The ultimate list of things to do in Waikīkī, Honolulu, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. Waikīkī is the epicenter of Hawaiʻi tourism, a labyrinth of aloha-filled tours, activities, and experiences. Unearth more than one hundred Waikīkī holiday ideas within a 20-minute radius.
Note: This is an ideas list of things to do in Waikīkī and is not in any special order. Please expand each idea using the down arrow for more information.
1. Pack the Perfect Picnic
For a do-it-yourself picnic, stock your hamper at Dean & Deluca Hawaii (at the Royal Hawaiian Center or Ritz Carlton Residences), before heading to one of your favorite Waikiki beaches or parks. If you’re celebrating something special, why not let Aloha Paradise Picnics, Oahu Premier Picnics or Oahu Picnics Co. create your dream pop-up picnic setting.
2. BBQ at Fort DeRussy
Fort DeRussy Beach Park is an oceanfront recreation area in Waikiki with public barbecues for grilling. They are charcoal pits, so bring your own briquettes (heat beads). Set-up on a picnic bench and enjoy the grasslands. There’s a children’s playground, volleyball courts, and pickleball courts (rent paddles and balls from Beach Boy Hale).
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. Choose from the Waikiki Starlight Luau (Tue, Thu, Fri 5pm) on the lawn by the lagoon at Hilton Hawaiian Village, or the luxury 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.
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. Hire kayaks, pedal boats, and aqua bikes from Waikiki Beach Activities. 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, Atlantis Submarine, and Hawaii CinemAttractions.
5. Check out 4DFX Films, Arcade Games & VR
Hawaii CinemAttractions is Waikiki’s fully-immersive 4DFX cinematic attraction. It features a 32-seat multi-screen motion effects cinema playing 4DFX Films including Soaring Over Hawaii. It also encompasses a Cosmic Arcade Lounge with classic arcade games and virtual reality (VR) experiences. Find it by the Tapa Pool at Waikiki’s Hilton Hawaiian Village.
6. Peruse the Pink Palace
The Royal Hawaiian Resort is an icon on Waikiki’s oceanfront. This Pink Palace of the Pacific is as pretty as a picture, meander through the gorgeous grounds of this luxury historic property adorned in art. Eat pink pancakes for breakfast at Surf Lanai, snack on a slice of signature banana bread or a famed pink snowball at the Royal Hawaiian Bakery, or sip on a Trader Vic Mai Tai at the Mai Tai Bar (the place where the drink was first created). Don’t forget to shop at TRH Inspired, the pink-obsessed store.
7. 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. Venture up the grand staircase to the 2nd floor where historic artifacts are on display, enjoy a tropical cocktail at The Beach Bar under a huge banyan tree, spend a lazy weekend indulging in afternoon tea at Veranda at the Beachhouse, or book a heavenly massage at Moana Lani Spa, Waikiki’s only beachfront spa.
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. This small group activity is ideal for four to six people.
9. Drink, Dine & Dance at Duke’s
Duke’s Waikiki is a barefoot bar and dining room 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 Breakfast Buffet ($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 every Sunday.
10. Bag Yourself a Bargain
Waikele Premium Outlets are Oahu’s only outlets center, 15mi (24km) west of Honolulu directly off H-1 Freeway, exit 7 at 94-790 Lumiaina Street, Waipahu. 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 deals can be found at Ross Dress for Less on Seaside Avenue and Nordstrom Rack on Kuhio Avenue, both in Waikiki. Ala Moana Center also has a few discount stores, Ross Dress for Less, Marshalls and Saks OFF FIFTH.
11. Strum a Ukulele
The Ukulele Store on Waikiki Beach Walk graciously hosts free ukulele lessons by appointment only. 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.
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, the Red Line (City Arts District), Pink Line (Ala Moana Shopping Shuttle), and/or Blue/Green Line (Ocean Diamond Head). Pick up a 1-Day, 4-Day or 7-Day All-Line Ticket. Click here to pre-book your seat.
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, 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 and out to sea. Savor postcard-worthy views over Honolulu’s city skyline and Diamond Head crater at dusk, all while sipping on cocktails on a Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise. Non-boozy morning and afternoon Catamaran Snorkel Cruises 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 your favorite water sports. Book a Surf Lesson, Stand-Up Paddling Lesson, or Bodyboarding Lesson. All group sizes and skill levels are catered for. Choose from regular, 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 routes. Ride Diamond Head & Magic Island, Kakaako & Iolani Palace, Manoa Falls Bike & Hike, and more.
17. Watch a Show at Blue Note
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. Book a Guided Walking Tour
Walking tours are a pleasant way to get to know the local area including Waikiki’s nature, ecology, and history.
Discover landmarks around Kapiolani Park on The East Waikiki Walking Tour. It features commentary on the indigenous environment and its subsequent development, and local and introduced birds and animals.
