Oahu Tours & Activities > 100+ Things to Do in Waikiki
The ultimate list of things to do on vacation in Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu. Waikiki is the epicenter of Hawaii tourism, a labyrinth of aloha-filled tours, activities, and experiences. Unearth more than one hundred Waikiki holiday ideas within a 20-minute radius.
*Last updated 14 June 2021.
1. Pack the Perfect Picnic
For a do-it-yourself picnic, stock your hamper at Dean & Deluca Hawaii (locations at the Royal Hawaiian Center and Ritz Carlton Residences), before heading to one of your favorite Waikiki beaches, parks, hotel pools or balconies. Alternatively, if you’re celebrating something special on Oahu, let Aloha Picnics, Oahu Premier Picnics or Oahu Picnics create your dream pop-up picnic setting.
2. BBQ at Fort DeRussy
If you like to grill, Fort DeRussy Beach Park is an oceanfront recreation area in Waikiki with public barbecues. They are charcoal pits, so you’ll need to bring your own briquettes (heat beads). Set-up on a picnic bench and enjoy the surrounding grasslands and beach. Foodland Farms Ala Moana is a fantastic supermarket full of gourmet Hawaiian and international foods, it’s a great place to source your spread.
3. Attend a Luau
No trip to Hawaii is complete without experiencing a Hawaiian luau, a traditional celebration and feast. They’re a little kitschy but a lot of fun! There are 10+ luaus on Oahu, and two of them are conveniently located in Waikiki and currently open (as of Jun 2021). Choose from Waikiki Starlight Luau (Mon-Fri 5pm) on the lawns of Hilton Hawaiian Village, or the Ahaaina Luau (Mon & Thu 5pm) on the beachfront lawn at The Royal Hawaiian Resort. Book your luau tickets in advance, they have reduced capacity due to COVID-19 and sell out in advance.
4. Explore Hilton Hawaiian Village
Check out Hilton’s 22-acre tropical resort in Waikiki. The five pools are for guests’ use only but the saltwater Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon is open to the public, you can hire kayaks, pedal boats, aqua bikes, and more. There are 20+ restaurants (we love lunch at Tropics Bar & Grill followed by ice cream at Dairy Queen) and 70+ retail stores on-site. It’s also home to Mandara Spa and Atlantis Submarine.
5. Peruse the Pink Palace
The Royal Hawaiian Resort is an icon on Waikiki’s oceanfront. This ‘Pink Palace’ is an Instagrammers dream, meander through the gorgeous grounds of this luxury historic property adorned in art. Visit the Royal Hawaiian Bakery for their signature Banana Bread and Pink Snowballs. Enjoy a Trader Vic Mai Tai at the Mai Tai Bar, the place where the drink was first created. And shop at TRH Inspired, the pink-obsessed store.
6. Discover Waikiki’s First Lady
Take a trip down memory lane by visiting the first hotel built on Waikiki Beach, the Moana Surfrider. There are so many wonderful experiences to enjoy at this Westin property. Explore the historic artifacts on display on the 2nd floor, relax on a rocking chair on the verandah, sip on tropical cocktails at The Beach Bar under a huge banyan tree, spend a lazy weekend afternoon indulging in high tea, or book a heavenly massage at Moana Lani Spa, Waikiki’s only beachfront spa.
7. Watch Women’s Volleyball Live
There are no major league sports played in Hawaii. However, the University of Hawaii Athletics college sports are hugely popular including Football (Gridiron), Volleyball, Basketball, Softball, Baseball, and Soccer. One of the best games to watch live is the Women’s Volleyball at the Stan Sheriff Center (15-minutes from Waikiki). The season runs August through December and draws a huge crowd of fans.
8. Ride Hawaii’s Original Rollercoaster
Once the official sport of Hawaiian royalty, outrigger canoe surfing is a unique way to experience the local vibe of Waikiki Beach. With a captain guiding the canoe, paddle out to sea and catch a couple of exhilarating waves back to shore. This ocean rollercoaster is suitable for all ages and abilities. For small groups of four to six people consider booking a private charter.
9. Drink, Dine & Dance at Duke’s
Duke’s barefoot bar is a Waikiki restaurant and bar dedicated to Hawaiian surf legend Duke Kahanamoku. It’s a Hawaii must-visit for sunset cocktails (try the Lava Flow), dessert (order the Hula Pie), or a great-value buffet breakfast ($19.50 pp). Don’t miss Duke’s on Sundays concert with Henry Kapono, a Native Hawaiian and Grammy-nominated performer. The music, singing, and dancing kick off at 4pm.
10. Bag Yourself a Bargain
Waikele Premium Outlets are Oahu’s only outlets center, a short shuttle ride from Waikiki. With 50+ designer and brand name outlet stores, they are totally worth the trip. Make sure you join the VIP Shoppers Club before you go! More discounts can be found at Ross Dress for Less on Seaside Avenue and Nordstrom Rack on Kuhio Avenue, both in Waikiki. The deals are unreal with up to 70% off regular prices.
