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Cheatsheet: Everything to Do in Oahu

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Of all the Hawaiian islands, Oahu has the most to do. Whether you're here for a chill, relaxing getaway or want to get your adrenaline pumping with some outdoor adventure, it's all here.



 

Swimming and Beaches


Oahu has 125 beaches and 112 miles of coastline. Waikiki Beach is actually made up of 8 different beaches. There are no private beaches in Oahu — they are all free and open to he public.


A few tips…

  • You can rent beach gear from Hawaii Beach Time and have it delivered to you at the beach and picked up at the end of day. They provide all kinds of stuff including snorkel gear, umbrellas, coolers filled with ice, beach chairs, you name it….

  • Always check the beach conditions before going in. You can find them at safebeachday.com/state/hawaii/.

  • For most beaches, it’s smart to get there early to find parking.


Here are our favorite Oahu beaches for swimming…


South Shore beaches are your best bet for calm waters year round.


The text reads "Kuhio Beach." The photo shows waves crashing at Waikiki Beach with the Honolulu skyline in the background

  • Kuhio Beach is on the south end of Waikiki Beach

  • A 40 ft sea wall blocks the waves, making the water calm for swimming and kid

  • Free hula show and torch lighting some evenings

  • FYI it’s very popular and can get crowded


The text reads "Ala Moana Beach" with a photo of Ala Moana beach with the Honolulu skyline in the background.

  • ​Ala Moana Beach is just west of Waikiki, but way less crowded

  • Perfect beach for families

  • A great swimming beach. Calm waters year round and a man made lagoon (Magic Island) make it a perfect place to try standup paddle boarding too.

  • A big grassy park with lots of shaded, paved walking paths, and plenty of restrooms

  • Right across the street from the Ala Moana Shopping Center


The text reads "Kaimana Beach (aka San Souci Beach)" with a photo of the beach and ocean with the Kaimana Beach Hotel in the background.

  • The water is nice and calm

  • Right in front of the Kaimana Beach Hotel where you can use their restrooms or grab food or cocktails at the hotel’s Hau Tree Restaurant

  • It’s tucked away from the crowds of Waikiki

  • Fun Fact: San Souci means “without cares”

West Coast (Leeward Coast) beaches are less crowded than the Waikiki area. You’ll see less and less people the further you head up the coast. This coast is warmer and dryer. The sunsets are incredible from this side of the island too.


The text reads "Ko Olina Lagoons" with a photo of an aerial shot of the crescent shaped lagoon.

There are four manmade coves in the Ko Olina resort area. They're protected from waves making the water extremely calm — perfect for paddleboarding or for young kids to swim and try snorkeling. You can walk from one lagoon to the next. Go early to grab a parking spot.


All four lagoons are open to the public, even if they’re outside of a big resort:


  • Lagoon #1 (aka Kahola Lagoon) is the biggest (but doesn’t have a lot of parking). It’s right outside the Four Seasons Ko Olina and Disney’s Aulani resorts. If you are a hotel guest, you can rent all kinds of beach gear and chairs. There are showers and restrooms here too.

  • Lagoon #2 (aka Honu Lagoon) has a few thatched umbrellas for shade. Get there early to snag one.

  • Lagoon #3 (aka Nai’a Lagoon) is right in front of Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club.

  • Lagoon #4 (aka Ulua Lagoon) is the furthest from the resorts, but has the most parking. It’s also the least crowded. There are restrooms and showers here too.


The text reads "Makua Beach" with a photo of the turquoise water along the coastline with the Makua Valley and Mountains in the background.

  • Makua Beach looks like a postcard — clear blue water and the Mākua Valley and Mountains in the background.

  • Most tourists have never heard of this one — mostly because of its remote location. It’s about a 1.5 hour drive from Waikiki

  • During the calmer summer months, it’s a great swimming and snorkeling spot, with a couple tidepools to explore too.

  • During the winter, expert surfers take advantage of the larger waves.

  • You might see dolphins, turtles, and schools of fish. If you’re lucky, you may see whales breaching in the distance during the winter.

  • Tip: since this is a trek, be sure to check the beach conditions before you go.

  • Heads up, no lifeguards or facilities here.

