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35 Unique Things to do in Oahu, Hawaii

Get off the vacationer monitor & uncover 30 distinctive things to do in Oahu together with enjoyable Honolulu points of interest, Waikiki actions & greatest beaches on the North Shore.

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Unique Things to do in Oahu

Unsure what to do in Oahu or maybe this isn’t your first visit? We’ve obtained an enormous record of the highest 30 enjoyable issues to do in and points of interest in Oahu – based mostly alone experiences and those of some of my journey running a blog pals. Let’s get started!

#1. Beat the crowds at breakfast

Beat the all-day queues at Marukame Udon by coming in for breakfast as soon as doors open at 7am. Low cost and delicious, it’s probably the most widespread locations to go to in Oahu for foodies. A hearty bowl of noodle soup with tempura is the right gasoline for an action-packed Oahu itinerary.

Marukame Udon is among the hottest Oahu eating places

#2. Escape to a hidden cove

Depart the crowds behind on the Halona Seashore Blowhole and take the trail down to the Halona Seashore Cove. It’s among the best seashores in Oahu. Aside from a couple of different adventurous travellers you’ll have this little piece of paradise comparatively to yourself. The rocky path down is a bit steep so be certain to watch your step.

* Free

Halona Beach cove surrounded by rocky mountains - best beaches in OahuWatch your step when heading down to Halona Seashore

#3. Put a lei round Elvis

Pay tribute to the King of Rock & Roll with a quick cease at the Neal Blaisdell Middle where you’ll find his statue close to the box office. Put a lei round his neck like many followers do day by day – it’s probably the greatest free issues to do in Oahu.

Elvis did a fantastic deal to put Hawaii on the map including several films and soundtrack albums. The statue marks his ‘Aloha from Hawaii’ concert, which was the first to be broadcast all over the world.

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#4. Order garlic shrimp from an iconic food truck

Have just one taste of the buttery, garlic shrimp scampi from the legendary Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck and you’ll understand the way it lives up to the hype. The sticky rice and macaroni salads are the right sides. Don’t overlook the superb scorching canine, which would be a sellout at some other eatery.

Bowls of garlic shrimp and 2 hot dogs from Giovanni's Food TruckThe garlic shrimp from Giovanni’s Food Truck is finger licking good

#5. Hike along a crouching lion

Proper off of East Oahu’s scenic Kamehameha Freeway is likely one of the island’s shortest hikes with one of the best rewards. The Crouching Lion Trail, named after the animal-shaped rock formation at the prime, begins on the mouth of Kahana Bay across from the Huilua Loko Iʻa (fishpond). There are a number of unmarked trails, but all of them lead to the identical place.

It takes just 30 minutes to ascend past the tree line where you’ll have panoramic views over Kahana Valley and bay. On a transparent day, you’ll be able to see all the best way to Kahuku! Pack breakfast from Keneke’s or a poke bowl from Tamura’s and take in the views. Simply make sure that to examine the weather. The path may be brief, however it’s almost inconceivable during or after heavy rain.

* Free

By Kalena of Misplaced and Overseas

Woman overlooking cove beach surrounded by mountains - unique things to do in OahuCrouching Lion is among the greatest hikes in Oahu. Credit: Misplaced and Overseas

#6. Be Tarzan on a rope swing

Wondering what to do in Oahu? Get back to nature with a rewarding hike to Waimano Falls. Leap from the highest of the waterfall and have a refreshing swim in the pure pool. Then grab the rope swing and have enjoyable swinging forwards and backwards like Tarzan earlier than falling back into the water.

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#7. Look over Honolulu Harbor

Take the elevator experience up to the 10th flooring of the historic Aloha Tower for sweeping views of Honolulu Tower. That is Oahu sightseeing at its best. The tower value a controversial $160000 to construct in 1926 however nowadays it gained’t value you anything to go to.

* Free

Aloha Tower - Oahu tourist attractionsVisiting Aloha Towers is likely one of the greatest free issues to do in Oahu. Credit: Daniel Ramirez from Honolulu, USA [CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

#eight. Zen out at a Japanese temple

Hawaii has long had a robust reference to the Japanese individuals. Nowhere in the archipelago is this more evident than at Byodo-In Temple, on the island of Oahu.