11. Strum a Ukulele
The Ukulele Store on Waikiki Beach Walk graciously hosts free ukulele lessons daily. The ukulele is an adaptation of the machete, a small guitar-like instrument introduced to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants. Ukulele means jumping flea in Hawaiian, related to how fingers move while playing it. The ukulele is dearly loved in the islands and being here is the best time to embrace it. Call to schedule your lesson +1 (808) 888-5469.
12. Trolley ‘Round Town
Everyone loves riding on the Waikiki Trolley. It’s a hop-on-hop-off double-decker bus and open-air trolley system that shuttles passengers throughout Honolulu. Explore three routes (as at Jun 2021), the Pink Line (Ala Moana Shopping), the Blue/Green Line (Ocean/Diamond Head) and/or the Red Line (City Arts District). Pick up a 1-Day All-Line Ticket from $45.00 per adult, $25.00 per child, a 4-Day All-Line Ticket from $65.00 per adult, $40.00 per child or a 7-Day All-Line Ticket from $75.00 per adult, $49.00 per child. Click here to pre-book tickets.
13. Get Ink’d on Oahu
For those wanting to ditch the traditional souvenir for a more permanent reminder of their time in Hawaii, consider getting a tattoo. Waikiki-based Suite Dreamz Tattoo Studio, Skin Deep Tattoo & Piercing, and Tattoolicious are three of Oahu’s most popular tattoo shops. Make your appointment in advance and book it towards the end of your stay so you won’t have to miss out on sunbathing or swimming.
14. Sail Away into the Sunset
The waters off Waikiki Beach have long been a place for rejuvenation. Slip into holiday mode by letting a catamaran boat whisk you right off the sand, out to sea for sunset cruise. Savor postcard-worthy views over Honolulu’s city skyline and Diamond Head crater at dusk, all while sipping on cocktails, champagne, or craft beer on this Waikiki sunset cocktail sail. Non-boozy morning and afternoon catamaran sails are also available.
15. Go Boarding
Surfboards, paddleboards, and bodyboards are literally at your feet on Waikiki Beach along with some of the best instructors in the business. Take this remarkable opportunity to learn, or further perfect, how to surf, stand up paddleboard, or bodyboard. All group sizes and skill levels are catered for. Book regular lessons, semi-private or private sessions, or rent boards by the hour, day, or week.
16. Cycle the Days Away
Honolulu has a ride-share program called Biki, however, we recommend hiring your bicycles and e-bikes from Hawaiian Style Rentals on Lemon Road or Uluniu Avenue instead. They’ll hook you up with a bunch of extras like a lock (no need to find a docking station), helmet, and local maps with bike routes graded from easy to hard. Ride Diamond Head & Magic Island, Kakaako & Iolani Palace, Manoa Falls Bike & Hike, and more.
17. Catch an Evening Show
Hailing from New York, Blue Note is a famous jazz club with a Hawaii branch inside the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. It’s Waikiki’s premier live entertainment venue for not only jazz, but blues, reggae, and Hawaiian music artists. This 300-seat showroom holds evening shows with a full dinner menu and bar available. Check out the calendar ahead of time and purchase tickets to big-name performers, it’s a great night out in Waikiki.
18. Take a Walking Tour
Walking tours are a pleasant way to get to know the local area including Waikiki’s nature, ecology, and history.
Hawaii Walks offers a guided East Waikiki Walking Tour, it features landmarks around Kapiolani Park with commentary on the indigenous environment and its subsequent development.
Shaka Guide offers socially-distanced GPS audio-tours, the self-guided Heart of Waikiki Walking Tour is a pleasant stroll through the Waikiki highlighting 13 narration points. If you’re hiring a car on Oahu, check out the self-drive itineraries including the East Oahu Shoreline Drive and Grand Circle Island Tour.
19. Shop Christmas Keepsakes
Procure Hawaii-inspired Christmas ornaments at Waikiki Christmas Stores including surfing Santa, reindeers in an outrigger canoe, and tropical snowflakes. Couples can also commemorate their union with festive wedding and honeymoon mementos. The store outside of the Moana Surfrider Hotel (on the Diamond Head side) is open year-round.
20. Swim with Turtles
Waikiki has an offshore reef system, a top snorkeling site called Turtle Canyon. It’s teeming with tropical fish and is one of the best places on the island to spot Hawaiian green sea turtles. Book a 9am (morning) or 12pm (midday) guided snorkeling trip and sail out to explore this underwater paradise. Keep your eyes peeled for spinner dolphins and humpback whales in season (Dec-May).
21. Live it Up at the Beach
Elevate your time on Waikiki Beach by renting one of the beach umbrella and chair sets in front of The Royal Hawaiian Resort. Settle in under the shade just steps from the ocean, soaking up the holiday atmosphere and picturesque views of Diamond Head. Advanced reservations are highly recommended.
22. Take a Shaxi Not a Taxi
Let a local driver and guide introduce you to the secrets of Waikiki from the comfort of a Shaxi, an open-air electric vehicle. Sightseeing tours are customized to suit the group, there is seating for up to five people and multiple vehicles can be booked. Routes can incorporate time to hike Diamond Head, stops to view the sunrise or watch the sunset, enjoy dive bar exploration or go brewery hopping.