  • The locals call it “Pray for Sex” beach. First it was “Pray for Sets” meaning good waves for surfing, but it morphed over time.

  • Aka Tunnels Beach

The East Coast (Windward Coast) stays warm year round, but trade winds keep this side of the island cooler (and windier). It gets more rain and wind during the winter than the West Coast. November through March, you may want to pack a sweatshirt or light jacket because the breeze picks up in the afternoons.


The text reads "Lanikai Beach" with a photo of Lanikai Beach the Mokulua Islands in the background.


  • Lanikai Beach is continuously voted one of the best beaches in the world.

  • Heads up, it has zero facilities (no dedicated parking, lifeguard, restrooms, etc.).

  • Great spot to swim and kayak thanks to the calm water.

  • Can get really crowded, but weekdays on the off season are not too bad.


The text reads "Kailua Beach" with a photo of a beach with clear turquoise waters.

  • Kailua Beach is 5 minutes from Lanikai Beach. It’s equally beautiful but has its own parking, lifeguards, restrooms, outdoor showers, etc.

  • Kailua is less crowded because it’s not as well known as Lanikai.

  • Like Lanikai, a great place to swim and kayak thanks to the calm water.




The text reads "Waimanalo Bay Beach Park" with a photo of the beach with clear blue water and mountains and palm trees in the background.

  • Waimanalo Bay Beach Park is as beautiful as Lanikai and Kailua Beaches but without the crowds.

  • Only 20 minutes south of Lanikai Beach, but most tourists don’t know about Waimānalo Bay Beach Park (which was renamed as Hūnānāniho in July 2021).

  • About 5 miles of white sand beach and turquoise water.

  • The waves generally don’t get too big, which makes this a good beach for swimming, boogie boarding, and going for long walks.

  • On weekdays, you’ll have the beach mostly to yourself and on weekends, you’ll share it with locals and their families there to bbq and play volleyball and beach games.

  • Heads up, there are 2 beach parks in Waimānalo. You want the one called Waimānalo Bay Beach Park (on the north side), not Waimanalo Beach Park (to the south).

The North Shore is calm enough to swim and snorkel in during the summer, but the waves get huge in the winter — perfect for pro surfers but not for swimmers or amateur surfers.


The text reads 'Aweoweo Beach" with a photo of the beach with clear blue water.

  • ʻĀweoweo Beach is a little known North Shore beach with its own turtle cleaning station. It’s a spot where turtles like to meet up and little fish swim out of nearby rocks to clean all the nooks and crevices of the turtles’ shells. Some turtles hangout for hours and sometimes a few at the same time.

  • No crowds — mostly just families and locals.

  • A laid back beach, tucked away in a quiet North Shore neighborhood.

  • Heads up, there are bathrooms, showers, picnic tables, and a basketball court, but no lifeguard.


The text reads "Sunset Beach" and the photo shows the North Shore beach with the crooked palm tree.

  • Waimea Bay Beach Park is two miles of powdery soft, white sand.

  • Lots of people come here to watch the sunset over the ocean every day.

  • During the summer, when the water turns calmer and clear blue, it’s a great swimming and snorkeling spot.

  • During the winter, when the North Shore waves get huge, people come from all over to watch big wave surfers compete, surfing swells that get as big as 30 feet tall.

  • This is where you’ll find one of the most Instagrammable spots in Oahu — the crooked palm tree.

  • There’s free parking, lifeguards, restrooms, showers, and picnic tables.


The text reads "Waimea Bay Beach Park" and shows a photo of the North Shore beach with shallow turquoise water.

  • Another popular white sand North Shore spot to swim, snorkel, and bodyboard during the calm summer months and to watch the world’s best surfers during the winter.

  • There’s parking, restrooms, showers, lifeguards, and picnic tables.

  • It’s one of the most popular North Shore beaches


 

Snorkeling


The text reads "Kaneohe Sandbar" with an aerial photo of two kayakers at the Kaneohe Sandbar.

  • Kaneohe Sandbar is one of the most beautiful places in Hawaii and somehow it’s still under the radar of most tourists

  • It’s like a beach in the middle of the ocean where you can swim, paddleboard, and also snorkel with turtles in crystal clear, turquoise waters

  • A boat tour is the most convenient way to get out there. They’ll provide paddleboards, snorkel equipment, snacks, and more.

