Looking for the best things to do on Oahu?
There’s a reason why Oahu is the most visited island in Hawaii: it’s unquestionably one of the most beautiful places in the world. Known as “the Gathering Place” and rightly so, everyone wants to visit Oahu. Well, who wouldn’t want to spend a few weeks in paradise even if it means lounging by the pool for a couple of days?
However, you don’t have to travel to Oahu just to lounge by the pool, especially with so many nice things to do, tours to try, and places to visit in this marvelous island. In fact, they’re so many that you’ll never be able to do them all in day or one visit! From poignant historical monuments and amazing museums to natural beauty and picturesque beaches, Oahu offers some of the greatest things any tourist would want in a destination.
Unfortunately but in a good way, Oahu’s beauty is its own undoing. The island is so gorgeous that locals seem to have forgotten what makes it so special and different from the rest. So to help you out and give you some handy guidelines, we’ve compiled the best things to do in Oahu. At the end of this interesting article, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t come to Oahu much earlier. Nonetheless, it’s never too late. Just roll the sleeves or rather get a nice beach short and loose t-shirt and get going!
Whether you have varying tastes and flares for excitement, Oahu is home to an abundance of tours and excursions that will surely satisfy your varying tastes. From submerging under the sea and exploring the lush jungles to hiking up a side of a cliff and diving with the sharks, you’ll love touring Oahu.
Touring Oahu’s North Shore from above in a helicopter isn’t something that most people get to do on a daily basis. It’s not something that you’ll wake up in the morning and be like; “I’ll get in the helicopter and see the world from above,” unless you’re a millionaire!
Check out the view from a helicopter tour of the North Shore today. It’s one of the top things to do in Oahu!
However, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy one when in Oahu. While many people will be thinking of visiting the pristine beaches, you should be distinct and take a helicopter tour. If you aren’t seeing Oahu from above, you really are missing big time.
There’s probably no better feeling than getting up close and personal with these beautiful mammals. All you have to do is book the morning trip and have a memorable experience of having lots of very friendly dolphins swimming right next to you!
Don’t forget to pack a snorkel, you’re definitely going to be in for a fun outdoor family trip!
Hawaii has arguably the best green sea turtles in the world, grab your snorkel and get ready to go snorkeling with one!
Known as Honu, these turtles always come close to the shore to feed on seaweeds that grow on the rocks. But if you aren’t patient enough to wait for these turtles to come to the shore, you can put on a snorkel and dive into the shallow lagoons on Oahu where you’ll come up close and personal with these amazing reptiles that can live for more than 80 years! Remember; you should never touch, feed, harass, crowd or tease these gorgeous turtles.
Taking a private tour of Hawaii’s state capital in company of a knowledgeable local guide is undoubtedly rewarding. The local guide can help you go through the wraparound adventure with the Circle Island Tour where you’ll be fascinated with some of Oahu’s most breathtaking landmarks such as the spouting “Blow Hole,” the world-famous Hanauma Bay, the sacred Kualoa Ranch, the Nuuanu Pali Lookout and many more.
A tour of the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail, swimming with sea turtles, seeing tide pools, visiting Jurassic Park, or even the KOKO Head Crater…. You can’t go wrong with any of these tours if you have the right tour guide for these outdoor activities.
If you’re a little more adventurous you could always pack a surfboard and get ready to catch some serious waves in a local cove.
The best part of using a local guide is that you can customize your tour with the help of the guide to echo your unique interests in this paradise.
Here is a little secret; if you’re planning to propose to your loved one, Oahu should be on your mind. And even if it’s your lover’s birthday or your marriage anniversary, Oahu offers a wide range of romantic dinners on the cruise in the sea! They offer sweeping views of the Diamond Head, Waikiki and Kakaako. These are perfect romantic dinners that can never be recreated anywhere else. This is a chance to celebrate your love life while consuming the best seafood and meat dishes that Hawaii has on offer.
This is one of the best things to do in Oahu for couples looking to make a romantic getaway.
The Hawaiian word “luau” means “feast” and so you should feast on a mix of Hawaiian ancient dishes. Most of them are quite heavy on proteins and tend to be salty-savory. Some of the dishes to sample include; pipikaula, poke, laulau, kalua pig and many more.
