Things to do in Honolulu and Waikiki

55 Best Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

Last Updated on April 15, 2024 by Kelly

Honolulu is a dream destination. Although going to the beach is one of our favorite things to do, the truth is, there are tons of fun activities in Honolulu! I’ve visited Honolulu several times over the years. I’ve been to many of the Hawaiian islands, including Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island. I always make sure to spend several days in Honolulu any time I visit in the islands. In this post, I’m sharing a list of 55 things to do in Honolulu. This list includes the best beaches, activities, and experiences. I’ve also included a Honolulu Visit Guide with recommended restaurants and hotels. 

If you’re in a hurry, my favorite things to do in Honolulu are:

  • Swim at Waikiki Beach
  • Luau at the Royal Hawaiian
  • Eat malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery
  • Relax at the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon
  • Order shave ice for a treat
Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon in Waikiki Beach
Here I am going for a walk at the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon

Best Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

things to do in Honolulu and Waikiki

1. Waikiki Beach

Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort

The first is probably the most obvious, but you should definitely visit the beach! Waikiki Beach is two miles long and is absolutely breathtaking. Take a walk along the golden sands and play in the sparkling water. The beach is conveniently located near many of the hotels and attractions of Honolulu. Be prepared for crowds, because this is one of the most popular beaches in Hawaii. Be sure to see our full list of things to do at Waikiki Beach

2. Duke Kahanamoku Statue

Located on Kuhio Beach (part of Waikiki), the Duke Kahanamoku Statue pays homage to the Father of Modern Surfing. He taught many visitors how to surf, and we was elected to the Surfing Hall of Fame. 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

3. Go to a Luau

Royal Hawaiian Luau in Waikiki

There are several venues in Honolulu that offer luaus. Most luaus will include a traditional Hawaiian dinner as well as a show. The luau at Paradise Cove includes hula dancers, fire twirlers, and musicians. You can also choose to have transportation included from select Waikiki hotels.

Head over the Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, to experience an authentic luau. You’ll get to feast upon traditional Hawaiian food while you watch hula dancers and learn about the island’s history. The luau takes place every Monday and Thursday night. You can read all about our experience at the Royal Hawaiian’s luau. The Royal Hawaiian is also known as the “Pink Palace of the Pacific.” 

4. Outrigger Canoe Surfing

Try your hand at outrigger canoe surfing! This is one of the safest ocean vessels. As long as you and everyone in your party is 5-years-old and older, you can book this experience. At the time of this writing, a 30-minute experience only costs $35 per person. 

5. Sunset Cruise

A sunset cruise is the perfect way to cap off a day at Waikiki Beach. There are many companies that offer sunset cruises or ‘booze cruises’, one of which is Manu Kai. The sunset cruise is offered daily at 5:30pm and lasts 1.5 hours. Adults and children are allowed to book. Adults 21 years and older will receive up to three complimentary mai tai cocktails. If you’re lucky, you might even see the famed green flash at sunset. The green flash is a phenomenon in which the sunset glows green due to how the earth’s atmosphere bends the light.

Another sunset cruise option is the Star Casual Sunset Dinner & Show cruise. The cruise is 2 hours long (3 hours on Fridays), and includes dinner and a show while you cruise on the boat. At the time of this writing, an adult ticket was $115. Children are also welcome to attend. 

6. International Market Place

International Market Place in Honolulu Hawaii

The International Market Place is a great place to go shopping. There are over 80 unique stores and restaurants. We visited the International Market Place when I was 16 years old, and I still have fond memories of exploring the shops. During our most recent visit to the International Market Place, there was an active farmers market and lots of souvenir shops.

7. Kalakaua Avenue

Kalakaua Avenue is the main street in Waikiki. This street follows the beach and is filled with lots of shops and restaurants. The street is named after the last monarch, King Kalakaua. You can view his statue at 2050 Kalakaua Avenue.

8. Waikiki Aquarium

The Waikiki Aquarium has over a dozen exhibits showcasing local marine life. The aquarium is open from 9am to 4:30pm daily. At the time of this writing, tickets were $12 for general adult admission. 

9. Royal Hawaiian Center

The Royal Hawaiian Center hosts many cultural events focused on indigenous Hawaiians’ history and customs. The Royal Grove is in the center of the Royal Hawaiian Center and is filled with coconut trees. There are over 100 stores and restaurants at the Royal Hawaiian Center. 

10. Honolulu Museum of Art

The Honolulu Museum of Art (HoMA) has a variety of exhibits, galleries, and courtyards. Admission is free for children under 18 years old. 

11. Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo has a variety of animals, including giraffes, zebras and lions. The zoo even has a twilight tour on Saturday evenings after close. If you book the tour, you’ll have 2-hours with an educator and you’ll learn all about the animals after the other visitors have gone home.

12. Hike Diamond Head (Le’ahi)

The giant crater that you can see from Waikiki Beach is called Le’ahi in native Hawaiian, and is otherwise known as Diamond Head. You can actually hike to the top and be rewarded with excellent views of Waikiki. The Diamond Head trail is 1.6 miles long roundtrip and takes approximately two hours to complete. There’s a total elevation gain of 560 feet, which makes this a moderately difficult hike. Don’t underestimate the difficulty of the trail and bring lots of water. It might be harder to hike this trail with younger kids if you’re not an experienced hiker. I hiked this trail when I was younger, and I definitely felt the burn for the final set of stairs! As of May 12, 2022, outside visitors need to have a reservation to visit Diamond Head. 

13. Foster Botanical Garden

The Foster Botanical Garden is the oldest botanical garden in Honolulu. It’s a beautiful green oasis located right in the center of the city. The garden contains a conservatory, outdoor butterfly garden, palm garden, and more. If you’re interested in tropical plants, it’s the perfect place to visit.

Tip: Make sure that you bring a Reef-Safe Sunscreen to Hawaii. There are strict requirements about what is allowed in order to protect the marine wildlife.

14. Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace was built in 1892 and was the official residence of Hawaiian royalty. Today, it’s a museum that is filled with priceless works of art and items of historical significance. 

15. Ala Moana Center

The Ala Moana Center is a large open-air shopping mall in Honolulu. There are over 300 stores at the Ala Moana Center, so take your time shopping!

16. Queen Kapiolani Garden

Head over to Kapiolani Park and visit the Queen Kapiolani Garden. The garden is filled with hibiscus flowers, which are the state flower of Hawaii. 

17. Chinatown and the Oahu Market

Honolulu’s Chinatown is filled with excellent restaurants and shops. The Oahu Market takes place there and is filled with fresh fruits and vegetables.

18. Waikiki Historic Trail

As you walk through Waikiki, you may notice surfboards with historical information written on them. This is part of the Waikiki Historic Trail. If you walk the full trail, you’ll learn all about the history of Waikiki. 

19. Helicopter Tour

A helicopter tour will give you an aerial view of Waikiki, Honolulu, and the numerous beaches. There’s even some tours that are doors off, in which you have completely unobstructed views of the coast! (The doors off option is great if you want to practice photography without shooting behind a glass window.) 

20. Pearl Harbor National Memorial

About 10 miles away from Honolulu is the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. There is a memorial theater, several exhibits, a circle of remembrance, and a boat ride to the USS Arizona Memorial. You can reserve your tickets in advance of your visit.

21. Parasailing

Parasailing is one memorable way to view the beach! There are several operators in Honolulu, including Hawaiian Parasail. The rides last about an hour and start at $84 per person. You have to be at least 5 years old to parasail. My brother and I went parasailing in Maui when we were teenagers, and it was a really fun experience!

22. Manoa Falls Trail

Manoa Falls Trail is a hike that is super close to Waikiki. (About 5 miles away.) The trail is 1.7 miles roundtrip with 633 feet of elevation gain. It’s a popular trail, so head out early if you want to beat the crowds. The trail will take you through a lush rainforest and will end at Manoa Falls. A cool fact about this trail is that it was used for filming scenes from Jurassic Park and Lost! The trail is mostly shaded and can be muddy. Be sure to wear appropriate shoes. (No flip flops for this one!) Even if it’s sunny in Waikiki, it could be drizzling on this trail because Manoa Falls is in a rainforest microclimate. Manoa Falls is 100-feet-high and falls down a sheer rock face. There’s no swimming at the pool at the bottom. When you’re finished with the hike, bring an extra pair of shoes for the drive back to town. (That way you can put your muddy shoes in a plastic bag.)

23. US Army Museum of Hawaii

The US Army Museum of Hawaii is filled with exhibits about the military history of Hawaii. You’ll learn about warfare hundreds of years ago, the attack on Pearl Harbor, the struggle of Japanese Americans, and the Vietnam War. Admission is free, with donations greatly accepted. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday.