  • On the Windward Coast (East Coast)


The text reads "Hanauma Bay" with an aerial shot of the snorkeling spot.

  • The most popular snorkel spot on the island and a good one for families because it’s calm and shallow.

  • The water is crystal clear and good for snorkeling year round.

  • The protected reef is home to brightly colored fish, turtles, and other marine life.

  • You’ll have to make a reservation because they cap the number of people who can visit each day.

  • Heads up that because it’s so popular, it does get crowded.

  • On the South Shore.


The text reads "Shark's Cove" with a photo of the snorkeling spot with shallow clear water.

  • A great alternative to Hanauma Bay — smaller, but less crowded and free!

  • It’s a popular snorkeling spot, but still pretty under the radar.

  • The small, protected cove is filled with colorful fish and marine life swimming through the clear blue water and underwater rock formations.

  • Heads up, there are restrooms and showers, but no lifeguards.

  • There are also some tidepools full of hermit crabs, fish, and other sea life.

  • Summer is the best time to visit because winter brings huge waves.

  • Heads up that this isn’t a sandy beach where you can lay out all day, but Three Tables Beach is on the other side and has a small, sandy beach and is also a good snorkeling spot.

  • On the North Shore.


 

Hikes

There are so many beautiful hikes for every skill level and they’re all over the island, so no matter where you stay, there will be something breathtaking nearby.


Our favorite Oahu hikes...


The text reads "Lanikai Pillbox Hike" with a photo of the graffitied bunker and the sun rising over the Mokes (Mokulua Islands) in the background.

​​Difficulty: Moderate

Distance: About 2 mi roundtrip

Time Estimate: About 1.5 hours

  • Lanikai Pillbox might be the best sunrise hike on the island.

  • A short hike with insane views of turquoise water against Lanikai Beach and the Mokulua Islands (The Mokes) in the distance.

  • Graffittied army bunkers at the top make for a good photo op


The text reads "Manoa Falls Hike" with a photo of a densley lush, tropical rainforest.

Difficulty: Easy / Moderate

Distance: 1.6 mi roundtrip

Time Estimate: 1-2 hours

  • Manoa Falls is an insanely beautiful rainforest hike that winds through tropical plants, bamboo and huge palms to a 150-foot waterfall at the end.

  • There’s a defined trail and it’s a good hike for almost all hiking levels, although there are a few areas that can be a little slippery or steep.

  • Here’s a tour where you ride an ebike from Waikiki To Manoa and back, stopping at one of Oahu’s best sushi spots on the way bac


The text reads "Koko Crater Hike" with a photo looking down at the railroad ties that make up the steps.

Difficulty: Intermediate

Distance: 1.8 mi up and back

Time Estimate: At least 35-45 min to the top

  • Koko Crater Trail is short but insanely steep as you climb up the side of a dormant volcano.

  • The steps are old railroad ties from WW2.

  • Sweeping views of the eastern coastline from the top.

The text reads "Ka'au Crater Trail" with a photo from the ridge of the crater hike, looking down into the lush green crater.

Difficulty: Intermediate / Advanced

Distance: About 5 mi roundtrip

Time Estimate: About 5-6 hours

  • Ka'au Crater Trail has jaw dropping views and 3 waterfalls. Hike through a jungle, up the side of a waterfall, and along a crater’s ridge.

  • A locals’ hike that’s not at all crowded.

  • Takes about 5-6 hrs.


The text reads "Moanalua Valley Ridge Hike" with a photo of a woman hiking along the trail's ridgeline.

Difficulty: Intermediate / Advanced

Distance: 10+ hours

Time Estimate: 10 hrs roundtrip

  • Moanalua Valley Ridge is the legal way to see the Haiku Stairs (aka the Stairway to Heaven). Heads up, the Haiku Stairs are scheduled to be removed sometime in 2023).

  • Ridge hike with insane valley views.

  • About 10+ miles round trip.

  • An adventurous trail that’s strenuous because of the length (takes about 10+ hours) and some steep and narrow parts that can be dangerous.