Enjoy bird’s-eye view of Waikiki and Honolulu from the sky as you go above and beyond Waikiki’s blue skies on an awe-inspiring parasailing adventure.
Get ready for heart-racing and adrenaline pumping thrills on a water-drenching jet skiing adventure across the coast of Honolulu. This is one of the most popular things to do in Oahu, just watch out for the tide pools!
If you’re daring enough to swim eye to eye with the huge sharks of Oahu, you may want to take a dive off the coast of the island and swim in company of the mighty Sandbar and Galapagos sharks.
Go for the amazing zip line tours on Oahu’s North Shores and zip 200 feet high above Oahu’s jungle and canopy! Consider booking early because they’re highly popular.
Dive into the Hawaiian Culture at the Polynesian Cultural Center
The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) in the small town of Laie in the North Shore offers ancient Hawaiian cultural experience like nowhere else in Hawaii. It’s not only good for a whole family adventure but you’ll also experience another part of the Hawaiian culture that you didn’t even know exists.
Outdoor activities galore! Snorkeling, watch whales, visit Head Crater or Pearl Harbor. One of many things to do in Oahu.
If you’ve dreamt of being a mermaid or wanted to meet this mystic creature, arrange for a tour of the mermaid cave in Oahu. While there’s no concrete evidence that these creatures exist in the first place, you shouldn’t risk your life by plunging straight into these caves because they’re dangerous and shrouded in mystery.
Get Sucked into History at Pearl Harbor
Oahu is home to a variety of historic sites, including Pearl Harbor, which is a site of the WWII. Immerse yourself into this amazing history of the Pearl Harbor and learn how a surprise air attacks from the Japanese befell this historic harbor.
Formed within a volcanic cone, the Hanauma Bay is a protected marine life natural reserve where you’re likely to find the elusive Nemo fish. You may try your luck if you love snorkeling, but remember it’s very dangerous!
As the sun sets on Waikiki, it’s time to try something new by going on a pub crawl where you’ll drink native Hawaiian beers in company of strangers. Jump on a pedal pub crawl with strangers and pedal from bar to bar in company of like-minded strangers.
During the winter months between December and April, a pod of humpback whales migrate through Hawaii’s warm waters and provides you with great sightings just off the coast of Oahu. You’ll have the chance to see these gentle giants, swim, feed and play all around your boats.
Explore and enjoy the expansive collection of art in many art museums and galleries with the Honolulu art tour. From sampling 300-year-old Hawaiian artifacts to enjoying the 20th century Hawaii landscapes, this tour is truly mesmerizing.
Full of desirable places to film movies, you’ll realize that some of the best Hollywood movies such as 50 First Dates, Tropic Thunder, The Descendants, Jurassic Park and many, many more have been shot in scenic places in Oahu and Hawaii in general. Places such as Waimea Bay, Kualoa Ranch, Ka’a’awa Valley, Dillingham Estate, Waimanalo Beach, Waikane Pier and Kaneohe Bay are very popular with movie stars and producers.
Grab the chance to explore some of the remotest areas in Oahu in old open-air military vehicles. These vehicles will rumble through the Hawaiian jungle for the 90-minute tour where you’ll likely get a glimpse of the 800-year-old ancient Hawaiian fishpond known as the Moli’i on Oahu’s eastern coastline.
Experience a spectacular evening of the Magic Polynesian Dinner Show on Waikiki Beach. In addition to the magic mysteries, there’s side-splitting comedy, inspiring Hawaiian dance and sumptuous traditional food.
Take part in adrenaline-pumping water sports adventures such as jet skiing, scuba diving and wakeboarding in Maui. They’re fun, pure and exciting.
Get Ready To Rock in Hawaii
Whether you’re a local, a visitor or just passing through, immerse yourself in the vibrant music culture of the South Pacific by enjoying a rock show in Oahu, the Hawaiian way.
Come aboard the Catamaran and sail along the Waikiki Beach on Oahu’s gorgeous South Shore in a one-of-a-kind ocean adventure. From spectacular photo opportunities to the amazing views of Honolulu, Waikiki and Diamond Head from the ocean, this is an ultra-splendid sightseeing and party all in one!
