THINGS TO DO IN WAIKIKI-
Waikiki is a district at the heart of Honolulu city, on the Oahu islands in Hawaii. Known for its beaches and abundance of hotels around these beaches of every budget slot, Waikiki becomes one of the favorite vacation spots of beach lovers.
Though it might look like a concrete jungle because of the presence of high rise hotels and large tourist crowds, there are a lot of things to do here in the quiet arms of nature if you know where to look.
Surrounded by Mt Leahi, Ala Wai Canal, Kapahulu Avenue and Pacific Ocean, all the attractions in Waikiki are at easy walking distance from each other.
Here is a list of top attractions and things that you must not miss during your visit to Waikiki.
Waikiki is home to 8 beaches that offer things like sunbathing, swimming, canoeing etc. . You can also spend your day by learning to surf or surfing here. List of surfing lessons at Oahu Island can be found here.
There is a series of famous beaches called Waikiki Beach. It is a site that mostly features in Hawaiian postcards that make people travel to this island. There is a lot of crowd here because of its popularity. Thanks to the scenic beauty of these beaches which makes up for the lack of isolation.
DUKE KAHANAMOKU BEACH-
Named after the legendary Duke Kahanamoku, it’s a man made beach and lagoon. It is situated at the Ala Moana end of Waikiki. Hilton Hawaiin Village Beach Resort is a famous beach resort at its bank. The lagoon here is perfect for practicing paddle boarding.
FORT DERUSSY BEACH-
It is another very popular beach located at a park. Known for being the wildest beach, Fort DeRussy Beach has coral reefs offshore. These make it a good spot for snorkeling.
Hale Koa Hotel and Outrigger Reef Hotel are the popular hotels on this beach.
Situated outside the Halekulani Hotel and Sheraton Waikiki, Gray’s beach is a good place for sunbathing, surfing etc. There is also a beach walk here.
The most famous and iconic beach of the neighborhood, Waikiki beach is located outside the Royal Hawaiian Hotel. It is also man made beach which offers all the facilities that a beach does.
It is a calmer beach popular among families and beginner surfers. Situated along Kalakaua Avenue, the beach is also a home to Ancient Pohaku rocks. This is a group of four rocks that is believed to have healing properties.
A very popular photo spot of the beach is the statue of Duke Kahanamoku. Free sunset concerts and hula shows are staged at this beach by local performers and musicians three times a week.
QUEENS SURF BEACH-
Not part of the Waikiki beaches, Queens Surf Beach is a quieter beach of the region that is popular among the queer community.
Located in front of Kapiolani Park, the beach – featuring great tangs, Moorish dolls, and other colorful aquatic species – is a great spot for snorkeling.
SAN SOUCI BEACH-
This place is another great spot for families with kids outside Waikiki Beach. It is located outside War Memorial Natatorium at the Diamond Head.
The waves here are much calmer and water is protected by the reefs. Recommended activity for this beach is swimming.
KAPIOLANI REGIONAL PARK-
The oldest park of Honolulu, Kapiolani Regional Park is a public park situated just by the southwest side of the Diamond Head. The area for this park was donated by King Kalakaua.
It is a family friendly park that has top attractions like Honolulu Zoo, Waikiki Aquarium and Queen Kapiolani Garden.
Kapiolani Park is the best spot to experience the beauty of nature in Honolulu.
QUEEN KAPIOLANI GARDEN-
The garden features beautiful flower beds. There are flowering plants from Hawaii and other regions across the world, including rare flowering plants.
The other facilities of the park include tennis courts, an archery range, a soccer field, jogging tack and picnic area. You’ll find a lot of visitors just spending hours leisurely here at the grassy picnic fields of the park.
Queen Kapiolani Bandstand also hosts numerous art shows, ancient Hawaiian Music Concerts and other fun events regularly.
This place is built adjacent to a living coral reef on the shoreline Oahu in Hawaii. All the aquatic life enthusiasts should take a trip to one of the oldest aquariums in the USA.
It is the best place to learn about the coastal and aquatic life of this American island. There are almost 3500 organisms from 490 species of aquatic biota from Hawaii and the Pacific Ocean.
Visitors will also be able to see the famous sculpture Tropical Sounds and Vita Marinae tile.
The attractions of this place are various exhibits from which you’ll find an opportunity to observe coral reefs, its inhabitants and predators closely. The coral farms here develop colonies for the aquariums around the United States.
Various other featured exhibits include an underwater habitat in a mangrove forest, giant clams, jellyfish, and rare colorful deep-sea fish, sharks, octopus and invertebrates. Don’t forget to see the outdoor Northwestern Hawaiian Exhibit. It has two critically endangered monk seals.
