Although Waikiki is a beach destination, there is so much more to this part of Hawaii’s capital than just sand and sun.
Besides the beaches, there’s also a lot to see and do in Waikiki, such as history, architecture, culture, et cetera.
Since commercial flights first landed in Hawaii’s capital city of Honolulu in 1935, tourists have been visiting the area known as Waikiki. It’s a well-known vacation spot for many people.
There are also several activities that you can do in this area, such as surfing and learning to surf. The article covers some of the best things to do in Waikiki (Hawaii).
Where Is Waikiki?
The area known as Waikiki is on the south shore of O’ahu, an island in Hawaii.
The famous Waikiki Beach is one of the most popular beaches in this area. Unfortunately, it’s made almost entirely of artificial sand.
Other notable beaches in this district include Kuhio Beach, Queen’s Beach, and Fort DeRussy Beach.
Waikiki boasts several resort hotels and high-rise buildings. Half of the beach is designated for surfers.
The waves generated by the ocean can have a lot of force, especially during windy periods. This area is ideal for people looking to try long-boarding or tandem surfing.
Other public facilities in this area include the Ala Wai Harbor and Kapiolani Park. From 1792 to 1796, the Kingdom of Hawaii’s capital was located in this area.
Things To Do In Waikiki (Hawaii)
Waikiki is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Hawaii. The area of Waikiki is known for its crystal-clear beaches and big blue skies and is an excellent choice for tourists looking for a tropical paradise with many activities and cultures. These are some of the fun things to do in Waikiki;
1. The Waikiki Beach
A major attraction in Waikiki is the famous Waikiki beach. During your stay in Waikiki, it is almost impossible not to see the beach.
With that in mind, you can enjoy a drink at one of the many bars and restaurants in the area known as Waikiki Beach.
The statue of Duke Kahanamoku, a native of Hawaii and also regarded as the father of surfing.
This statue is at the coast. You can learn how to surf, swim, or even take a canoe or a paddling board under his gaze.
Address: This famous beach is at Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815, United States.
2. Leonard’s Bakery
Since the 1950s, this Portuguese establishment has been known for its pastries and desserts.
In addition, it is a popular destination for traditional Hawaiian dishes, such as the malasada.
However, despite its Portuguese origins, this business has also become known for its other popular items.
According to Leonard’s Bakery, they sell over 15,000 pastries a day in Hawaii. This impressive figure shows just how popular the malasada is in the state.
Address: This bakery is at 933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816, United States.
3. Hilton Hawaiian Village
If you’re planning on spending a little bit more on your trip to Hawaii, then this hotel is a great choice. It’s located in the city’s heart and offers various services and facilities.
The area has many lavish resorts, but the Hilton Hawaiian Village stands out. This hotel is located in the city’s heart and offers various services and facilities.
Address: The Hilton Hawaiian village is at 2005 Kālia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States.
4. House Without A Key
This restaurant is famous for its delicious food and under-the-stars service. It also has a solid connection to the Hawaiian culture.
It’s also an iconic establishment featured in Charlie Chan’s 1925 novel House Without a Key, which was a tale that went on to enjoy multiple movie adaptations.
The restaurant’s menu contains delectable options, such as Asian pear tartare, scallops, and double chocolate cake. However, if you’re craving something different, try their foie gras croquettes or Asian pear tart.
Address: This house is at 2199 Kālia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States.
5. Iolani Palace
Before the monarchy was removed from Hawaii in the 1800s, it was the home of the state’s last remaining monarchs.
There are multiple tours available to explore the interior and exterior grounds. They can also take you to various areas such as drawing and sitting rooms.
You can also visit historical sites such as Queen Lili’uokalani’s lanai, where she took evening walks after her house arrest in 1895.
Address: This palace is at 364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813, United States.
6. Queens Waikiki Luau
One of the most popular activities in Hawaii is a ceremonial luau. At Queens Waikiki Luau, you’ll experience this type of authentic experience. This type of event is also fun and helps you understand the culture.
Besides showcasing the traditional dance form, this event also features live music performances and demonstrations. It’s additionally fun to watch the various groups perform.
Address: This attraction is at 2330 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States.
7. Kuhio Beach Hula Show
The Kuhio Beach Hula Show is a yearly event showcasing Hawaii’s various sacred traditions.
The Kuhio Beach Hula Show is a must-visit event for anyone planning to visit Hawaii. It’s also an excellent way to explore some of Waikiki’s budget-friendly attractions.
Despite Waikiki’s reputation for being expensive, there are plenty of free activities in Hawaii that are ideal for anyone looking to explore the island.
Address: This beach is at Kuhio Beach Hula Mound, Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States.
8. Diamond Head
Another popular attraction in Waikiki is Diamond Head, a combination of mountains and a lagoon in the middle of the island.
It’s also a great way to explore the area. This region is full of trails that can take you to various observation points.
One of the popular activities available in Diamond Head is exploring an old-World War II bunker. This area covers 475 acres, so it’s a great way to explore the area during your vacation.
Address: This attraction is at 18th Ave. Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815, United States.
9. Foster Botanical Gardens
The Foster Botanical Gardens is also known for its peaceful atmosphere. Although trees mostly dominate it, this facility features Buddhist leanings.
Various items in the garden, such as the Siddhartha tree, contain these leanings.
