – Drink up during a fun Waikiki pub crawl

pub crawls in Oahu

There’s something about an island that just induces fun-loving times, and a pub crawl around Waikiki is guaranteed to even further lift the happy spirits.

A typical pub crawl outing guides the party people to some of the best local beach bars for rounds of craft beer tasting. Over the next 2.5 hours, learn about Hawaii’s culture and meet other like-minded travelers along the way.

Instead of the usual history tours, opt for a history tour pub crawl instead, and with the beer flowing as you hop from one bar to the next, the information you learn about Hawaii sits easy.

This activity is only suited for travelers who meet the legal drinking requirements.

46 – Witness the Waikiki Friday night fireworks spectacle

fireworks experience in Waikiki

Fireworks anywhere, at any time, are always magical, and in Waikiki, every Friday evening, there is a free Waikiki nighttime fireworks show!

Hosted by the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, the sky above the hotel and the beachfront lights up in showers in color, which is where the fireworks display takes place from.

However, you can see the Friday night lights from not just the resort, but the sky sparkles above the beaches all the way from Ala Moana Center side to Diamond Head. New visitors, this has been a Waikiki tradition since 1988 and the show starts at 8 PM.

For something extra, there are different ways to experience the fireworks display. For example, book a guided city walking, fireworks and Hawaiian show tour, ticking three major points off of your itinerary in one go, and a great option to make a night of it all.

Amp up the fun and feel quite fancy when you set sail on a BYOB (bring your own booze) Friday night fireworks cruise. Onboard the ship, appreciate the illuminated decorations from the water.

47 – Photograph golden hour out at sea during a Waikiki sunset cruise

sunset cruise in Waikiki

As the daytime sky turns from blue to magnificent streaks of pink, purple, red, orange and deep yellow, feel as if the sun itself is dipping over your shoulders during a Waikiki sunset cruise on the North Pacific Ocean.

The resort town of Waikiki caters to many travelers after a luxurious time, or those wanting to take advantage of all the oceanic endeavors it has to offer. As a result, you can expect all sorts of sunset cruises available.

Elegant and enjoyable (and great for a date night or a group of friends), opt for a 1.5-hour cocktail sunset cruise on a lavish catamaran. Sip back on drinks with a side of appetizers and relish in the scenes around you.

Double up on sightseeing and witness the city lights hum during dusk from out at sea. There are also BYOB cruise options, sailing the Waikiki coastline. Enjoy snacks (provided) and your own drinks with views of Diamond Head and the Waikiki beaches.

Amp up the vibes even more with a sunset cruise with a live DJ and a cash bar onboard. Mingle, boogie and party the next few hours away as Hawaii’s sun lowers and the stars come out to play.

Something different from the rest, board a traditional Polynesian canoe for a cultural experience. Intimate and made for small groups, learn about local myths and stories and taste traditional foods on deck.

Speaking of food, there are also sunset dinner cruises in Waikiki. Enjoy a three-course meal, followed by a traditional dance show during golden hour, ending a few hours later in the evening.

48 – Watch a traditional performance at Queens Waikiki Luau

Queens Waikiki Luau, Hawaii

Located within the International Market Place complex, enjoy an evening filled with culturally-enriching moments at Queens Waikiki Luau. Set up in an open-air space within the center, there are a few activities to enjoy that are suitable for all ages.

Over the next 2.5 hours, partake in cultural activities and witness an enigmatic Polynesian show as well as fire knife dancing. A ‘Luau Dinner Feast’ is included with each individual ticket, as well as a drink (or three, ticket choice dependent).

Dancers and performers are dressed in beautiful traditional garments and the live musicians add even more ambiance.

49 – Surfers, find the Duke Kahanamoku Statue at Kahanamoku Beach

Kahanamoku Beach, Waikiki

Soul surfers will need no introduction to the “father of modern surfing”, but for travelers new to the culture, Duke Kahanamoku was the local Hawaiian who brought the sport to the forefront.

Pay your respects in the land believed to have invented surfing at the Duke Kahanamoku Statue, located by Kahanamoku Beach — one of Waikiki’s eight beaches.

Also called Duke Kahanamoku Beach, it is one of the busiest in Waikiki and provides everything beach-goers need for a few hours of sand, sun and fun in the water.

Nearly three meters tall, the completely bronzed figure stands at the entrance to the beach with open arms and a longboard behind him, and daily, locals adorn the hero in fresh flower garlands.

You can’t miss the statue when heading down to the beach, but for specifications, it’s right next door to the Waikiki Police Statue on the trendy main road, Kalakaua Avenue.

Not only a founder, but Duke Kahanamoku also became a prominent figure in Hawaii and somewhat of a local hero. He was titled the country’s “Ambassador of Aloha”, was an Olympian, an actor in a few Hollywood films, and even sheriff at some point of the County of Honolulu.

50 – Opt for a Circle Island tour for the full nine-yards

Circle Island, Oahu, Hawaii

Starting from Waikiki, dedicate nine hours of your day to traveling around the entire peninsula during a Circle Island tour, and this is a great choice for anyone with a short amount of time on Oahu island.