23. Engage in a Cultural Activity
It’s commonplace for Waikiki’s major shopping centers to offer complimentary cultural activities led by expert practitioners. Royal Hawaiian Center has a regular schedule of free cultural lessons, try your hand at lei making and lauhala weaving, to name a few. Waikiki Beach Walk overflows with year-round activities, it’s a great place to learn hula (Hawaiian dance) or take a ukulele lesson.
24. Visit the International Market Place
The International Market Place was rebuilt over a three-year period and looks nothing like its former self, except for a few monkeypods and a huge banyan tree. This open-air shopping center is a destination in itself, it spans a land area of eight acres and features 100+ retailers and restaurants. Explore all three levels on foot, there’s so much to see, do, and experience including free events.
25. Hit up the Farmers Markets
Oahu’s Farmers Markets are too good to miss! Gain a taste of authentic island life and buy everything from fruits and veggies, meats, fish and local foods, to home-baked treats, flowers and arts and crafts. For Waikiki visitors, we recommend checking out the Waikiki Specialty Farmers Market (Sat 8am-2pm), KCC Farmers Market (Tue 4-7pm; Sat 7:30-11am) or Kakaako Farmers Market (8am-12 Noon).
26. Hike Diamond Head Crater
No list of things to do in Waikiki would be complete without mentioning hiking Diamond Head, an extinct volcano crater on Oahu’s south shore. For a small fee ($5 per walk-in; $10 per vehicle) you can enter the state park between 6am-4pm (closed Wednesday) and follow the rugged trail up 560ft (170m) to an observation deck for 360-degree views. Alternatively, book a Diamond Head guided tour, running tour, or bike with lunch tour.
27. Challenge Your Brain
Escape games are a fun indoor activity, especially in the evenings. Problem-solve puzzles in private groups up to eight people with just 60-minutes on the clock. Breakout Waikiki offers four live-action escape rooms, choose from Armory Ambush, Y2K, The Hero, and Patient57. Champers Escape Room in Kakaako (15-minutes from Waikiki) features live-action escape rooms and virtual reality.
28. Shoot for the Range
If you are curious about handling guns and rifles, Hawaii’s safest indoor shooting range just happens to be in the heart of Waikiki. Waikiki Gun Club has over two decades of experience and prides itself on having a 65ft (20m) range that uses a modern protective system called the Supertrap. They provide expert instruction and packages featuring a variety of firearms and shots.
29. Listen to Hawaiian Music
Local musicians perform at various bars and restaurants throughout Waikiki every evening, filling the air with the soothing sound of Hawaiian music. Popular venues for listening to live Hawaiian entertainment nightly include Kani Ka Pila Grille at Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, The Beach Bar at Moana Surfrider hotel, Tiki’s Bar & Grill at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, and The Chart House at Ala Wai Boat Harbor.
30. Dig into Hawaii’s Military History
The U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii is located in the Battery Randolph, a solid concrete structure at Fort DeRussy originally built to defend Oahu against an attack. It houses various exhibits that together tell a story from ancient Hawaiian battles through to the modern Vietnam War. See retired helicopters, artillery vehicles, once-used guns, and other cool stuff. Admission is by donation.
31. Pimp Your Pedi-Mani
Add a splash of tropical nail art to your pedicure or manicure when you’re vacationing in Waikiki. Nail technicians are well-equipped to add-on Hawaii-inspired icons from turtles and flowers to coconut trees and pineapples, with or without extra-bling. Try Nail Zone on Seaside Avenue, Nail Salon Ai on Lewers Street, or Tami-A Nails Salon on Kaiulani Avenue.
32. Hair Blowouts & Cocktails
There are no cuts or colors at the Drybar Waikiki salon, just blowouts. It’s the perfect place to treat yourself to a good wash, head massage, and blow-dry. Select from a menu of 10+ hairstyles, the perfect pick-me-up before a special night out, or just because! Purchase a full range of alcoholic (and non-alcoholic) beverages from the in-store bar, unique to this location at the International Market Place.
33. Book a Pool, Cabana or Spa Day
Resort Pass gives you the opportunity to access the pools, spas, and amenities of Waikiki’s most luxurious hotels and resorts, without having to pay the big bucks to stay there. You can purchase a day pass, spa pass, or hire a private cabana at high-end properties including the Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach, Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, Moana Surfrider and Prince Waikiki. Book your Resort Pass pool, spa, and amenity access today!
34. Frequent the Food Courts
Waikiki is blessed with some awesome food courts, great places to try a lot of different local foods until the one roof. Head to the Paina Lanai Food Court or the Waikiki Food Hall, both in the Royal Hawaiian Center. There’s also an up-and-coming Kuhio Ave Food Hall at the Kuhio Ave entrance of International Market Place.
35. Try a New-Style of Malasada
It’s likely you’ve tried the traditional malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) at Leonard’s Bakery in Kapahulu, but what about mochi malasadas?! They are a little smaller, sugar coated but with no filling inside, chewier and a little more doughy. Try three flavors at Dukes Lane Market & Eatery in Waikiki – original, ube and mango. While you’re there, create your own latte art at Island Gourmet Coffee.