24. Atlantis Submarines

Submerge 100 feet underwater in a submarine and view the marine life up close with Atlantis Adventures! The submarine holds 62 guests and contains viewing portholes. If you have young children, they must be at least 36 inches tall to join and they have to be able to independently go down an 11-step ladder. To access the submarine, you’ll take a small shuttle boat. You’ll spend about 45-50 minutes on the submarine. Allow at least 1.5 hours in total for the experience. At the time of this writing, an adult ticket costs $143.

25. Snorkel Cruise of Turtle Canyon

Take a snorkel cruise from Waikiki and observe the abundant marine life while snorkeling. The snorkel cruise will take you to Turtle Canyon, where you will very likely see Green Sea Turtles among the Hawaiian reefs. The cruise is 2.5 hours long and you’ll get to sail on a 45 foot catamaran. The tour departs from the Outrigger Reef Hotel. 

26. Moana Surfrider Hotel

The historic Moana Surfrider Hotel was first opened in 1901 and was the first hotel on Waikiki Beach. It’s known as the “First Lady of Waikiki.” If you stay at this hotel, you’ll be steps away from the beach and have access to a gorgeous pool with views of the ocean. Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, it’s worth checking out for its historical significance. 

27. Shave Ice

Shave ice in Honolulu and Waikiki
We got this shave ice at the Wiki Wiki Market at the Hilton Hawaiian Village

One thing you’ll have to try while you’re in Honolulu is the shave ice. We recommend that you visit Shimazu Shave Ice and Waiola Shave Ice. It’s the perfect way to stay cool on a hot Hawaiian day! 

28. Food Tour

One of our favorite things to do while traveling is to go on a food tour. There’s one food tour in which visitors ride bikes and sample some of the city’s best food. If you like beer, you can also book a beer lovers tour. If you prefer a sit-down meal, you can also make reservations at the Hard Rock Cafe in Honolulu.

29. Mai Tais at Duke’s

Duke’s Waikiki is right on the beach and is one of the most famous places to grab a cocktail and watch the sunset. In addition to sit-down dining, there is also a barefoot bar. Try a classic Hawaiian cocktail (like a Mai Tai), and watch the sunset. Duke Paoa Kahanamoku was born in 1890. During his remarkable life, he competed in the Olympics, introduced surfing all over the world, and was Hawaii’s Official Ambassador of Aloha.

30. Observation Deck at Aloha Tower

The Aloha Tower’s observation deck is located on the 10th floor and is free to visitors. You can visit anytime between 9:00am and 5pm. You’ll be treated to panoramic views of Honolulu. The tower was built in 1926 and definitely has retained its historic feel. Please be sure to check that the Observation Deck is open in advance of your visit.

31. Surf Lessons

If you’ve ever wanted to try surfing, Waikiki is the place to learn! Sign up for surf lessons and learn how to ride a wave. The best part about learning to surf in Waikiki is that you’ll be surrounded by other beginners, so don’t feel shy about your ability level and give it a try! 

32. Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon

Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, things to do in Honolulu

The Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon near the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort is the perfect place to enjoy the water without having big waves. The lagoon is maintained by the Hilton Hawaiian Village resort, but it’s free to the public. It’s very similar to a large saltwater pool. The water is very clear, there are no big waves, and there’s an island in the middle of the lagoon. We enjoyed taking our toddler to the lagoon because the water was more calm for her to more freely play. 

33. Aqua Bike

Aqua bike at the duke Kahanamoku lagoon, things to do in Honolulu

The Duke Kanahamoku Lagoon has a variety of rentals, including aqua bikes. If you want to try biking over the water, head to the lagoon!

34. Standup Paddle board Yoga

If you like to do yoga, try doing it at a “floating studio” while you’re on a standup paddle board. You’ll get to enjoy yoga right on the water! There are several group classes available, one of which is 90 minutes and will teach you how to paddle board. At the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon, you can also rent paddle boards.

35. Aloha Swap Meet

The Aloha Swap Meet takes place at Aloha Stadium. It’s typically open several times a week and is filled with all sorts of treasures. Admission is just $1 per person.

36. Bishop Museum

The Bishop Museum has a variety of exhibits dedicated to Hawaii’s history. You’ll learn about Polynesian wayfinding, Hawaiian gods and legends, and 19th century Hawaiian art. (To name a few things.)

37. Lyon Arboretum

On the outskirts of Honolulu is the Lyon Arboretum, which is managed by the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. The arboretum contains a visitor center, themed gardens, memorial gardens, and many acres of lush plant life. 

38. Shangri La Museum

The Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture, and Design is dedicated to displaying and educating about Islamic art. Currently, you can only access this museum by booking a tour through the Honolulu Museum of Art Thursday through Saturday by reservation. 