Descend 100 feet underwater in a thrilling adventure of its kind and see real marine life up close. This real eye-opening experience will allow you to see sunken shipwrecks and airplanes as you come to terms with the consequences of the WWII!
Top Places to go Hiking in Oahu
Whether you’re looking for easy hikes or the most-enduring hikes, there are many hiking spots in Oahu that will suit you appropriately. This gorgeous island provides some of the best hiking platforms that will lure you from its golden shores and beaches.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or not, just reach for those hiking boots and spare a few hours to explore Oahu’s natural beauty with these amazing hikes.
Get a Scenic View of Waikiki from the top of Diamond Head
As one of the best and most rewarding hiking trails in Oahu, the Diamond Head Trail offers amazing 360 degrees views of Waikiki and its environs once you reach the top. Even though it may initially seem challenging, it will only take you about an hour to reach the top of this 760-foot imposing summit.
This hike is very suitable for kids, golden age or any average person who doesn’t exercise that often. For a fee starting at $17, hiking to the top of the Diamond Head is quite affordable. You can also find and join a group on this link https://www.funlocity.com/oahu/Diamond-Head-Crater-Hike-215.
Kayak to Chinamans Hat and Climb its Top
The small hat-like island of Chinamans or Mokolii Island is a familiar sight for those visiting the Windward side of Oahu. Even though it’s easily accessible via kayak, some people still choose to walk to this island in the middle of the sea! Are you surprised? Don’t be. It’s normally shallow enough for you to walk at low tide.
However, it’s not advisable to walk to the island because of the dangers involved.
Therefore, the best way to access this awe-inspiring island is by kayaking. Just remember to hire a kayak, wear a life vest and bring sunscreen and shoes as it can sometimes get really hot.
Conquer the 1048 Stairs to the top of Koko Head
Known as the Koko Head Stairs of Doom, you’ll need a pretty much different vision and strength to conquer the 1048 stairs of this old railway track. If you’re strong enough to conquer it, you’ll feel your legs burning like never before, but we bet it’ll be worth the burn! Built during the WWII to transport soldiers to the lookouts at the top of Koko Head, you can now hike on these historical stairs at a fee of about $89.
To give you some encouragement, you might want to join a group of fellow hikers to the top of Koko Head on this link. You’ll obviously feel a sense of achievement if you get to the top, but the incredible arch of Koko Head’s back side on your way down will be soothing as well.
Find time to Chase Oahu’s Waterfalls
With some of the best waterfalls in the world such as Waimea Falls, Jackass Ginger Pools, Manoa Falls, Maunawili Falls and Laie Falls, among many others, chasing waterfalls is highly encouraged in Oahu. Although it may seem daunting, this is a perfect way to hike and immerse yourself into some of the most epic falls in Hawaii.
This is a great way to hike through bamboo and rainforest and have the best 4 hours of your life in the jungle at a cost of $31. While this tour is self-guided, you can join a group by following this link.
Hike to Kaena Point; Meet Monk Seal and Watch Newborn Albatross trying to take off
Located on the beautiful Western tip of Oahu, the Kaena Point hike will provide you with one of the best ways to experience Hawaii.
Inaccessible to vehicles, you can walk to the point and get to enjoy the magnificent views and stunning scenery.
While here, you’ll get the chance to see the Hawaiian monk seals, the wedged-tailed Shearwaters, the Laysan albatrosses and the native strand vegetation. Watching the little albatrosses attempting to take off will make you appreciate the unique gift of being human. Just remember not to touch any vegetation or animal.
Find the Lighthouse at Makapuu
Get rewarded for taking on this thrilling Makapuu Head trail by finding the historic red-roofed Makapuu Lighthouse at the very end of the trail. This century old lighthouse is just one of the magnificent things you’ll see during this hike, which costs $22. It’s advisable that you be physically fit for this adventure is no joke but also rewarding thanks to the endless tight pools along the way. You can follow this link if you want to try it in a group.