 

Surf


Surfing is a quintessential part of Hawaiian culture and especially in Oahu where surfers come from all over the world to compete. Newbies and beginner can take lessons both in Waikiki and North Shore.


If it's your first time surfing, these are two great options...

The text reads "Waikiki surf lessons" with a photo of surfers sitting on their boards in the ocean with Waikiki Beach and the Honolulu skyline in the background.

One on One Lessons in Waikiki are ideal if it’s your first time, but this lesson can be tailored to beginners or advanced surfers.



The text reads "North Shore Surf Lessons" with a photo of the sun setting over an Oahu North SHore beach and a surfer walking out to the waves.

All the teachers at North Shore Surf Girls are professional surfers and certified lifeguards. They say that almost every student stands on the board during their first lesson. They’re great for beginners because they keep the teacher ratio low.


During the winter, head to the North Shore to watch the pros surf gigantic waves at Banzai Pipeline, Sunset Beach, and Waimea Bay. Heads up, the traffic can get out of control on surf competition days.



 

Kaka'ako Street Art


The text reads "Kaka'ako Street Art" with a photo of a colorful street art mural in the background.

Kaka’ako is the coolest neighborhood in Oahu. It’s like a public art gallery with colorful street art and huge murals around every corner. There’s a vibrant food scene that ranges from fine dining to street food, cool coffee shops, and local micro breweries. There are eclectic boutiques with locally made goods, vintage record shops, yoga studios, and ongoing events, like the Kaka’ako Farmers Market.


Tip: If you want to walk around and see the colorful murals, a good place to start is at SALT at Our Kaka'ako.



 

Farmers Markets


Oahu’s farmers markets are the perfect places to find fresh tropical fruits and local vegetables. There are also some good souvenir finds. A few of them have amazing prepared foods and drinks. You can literally have a whole meal there. Bring sunglasses and sunscreen, cash, reusable bags, and napkins or Wet Ones (for some of the messier finger foods). A good tip for any of the farmers markets is to get there early to find parking and beat the heat.


Here are our favorite Oahu Farmers Markets...


The text reads "Kaka'ako Farmers Market" with a photo of mango toast topped with chunks of fresh mango and mint.

Saturdays 8am - 12pm


The text reads "Kcc Farmers Market" with a photo of a Hawaiian plate lunch with garlic shrimp.

Saturdays 7:30am - 11am


The text reads "Kailua Town Farmers Market"  with a photo of a breakfast burger on a black charcoal bun.

Sundays 8am - 12pm


The text reads "Kailua Farmers' market" with a photo of a colorful vegetable sandwich with a yellow flower.

Thursdays 4pm - 7pm

  • That’s right. There are 2 different farmers markets in Kailua. This one’s run by the Hawaii Farm Bureau.

  • It’s pretty heavy on the prepared foods — a perfect spot to grab dinner. Some favorite vendors are Pig & The Lady, Lanikai Mochi, and loco moco balls.

  • Heads up that there’s no seating, but people tend to bring blankets or lawn chairs to make an impromptu picnic.


 

Luaus


The text reads "Ka Wa'a - A Lua at Disney's Aulani" with a photo of professional hula dancers.

  • Aulani’s on-site luau has a Disney twist (and lots of Moana).

  • There are fun activities, like teaching you how to make a lei or how to do the Aulani hula with Mickey and Minnie.

  • Through performances and dances, learn the story of how Maui captured the sun.

  • This is probably the most exciting luau for kids.


The text reads "Paradise Cove Luau" with a photo of a man climbing a tree and throwing flower petals from the top.

  • Paradise Cove's luau is huge with hundreds of guests a night.

  • It’s right on the water at a beach in Ko Olina, walking distance to Disney’s Aulani Resort, the Four Seasons, and Marriott’s Ko Olina Beach Club.

  • They have fun cultural demonstrations like when one of the performers climbs a palm tree and throws flower petals from the top. There are also lots of arts and crafts, like getting a Polynesian tattoo or making a lei.

  • And of course the normal luau activities like learning to hula and watching them unearth the pig. The show itself is full of hula dancers and amazing fire dancers.


The text reads "Polynesian Cultural Center Luau" with a photo of the large stage with decorative torches and performers.