Byodo-In was built in 1968 to to commemorate the 100 yr anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. Its a smaller-scale duplicate of a 950-year previous World Heritage listed temple in Japan and one of the prime Oahu points of interest.

Situated in the Valley of the Temples, a few 40 minute drive north of Waikiki, the temple makes for a singular cease on a drive around the island. The temple welcomes visitors day by day, with a small entry payment.

Remember that it is a solemn location, and ensure to remove your footwear when getting into the temple, earlier than wrapping up your visit with a stroll around the lovely lake and grounds.

Byodo-In Temple entrance charge: $5

By Shandos of Travelnuity

Red Japanese Byodo-In Temples surrounded by mountains and trees - Things to do in OahiByodo-in is likely one of the most fascinating places to go to in Oahu. Credit score: Travelnuity

#9. Watch a movie in a neighborhood theatre

Put your ft up in a leather-based recliner and watch a film at the quirky Film Museum. It’s a beloved group establishment with an older viewers of regulars profiting from the senior discounts. Decide up a newspaper, look on-line or call ahead to see what’s enjoying.

Tickets are a discount and you may deliver in your personal meals and drinks. It’s a beloved group establishment with an older viewers of regulars benefiting from the senior reductions.

Movie Museum tickets: $5

#10. Stroll to an island in low tide

Drive to Kualoa Regional Park at low tide and also you’ll find a way to stroll all the best way out to the long-lasting Chinaman’s Hat. Hike up to the summit – it takes around 20 minutes but regulate the tide and allow yourself enough time to make it back to land.

* Free

Chinaman's Hat island with shrubs in the foreground - Places to visit in OahuWalking to Chinaman’s Hat is among the most original things to do in Oahu

#11. Go shark cage diving

When you’re on the lookout for an adrenaline packed activity that permits you to conquer certainly one of humankind’s most primal fears, then take a dive under the surface in the North Shore and swim with some of its resident sharks, including Galapagos, Sandbar, and Hammerheads.

Once you reach the designated dive website and submerged cage, guides will help you in placing on the required gear. You’ll then be lowered into the cage before slipping beneath the surface.

It’s fascinating to witness the individual personalities of those inquisitive creatures.  Some sharks loiter nonchalantly, while others charge immediately on the cage from the murky depths.  You’ll always remember the feeling of a shark gliding effortlessly in the direction of you, or making eye contact with these creatures solely ft away.

Shark cage diving is an eye fixed opening experience and a singular alternative to view these creatures from a new perspective.

By Kristen of Yonderlust Ramblings

Shark face in front of diving cage - Unique things to do in OahuOahu actions don’t get any higher than shark cage diving! Credit score: Yonderlust Ramblings

#12. Cliff bounce into the sunset

Leap into the crystal clear turquoise waters at China Walls. It’s one of the adventurous Oahu actions you possibly can do. Work up your courage by watching others go earlier than you and seeing all of the glad faces in the water. Then get out and loosen up on the rocks listening to waves crash and ready for the sun to go down.

* Free

#13. Drink $1 Beer at a Japanese Village

It’s all the time Completely happy Hour on the Shirokiya Japanese Village in Ala Moana. The $2-Three beers at the retailers near the entrance appear to be nice offers but in case you spend $10 on meals, you’ll get a coupon for $1 draft beer. That’s not onerous to do but there are so many choices so a spherical of the food courtroom before deciding what to order. Kampai!

Collage of man with beer poster and bowl of ramen with beer - Oahu restaurantsThat’s my dad at the Japanese Village!

#13. Pay your respects at an historic temple

As you possibly can tell, there are numerous issues to see in Oahu. Take the windy street up to Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau where Hawaii’s largest historic temple lies in ruins.

It’s off the crushed path to most tourists however you’ll be able to see from the small altar with choices that it’s still a sacred website for locals. Take the brief path down to a stunning lookout point over Waimea Bay.