Survive the Olomana Three Peaks
Protruding dramatically and perilously from the Windward landscape of Oahu, the Olomana Three Peaks Trail is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding and the most dangerous of them all. Each peak gets increasingly harder and more dangerous to the point that you may not make it to the third peak, which is obviously not for those afraid of heights. We recommend you stop on the first peak and always stay safe.
There’s no doubt that Oahu offers some of the best hiking platforms not just in Hawaii but in the world. Whether you’re a casual hiker or a professional hiker, you’ll definitely find the perfect hike for you in Oahu.
Free Things to Do in Oahu
Oahu is a paradise, and so it can be quite expensive. You’ve undeniably spent quite a lot on airfare, hotel accommodation, delectable dinners and other amenities. That said, it’s time to enjoy the free things that Oahu has to offer. It’s not just the beaches and waves that are free, there are loads of other fun-filled activities that are 100% free and won’t have you spending even a dime!
Work off those Extra Pounds and Meet New Friends with Free Beach Workout at Queens Beach
Drive to the Queens Beach in Waikiki every Tuesdays and Fridays at 5-6 p.m. and get involved in Free Beach Workout. Designed for all genders, these workouts are a nice way to shed off that extra pound while on holiday. They’re also a great way to meet and make new friends.
Even though these workouts often last for an hour, you can take a breather if you need one or proceed to the end.
Just remember to bring your medicine ball on Tuesdays, but it’s still okay to attend if you don’t have one.
Watch a Free HulaShow in Waikiki
Immerse yourself into one of Hawaii’s oldest traditions by watching a free Hula show in Waikiki. Held every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., these shows often begin with the lighting of torches and the customary blowing of a conch shell.
All you have to do is find your way to the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound directly across the street from Hyatt Regency Waikiki on Kalakaua Avenue and get to enjoy countless hula performances and ensembles, as well as world-famous luau special shows, all for free.
Visit an Art Gallery in Oahu
If you’re so much into art, you can plan your schedule and get to enjoy the great art of Oahu at the Honolulu Museum of Art whenever it’s opened for free tours and viewing. That is to say, this historic museum is normally a paid attraction but becomes free for public every first Wednesday of each month and the third Sunday of every month courtesy of the Bank of Hawaii.
You can also visit the Spalding House at the Makiki Heights Drive and enjoy some of the best contemporary artworks on display.
Take a Free Hula Lesson in Waikiki
If you’ve ever wanted to learn a thing or two about the amazing Hawaiian art of hula dancing, the Royal Hawaiian Center offers you the best chance absolutely for free!
Just show up and you’ll be good to go. These free lessons are held every Monday, Tuesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., every Wednesday from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and every Saturday from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., all weather permitting.
Enjoy Free Weekly Fireworks
Known as “Happy Aloha Friday,” the week always come to a colorful end in Oahu with some of the amazing fireworks you’ll ever witness. These 10-minute shows begin at 7:45 p.m. and take place at various vantage points in the island.
However, the best place to watch these free fireworks remains on the water while on a Dinner Cruise. Imagine being in the middle of your romantic dinner in the warm ocean water only to see the magical lights show from above in the sky!
Learn to Play Ukulele for Free at the Ukulele Store in Waikiki
The Ukulele Store offers a great opportunity for beginners to learn the basics in minutes and for expert ukulele players to enhance their craft for free everyday between 10:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. You can also buy the instrument itself or any other ukulele-related accessory.
Try Free Cookie Samples at the Honolulu Cookie Company
Just drop by the Honolulu Cookie Company at the Royal Hawaiian Center and you’ll quench your cookie thirst with loads of free yummy cookie samples.
Get Lei for Free at Lei-Making Class
Lei is a great way to celebrate the Hawaiian culture of love, family greetings and aloha. This is a hands-on cultural experience where you’ll not only learn to make this culturally significant garland but will also walk away with one, all for FREE!
Boost Your Body with a Free Yoga Session
Strengthen your body and mind by immersing yourself into free gentle wave SUP yoga sessions every Thursday at the Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu.
