Waikīkī is the largest resort zone in the State of Hawaiʻi. It’s Honolulu’s seaside neighborhood next to Diamond Head volcano crater, 15-minutes east of Downtown Honolulu & Chinatown. Waikīkī was once the site of a famous battle, later housed the summer residences of Hawaiian royalty, and evolved into the location of Hawaiʻi’s first hotels. Today, Waikīkī Beach is an iconic beach and a beloved holiday destination.
Find 90% of Oahu’s total accommodation in Waikīkī. The area is a vibrant mix of hotels, resorts and vacation rentals, bars, restaurants and food trucks, shopping hotspots, historical sites and statues, tropical parks and gardens, activity desks and tour operators, live entertainment, events and festivals, and Hawaiian cultural experiences. The number one attraction, Waikīkī Beach, offers water sports accessible straight off the sand.
This destination in Honolulu has undergone incredible change over the last few decades with revitalization projects occurring at Waikiki Beach Walk, Royal Hawaiian Center, and International Market Place, to name a few. Waikīkī is a well-established urban center so it’s rare for new buildings to pop up, instead, there’s a constant stream of hotels and resorts undergoing renovation.
- is located on the South Shore of the island of Oʻahu in Hawaiʻi, USA
- is a seaside town of Honolulu, Hawaiʻi’s capital city
- has an iconic (hike-able) backdrop, Diamond Head crater
- is made up of seven different beaches
- is the birthplace and spiritual home of surfing
- houses Kapiolani Park, Honolulu’s “central park”
- offers 300+ hostels, hotels, resorts, apartments and vacation rental properties
- offers a choice of around 350 restaurants and bars
- encompasses 12+ major shopping hotspots
- has many luxury designers and signature brand stores
- provides an abundance of ocean activities
- conveniently, the majority of island tours pick-up and drop-off here
- weather averages 27-33°C (82-88°F) year-round
- stay at least 5-7 nights
Waikīkī is a suburb of Honolulu on the island Oʻahu and 90% of Oʻahu’s accommodation resides in this beachfront neighborhood. Waikīkī spans an area of 3mi (5km) by 1mi (1.5km), it has three thoroughfares that run parallel to one other from Waikīkī Beach to the Ala Wai Canal.
Waikīkī is relatively compact so no matter where you choose to stay, the beaches, parks, restaurants, and shops are all accessible on foot. Meandering along the sand from one end of Waikīkī Beach to the other takes about 30-minutes, and walking from Kalākaua Avenue to Ala Wai Boulevard takes 10-minutes.
Waikiki’s bustling main street, Kalakaua Avenue, runs one-way predominantly alongside the beach. It has a wide pavement on both sides of the road with a plethora of hotel facades, restaurants and bars, shops of all kind, and landscaped grounds. Its pavements are well-trafficked by tourists.
Kūhiō Avenue is the second most popular street, parallel to Kalākaua Avenue just a few blocks back from the beach. It’s currently a hotbed for new development and is worth exploring.
Ala Wai Boulevard
Parallel to Kalākaua and Kūhiō Avenues only further back is Ala Wai Boulevard, which runs along the Ala Wai Canal and forms the border that contains Waikīkī. The streets that run perpendicular in-between the above-mentioned streets, from the ocean to the canal, make up the tapestry known as Waikīkī.
Lewers Street is one of the busiest streets in Waikīkī, it runs perpendicular to the beach and is home to the Waikiki Beach Walk entertainment precinct. It’s a must-see area of Waikīkī where you can shop one-of-a-kind boutique shops, dine at award-winning restaurants including Yard House and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, and enjoy weekly activities and live performances.
For non-walkers, and anyone wanting to venture further afield, there are many modes of Oʻahu transport.