36. Cheers at Maui Brewing Co.
Maui Brewing Co. is home to Hawaii’s largest bar, a must-do indoor-outdoor venue. Overlooking Waikiki’s main strip, this is the perfect spot for tasting locally brewed beers. It has an industrial sports bar atmosphere complete with shuffleboard and foosball games. Eat island-inspired pub grub and drink from 36 beers on tap. Top brews include the Bikini Blonde Lager, Pineapple Mana Wheat and Coconut Hiwa Porter. Go during Happy Hour (daily 3:30-5:30pm) for $10 pizzas, $2 off beers and $3 off cocktails.
38. Support Local Cat Cafes
Hawaii Cat Cafe is the purrrfect place for a cup of coffee and a pastry in the company of adoptable rescue cats. Located in Kapahulu, this cafe is an easy walk or short drive from Waikiki. If you’re in town on a Sunday, try the Cats & Mats Yoga class. Popoki + Tea Cat Cafe is a little further afield in Kaimuki (15-minutes from Waikiki). Chill with adoptable rescue cats while sipping on milk tea. Plan your visits ahead of time.
39. Parasail in Paradise
Take flight on a thrilling single or double guided parasail on Oahu’s South Shore. Passengers will fly high up to 1200ft (365m) above sea level with incredible scenery of Waikiki and Diamond Head crater. This small-group kiting activity departs from Ala Wai Boat Harbor and includes hotel pick-up and drop-off, a lovely one hour boat ride, and an 8-10 minute parasailing session.
40. Worship by the Sea
Churchgoers on a Hawaii vacation can continue their regular Sunday ritual at Church on the Beach in Waikiki. Waikiki Beach Chaplaincy holds a Sunday church service at 10am on Duke Kahanamoku Beach next to the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. This is a uniquely Hawaiian interdenominational ceremony where everyone is welcome.
41. Relax at a Rooftop Bar
Kick back at one of these superb rooftop bars. Hideout at Laylow Hotel, a modern alfresco balcony. Deck at Queen Kapiolani Hotel, a large deck with views of Diamond Head. Buho atop Waikiki Shopping Plaza, a Mexican eatery with a beer garden feel. Tommy Bahama, a tropical restaurant and sand-in-your-toes rooftop bar. Quiora at The Ritz-Carlton Residences, 8th-floor open-air Italian wining and dining.
42. Enter Candyland
The world’s largest confectionery emporium, Dylan’s Candy Bar, has a gigantic store at the Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort. Shop 7,000+ confections from chocolates, lollipops, gummies, and international candy to apparel, stationery, and lifestyle products. You can also order a rainbow shave ice, Nutella milkshakes, and twisted treats from their ice creamery.
43. Shop for Fine Art
Find that perfect piece of Hawaii-inspired art at one of Waikiki’s many galleries.
Peruse Greenroom Gallery at Queen Kapiolani Hotel. International Market Place houses Tabora Gallery and The National Gallery of Fine Art. Find Sunshine Arts at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort and Nohea Gallery at Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort. Waikiki Beach Walk on Lewers Street is home to Wyland Gallery, LIK Fine Art, and Under the Koa Tree.
Park West Fine Art Museum & Gallery, also at Waikiki Beach Walk, is a free-to-the-public art experience, browse incredible works from artists like Pablo Picasso, Peter Max, Michael Godard and Mark Kostabi. Founded in 1969, Park West Gallery is the world’s largest art dealer, known for its live auctions and galleries on cruise ships and at luxury vacation destinations across the globe.
44. Be Inspired by Molokai’s History
Visit the brand new Damien and Marianne of Molokai Education Center next to St. Augustine Church, fronting Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki. This museum-like facility is dedicated to the people who were exiled to a leprosy colony in the 1960s, along with the Saints who answered the call to serve those in need in Kalaupapa on the island of Molokai.
45. Sing Karaoke
Karaoke is an old-time tradition in Hawaii. Locals love to frequent the karaoke bar, order plenty of food and beverages, and belt-out tunes together. Don’t be shy, visit one of Waikiki’s LGBT-friendly karaoke bars like In Between. Outside of Waikiki, try Cafe Duck Butt or Tipsy Pig II, both restaurants have private karaoke rooms (reserve in advance).
46. Boat with a Glass Bottom
Hawaii Glass Bottom Boat Tours showcase the beauty of Oahu’s south shore with a clear view of the Pacific Ocean floor where you can see the tropical reef and even shipwrecks beneath the boat. Choose from a morning wildlife cruise or afternoon cruise. For large groups secure a private boat charter where you can anchor offshore and party at sea.
47. Sit Down for High Tea
Savor a scrumptious afternoon tea on weekends at Veranda at the Beachhouse, an oceanfront restaurant inside the historic Moana Surfrider hotel. They serve a Moana Classic Tea consisting of sandwiches, sweet desserts, scones with lilikoi (passionfruit) curd, and seven types of teas. Enhance the experience by adding a glass of sparkling rose to your order. Book your seat ahead of time.