39. Kawaiahaʻo Church

The Kawaiahaʻo Church is a historic church in downtown Honolulu. The church, established in 1820, is now over 200 years old. They typically offer a self-guided walking tour of the church and grounds. 

40. Hawaii CinemAttractions

Watch a film with fully immersive 4DFX technology. There are a variety of different films you can choose from. At the time of this writing, we recommend checking out Soaring Over Hawaii and Adventure Quest Hawaii. The seats are equipped with special effects for motion, vibration, water, wind, and scent.

41. Ride the Waikiki Trolley

A fun way to explore the city is to take the Waikiki Trolley tour. You can hop on and off as you like, and you can buy passes for 1, 4, or 7 days.

42. Try a Malasada

malasadas from Leonard's Bakery, things to do in Honolulu
Be sure to try a malasada!

Head to Leonard’s Bakery and try a malasada. Malasadas are Portuguese donuts and are extremely popular in Hawaii. The malasadas can be coated with different flavors, and the malasada puffs can be filled with different flavors. Examples include macadamia nut, haupia, and guava. The line can be really long, so I recommend that you visit early on a weekday morning. I got there around 7am on a weekday and there was almost no line. The malasadas are made to order, so there is a bit of a wait after you order. But when you do get your order, they will be fresh and hot! We loved the original malasada and the guava malasada puff. You can read all about our trip to Leonard’s Bakery.

43. Go Whale Watching

Humpback whales are most commonly sighted in Honolulu from December until May, when they migrate to warmer waters. When you book a whale-watching tour, you’ll get the opportunity to be out on the water in places the whales commonly visit. Many of the whale-watching tours will offer a free return trip if you don’t see whales during your visit, so you don’t have much to lose by going out and looking!

44. Afternoon Tea at the Veranda Beach House

Head to the Moana Surfrider for afternoon tea at the Veranda. You’ll be served tea, finger sandwiches, and sweets in the open-air veranda with ocean views. You can also upgrade the experience by ordering sparkling rose to be served with your tea service. 

45. Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu

The Hard Rock Cafe has a location in Honolulu. Indulge in a burger, milkshake, and cocktail while you enjoy the music.

46. ABC Stores

There are dozens of ABC Stores in Hawaii, and you will see many of them in Honolulu. ABC Stores are a large, local chain that includes souvenirs and convenience items. Chances are you will visit at least one ABC Store while you’re on the island!

47. Experience the Local Coffee

The Honolulu Coffee Experience Center is open daily from 7am to 3pm. The center roasts coffee beans from Kona (located on the Big Island). The experience center is in a 9,000 square foot building and was established in 2015. Tastings and tours are currently unavailable at the time of this writing, but mobile ordering is open. We hope they offer tours again soon.

48. Diamond Head Theatre

The Diamond Head Theatre, also known as “Broadway of the Pacific,” was built in 1915.

49. Book a Spa Day

The Moana Lani Spa is located within the Moana Surfrider Hotel. Their relaxation lounges have lanais with view of Waikiki Beach.

50. Centennial Park

The new Centennial Park is one of the only large green spaces within walking distance of Waikiki. The expansive lawns are perfect for children to run around.

51. e-Bike Diamond Head

Take the scenic route to Diamond Head by renting an e-Bike for a private tour. The tour I linked allows for riding around Diamond Head and then hiking to the top. 

52. Have a Mermaid Photo Shoot

You can learn how to snorkel while also being dressed as a mermaid for a photo shoot. They’ll provide you with a mermaid tail and show you the best poses.

53. Drink Out of a Pineapple or a Coconut

Pineapple smoothie at Bluewater Shrimp & Seafood, things to do in Honolulu

There are lots of places in Waikiki that offer cocktails, smoothies, and juices from fresh pineapples and coconuts. We bought the pineapple smoothie pictured here from Bluewater Shrimp & Seafood.

54. Have a Tropical Cocktail

tropical cocktails in Honolulu, things to do in Waikiki
Pictured here is a Pina Colada, a Pina Colada with Lava Flow (strawberry swirl), and a Blue Hawaiian from Hau Tree Bar.

While in Hawaii, try one of their many tropical drinks. The bars serve Mai Tais, Pina Coladas, Blue Hawaiians, and Daiquiris. They serve mocktails too!