The gardens have various exciting objects such as baobabs, orchids, and butterflies.
Besides the gardens, this facility has multiple other attractions, such as temples and statues. These can be visited on-site. You can additionally picnic under the flowers in the gardens.
Address: This garden is at 180 N Vineyard Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817, United States.
10. Bishop Museum
The facility is dedicated to preserving the legacy of Hawaii’s founding population. It also features a variety of natural science exhibits.
The museum is one of the fun things to do in Waikiki with friends and family while learning more about the world around you.
The Bishop Museum is an important historical site in Waikiki. It’s a must-visit for anyone who’s planning on visiting Hawaii.
Address: This museum is at 1525 Bernice St, Honolulu, HI 96817, United States.
11. Ala Moana Center
This upscale shopping mall located in Waikiki is known for its lavish atmosphere. This facility features several luxury brands situated inside its open-air plaza.
The Ala Moana Center is the largest shopping mall on Oahu island. It’s also a cultural icon for tourists.
With almost 300 stores, this facility is a must-visit for anyone who plans to visit Waikiki.
Address: This center is at 1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814, United States.
12. Breakout Waikiki
If you’re tired of the sun and need a break from the beach, then try Breakout Waikiki, which has five different games.
It’s a great place to challenge your friends and see who can survive a nuclear disaster.
Former President Barack Obama once visited Breakout Waikiki during a press tour. This facility is the only escape room in the U.S. visited by a sitting president.
Address: This facility is at 227 Lewers St #112, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States.
The Chinatown of Hawaii was established in the 1800s after sugar plantation workers brought in immigrants from other countries.
This cultural icon is a must-visit for anyone planning to visit the island.
Chinatown is also home to other ethnic groups, such as the Japanese, Vietnamese, and Malaysian communities.
Address: This attraction is at 100 N Beretania St, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96817, United States.
14. Ala Wai Golf Course
The magnificent Ala Wai Golf Course is a must-visit for anyone who plans to visit Waikiki.
It overlooks some of the most prominent sights in the area, such as Diamond Head and the Koolau Mountains.
The course has 18 holes and features various professional and recreational player facilities.
It also has a snack bar and an on-site grill. These facilities are ideal for people looking for something to eat after a game.
Address: The Ala Wai Golf Course golf course is at 404 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States.
15. Waikiki Aquarium
The large aquarium located in Waikiki features over 3,500 living organisms. It was constructed right along the shoreline of a coral reef. Visiting this facility is one of the exciting things to do in Waikiki.
The aquarium features various types of marine life, such as jellyfish, sea snakes, and clams. A free audio tour is also available for those using a smartphone.
Address: The aquarium is at 2777 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States.
16. Manoa Falls Trail
The beautiful scenery of Manoa Falls Trail in Waikiki has been featured in various movies, such as “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” making it a famous location for film shoots.
One of the main attractions on this trail is the beautiful waterfall known as the Manoa Falls.
Other popular attractions include the Rainbow Valley and the Lyon Arboretum. Hiking on this trail is one of the best things to do in Waikiki if you’re a fan of trails.
Address: The trail is at Na Ala Hele, Honolulu, HI 96822, United States.
17. Pearl Harbor National Memorial
Although it’s not technically in the city of Honolulu, the Pearl Harbor National Memorial is only a short drive away.
It’s considered one of the most significant things to see in Hawaii. It is a grim reminder of the tragedy that befell the United States on the 7th of December 1941 after the Japanese attacked it.
You can also coordinate with other tour participants to view the various exhibits.
Address: This attraction is at 1 Arizona Memorial Pl, Honolulu, HI 96818, United States.
18. Hana Koa Brewing Company
If you’re a fan of local brews, you can also participate in tours and samplings. These allow you to better understand how their ingredients transform into their final form.
The restaurant at the brewery is also excellent. There’s a wide range of food options, from finger food to full-course meals.
It has an Asian-inspired menu that includes dishes such as lettuce wraps, fried tofu, and Korean-style ribs.
Address: Hana Koa Brewing is at 962 Kawaiahao St, Honolulu, HI 96814, United States.
19. Mai Tai Bar
If you’re hungry for killer cocktails, head to the Mai Tai Bar. This establishment offers a wide range of drinks and food options.
Its signature drink is the Mai Tai, but it has other options such as wine, tequila, and draft beers.
The waves crashing into the beach in front of you create an ambient atmosphere unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Address: The bar is at 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States.
20. Moana Hotel
The magnificent hotel known as the Moana Surfrider is a must-visit for anyone looking for a luxurious resort experience in Waikiki. It features a wide range of facilities and services.
Address: Moana hotel is at 2365 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States.
21. Honolulu Museum of Art
The Honolulu Museum of Art is a must-visit for anyone interested in art. It has over 50,000 pieces on display, and it’s one of the most prominent art galleries on the island.
Address: The museum is at 900 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96814, United States.
Best Time To Visit Waikiki
The best time to visit Waikiki is during April, May, September, and October because the weather is perfect during this period, and it is less crowded.
Cost Of Visiting Waikiki
The average cost of a trip to Waikiki is $2,172 if you’re traveling alone. So a 7-day trip to Oahu costs around $7,313 for a family of four and about $4,000 for a couple.