Listen to Free Music from Local Entertainers
There are a lot of free first-class Hawaiian music that you can listen to while sipping on a Mai Tai on various joints, including Keiki Hula Show (1:00-1:30 p.m. every Sunday) at the Ala Moana Center, nightly Hawaiian music at the Duke’s on Waikiki Beach, free music at the House Without Keys at the Halekulani and many more.
Enjoy Free Lomi Lomi Hawaiian Massage Presentation
Enjoy a free presentation of the famous Lomi Lomi Nui massage at the Royal Hawaiian Center. This temple-style massage is a holistic massage that combines the knowledge, experience and wisdom of the ancient massage masters known as the kahuns.
Count Waterfalls along H3
Beginning at the Halawa Interchange heading west through the Ko’olau Mountains, the H3 Highway on Oahu is arguably one of the best highways in the world. Part of its beauty is the numerous waterfalls that you can count while driving on the most expensive highway ever built in the U.S.
Pick Hibiscus and Plumeria by the Side of the Road
It’s not uncommon to see hibiscus and plumeria, as well as other flowers tucked behind people’s ears in Hawaii. That’s because they’re readily available and you can simply pick them by the roadside.
Watch One of the Many Free Parades Held Throughout the Year
There are countless free parades held in Oahu throughout the year that you can’t let any pass you by. From Ala Moana Independence Day parades, King Kamehameha Floral parade to Waikiki Holiday Parade, you can’t lack something captivating in the streets of Oahu.
Join a Sunday Service in the Hawaiian Language at Kawaiahao Church
Participate in worship at the Kawaiahao Church on Sundays in the Hawaiian language and strengthen your hope, faith and love in the Supreme Being.
Watch the Friday Night Sailboat Races at the Waikiki Yacht Club
Head down to the Waikiki Yacht Club where members gather at 4:00 p.m. to watch the Friday Night Races, a time-honored tradition at the club. The sailboat races begins at Ala Wai Harbor and end at either Honolulu Harbor or Diamond Head Buoy.
Run the Honolulu Marathon
Taking place annually on the second Sunday of December, test your fitness levels by running the 26.2-mile Honolulu Marathon.
While marvelous holiday destinations such as Oahu are known to be expensive adventures, that shouldn’t act as a discouragement to you. There are a number of free things to do in Oahu that will be quite memorable, especially if you’re on a budget.
Top Foods to Try on Oahu
Hawaiians love to eat. Make a single visit to Oahu and you’ll totally understand why food is the backbone of this great island. Derived from various cultures, foods in Oahu are cheap, fresh, easily accessible and undoubtedly delicious. Whether you’re visiting Oahu for the first time or a seasoned visitor, these dishes are all unique to this island.
Enjoy a Delicious Poke Bowl
Mostly served over a bed of rice, you’ll soon realize that Oahu and Hawaii in general is infamous the delicious poke bowl. This is the amazing cubed raw yellowfin tuna that you’ll find in every corner of the streets, at weddings, beach barbecues or just about anywhere.
As a century-old native Hawaiian meal, just head to the Paina Café or any other poke joint near you, and you’ll never be disappointed with the quality.
Eat a Fresh and Healthy Açaì Bowl
As one of the earliest adopters of the Açaì bowl trend, Hawaii offers endless options for acai bowls, with Oahu known for some of the best. This Brazilian superfruit is cool, refreshing and is full of photogenic properties that have made it a hit on Instagram.
Touted for its health benefits, head to Diamond Head Cove Health Bar in Honolulu or Haleiwa Bowls and you’ll understand why it has become so popular in recent years.
Grab a Malasada from Leonard’s Bakery
Malasadas are almost impossible to come by outside of Hawaii, not even in mainland U.S. This is a hot yeast doughnut made with brioche, eggs and fried to a deep, dark brown color before being rolled in sugar. Even though it originated from Portugal, Malasada has become a Hawaiian delicacy and are known as “little balls of happiness.” Head over to the historic Leonard’s Bakery and you’ll never regret it.
Try the Famous Coco Puff
This Hawaii classic can’t just fail to make the cut whenever delicacies from Hawaii are mentioned. Composed of chocolate pudding, choux pastry and Chantilly, this golf ball-sized delicacy is often served chilled and is a must-have cheap eats in Oahu.