  • You can make a full day of it, or just get tickets to the luau at the end.

  • If you do the full day, you’ll explore the 6 island villages during the day and see shows, activities, and cultural demonstrations from the islands of Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti, Tonga, and Aotearoa/New Zealand.

  • Then there’s the luau with dinner entertainment. It ends with Ha: Breath of Life show — an impressive and entertaining 90 minute professional performance.

  • Heads up, they don’t serve alcohol because it’s run by Mormons.


Tip: If you plan to go for the day, grab a Go Oahu card. It covers your entry for the day and lets you skip the main ticket line. Heads up, you’ll still have to buy your luau ticket separately.


 

Helicopter Rides


Views of Waikiki from a helicopter.

Seeing Oahu from the sky is the coolest way to see it all from a totally different vantage point the sky. We love the ones that fly at sunset because the views are beyond breathtaking. Tip: When you book a doors off helicopter ride, it's not a guarantee that you’re sitting right next to the door. Reach out to them to request that specifically.


 

Byodo-In Temple


A photo of the Byodo-In Temple in Kaneohe, Oahu with a bright red bridge in the foreground and lush mountains in the background.

Byodo-In Temple in Kaneohe is a place of calm and tranquility, with lush landscape, koi fish, and black swans. Ring the huge Bon-sho (sacred bell) as you enter the grounds, which is said to clear your mind of evil thoughts and temptations and to bring you happiness, blessings, and a long life. The red bridge leading to the temple is also one of the most Instagrammable spots on the island.


 

Kualoa Ranch

An aerial photo of the Kualo Ranch on Oahu, right on the coast and set between two mountains ranges.

Kualoa Ranch is home to so many different activities and tours — movie tours, farm tours, UTV, horseback riding, zipline, visit a secret island — all with insanely beautiful views.


 

Cultural Experiences


The text reads "Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC)" with a photo of families in a colorful canoe on a river.

  • You could spend a whole day at the Poylnesian Cultural Center — a 42 acre immersive experience.

  • They’ve set up 6 authentic villages representing the different cultures that make up Polynesia — Samoa, Tonga, Hawaii, Tahiti, Fiji, and Aotearoa (New Zealand). Each village has shows and demonstrations with hands-on workshops, like canoe rides, spear-throwing, coconut husking, lei-making, hula lessons, cooking demonstrations, and more.

  • Very family friendly with lots to keep kids entertained.

  • Home to Hawaii’s only IMAX™ Theater. The day ends with an authentic luau and the “Ha: Breath of Life'' show (for additional fees).


Tips:

  • Download the PCC app before you visit. It includes a map and the schedule of the day's events and shows.

  • Get a Go Oahu card, and your entry to the PCC for all the daytime activities is covered. Plus you can skip the main ticket lines. Heads up, you’ll have to purchase tickets for the luau and Ha: Breath of Life show separately.

The text reads "Iolani Palace" with a photo of exterior of the royal palace museum.

  • This is where you learn about Hawaiian royalty. The Iolani Palace is the only royal palace ever in the United States. Completed in 1882, it was the official home of Hawaiian monarchs.

  • This is where Queen Liliuokalani, Hawaii’s last reigning monarch lived until she was forced to abdicate her throne in 1893 and was later put on house arrest in an upstairs bedroom for almost 8 months. When you visit Iolani Palace, you can see the Imprisonment Room which still features a quilt she made while confined.

  • You’ll visit the throne room, private living quarters of royalty, dining rooms that hosted state dinners and grand balls and see swords, jewelry and crowns that once belonged to Hawaiian royalty.

  • Downtown Honolululu


Tip: if you get a Go Oahu Card, Iolani Palace tickets are included.



The text reads "Bishop Musuem" with a photo of the inside of the museum, with a large whale and shark hanging from the ceiling.

  • Hawaii’s largest museum is a great place to learn about Polynesian culture.

  • There’s something for kids and adults of every age.

  • The Bishop Museum houses the largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific cultural artifacts and natural history specimens in the world. Learn about Hawaiian gods and legends, Polynesian wayfinding, the migrations of Pacific peoples, and about the Hawaiian monarchy through art and artifacts.