As Waikiki is technically considered a neighborhood district within Honolulu (situated on Oahu Island), there is so much more to discover and explore when you circle the entire island, especially in one day.

Popular in Waikiki, there are varying circle-island tours to choose from. Departing Waikiki and its must-see attractions, head outside of Honolulu for more cultural features and historic landmarks.

Some places that these round-trip tours cover include Diamond Head, the Dole Plantation (pineapple plantation), Byodo-In Temple, North Shore beaches, Waimea Valley, Halona Blowhole and many more, but each tour is different.

Revel in magnificent views as you’re transported to some of the best natural viewpoints on the island, such as the Nu’uanu Pali lookout and Makapu’u Point.

51 – Stay at or just explore the famed Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa

Moana Surfrider, Waikiki

Oozing classic Victorian-colonial vibes, the iconic Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa has stood the test of time, as well as a century, since it first welcomed guests in the year 1901!

When originally constructed, the hotel was designed in the typical Victorian style of the time, but it was in this year that the era was coming to an end, moving to colonial times, hence its blend of the two styles.

Affectionately called the “First Lady of Waikiki”, the exteriors have not changed much, but the interiors have kept up with contemporary times, and design. Its beachfront location and elegant setup still attract travelers today to Waikiki’s beloved resort.

The beachhouse at the Moana is just one of the on-site dining options and is also equipped with stunning ocean views thanks to its positioning with the beach just steps away.

Visiting Waikiki on a budget?

Sometimes, the best way to save money (as well as time) when traveling — especially if you’re a sightseeing tourist-type or journeying to Waikiki as a large family — is to opt for an all-in-one attraction pass, just like the Go Oahu Pass.

Including more than 40 different tours and attractions in one ticket, this is an efficient and money-saving way to tour a destination, in this case, Waikiki and its surroundings, including many things to do in Oahu.

The ticket automatically guarantees entrance when visiting the sites included in the pass (which can be accessed via a smartphone or printed). There is the option to choose the length of your pass, from a one-day to a seven-day ticket.

Where to stay in Waikiki?

Spoilt for choice when it comes to accommodation in Waikiki, this part of the island is known as being home to a splash of resorts, and many flaunting idyllic beachfront locations.

Epitomizing oceanic elegance, you simply can’t wrong booking a stay at ESPACIO THE JEWEL OF WAIKIKI. Five-star in every way, it boasts sea views, hot tubs, a stunning guest pool and expensive finishes.

Contemporary and stylish, ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach is another impeccable option situated on the beach and with views of Diamond Head.

A great family option is Halekulani on the beachfront. Enjoy live shows, gorgeous sunsets, kid-friendly activities and award-winning on-site dining.

Guests particularly love the location, facilities and service at the Trump International Hotel Waikiki, and it’s another family-friendly stay.

Choose between sea-view rooms and suites (from one to three bedroom) at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Waikiki Beach, and the famous luxury hotel chains classifies its Waikiki accommodation as aparthotels.

The Sheraton Waikiki is also a well-known name in the industry, and the resort features are sublime. Playing on island feels, there are two oceanfront pools, an adults-only infinity pool, a koi pond, candy stores, beach cabanas, and so much more to indulge in.

Where to go next?

Waikiki district is located within Honolulu, so it makes sense to explore Hawaii’s capital after you’re done relaxing and lapping up the sunshine and good vibes in Waikiki.

There’s a multitude of things to do in Honolulu and attractions to explore, and from Waikiki, it’s just a 10-minute ride to reach back to the center of Honolulu. While many travelers flock straight to Waikiki’s resorts, there are some other fantastic areas to stay in Honolulu.

Visit Jurassic Park and museums, trek waterfalls and jungles and hunt down secret surf spots.

Heading further away from Honolulu, consider investigating the other parts of Oahu Island. (Honolulu is situated within Oahu.) Most of the country’s population inhibits Oahu, which is known as the business hub of Hawaii.

Including Honolulu (and Waikiki), enjoy the endless things to do in Oahu, from shopping to dining to entertainment options and natural scenery.

Final thoughts

Born for those with a love for the ocean, Waikiki is an ideal holiday destination for families, couples and a group of friends.

Home to beachfront resorts, seaside activities, fabulous dining, shopping, historic sites and cultural things to do in Waikiki, what more could you ask for in a vacation?

Happy travels in this part of Aloha State.

“I live to travel, and travel to live.” With gypsy blood running through her veins, Shannon is a freelance travel writer who has lived on five continents and counting, and is endlessly inspired by new cultures, countries and landscapes. Inscribing words onto paper, since she could talk, she lives and breathes delicious words and stories. Hailing from sunny South Africa, she has an affinity for Southeast Asia and all things spiritual, and is also a qualified Reiki practitioner. When not with her head buried in storytelling (or books) or watching sunrises in new lands, you’ll find her in the kitchen or with a paintbrush in hand. Shannon has written for major travel publications such as TripCanvas.