Let a resident of Waikiki guide you on the Waikiki Fun Informative Orientation Walking Tour. This tour is highly recommended for the beginning of your vacation.
19. Take a Do-It-Yourself GPS Audio Tour
Download the Shaka 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.
20. Snorkel & 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 Snorkel Adventure (morning) or 12pm Snorkel Adventure (afternoon) and sail out to explore this underwater paradise. Keep your eyes peeled for spinner dolphins and humpback whales in season (Dec-May).
21. Elevate your Beach Day
Live it up on Waikiki Beach by renting one of the beach umbrella and chair sets, and soak up the holiday atmosphere! There are a few companies offering this service along the shoreline, try Waikiki Beach Services (at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel and The Royal Hawaiian Resort) or Waikiki Shore Beach Service further down (at Waikiki Shore Hotel). Book ahead of time or arrive early in the day to avoid disappointment.
22. Ride in a Shaxi Not a Taxi
Let a local driver introduce you to the secrets of Waikiki from the comfort of a Shaxi, an open-air electric vehicle for up to five people. The Shaxi Waikiki Tour can be customized to suit your group (multiple vehicles can be booked). Other tour options include a Shaxi Diamond Head Hiking & Waikiki Tour, Shaxi Sunrise Tour, Shaxi Sunset Tour, Shaxi Dive Bar and Shaxi Hawaiian Brewski Tour.
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 including the top-floor Grand Lanai. 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 (Sat 7:30-11am) or Kakaako Farmers Market (Sat 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 fee ($5 per walk-in; $10 per vehicle) you can enter the state park between 6am-4pm daily (closes 6pm) and follow the rugged trail up 560ft (170m) to an observation deck for 360-degree views. Alternatively, book a Diamond Head Crater Hiking Adventure, Diamond Head Running Tour, or Diamond Head Hike to Bike & Local Lunch.
27. Challenge Your Brain
Escape games are a fun indoor activity, especially in the evenings. Problem-solve puzzles in private groups with just 60-minutes on the clock. Breakout Waikiki offers five live-action escape rooms, choose from Armory Ambush, Y2K, The Hero, Patient57, and Secret Sabotage. Champers Escape Room in Kakaako (15-minutes from Waikiki) features a live-action escape room called The Temple and a variety of virtual reality (VR) games. Room With A Clue in Honolulu (20-minutes from Waikiki) offers three games, A Strange Case, Island Missile Crisis: This is not a drill, and The White Room.
28. Visit Waikiki’s Only Shooting 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 including turtles, flowers, coconut trees and pineapples. 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 Drybar Hawaii salons, 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! Relax with an alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) beverage from the in-store bar, unique to the Drybar Waikiki location at 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 Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk, Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, Moana Surfrider, Prince Waikiki, The Kahala Hotel & Resort and Trump International Hotel 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 Avenue entrance of International Market Place. Nearby Ala Moana Center is home to Makai Market Food Court, the largest food court on Oahu.
35. Try a New-Style of Malasada
It’s likely you’ve tried 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 in the company of adoptable rescue cats. Located in Kapahulu, this cafe is an easy walk or short drive from Waikiki. 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. Reservations required ahead of time.
39. Parasail in Paradise
Take flight on a thrilling parasail experience, where passengers fly high above sea level with incredible scenery of Waikiki and Diamond Head crater. Book with Hawaiian Parasail or Xtreme Parasail, both small-group kiting activity providers depart from Ala Wai Boat Harbor (10-minutes drive from Waikiki) and include a lovely boat ride, and short 8-10 minute parasailing session.
40. Attend Church on the Beach
Continue your regular Sunday church ritual while on holidays at the Waikiki Beach Church. Waikiki Beach Chaplaincy holds a Sunday church service from 10-11:15am at Kahanamoku Beach, adjacent to the 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 Waikiki’s 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.
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.
Fine art curator Island Art Galleries is at Ala Moana Center. When not hosting a specialty show, the gallery represents international and local artists with its collection of original fine art paintings, sculptures, glass arts and photographs of various cultures and histories.
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 at a Karaoke Bar
Karaoke is an old-time tradition in Hawaii. Locals love to frequent the karaoke bar, order plenty of food and drinks, and belt-out tunes. Don’t be shy, visit Karaoke GS Studio inside Aqua Oasis Hotel or Waikiki’s LGBT-friendly karaoke bar Wang Chung’s. Outside of Waikiki, book a private karaoke room at Air Park Karaoke Lounge, Cafe Duck Butt or Tipsy Pig II. Advanced reservations are a must.
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 food at Saigon’s or visit the Crack Seed Store for local snacks.
51. Practice Beachside Yoga
Sprinkle some Zen into your holiday by joining Beach Yoga on Waikiki Oceanfront. 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.