48. View Hard Rock Memorabilia
Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu is not only a quality dining choice in Waikiki but it’s also a gift stop of collectible clothing and music-related merchandise. It’s worth a visit to spy the artistic guitars across the ceiling, cool memorabilia from the likes of Elvis, and the striking ocean-blue wave bar. While you’re there, you may as well bite into a Da Kine Burger (available only in Hawaii).
49. Listen to the Royal Hawaiian Band
Founded in 1836 by King Kamehameha III, the Royal Hawaiian Band was the King’s Band during the time of the Hawaiian Kingdom. It’s now an agency of the City & County of Honolulu and they regularly perform on Oahu. The band has divided into smaller ensembles to allow for social distancing while performing only at outdoor venues. Check the homepage calendar for upcoming performances.
50. Visit the Neighborhoods
Discover Kapahulu and Kaimuki, charming towns close to Waikiki.
Kapahulu features Hawaii food institutions, try malasadas (Portuguese doughnuts) at Leonard’s Bakery, Waiola Shave Ice, and a plate lunch at Rainbow Drive-In.
Kaimuki is also known for great eats, try Earl for killer sandwiches, brunch at Koko Head Cafe, fresh Vietnamese at Saigon’s or visit the Crack Seed Store for local snacks.
51. Practice Your Namaste
Sprinkle some Zen into your holiday by joining a group sunset yoga session. Open to all yogis beginner through advanced, classes are held every day in an oceanfront park on the quiet east-end of Waikiki Beach. Connect with Hawaii’s natural surroundings in this outdoor yoga studio, the sky as your ceiling. Reserve online to secure your spot.
52. Hang Out at Hula’s
Everyone is welcome at Hula’s Bar & Lei Stand, a famous Waikiki gay bar. Located opposite the Honolulu Zoo, this laidback open-air drinking establishment has distant views of the top of Diamond Head. Bond over a game of pool, delight in drink specials, and refer to the event schedule to hopefully catch Hula’s Catamaran Saturdays, a fun boat ride.
53. Indulge in a Massage
Relax on vacation by treating yourself to a massage. Consider skipping the familiar deep tissue, Swedish, or shiatsu massage styles for the unique-to-Hawaii lomilomi. Lomilomi is a special Hawaiian massage that involves rhythmic motion and healing properties. The Shiatsu & Massage Center at the International Market Place offers a range of services.
54. Scuba Dive from Waikiki
See the beauty of Waikiki below the surface on a guided scuba diving tour. Waikiki Dive Center offers an introduction to scuba diving in Oahu, perfect for the novice diver. Honolulu Scuba Company has a two tank boat scuba dive geared towards certified divers, it explores the majestic remains of one of Oahu’s many sunken wrecks. They also offer amazing ocean night dives.
55. Unleash Your Creativity
Susan Brooks of Arts of Paradise Gallery offers a broad range of art classes in her Waikiki Shores Apartment studio. Learn painting and drawing techniques in a supportive group environment of up to four students at a time, supplies included. Personalized private art classes can be arranged to fit your ability and needs.
56. Scoot Coupe the Streets
Designed for riding in metro Oahu, Scoot Coupes (two-person three-wheel mopeds) are a fun mode of transport. Zip-around Diamond Head, up to Manoa Falls, down into Punchbowl Cemetery, and by Downtown Honolulu, Kakaako, Magic Island, and Waikiki. A driver’s license is required to rent and passengers must be at least seven years old.
57. Stock up on ABC Souvenirs
With over 30 ABC Stores spread throughout Waikiki, there’s always one nearby no matter where you stay. Warning! It’s easy to lose hours shopping for Hawaii souvenirs inside these quirky convenience stores. Just make sure you keep your receipts, once you’ve spent $100 take them to the cashier for a free gift, usually a mug, calendar, or tote bag.
58. Float Your Holiday Away
General stores in Waikiki sell beach accessories including water toys, and swim rings. They’ll even inflate them for a small fee. Grab yourself a colorful plastic inflatable and float away on your holiday, literally. You can also source one online (like this rainbow floaty) and bring it with you.
59. Say I Do (Again) with Outrigger
Complimentary vow renewal ceremonies are offered weekly to registered guests of Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort and Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort. Hoi hou ke aloha (To fall in love all over again) is the theme of this ceremony. Stay with Outrigger to renew your vows at this heartwarming event on Waikiki Beach, the rising sun as your witness.
60. Have a Japanese Food Affair
Honolulu is home to some of the best Japanese food outside of Japan. To see what we mean, venture to some of Waikiki’s best Japanese restaurants. Chibo has okonomiyaki (like a savory pancake), teppanyaki (hibachi) and yakisoba noodles. Originating from Tokyo’s Ginza neighborhood, Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin specializes in tonkatsu (breaded cutlets). Momosan is a not-to-be-missed ramen and sake bar with a beer-garden-like outdoor area across from Waikiki Beach. And Doraku Waikiki in the Royal Hawaiian Center has the most sensational sushi.