Head over to any Liliha Bakery near you and enjoy this super delicious Hawaiian classic.
Try the Famous Spam Musubi
Imagine just how delicious a food can be to have an annual festival made in its honor! Known as the Spam Jam, this is an annual festival held during the last week of April to honor the amazing Spam Musubi.
It’s an iconic after school snack for Hawaii kids. Served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., the best way to enjoy an authentic Spam Musubi in Oahu is by finding a Hawaiian mom to make you one.
Try Oahu’s Loco Moco
The classic Loco Moco is a beloved calorie-laden Hawaii comfort dish made of juicy beef patty, fried egg. It looks rich when combined with white rice. In essence, this is a tasty meal that you shouldn’t miss devouring whenever you’re in Oahu.
Share with Your Loved One a Sweet Moment over a Large Cone of Flavored Shaved Ice
The Shaved Ice is probably the best thing to quench your thirst when it’s hot and humid in Hawaii. All you’ve got to do is go with your loved one to the Matsumoto and enjoy a large of flavored shaved ice because it would be difficult to go through the entire day without it.
Try Freshly Made Poi
The authentic Hawaiian poi is so delicious, fresh and sweet. It comes in vibrant colors that will make you ask for two scoops instead of one.
Hawaiian kava is an age-old herbal drink that was the beverage choice for the royal families. It’s made from the root of the Piper methysticum, a tropical bitter shrub. Today, you can find it in many places such as the Diamond Head Cove Kava Bar.
Have Some Plate Lunch in a Park under a Tree
There are numerous public recreational parks in Oahu. Get your plate lunch just about anywhere and enjoy it under the cool breeze of a tree.
Enjoy a Romantic Sunset Picnic at the Beach
From Waikiki Beach, Barber’s Point Beach, Kaka’ako Waterfront Park to Ala Moana Beach Park and Poka’i Bay, there are a number of great places to enjoy a romantic sunset picnic in Oahu.
Visit a Giant Japanese Food Court in Beer Garden Atmosphere
Shirokiya Japan Village Walk is a sprawling food court that offers an array of Japanese and French dishes in an indoor beer garden setting. Located at the Ala Moana Center, you’ll find some delicious dishes, as well as soothing beers worth $1!
As you can see, it’s a misconception to even imagine that Hawaiian food is all about luau food accompanied with pineapple juice. Hawaiian food is a melting pot of cultures and sub-cultures. There are a lot of delicious, fast, healthy and affordable Hawaiian foods in Oahu that the rest of the world ought to take a keen interest at.
Top Places to Visit
Whether you’re visiting the island of Oahu for the first time or have been to this great island a couple of times, your concern should only revolve around the diversity of its attractions, which includes sight-seeing spots, entertainment, unique history, pristine beaches, scenic parks and many more. There are a lot of great places to visit, and your trip to Oahu wouldn’t be complete without visiting some of these places.
Stroll around Waikiki
As one of the most famous destinations in Hawaii, there are plenty of things to do and see in Waikiki. From restaurants, shops and beaches to bars and attractions, the best way to enjoy all these is by strolling around Waikiki.
This is perhaps because there’s limited parking in this high rise neighborhood, and so you won’t have to deal with any of that. Just slip into your flip-flops (or slippahs as they call them in Hawaii), and get to enjoy the best of this unique Honolulu neighborhood.
Rock jump at Waimea Bay
Located an hour away from Downtown Honolulu on the north, Waimea Bay Beach Park is a great place for pro divers. Full of ocean cliffs that are nearly 10 meters in height and leads to the crystal-clear aquamarine waters below, Waimea Bay is a perfect spot to practice your cliff jumping skills.
As a first-time cliff jumper, you should desist from jumping because it’s very dangerous. But if you’re one of those pro cliff jumpers, the Waimea Bay will be just a miniscule way to get some great fun in Oahu.
Rent a Kayak and Visit the Mokes
When visiting Oahu, you cannot pass up the chance to enjoy one of Hawaii’s most unforgettable ocean experiences: sailing out to Na Mokulua, which is widely known as The Mokes. While there are several different ways to get out to the Mokes, renting out a kayak is nothing short of surreal especially if you’re in need of a little workout.
