Oahu

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.

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.

With its protected beach, this is one of the North Shore's safest places to learn the sport. The school also runs classes in Waikiki.

Hawaiian shirts sell for as little as $4, but vintage varieties from the 1930s will set you back thousands of dollars.

This slightly off-the-beaten-path bar in Chinatown is known among locals for its impressive selection of beers — more than 150 from around the world.

The Honolulu Museum of Art is home to a 60,000-piece collection of art, with an emphasis on Asian works, including Buddhist and Shinto sculptures and Korean ceramics. More than 10,000 examples of Japanese ukiyo-ewoodblock prints comprise the James A. Michener collection.

Henry Adaniya might be the city’s most improbable new restaurateur. He closed his acclaimed Chicago restaurant Trio—where chefs Rick Tramonto and Grant Achatz made their names—to bring the upscale hot dog craze to Honolulu in 2007.

What to Expect: Framed by Diamond Head, one of the world’s most climbed (extinct) volcanoes, and with nearly two miles of continuous white sand and palm trees, this iconic beach is almost always full of tourists and surfers.

Opened in 1994, this eatery has been at the forefront of Chinatown’s trendy renaissance.

Make the trip to the zoo, pausing to inspect a massive immobile tortoise taking a dust bath, then gawping at the unlikely spectacle of an ambulating landmass, which turns out to be a black rhinoceros.