61. Aim for a Hole-In-One
Ala Wai Golf Course, operated by the City & County of Honolulu, sits along the Ala Wai Canal right behind Waikiki. Golfers on this course are rewarded with views of the Waikiki cityscape, Diamond Head, and the majestic Koolau mountain range. Tee off for a 9-hole or 18-hole round of golf with twilight hours available. You can also hit balls at the driving range and book a golf lesson.
62. Make a Movie Date
Seize the opportunity to watch American movies first in Hawaii, before they’re released to the rest of the world. The closest cinema to Waikiki is Consolidated Theatres Ward with TITAN LUXE at Ward Entertainment Center. It features Honolulu’s biggest movie screen and plush leather seats that recline, making it the most comfortable movie experience on Oahu.
63. Cook with Local Flair
Learn how to make some of Hawaii’s most popular dishes, including fresh ahi poke, coconut shrimp, and butter mochi, during the Hawaii Local Favorites three-hour hands-on cooking class. Hosted by Linda, owner of Hawaiian Style Cooking Classes, these small group lessons take place in her commercial-grade kitchen inside her beautiful home in the Diamond Head neighborhood.
64. Hunt Down Happy Hour
Happy Hour is an age-old tradition in Hawaii, a period of time (usually a couple of hours) when bars and restaurants offer discounted food and beverages. The Best Happy Hours in Waikiki are found at Doraku Waikiki, Mahina & Sun’s, 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar, Maui Brewing Co., Morimoto Asia, Merriman’s Honolulu, Noi Thai Cuisine and Yard House. Okole maluna (Hawaiian for bottoms up)!
66. Meet Local Artists
Art on the Zoo Fence is an outdoor art gallery that pops up every weekend along the Honolulu Zoo fence. Meet local art aficionados who come together every Saturday and Sunday (9am-3pm) at this event under the shade of the banyan trees on Monsarrat Avenue to showcase their original works and prints for all to see and purchase.
67. Hoverboard Around Town
Honolulu’s South Shore is well-suited for travel by personal transporters, two-wheeled electric scooters known as segways or hoverboards. Tick-off key landmarks on a Waikiki and Diamond Head hoverboard tour, the west-side on a Magic Island and Ala Moana hoverboard tour, or the trendy Kakaako region on a street art hoverboard tour. Tours are guided with commentary.
68. Find Waikiki’s Secret Mural
The Alohilani Resort in partnership with Greetings Tour created a larger-than-life Greetings From Hawaii mural. Painted horizontally onto the ground, this amazing artwork spans 50ft (15m) x 75ft (23m) in size. This Waikiki “postcard” can be viewed by the general public from the poolside Swell Bar on the 5th floor of the property, or from select guest rooms above.
69. Reel in a Hawaiian Fish
As an island chain in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is a premier destination for catching big game fish including blue marlin, mahi mahi (dorado), ahi (yellowfin tuna), ono (wahoo), and aku (skipjack tuna). A fleet of boats at Kewalo Basin Harbor (15-minutes from Waikiki) wait ready to take you on a private fishing charter.
70. Check the Shell Schedule
With Diamond Head for a backdrop and Waikiki Beach across the street, Waikiki Shell on Monsarrat Avenue is a distinctive shell-shaped outdoor venue ideal for concerts and festivals. Catch an unforgettable performance atop its stage, an under-the-stars setting like no other in Hawaii. I saw Lana Del Ray here, it was sensational! View the calendar of events to find out what’s on.
71. Enjoy a Dinner Cruise
Get dressed up, board a fancy boat, and let your worries float away as you wine and dine out at sea. These tours provide an opportunity to take some holiday snaps, enjoy local food, and meet fellow vacationers. Dinner cruises depart close to Aloha Tower (10-minutes from Waikiki), popular choices include the deluxe sunset dinner and show cruise.
72. Watch the Sunset
Hawaii sunsets have a reputation for being profound daily events. During your Waikiki stay, plan to be at a special viewing site to mark these occasions. Waikiki’s oceanfront and rooftop bars make for sensational vantage points to witness sundown, make a date for sunset drinks at RumFire at Sheraton Waikiki, Mai Tai Bar at The Royal Hawaiian, or SKY Waikiki, to name a few.
73. Spend QT in Kahala
The Kahala Hotel & Resort is a luxurious property that sits on an idyllic beach in Kahala, Oahu’s most high-end suburb (15-minutes from Waikiki). Enjoy the sleepy beaches, oceanfront dining at Plumeria Beach House, Arancino (voted Hawaii’s Best Italian), and Hoku’s restaurant that is perfect for special celebrations, or a dolphin activity through the on-site Dolphin Quest program (book ahead of time).
74. Mingle with Zoo Animals
Waikiki has a small zoological park worth a quick visit, Honolulu Zoo. In keeping with Hawaii weather, it doesn’t house cold-climate species. Highlights include an African savanna including zebras, giraffes, lions, and black rhinos, an interesting Hawaiian nene (goose) exhibit, and a petting zoo. Families are encouraged to utilize the picnic lawn and kids’ playground, bring in your own snacks.