You can either hire a kayak and paddle out there by yourself or go in company of a guide if you want a more relaxed trip. You’ll however, need to get a permit if you’re planning to go by yourself.
Enjoy the Views from the Aloha Tower
Located at Pier 9 of the Honolulu Harbor, the Aloha Tower was completed in 1926 at a cost of $190,000. For over three decades after its completion, the Aloha Tower was the tallest building in Hawaii at 184 feet (56 meter), and still remains one of the most famous landmarks in Oahu.
Take an elevator to the top of this structure and enjoy the great views of Downtown Honolulu. The tower is also home to a mall that has many shops that sell a variety of unique local souvenirs. You’ll also find a number of local restaurants such as the Gordon Birsch, which provides great food and drinks.
Take a Picture with the Duke Kahanamoku Statue
Located on the shores of Kuhio Beach in Waikiki, the Duke of Kahanamoku Statue is undoubtedly the most photographed spot in Oahu and welcomes you to Waikiki with open arms. The bronze statue was erected in honor of a true Hawaiian hero, Duke Kahanamoku who is revered as “The father of modern surfing.”
Legend has it that Kahanamoku was one of the greatest watermen ever and is credited for making surfing popular in mainland U.S. Kahanamoku broke the world record in 100-yard freestyle in his maiden competition and went on to win Olympic gold in the 100-meter freestyle in addition to many other accolades in subsequent years. You can then head to the Duke’s in Waikiki for afterward drinks.
Visit the Sunflower Fields
Go to Waialua on the North Shore and Waimanalo on the East Side of Oahu and find the huge golden sunflower fields that will give you a priceless and unforgettable experience.
Visit Spitting Caves of Portlock
Tucked behind the posh homes of Portlock, the Spitting Caves are widely revered for their naturally manicured sea cliffs and disgorging ocean caves. Daredevils have jumped off the 65-foot cliff, but don’t dare try this because it’s dangerous and have claimed many lives. In fact, don’t go to the area without a guide.
Visit Hawaii Children Discovery Center
Located opposite the Kaka’ako Waterfront Park, consider dropping by the Hawaii Children Discovery Center, which is a hands-on museum for families. You can visit on a rainy day, especially when you can’t go to the beach, but not on Monday.
Visit China Walls
Oahu is a volcanic island, and a great evidence of this is the China Walls. They’re marvelously built up layer by layer, from the ocean floor going up 6,000 meters high. Keep in mind that this area is very dangerous for surfing.
Visit the Pacific Aviation Museum
Part of the Pearl Harbor, visit the Pacific Aviation Museum and go behind the scenes to the heart of the hangars, which is home to aircrafts and war heroes in the Pacific.
Fly a Kite at Sandy’s Beach
Located on the South Shore of Oahu, the Sandy Beach might be very dangerous for surfing, but is an excellent place for kite flying.
Visit Chinatown at Night
Honolulu’s Chinatown is a vibrant neighborhood that’s always very busy at night. It comes alive during the First Friday Night celebrations with many locals and tourists parading along.
Visit Iolani Palace
Located in downtown Honolulu and open from Monday through to Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Iolani Palace is a beautifully restored palace full of opulent galleries. While you can go on a self-guided tour, consider going on a guided one, which will make it easier to get a parking space.
Visit Punchbowl National Cemetery
Located at the Punchbowl Crater in Honolulu, the Punchbowl National Cemetery is national memorial cemetery that honor the great women and men who served in the United States Armed Forces. Go on a guided tour and pay respect to these great people who put their lives in line for the country.
Tour a Botanical Garden
A great place to bring the family, the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden is a 400-acre tropical garden in the windward Oahu. Strolling through the garden will give you peace and tranquility like no other.
Enjoy a Dole Whip and Get Lost at the Pineapple Garden Maze
Opened from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., take a mid-morning visit to the Dole Plantation and wonderfully get lost in the world’s largest maze inside the historic pineapple plantation.
Visit the Waikiki Aquarium
Situated next to a living coral reef, the Waikiki Aquarium is an award-winning aquarium that will delight you with its monk seals, multi-colored tropical fish, live corals, reef sharks and many more.