Sign at Pu’u O Mahuka Heiau ruins - Oahu attractionsPu’u O Mahuka Heiau is an underrated Oahu attraction

#14. Drink at a Coast Guard base

Hang out with army households at the laidback US Coast Guard Hideaway Membership. You’ll need army or authorities ID to get in (or be with individuals who do) but when you’ve received the credentials you possibly can spend the entire day here enjoying the sporting amenities and low cost drinks.

#15. Feast on a standard plate lunch

Order a Hawaiian plate lunch from Young’s Fish Market. Go for the Combination plate and check out local classics reminiscent of lau lau, Kalua pig, lomi salmon and pipikaula.

At Younger’s Fish Market you will discover all types of traditional Hawaiian meals. Be prepared for an extended line of locals getting takeout nevertheless it strikes quick and there’s additionally some primary seating if you would like to eat in.

Loco Moco plate lunch - mix of dishes in styrofoam boxYou’ve obtained to have a Loco Moco plate lunch!

#16. Hike up & down 3 peaks

This hike goes by several names, together with: Wilhelmina Rise, Mau’umae Trail, and Lanipo. It’s one in every of several ridge hikes between the valleys on the east aspect of Honolulu. The primary section of the path is the right hike for guests because you get lovely views of neighborhoods, mountains, valleys, and the ocean.

While not a complicated hike, you do need to be agile, put on respectable footwear, and watch your footing. You possibly can trek 3.5 miles a method for spectacular views by Ka’au Crater, though there are also loads of different nice ‘summits’ if you want to turn round earlier.

To get to the path, simply head straight up Wilhelmina Rise Street and enter by the chain-link fence. Convey water and sunscreen, as you’ll be uncovered to the elements on this trail. Even better, go at dawn for a peaceable, scenic moment above Oahu.

* Free

By Michelle of Intentional Travelers

Big green hills and tree on the sideHike to the Ka’au Crater. Credit: Intentional Vacationers

#17. Chow down in Chinatown

I went to Chinatown as a result of my household needed to have lunch at The Pig and The Woman, a Vietnamese fusion restaurant that was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Parts Unknown’. The food was good however not superb. For extra genuine dining, you might come for dim sum or noodles in a hole in the wall eatery.

Chinatown is called one of many sketchier elements of Oahu nevertheless it felt protected in the course of the day. It was bustling and festive throughout Chinese language New Yr celebrations. Chinatown can also be the hub of Oahu’s arts scene.

The most effective time to go to is on the primary Friday evening of every month where galleries open their doors and there’s stay entertainment in the streets.

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People on street surrounded by colourful buildings in Chinatown - Oahu places to visitQuestioning what to do in Honolulu? Head to Chinatown

#18. Stand at the birthplace of royalty

Really feel a deeper connection with Hawaii’s sacred land on the Kukaniloko Birthing Stones. You’ll be standing on pink earth at the website the place Hawaii’s royal ladies got here to give delivery a whole lot of years ago.

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Kukaniloko Birthing Stones in a fieldSeeing the Kukaniloko Birthing Stones is one probably the most unique things to do in Oahu. Credit: Joel Bradshaw [Public domain]

#19. Discover bargains at a flea market

Don’t purchase generic souvenirs at ABC shops when you will get cheaper and more unique Hawaiian presents on the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. Chat to native distributors and buyers as you flick through over 400 stalls at this large outside flea market.

* Free

Aloha Stadium from the outside - the swap meet is one of the fun things to do in OahuDiscover a discount on the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet. Credit score: Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA [CC BY 2.Zero (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]

#20. Experience an ATV around a film set

One of the distinctive things to do in Oahu is to take an ATV tour of Kuoloa Ranch! What makes it so particular is that Kualoa Ranch is a well-liked filming location with many huge titles being recorded there.

At one a part of the tour, you’ll get off the ATVs and stroll via an previous World Warfare II bunker that’s full of the totally different posters and memorabilia from TV and films resembling: Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Godzilla, Hawaii 5-Zero and Misplaced. The scenery at Kualoa Ranch is completely superb and properly value experiencing.

The tour is suitable for newbie ATV riders as it follows primarily flat, straight tracks. There’s a small part on the end that’s extra ‘off road’ fashion but by then you have to be more accustomed to the ATVs (it’s also a working cattle ranch so attempt not to hit any cows)!