75. Peruse the Aquarium
Waikiki Aquarium is run by the University of Hawaii, its mission is to inspire and promote understanding, appreciation, and conservation of Pacific marine life. It’s a small but sweet aquarium featuring a Hawaiian monk seal habitat, a coral farm, and a good variety of sea life exhibits. The Ocean Drifters Gallery is cool, be mesmerized by all manner of floating jellies. The exhibits here are closed until further notice (as at Jun 2021).
76. Dress with Aloha
Originating from Hawaii, the Aloha shirt is a collared button-up short-sleeve shirt made from Hawaii-inspired designer material. There’s no better time to wear one, than in Hawaii. Procure this traditional attire from aloha wear specialists like Tori Richard and Kahala in Waikiki and Reyn Spooner at Ala Moana Center. If vintage is more your style, shop at Bailey’s Antiques & Aloha Shirts in nearby Kapahulu.
7. Shop Saks-Style
Saks Fifth Avenue at the International Market Place is Waikiki’s preeminent luxury department store. Hailing from New York City, this retailer stocks a selection of European and American clothing, handbags, shoes, beauty and so much more. Saks Style Advisors are on-hand to provide personalized advice, this is by far the most convenient place to buy designer labels in the resort area.
78. Ride an Cool Urb-e
Open to trying something different? Take a small-group tour of Waikiki and the surrounding area on a foldable electric vehicle known as an URB-E. This eco-friendly mode of transport is best suited to active travelers, URB-E vehicles have no pedals and require good lateral balance. Enjoy a private Diamond Head ride and hike led by a local guide or self-explore by booking a day rental.
79. Visit a Small Gem Museum
Located in an apartment building on Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki, Lucoral Museum is an interesting place to learn about the earth’s natural wonders. Take a hosted museum tour to view a vast collection of rocks, lava rock, gemstones, and fossils on display. They produce stunning coral and pearl jewelry and offer do-it-yourself jewelry making workshops. Available by appointment only.
80. Go to an Event at the Blaisdell
The Neal S. Blaisdell Center near Downtown Honolulu (20-minutes from Waikiki) is a large multi-purpose complex. The Arena is a performance facility used for concerts and sporting events, the Concert Hall is the home of the Honolulu Symphony and the Hawaii Opera Theatre, and the Exhibition Hall hosts expos throughout the year. Check out the calendar of events to find out what’s on.
81. Escape to a Local’s Beach
There’s no denying Waikiki Beach gets crowded. The solution? Head west past the hotels and resorts towards Ala Moana Center. Opposite the mall is Ala Moana Beach Park, a huge oceanfront parkland that extends into a peninsula called Magic Island. This area houses a pristine and often empty lagoon, perfect for wading.
82. Tour a Coffee Roastery
Artisan roaster Honolulu Coffee opened the Honolulu Coffee Experience Center next to the Hawaii Convention Center at the top of Waikiki’s Kalakaua Avenue. Coffee lovers will want to pop-in for a Kona Coffee Tour, a behind-the-scenes farm-to-cup Hawaii coffee experience. Witness the roasting process, taste-test brews, enjoy bakery and cafe treats and browse the gift shop. Check out the “Greetings, Aloha from Waikiki” mural displayed on a nearby building.
83. Play Tennis
Everyone is welcome to hit balls at the Diamond Head Tennis Center, a well-maintained 10-court tennis facility in Kapiolani Park. Visitors must bring their own tennis racquet and balls (you could also buy them from Walmart Honolulu). Arrive, sign-up for your 45-minute time slot, watch the court clocks and wait patiently. The best time to get a free court is around midday (it’s hot).
84. Workout Outdoors
Fitness enthusiasts will be happy to find outdoor exercise parks close by. Kapiolani Park Fitness Station is a workout space with monkey bars and more, Bryan Clay Exercise Park by Diamond Head is a mini-fitness gym with exercise machines, and Ala Moana Beach Park has calisthenic exercise equipment.
85. Get Tickets to Broadway of the Pacific
86. Try Yoga Floating
Most people have done a yoga class before, but in Hawaii yoga can be taken to the next level by performing the poses atop a stand-up paddleboard on the ocean (don’t worry it will be anchored so you won’t float away). Take a yoga paddleboard class, a small group activity held at Ala Moana Beach Park led by an experienced yoga instructor and suitable for all skill levels.
87. Soar over the Island
Get a birdseye view of the tropical island of Oahu on a helicopter joy-flight with the doors on or off. The Waikiki sunset helicopter tour is a short but magical 20-minute flight where you’ll see landmarks like the Honolulu skyline, Diamond Head and Pearl Harbor lit up at dusk. The city-by-the-sea helicopter tour flies the same route only during the day. There are lots of Oahu helicopter options.
88. Make Jewelry
Stop by Kolohe to view gorgeous jewelry pieces or create your own customized one-of-a-kind piece at a jewelry workshop. Owner Rose Wong opened the stylish jewelry store in Alohilani Resort when she was just 21 years old, making her the youngest business owner in Waikiki. Support local businesses by shopping for boutique necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets, anklets, and more, at Kolohe.