  • Several interactive exhibits like a volcano that you can walk through and watch erupt and a Planetarium to learn about wayfinding and more.

  • Walk through the garden to learn about Polynesian plants found only in Hawaii and others that were brought by Polynesians when they discovered the Hawaiian islands.

  • Near Downtown Honolulu


Tip: If you get a Go Oahu pass, it covers your entrance fee.


 

Botanical Gardens


Oahu’s botanical gardens are so beautiful and tranquil.


The text reads "Waimea Valley" with a photo of the waterfall that you can swim in.

  • These gardens are beautiful.

  • Paved paths make it easy to get around.

  • Home to 52 themed gardens with over 5000 types of tropical and subtropical plants and several cultural sites.

  • A waterfall that you can swim in.

  • Botanical tours every day at 12:30pm.

  • North Shore

  • FYI: There is a fee to enter.

Tip: Your admission is covered if you have a Go Oahu card.


The text reads "Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden" with a photo of the picturesque drive into the garden, lined with palm trees and a tropical mountain range towering in the background

  • These gardens are free and insanely beautiful.

  • You may recognize the road leading into the gardens because it’s one of the most Instagrammable spots in Oahu.

  • Opened in 1982, it features plantings from major tropical regions around the world grouped geographically.

  • Explore at your own pace, visiting the large pond, or hiking various trails and paths to see where they take you.

  • The Garden was designed and built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to provide flood protection for Kāneʻohe.


Tip: Pop into the little shop by the parking lot to grab a map.



 

Visit Pearl Harbor


Pearl Harbor is an important WW2 memorial. It’s a solemn place to pay respects to soldiers who lost their lives and to learn the history behind what led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor during WW2. It sounds like it’s a single place to visit but it’s actually several memorials, museums, and ships, all grouped together. You can visit everything or just the things that interest you.


If you’re staying in Honolulu, there are shuttles that do hotel pickups and take you to Pearl Harbor. The Waikiki Trolley also runs to Pearl Harbor. If you drive yourself, there’s a parking fee.


From the parking lot you can walk to the Pearl Harbor National Memorial which includes the visitor center and the shuttle to the U.S.S. Arizona. The U.S.S. Bowfin is right next door. Then there’s a shuttle that takes you to the U.S.S. Missouri and the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum.



The text reads "U.S.S. Arizona Memorial" with a photo of the Arizona Memorial floating over the water at Pearl Harbor

Free (but you should make a reservation for $1)


The U.S.S. Arizona Memorial is Pearl Harbor’s main attraction. It was a ship that was bombed by the Japanese and sank, killing 1177 sailors and marines. It still lies underwater on the floor of the harbor with a memorial built above it. The National Park Service takes visitors to the memorial by boat.


It’s free to visit but you have to pay $1 to make a reservation (or have to wait in a long line). They release tickets 8 weeks (56 days) in advance and then another smaller batch the day before.


Tip: there are lots of great Pearl Harbor tours that provide transportation from your hotel and will take you to all the sites, just pay attention to the fine print. Most do not guarantee tickets to the U.S.S Arizona. They will try to get them for you, but you may want to secure them yourself, just to be safe.


The text reads "U.S.S. Missouri" with a photo of the deck of the Pearl Harbor battleship.

The U.S.S. Missouri was struck by a Japanese kamikaze. You can even see the dent where the plane crashed into the ship. You can explore the ship and see what the rooms are like and what it’s like to live on a battleship like this.


Tip: Your admission fee is covered if you have a Go Oahu card.


The text reads "Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum" with a photo of a yellow vintage plane inside a hangar at Pearl Harbor.

The Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum is made up of two aircraft hangars. One holds exhibits that explain what led up to the attack on Pearl Harbor and what followed and houses restored WW2 aircraft from both the US and Japan along with simulators. The other is filled with 52 aircraft ranging from WW2 to modern day.


The text reads "U.S.S. Bowfin Submarine" with a photo of the Pearl Harbor submarine.

Take a self-guided tour exploring the U.S.S. Bowfin Submarine, squeezing through the passageways and checking out the torpedoes in the torpedo room. The Bowfin went on 9 war patrols during WW2.


Tip: Your admission fee is covered if you have a Go Oahu card.