Some options include The Shiatsu & Massage Center at the International Market Place, Royal Kailia Spa at Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa (has a great Chakra Balancing Massage), and Paradise Massages Waikiki & Spa at Waikiki Shopping Plaza.
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 experience, perfect for the novice diver. Dive Oahu offers two amazing dives for certified divers, a 2-Tank Night Dive and a 2-Tank Deep Wreck and Shallow Reef 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 (in front of Trump International Hotel Waikiki). 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. Please refer to her website for more information.
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 over $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 Giant Pineapple Pool Float) and bring it with you.
59. Say I Do (Again) with Outrigger
Complimentary vow renewal ceremonies are offered Mondays and Thursdays at 7:45am 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 Sushi 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 Basalt, Doraku Sushi, Mahina & Sun’s, Noi Thai Cuisine, Tony Roma’s Fire Grill Waikiki, The Cheesecake Factory, Yard House, 100 Sails Restaurant & Bar and Maui Brewing Co. Waikiki. Okole maluna (Hawaiian for bottoms up)!
66. Visit Art on the Zoo Fence
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 & 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. This mural also houses two great food trucks, Piccola Onda and Double Fat Ice Cream.
69. Reel in a Hawaiian Fish
As an island chain in the Pacific Ocean, Hawaii is a top destination for catching big game fish including blue marlin, mahi mahi (dorado), ahi (tuna), ono (wahoo), and aku (skipjack tuna). A fleet of boats at Kewalo Basin Harbor (10-minutes drive from Waikiki) are 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 drive from Waikiki). Popular choices include the Three Star Deluxe Sunset Dinner & Show and Star Casual Sunset & 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. They also have a special After-Hours Guided Tour on Saturday evenings.
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 variety of sea life exhibits. The Ocean Drifters Gallery is cool, be mesmerized by all manner of floating jellies.
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.
77. 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. Hunt Down Vintage Clothing
If vintage is your style, you’re in luck! South Shore Studio at International Market Place is a vintage clothing store with clothing and sneakers from the 1960s to 2000s. Vintage Harbor Waikiki at Royal Hawaiian Center is a vintage clothing retailer offering t-shirts including Hawaii-related designs, band tour shirts, souvenir shirts from the 1980s and 1990s, sports teams, and more. Bailey’s Antiques & Aloha Shirts, just outside Waikiki, is a very cool vintage shop with 15,000+ aloha shirts, dresses, and Hawaii-style antiques.
79. Ride an Cool eBike or URB-E
Open to trying something different? Take a small-group tour of Waikiki and the surrounding area on an easy-to-ride eBike or a foldable electric vehicle known as an URB-E (with no pedals URB-E riders require good lateral balance). These eco-friendly modes of transport is best suited to active travelers. Enjoy a private eBike Diamond Head Ride & Bike Tour led by a local guide.
80. Go to a Symphony or Opera at the Blaisdell
The Neal S. Blaisdell Center near Downtown Honolulu (20-minutes drive 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 a Round of 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 on Outdoor Equipment
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 an Outdoor Exercise Park with calisthenic exercise equipment.
85. Get Tickets to Broadway of the Pacific
86. Try Floating Yoga
Take yoga to the next level in Hawaii 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 Paddleboard Yoga Class, a small group activity held at Ala Moana Beach Park led by an experienced yoga instructor and suitable for all skill levels. There’s also a Nighttime Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga Class.
87. Heli 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 magical 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 is a shorter flight, providing aerial views of Honolulu city skyline, Waikiki, Diamond Head, Punch Bowl Crater, and Pearl Harbor. There are lots of Oahu Helicopter Tours to choose from.
88. Make Your Own Jewelry
89. Pick Up Xmas Keepsakes
Procure Hawaii-inspired Christmas ornaments at the Waikiki Christmas Store including surfing Santa, reindeers in an outrigger canoe, and tropical snowflakes. Couples can also commemorate their union with festive wedding and honeymoon mementos. Find stores outside of the Moana Surfrider Hotel (on the Diamond Head side) and at Hilton Hawaiian Village, both open year-round.
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 Waikiki 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, Kakaako murals and more, with foodie and brew stops throughout.
93. View Cultural Artefacts
Outrigger Resorts have Hawaiian artifacts on display throughout both oceanfront properties in Waikiki. Walk through the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort public areas to view local historical artifacts and artwork, or the lobby of the Outrigger Reef 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. There’s also a cart that promotes hair branding (and henna tattoos) outside of the Kalakaua Avenue side of Sheraton Princess Kaiulani Hotel.
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 on Kuhio Avenue, Mami’s Empanadas on Cartright Road, and Piccola Onda (Italian) and Double Fat Ice Cream 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. has 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.
The Abhasa Spa is nestled in the Royal Grove Courtyard of Waikiki’s renowned The Royal Hawaiian Resort. It’s the only day spa in Waikiki offering treatments in a serene tropical garden setting. They offer luxury packages including an Anniversary Couple Treatment. Abhasa Spa was ranked in Spas of America’s Top 2 and No.1 in Hawaii state!