89. Waikiki Self-Walking Tour
Download the Skaka Guide Oahu app, plug your earphones into your cellphone, and take yourself on the Heart of Waikiki Walking Tour. Starting at the Royal Hawaiian Center and heading south to the Duke’s Kahanamoku Statue, this self-walking tour highlights many of Waikiki’s key landmarks. For example, learn the history of the Kapaemahu Healing Stones, four sacred stones in an enclosure next to Honolulu Police Station.
90. Shop ‘Til You Drop
Shopping in Waikiki is epic, you’ll find 15+ retail hotspots in the resort zone including Hilton Hawaiian Village, Collections of Waikiki, Waikiki Beach Walk, Luxury Row, Royal Hawaiian Center, Waikiki Shopping Plaza, Waikiki Business Plaza, Ross Dress For Less, Nordstrom Rack, Macy’s, International Market Place, Sak’s Fifth Avenue and Pualeilani Atrium Shops.
91. Peek into Hawaii’s Past
Wander along the shoreline of Waikiki Beach towards Diamond Head until you reach the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium. This memorial was built to honor the soldiers from Hawaii who gave have their lives in World War I. While it’s been closed for 40+ years, visitors can see this part of Hawaii’s history from the outside and peek through the gate to catch a glimpse of the deteriorated ocean pool.
92. Taste Paradise on a Bike
Calling all food lovers to bite into the ‘Tour de Honolulu’ foodie bike tour. This private activity departs from the Duke Kahanamoku Statue at 8am destined to give riders a real taste of Honolulu while enjoying Hawaii’s outdoors. Stops including Gilligan’s Island opening scenes, a Hawaii Five-0 film location, Kewalo Harbor, Ward Village, Kakaako murals with foodie and brew stops throughout. Finish up with a cup of your favorite beverage.
93. View Cultural Artefacts
Outrigger Resorts have Hawaiian artifacts on display throughout both oceanfront properties in Waikiki. Walk through the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort public areas to view local historical artifacts and artwork, or the lobby of the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort to see a 100-year old koa wood outrigger canoe up close and personal.
94. Get Your Hair Braided
Experience hair braiding with aloha with Braids Hawaii located at Waikiki Shore Apartments. They’re experts in braiding art, creating new and unique hair designs and patterns. Spend a few hours getting braided followed by a low-maintenance hair routine for the rest of your vacation. Services include cornrows, braided bun, goddess braids, twists, and fishtail braids, to name a few.
95. Feast at a Food Truck
Stretch your budget further by adding in a couple of food truck feasts during your Waikiki stay. With fewer overheads than a restaurant, food trucks are priced right. Try Blue Ocean Seafood & Steak, Hula Dog Kuhio and Habibi Tasty (Middle Eastern) on Kuhio Avenue, Mami’s Empanadas and Moo Pizza on Cartright Road, and Piccola Onda (Italian) by Alohilani Resort.
96. Try Pineapple Dole Whip
Dole Whip, sometimes referred to as Dole Soft Serve, is a non-dairy pineapple ice cream that’s popular in Hawaii. Some might even say it’s a sweet treat with cult-status! Once exclusively distributed at Disneyland and The Magic Kingdom, now it’s created at Dole Plantation in central Oahu and found at various locations in Waikiki.
97. Sample Local Honey
Oahu Honey Co. opened a shop at Waikiki Beach Walk on Lewers Street. They support the sustainability of Hawaii’s agriculture and the conservation of local honeybee by producing locally sourced and raw Hawaiian honey.
98. Savor a Day Spa
Go beyond just a massage and book a luxurious spa treatment for a couple of hours.
Spa Pure Waikiki is Honolulu’s go-to day spa with pampering packages that can cater to parties up to eight people. Services include body scrubs and facials, an ocean massage in a saltwater pool, or a soothing herbal soak.
Moana Lani Spa at the Moana Surfrider is a breathtaking oceanfront spa facility. Purchase a Moana Escape Package and give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the steam, sauna, or whirlpool prior to your services.
99. Rest in Waikiki’s Newest Park
A vacant and undeveloped lot in Waikiki has been given a makeover and unveiled as Centennial Park. This project by the City & Rotary Club of Honolulu created an oasis of tropical beauty on the corner of Seaside Avenue and Aloha Drive in the neighborhood area of Waikiki. This green space is open for the public to enjoy.
100. Sample Made-in-Hawaii CBD products
Hemptuary Hawaii on Waikiki’s Kalakaua Avenue is a one-stop-shop for all of your cannabis needs. Whether you are familiar with cannabidiol (CBD) or just curious, their friendly and knowledgeable hemp heroes (staff) will teach you all about the cannabis plant and its unique properties. CBD is non-psychoactive and has a history of beneficial health effects. Purchase lab-tested CBD products, and enjoy an espresso and cold brew bar while there.
101. Laugh at a Comedy Show
Comedy U is presented by Jose Dynamite, it’s Hawaii’s first-class comedy experience. Local comedians practice their craft on stage and put on a great night out! Shows are held at different venues around Honolulu including Hawaiian Brians. Check their Instagram for upcoming events.
Image Credit: Ryan Tishken