This 42 acre zoo features over 1230 animals including exotic birds, elephants, rhinos, lions, zebras and giraffes from many habitats across the world. It also has various art pieces in the form of sculptures and murals.
You’ll also find a diverse range of tropical plants, including native Hawaiian Plants, here. Visitors will be able to see native Hawaiian animals in their natural habitat including Hawaiian Goose, Nene, and Hawaiian Hawk, ‘Io and Komodo dragons.
The zoo is divided into the African Savannah, tropical rainforests, and island ecosystems. There is also a section dedicated to a children’s zoo and playground.
DIAMOND HEAD CRATER-
Situated at the south end of the island of Oahu, Hawaii, this location is another trademark of Hawaiian islands. Also known as Leahi, it is an extinct volcano head. The crater of the volcano can be seen at Diamond Head State Monument. The observation deck at the top of the crater offers an amazing view of the lighthouse and the island of Oahu, Hi.
The trip to Waikiki is incomplete without going up on the hiking trail of the Diamond Head Crater. The hike rates from easy to medium and people spend a few hours while trekking here.
Bring a water bottle and light torch along with you for the hike. The road that leads to the Diamond Head crater has tunnels, steep U turns, so it is advised to be careful while driving here.
If you want to see humpback whales in all their glory, plan your trips to Diamond Head in winter time and you may just get lucky.
USS ARIZONA MEMORIAL-
This is a small military museum situated at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. The exhibits of the museum include various weapons, uniforms and other artifacts depicting various warfare in history.
Featured weapons here range from Hawaiian War of the 18th century to the Second World War and the Vietnam War. War history fanatics must visit this museum.
The memorial commemorates the soldiers who lost their lives on USS Arizona during the attack in 1941. The memorial is one of the several sites of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Hawaii.
The admission to the museum is free, according to the official website. Various tours with guides are provided here to spread awareness about these weapons. Make sure that you see the ancient Hawaiian club studded with shark teeth.
It is one the most thrilling things that you can do in Honolulu. Visitors get to experience underwater life during these tours while remaining dry.
Use this opportunity to notice the diverse sea creatures including sea turtles, reef sharks, and colorful fishes and various wrecks. An expert guide also keeps providing commentary about the underwater ecosystem on the tour.
All the adventure junkies should not miss the Waikiki Parasailing Adventure in Oahu. It is a perfect hour long excursion for couples as the visitors are paired for soaring. Enjoy the rush of flying and seeing the world around you from a height. You can purchase the documentation of your flight afterwards.
While you’ll be waiting for your turn, try to catch a few glimpses of marine life like turtles, dolphins, flying fish etc. while resting on a boat.
Following is the list of shopping streets-
This is the top shopping center of Honolulu in Waikiki. It is situated right opposite the shore of the Waikiki beach. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a shopaholic or not, a visit to Kalakaua Avenue is a must to experience Honolulu completely.
The avenue features a series of many arcades, malls, stops dedicated to various specialty products, outlets, and numerous high end designer stores. This lively street will provide the well needed break from the beaches.
Other shopping places like Waikiki Shopping Center, International Market-Place, and Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center also share the Waikiki beach shoreline. These places also have a diverse range of shops and stores from where you can buy souvenirs.
This is an outdoor marketplace that is unique in the way it is located under a banyan tree decorated with fairy lights. The street features well known international brands like Burberry, Swarovski etc.
Locally famous brands like Kona Coffee stores are also found here. This street is also a must visit site even if you’re not a shopping freak. Stroll through the market that is landscaped with tropical plants and various water decorations.
You’ll also be able to find any type of food you want here. From Asian Cuisine to Japanese to Tex-Mex, it is a place for every type of foodie. The International Marketplace also hosts many events like food festivals, concerts, adult cooking classes etc.
ROYAL HAWAIIAN SHOPPING CENTER-
This place is a modern shopping complex in the central Waikiki in Honolulu. It also has outlets of various international brands.
One of the key features of the center is that it offers various fun and free things to couples, families and children. You’ll find hula lessons, ukulele classes, lei making classes etc. here. It is near one of the best high end hotels called Royal Hawaiian. This hotel is also called the pink palace of the Pacific.
Live entertainment is offered in the evening that features traditional and contemporary Hawaiian Music.
Waikiki has a lot of dining options from all cuisines and budget ranges. Almost all the dining places serve good food with good drinks here.
It can get hard to differentiate between a pub and a restaurant in Waikiki. To have a best experience with food in Waikiki, a map of restaurants in Waikiki, Honolulu can be found here.
Please also read about things to do in Somerville.