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.
Located in Chinatown, this Honolulu department store is easily recognizable by the words “LAI FONG” written in large red letters across the building’s slightly worn, white façade.
Part Irish pub and part local Hawaiian eatery, Murphy’s Bar and Grill is a casual neighborhood gathering spot for local businesspeople and residents. The bar serves 16 beers on tap, as well as a selection of wines.
In the 1990’s the project committed $585 million in public and private funds to transform eight acres of dive bars and budget hotels within an elbow of land framed by Lewers Street, Fort DeRussy Park, and Kalakaua Avenue.
Tobacco heiress Doris Duke stipulated in her will that her opulent and fanciful home (called Shangri La) on the shores of Diamond Head be turned into a museum.
Charles Yee Hoy and staff have been selling antiques at a pair of shops in downtown Kailua for over 25 years. Their first store draws from the mainland and around the globe, and the spinoff around the corner sticks to Hawaii.
The largest open-air flea market in Hawaii, the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet takes place every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday in the parking lot surrounding the stadium. More than 700 local merchants set up tents, selling a wide variety of imported, handmade, and vintage goods.
A must for any music lover visiting Hawaii, Next Door is known as one of the premier music venues in Honolulu. The combination bar and performance venue has an underground feel, enhanced by exposed brick walls throughout the space.
Two native Oahu women lead hiking and driving adventures that focus on the local cultural heritage, sacred sites, and the fragile environment.
Located in a non-touristy part of town, the Dee Lite Bakery is best known for their guava chiffon cake made from a secret recipe since the bakery's opening in 1959. Other selections include the rainbow cake with alternating layers of lime, guava, and passionfruit, and a custard pie.
Located in Honolulu’s Chinatown, this marketplace features a wide range of Asian and Hawaiian foods and merchandise, including meat, seafood, produce, tea, clothing, trinkets, and kukui nut necklaces.
Located in the Ala Moana shopping center, Panya Bistro is an offshoot of the Panya Bakery, a Japanese bakery founded by Alice and Annie Yeung. The bistro is a sort of expansion on the original bakery concept, providing customers with a full-service restaurant, a bakery, and a full bar.
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.