Things to do in Oahu
From the peak of Diamond Head to a coastline of pristine beaches, the list of what to do on Oahu is an especially colorful one.
Most travelers choose Oahu for its white-sand shores and warm Pacific waters, and aside from the famed, tourist-packed Waikiki Beach, there are plenty of more secluded havens for surfers and sunbathers alike.
Many of the most popular things to do on Oahu can also be found in the city of Honolulu itself. Tour the historic 'Iolani Palace, or learn about the island's cultural and natural history at the Bishop Museum. Honolulu is also home to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
Further off the beaten path, travelers can find things to do on Oahu along the dirt roads that lead to forested inland valleys; toward secluded beaches and the local-populated North Shore. Visitors can also hike to the top of the volcanic Diamond Head--its defining skyline trait--for a panoramic view of the island.
For quintessential island experiences, be sure to include a luau on your the list of what to do on Oahu. The festivities include, traditional dishes like Kalua pork and poi, live music, dancing performances and more.
Segway of Hawaii provides tours of the island of Oahu on wheeled, human gliders. A number of excursions are available, including the Diamond Head and Waikiki Tour, as well as the Honolulu History Tour.
Hanaiakamalama was the summer retreat of Queen Emma, the consort of King Kamehamena IV, and their son Prince Albert Edward. It is situated in the Nu'uanu Valley, a mountain pass overlooking the Honolulu plains (and only a 10-minute drive by car from downtown).
Fresh flowers and good prices are the norm at the M. P. Lei Shop, on Maunakea Street, in Honolulu’s Chinatown. Look for the storefront with sky-blue trim, colorful Asian lanterns hanging from the eaves, flowers in the open doorway, and a sign that includes Chinese characters.
Located at the Moana Surfrider Hotel, the Beach Bar faces famous Waikiki Beach and provides customers with unparalleled views of the sand and water from beneath its signature banyan tree.
What: This family-owned shop in Sunset Beach is splashed with a deep-sea graffiti mural.
Who: The Nakamuras serve solid renditions of fish sandwiches and bento boxes of chicken katsu or teriyaki beef.
Established in 1952 by the grandson of Portuguese immigrants, Leonard’s is best known for its malasadas, traditional Portuguese pastries made of fried dough rolled in sugar or filled with puddings.
Mokuleia is a popular destination for water activities including kite- and wind-surfing in south winds, snorkeling, camping, and hiking. Located on the North Shore just off Farrington Highway, this narrow beach has views of the mountains across the highway.
The Veranda at the Kahala Hotel & Resort transports guests to a bygone era in Hawaii’s history. This plantation-inspired lounge overlooks the resort’s Dolphin Lagoon with both indoor and and al fresco seating.
Ride TheBus, and stop at historic Diamond Head Lighthouse, on the Eastern end of Waikiki Beach.
Owned by the Kona Brewing Company, the Koko Marina Pub is located on the docks of the Koko Marina Center and provides diners with expansive views of the marina and the surrounding mountains.
Probably the best museum complex in the world for everything Polynesian (as well as Melanesian and Micronesian), the Bishop is Hawaii’s most famous museum—and worth the hassle of getting to its out-of-the-way location just off the H-1 interstate.
Founded with the purpose of promoting Hawaii as a bastion of the arts and fostering artistic relations between the east and west, thirtyninehotel is part art gallery, part performance venue.
Sit under a pink umbrella while drifting off to the island melodies of slack-key guitarist Ledward Ka’apana. Later, sip Hawaiian rum at the volcanic island’s new hot spot.
This shop offers a vast treasure trove of Japanese antiques, from lacquered 19th-century chests to small combs.
Bob’s sells one product mainly, the evocative and characteristically Hawaiian four-string guitar. There are ukes of ribbon-grained koa that cost hundreds and soprano ukes of mahogany that go for $90 and touristy ones of laminated wood for 50 bucks.