Watch Daredevils Ride 40 Foot Monsters at a Surf Competition
With the world’s best surfers showing off their best skills on the North Shore on Oahu, get to watch some of the best surfing competitions in the world. Don’t be surprised to see these daredevils go 40 feet above water in their conquests to be ranked the best.
Visit the ABC Store for Refreshment and Souvenirs
Maximize your stay in Oahu by dropping by any of the numerous ABC Stores in Waikiki and grab some affordable local Hawaiian goods and souvenirs while refreshing yourself.
If you’ve finally made the decision to cross Oahu off your bucket list of dream destinations, just know that you’ll never be short of great places to see while you’re here. Oahu is not all about soft white sand beaches and warm blue waters, there are a lot of other vibrant places to visit that will never disappoint you.
Best Places to Shop
With a reputation as a great shopping destination, you’ll never lack great places to shop in the streets of Honolulu. Here are some of the best places to shop and get some things to take home with you after your holiday.
Visit the Ala Moana Shopping Center, the Largest Open-air Shopping Center in the World
With over two million square feet of retail space that consists of over 350 shops and restaurants, the Ala Moana Shopping Center in urban Honolulu is by far, the world’s largest open-air shopping center. It’s located next to the sea, which makes it absolutely marvelous.
You’ll find countless designer stores such as Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Versace and many more. There’s also the availability of shops dedicated to beachwear, beauty, shoes, jewelry, art and many more.
Visit One of the 100 Boutiques in Waikiki
Even though most visitors to Oahu are aware of the Ala Moana Shopping Center, that doesn’t mean that it’s the only place to shop. There’s the Collections of Waikiki, which is a set of 100 boutiques and spas located within reach of Waikiki’s four iconic resorts: Royal Hawaiian, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, Sheraton Waikiki and Moana Surfrider. Get into one of these boutiques and sample their goods and what they offer.
Visit the small town of Haleiwa and Shop around
Located in North Shore Oahu, the charming and laid-back Haleiwa is not just about surfing. You can go to Haleiwa and experience local style and country ambiance amidst charming art galleries, cool surf shops, understated restaurants and boutiques.
This is certainly a happy beach town, which gives you the chance to shop at one-of-a-kind boutiques.
Visit the Aloha Stadium and Buy Affordable Souvenirs
If you’re traveling to Oahu on a budget but still want to take carry some great souvenirs back home, you better visit the Aloha Stadium. Held three days a week on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., this stadium market has been in existence since time immemorial.
With an admission fee of $1 and free parking, you’ll find all sorts of items at this amazing swap meet. From handmade crafts, trinkets, shoes, discount clothing and accessories to local food produce and drinks, you’ll never lack something to take back home. Most of these items are miraculously affordable.
Visit Hilo Hattie
For the last 50 years, Hilo Hattie proudly remains the largest manufacturer, distributor and retailer of Hawaiian-themed merchandise including fashion, Aloha shirts, foods, art, jewelry, gifts and many more.
Despite being a little pricey, Hilo Hattie is the tourist Mecca of all things Hawaiian. Unfortunately, it’s closed for now.
Even though you’re visiting Oahu for its holiday amenities and fun adventures, it’s no slouch when it comes to cool boutiques and places to get your shop on. With a plethora of both indoor and outdoor shopping settings, you’re guaranteed to get whatever you want.
From Hawaiian specialty items, local crafts and fresh local food produce to high-end designer goods and island art, Oahu is also an ultimate shopping destination.
With 596.7 square miles of land and 112 miles of coastline, Oahu may only be the third-largest island in Hawaii. Nonetheless, it’s fully packed with activities that makes it one of the best holiday destinations in the world.
From hiking on some of the best trails in the world and eating a delicious Poke bowl to swimming with dolphins and sharks in the calm, blue waters, Oahu is an adventure-filled island that offers much more than pristine beaches, which are of course, great for swimming, surfing and oh, Stand Up Paddling! If you haven’t made any traveling arrangements, it’s time to book your flight to Oahu for a once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable Holiday experience.