The text reads "U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial" with a photo of a flag and the Pearl Harbor memorial.

Free


The U.S.S. Oklahoma Memorial was hit by a torpedo and capsized within 12 minutes, killing 429 sailors and marines. It was raised in 1944 and opened as a site at Pearl Harbor in 2007.


 

Shopping


Waikiki is home to many luxury designer brand stores — Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta, Dior, Gucci, Hermès… the list goes on. Most of them are on Kalakaua Avenue. Many are in Luxury Row, a high end shopping center.


Boutiques


Olive and Oliver are two boutiques in Kailua run by a husband and wife team. Each shop is highly curated with clothes, home goods, and accessories.



​If you're looking for an Aloha shirt, but a cool, updated one, checkout Roberta Oaks in Chinatown.



Amié Honolulu in Honolulu's Kaimuki neighborhood has the cutest baby and women's clothes along with plants, gifts, and accessories. It's the perfect spot to find accessories that you'll keep for a long time.



​Wimini Hawaii in Kailua carries hand printed textiles and cards along with one of a kind t-shirts and accessories.


Shopping Centers + Malls


There are some great ones in Oahu where you can find a bit of everything. Here are our favorites in Honolulu...


The text reads "Ala Moana Center" with a photo of the open air shopping center in Honolulu, Oahu.

This is the world’s largest open-air shopping center with over 350 shops and restaurants.


The text reads "International Market Place" with a photo of the Waikiki shopping center.

A 3-story open air shopping center with plenty of options for both food and shopping in Waikiki.


The text reads "Ward Village" with a photo of a restaurant at the large Honolulu shopping center.

A fun mix of big brand names (like Nordstrom and TJ Maxx) mixed with local boutiques and shops (like MORI by Art + Flea). They also host different events, like morning yoga classes.


Heads up that it’s made up of 3 different shopping districts (East Village, Kamak’e Corridor, and West Village). It stretches from Downtown Honolulu to Waikiki.


The text reads "SALT at Our Kaka'ako" with a photo of a colorful shopping center with a huge exterior art mural.

Right in the heart of Honolulu’s street art district. It takes up a city block and has great restaurants, bars, and cafes (like Arvo or Bevy) with a few cool shops (likeTreehouse or Paiko).


The text reads "Royal Hawaiian Center" with a photo of a tree growing out of the center of the Waikiki shopping center.

You’ll find some great restaurants here (Doraku Waikiki, Tim Ho Wan, and Wicked Maine Lobster) and lots of luxury brands mixed with local shops. There are free hula shows on Fridays and Saturdays at 5:30.

ABC Stores


The storefront of an ABC store in Waikiki.

Yes, they’re getting a section all to themselves. You’ll find these stores everywhere. In Waikiki, there’s practically one on every block or even right across the street from each other. This is your one stop shop for floaties, snacks, drinks, alcohol, sunscreen, chargers, souvenirs, coffee, fresh fruits, local snacks, you name it… They’ve pretty much got anything you might need.


Souvenirs


Shelves of handprinted art work and souvenirs at MORI by art + flea shop in Honolulu

A couple quick and easy places to grab souvenirs are any ABC Store or Walmart. Both have all the typical Hawaii souvenirs (macadamia nuts, local coffee, etc.). The Farmers Markets have some great finds by local artists. There are also a couple unusual spots, like the Waikiki Christmas Store, which sells personalized ornaments year round. A lot of the more unique shops and eateries also have fun stuff, like Sunrise Shack for cool shirts and fun coffee mugs or Banan for macadamia nut honey butter and cute totes. Boutiques, like MORI by Art + Flea, sell a collection of items from local artists.


 

Dole Plantation


A close up of a Dole Whip in an ice cream cone, with the entrance to the Dole Plantation in the background.

This is the place for all things pineapple (including that sweet sweet Dole Whip). The Dole Plantation started off as a fruit stand in 1950 and now is one of Oahu’s most popular attractions. Take a Pineapple Express train tour, a plantation garden tour, and of course check out the massive maze - the world’s largest maze. It’s a very kid friendly place.


Tip: Most Circle Island Tours include a visit to the Dole Plantation.



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