55. Watch the Sunset

sunset in Waikiki

Cap off a day in Waikiki by watching the sunset. We missed the sunset the first few days we were in Waikiki because we weren’t sure where to view it! We asked the front desk at our hotel, and it turns out we had to walk further down the beach near the parking lot by the Ala Wai Boat Harbor to watch the sunset. Of course, the location will vary depending on the season.


Be a respectful guest when visiting the Hawaiian islands.

Follow Leave No Trace guidelines when you are out exploring and at the beaches. Stay on marked trails, don’t feed wildlife, and don’t litter.

It’s illegal to touch or feed the turtles. Try to leave the area exactly as you found it.

If you are not a Native Hawaiian, I recommend that you learn about the island’s history, indigenous people, and impact of colonization ahead of your trip.

Honolulu is known as the “Manhattan of the Pacific” because of its urban setting. Be sure to set aside enough time in your itinerary to fully explore this gem of a city

things to do in Honolulu and Waikiki

Recommended Hotels

Hilton Hawaiian Village
Our recent stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village

We recommend staying in Waikiki when you visit Honolulu. You’ll be steps away from the beach, and you’ll have a dazzling array of restaurants and shops within walking distance. 

Luxury Hotels

  • Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort: When we visited Waikiki in 2022, we stayed at the Ali’i Tower at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The Ali’i Tower is the most luxurious tower on the resort property, and it has its own private pool, lounge, and check-in. The Ali’i Tower has ocean-view and oceanfront rooms, and it’s just steps away from the beach and lagoon. We wrote a full review of our stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village if you’d like to learn more.
  • Halekulani Hotel: This luxury 5-star hotel has a beautiful pool overlooking Waikiki with a mosaic floor of 1.2 million pieces of glass tiles. The hotel also offers daily surfing demonstrations.
  • The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort: This is another 5-star located right on the beach with two pool options. (Plus poolside cabanas!)

Moderately Priced Hotels

  • Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel: This hotel is located within walking distance of the beach, as well as other attractions such as the Honolulu Zoo and Kapahulu Avenue. 
  • Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach: Waikiki Beach is just a 3-minute walk from this hotel. This hotel also offers daily complimentary breakfast. 

Budget Hotels

  • Aqua Aloha Surf Waikiki Hotel: This hotel is located just a few blocks away from Waikiki Beach. There’s also a small outdoor pool.
  • Ilima Hotel: This hotel is just a couple of blocks from the beach, and it has free parking.


13 Activities Near Honolulu

There are also tons of cool things to see outside of Honolulu on the island of Oahu! Here are a few ideas to help you plan your trip. (Many of these can easily be day trips from Honolulu, or you can look at staying in multiple cities.)

1. Polynesian Cultural Center

At the Polynesian Cultural Center, you will learn all about the people of the Pacific Islands. It’s truly an immersive experience, with lots of live music, dance, and demonstrations. The center has six replicas of villages from the following islands: Hawaii, Tonga, Tahiti, Samoa, Aotearoa, and Fiji. The Polynesian Cultural Center also has one of the best luau’s and evening shows that you will find on the island! I visited the Polynesian Cultural Center when I was 16-years-old, and I still have amazing memories of that experience.

2. Dole Pineapple Plantation

dole whip at the Dole Pineapple Plantation, things to do in Hawaii

The Dole Pineapple Plantation started as a fruit stand in 1950. You can tour the property and learn all about pineapples. With booked tickets, there is a Pineapple Express Train Tour, Plantation Garden Tour, and Pineapple Garden Maze. Don’t leave without trying their world-famous Dole Whip. If you’re a Disney fan like us, then you’ve probably tried it at Disneyland or Walt Disney World. At the Dole Pineapple Plantation, you can try it straight from the source! We wrote all about our visit to the Dole Pineapple Plantation.

3. Go Dolphin Watching

Dolphins also inhabit the waters around Oahu, and there are special tours that will take you out to see them. The Dolphin Star complies with all guidelines for the protection of marine mammals. Their large catamaran

4. Halona Blowhole Lookout

The Halona Blowhole Lookout is one of Hawaii’s most famous natural wonders. When waves hit the dried lava tubes, water shoots high up into the air like a blowhole. 

5. Kualoa Ranch (Jurassic Adventure Tour)

If you’re a big fan of the Jurassic Park movies, you have to go to Kualoa Ranch for the Jurassic Adventure Tour. The 1.5 hour tour will take you to iconic locations that were used in the films. You’ll have a bumpy open-air ride as you cruise through the different locations.

6. Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden

ho'omaluhia botanical garden, things to do in Hawaii

The Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden contains over 400 acres of verdant plant life. Admission is free, and you can walk or drive through the garden. Please be aware that there are updated policies that prohibit photos from being taken on the main road. All photography must be taken safely off the road. See our full guide to the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden.

7. Aulani Resort

Disney has a resort property on the island of Oahu (Aulani Resort) that has beautiful pools and a beach. You’ll need to book reservations to stay there, but it’s definitely a beautiful hotel.

8. Hanauma Bay State Park

Hanauma Bay State Park is a popular snorkeling beach. In 2016, it was voted Best Beach in the United States. At the time of this writing, it costs $25 to enter the park. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. First-time visitors will watch a 9-minute educational video prior to entering the beach, as it’s critically important that all visitors preserve the ecosystem. Under the new Pilot Program, reservations are required. 

9. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail

The Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail is a hike that is 2.0 miles roundtrip. You’ll have views of the southeastern side of the island, and you can see the Makapu’u Lighthouse. (The actual lighthouse is off-limits, but it makes for a beautiful photo!)

10. Nu’uanu Pali Lookout

The Nu’uanu Pali Lookout point is just a 5-mile drive away from Honolulu. The lookout is located along the Pali Highway. You’ll have panoramic views from this mountain point! 

11. Swim with Sharks

When you visit the North Shore, you can swim with sharks with Haleiwa Shark Tours. This cage diving tour starts at $95 per person.

12. View the Mokes

The Mokes (as locals call them) are two small islands located off the coast of Oahu. The islands are named Moku Nui (which means “big island”) and Moku Iki (“little island”). You can view the Mokes from Lanikai Beach, or by taking the famous Lanikai Pillbox hike. 

13. Waimea Bay

If you are into surfing, or just like to watch big waves, you need to visit Waimea Bay on the north shore of Oahu. Waimea Bay Beach Park has waves up to 30-feet-tall in the winter!

Dole Pineapple Plantation, things to do in Honolulu with kids




Frequently Asked Questions 

Things to do in Honolulu

How many days do you need in Waikiki?

We recommend that you spend at least 3 days in Waikiki. You’ll want to spend at least one day at the beach, one day seeing the sites around town, and perhaps one more day for an excursion. Of course, if you can spend more time in Waikiki, there’s plenty to do!

What are some things to do in Oahu at night?

Oahu is a wonderful place to spend time at night. The warm weather allows for comfortable outdoor activities! Oahu also has a great nightlife scene. Here’s a few ideas for some things to do in Oahu at night: You can take a sunset dinner cruise, you can go to the Mai Tai Bar at the Royal Hawaiian, you can enjoy evening entertainment at Duke’s Waikiki, or you can go for an evening beach walk along Waikiki Beach.

Is Waikiki too touristy?

Waikiki is definitely touristy, because there are a lot of visitors. There are a number of tours, hotels, and restaurants that cater to tourists. However, it’s not difficult to escape the crowds and find places on the island that are more quiet.

What are the best free activities in Honolulu?

Some free activities that you can do in Honolulu include visiting Waikiki Beach, going to Aloha Tower’s observation deck, climbing up Diamond Head, walking the Waikiki Historic Trail, and hiking to Manoa Falls.

What are the best indoor activities in Honolulu?

Although Honolulu has excellent outdoor opportunities, there are also a lot of fun things you can do indoors. These include taking afternoon tea at the Veranda Beach House, watching a 4D film at Hawaii CinemAttractions, and visiting the Waikiki Aquarium.

What should be included on a first-time Hawaii itinerary?

If you are planning a first-time Hawaii itinerary, we recommend spending some time on the island of Oahu. Even if you have plans to visit other islands, make sure to spend at least 2-3 days in Honolulu. While you’re in Oahu, we recommend visiting Waikiki Beach, Pearl Harbor, the North Shore, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and the Dole Plantation. 



I’ve visited Honolulu several times over the years, and it’s a city I genuinely love. During our most recent trip to Honolulu, we really enjoyed spending time together as a family in this magical place. The beaches, restaurants, gardens, attractions, and shops make Honolulu the perfect vacation destination. We hope this article about the best things to do in Honolulu inspires you to visit this beautiful city! We already can’t wait to go back!

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Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please look up such information directly from each vendor or institution for the most current information.

Hi, I’m Kelly!

After studying abroad in Spain, I became passionate about international travel. Since then, I’ve traveled to 6 continents and 36 states within the United States. When I’m not travel blogging, you can find me hiking, reading books in Spanish, or playing cribbage. I hope my blog inspires you to see the world!