Moana Lani Spa at the Moana Surfrider Hotel is a breathtaking oceanfront spa facility. When you book a treatment you gain access to their peaceful relaxation lounges overlooking Waikiki Beach, dry saunas and water therapy areas. Couples can book beautiful oceanfront suites, personalized with whirlpool tubs, private restrooms and breathtaking ocean views.
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 and Blue Note Hawaii. Check their Instagram for upcoming events.
102. Make a Clay Creation
The Clay Cafe at McCully Shopping Center (5-minutes drive from Waikiki) is the place to paint your own pottery, a fun keepsake from your Hawaii vacation. Pick your unpainted ceramic piece, plan your paint colors and let your creativity soar. It’s a great indoor activity, fun for the whole family. Appointments only.
103. Chill in a Float Tank
Float your worries away (literally) in a saltwater float tank, in the neighborhood hills of Kahala with Dream Float Hawaii. It’s Honolulu’s secret escape, perfect for holiday-makers wanting some extra rest and relaxation. It’s also good for visualization and sore muscles, reducing anxiety and stress, and a cool idea for couples on their honeymoon.
104. Axe Throwing, Anyone?
Blade & Timber offers Honolulu’s only axe throwing experience! Book a private lane for up to six people and practice your hand-eye co-ordination by throwing an axes towards a bull’s eye. This fun activity is open to children over 10 years old, and under 18 years old must be accompanied by an adult. Find it at Keahou Lane (15-minutes drive from Waikiki).
105. Hit up Dave & Busters
Gamers beware! Dave & Busters Honolulu at Ward Village (15-minutes drive from Waikiki) is a kid-friendly sports bar and video game arcade. There’s also finger-licking food and quirky drinks, with color-change straws and light-up ice cubes to keep little ones happy. Plan to spend a couple of hours here.
106. Book a VIP Boat Charter
For a VIP boating experience secure a personalized private boat charter. This enables your group to anchor offshore of Waikiki Beach, swimming and snorkeling at your own leisure. There’s a few different options depending on your needs, consider a Private Waikiki Boat Tour, a Private Sunset Boat Cruise in Waikiki, or a Private Adventure Boat Charter with Snorkeling.
107. Go Whale Watching
Whale watching is one of Hawaii’s most popular winter activities (Dec-May). Cruise along Oahu’s South Shore on a Whale Watching Experience in search of Hawaii’s annual visitors, the humpback whale. You’ll be treated to beautiful views of the Koolau Mountains, Diamond Head, and Koko Crater. This excursion departs from Kewalo Basin Harbor (10-minutes drive from Waikiki).
108. Souvenir Shop at Duke’s Marketplace
Duke’s Marketplace is a shoppers delight, hidden in Duke’s Lane by Waikiki Beachcomber By Outrigger. Peruse lots of kiosk vendors, reminiscent of the old International Market Place, selling everything from beach towels and clothing to jewelry and souvenir-style trinkets.
109. Visit the Village Books & Music Pop-Up
Support Friends of the Library Hawaii by shopping at the Village Books & Music store in Ward Village (15-minutes drive from Waikiki). Pick up books, CDs, DVDs, vinyl records, games, collectables, works of art, and more! Book lovers will love this place, there’s books on every subject including a unique Hawaiiana section.
110. Climb Up the Aloha Tower
Aloha Tower at Honolulu Harbor (10-minutes drive from Waikiki) is an iconic symbol of Hawaii and one of the state’s most recognizable landmarks. Take in beautiful views of the harbor and cityscape from the 10th Floor observation deck. It’s open daily from 9am-5pm (weather-permitting) and is free-of-charge.
111. Spend Time in Kapiolani Park
Kapiolani Park is the Central Park of Honolulu. It encompasses huge grass lawns, that often host free local events. Residents enjoy the sporting facilities and gather here for picnics under centuries-old banyan trees and rainbow shower trees. Tourists should too! It’s also great for jogging, reading a book, working out on the outdoor exercise equipment and taking killer photos of Diamond Head.
112. Day-Pass Access at Island Club & Spa
Stay fit and look your best on vacation by purchasing an Island Club & Spa day pass at Alohilani Resort. For around $30 per person, non-hotel guests can get access to the gym, pool and any scheduled classes. There’s also a tennis court and batting cage available for use, dependent on COVID-19 restrictions.
113. Learn About Sustainability
Keep It Simple Honolulu is a retail establishment that provides high-quality zero waste, eco, health, kitchen, and beauty products with minimal packaging for a better earth. Their original store is in Kaimuki, and a second Waikiki location. It’s the perfect location for visitors to learn about sustainable options and shop local products.
Image Credit: Ryan Tishken