If ATVs aren’t your thing, Kualoa Ranch supply a number of totally different tours, together with horse again driving, zip lining and jeep expeditions.

By Kylie of Between England and Iowa

ATV in a field with mountains and palm tree - Oahu toursA tour of Kualoa Ranch is considered one of prime Oahu actions. Credit score: Between England and Iowa

#21. Hike to the westernmost tip

Take a stroll on the wild aspect on the Ka’ena Point trail where you’ve got the prospect to see nesting albatross birds and monk seals on the best way to the westernmost tip of Oahu.

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Mountain and see view at Ka'ena Point OahuEnjoy the views at Ka’ena Level. Credit: Marshman at English Wikipedia / Eric Guinther [CC BY-SA Three.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

#22. Be impressed by wildlife images

Be impressed by artwork and nature as you wander by way of the Nationwide Geographic Fantastic Art Gallery in the Worldwide Market Place. Most museums would have fee-paying reveals of this type of images however you’ll be able to see them here without spending a dime.

The prints are for sale and when you in all probability gained’t want to know the costs, there are gallery assistants available to inform you the story behind every photograph.

* Free

Take a look at the photographs at the National Geographic Advantageous Art Gallery

#23. Hike in a forest of lava timber

Comply with the straightforward loop trail on the Lava Tree State Monument where you’ll move many preserved lava moulds of tree trunks that have been shaped after an eruption in the 18th century. It’s a singular and weird sight that will provide you with an perception into one other aspect of Hawaii’s volcanic panorama.

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Unusual lava trees in a park - Unique things to do in OahuLava Tree State Monument has a number of the most original climbing in Oahu. Credit: Scott Carpenter [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]

#24. Climb a treehouse in a shopping center

You wouldn’t anticipate to discover a 160 yr previous banyan tree in the middle of a shopping center however issues are totally different on the International Market Place.

Take the escalator up to the first flooring and then stroll over the bridge into the treehouse. Right here you’ll study extra concerning the historical past of the banyan tree and the 1950’s roots of the unique market place.

There are also water features all through the open-air buying middle and a stage where cultural performances typically take place. Mitsuwa Market is a Japanese grocery store that has numerous snacks and sushi.

Meals is discounted from around 8pm (2 hours before closing) so in case you’re backpacking Oahu this can be a low cost place to decide up a late dinner.

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Tree house in huge banyan tree indoors - What to do in WaikikiUnsure what to do in Waikiki? See the treehouse on the International Market Place

#25. Keep cool with a tropical dessert

Acai bowls are the right snack in tropical Hawaii and yow will discover all types of mixtures at Haleiwa Bowls, just a little thatched shack off the river on the North Shore.

There are about 6 totally different bowls on the menu but with a mega listing of further subjects and blends, the chances are countless. Assume peanut butter, goji berries, wheatgrass and maca powder… your immune system will burst by means of the roof!

Pink acai bowl on a pink table backgroundAcai bowls are one of many prime issues to eat in Oahu

#26. Brush up in your Hawaiian historical past

Visiting a museum could also be about the very last thing you’d need to do in Oahu, however the Bishop Museum must be an exception. In any case, Hawaii is likely one of the most remote inhabited places on our planet.

Someway seafaring Polynesia found it, and a singular tradition developed. The Bishop Museum, also called the Museum of Polynesian Culture and Pure History, tells that story, and far more.

The museum is crammed with artifacts from the earliest tribes, and their battles. Next in history got here Kamehameha the Nice, who gained an epic battle, uniting the tribes into one peace-loving kingdom, with political ties all over the world.

The Bishop Museum explains the politics and intrigue via pictures of the one royalty to reside on what has grow to be American soil. Study concerning the coup that overthrew the final queen and imprisoned her in her own palace.  It’s a fascinating, lovely, and finally unhappy historical past, that makes spending the afternoon inside worthwhile.

By Roxanna of Gypsy with a Day Job

Outside of Bishops Museum OahuStudy Oahu’s history at the Bishop’s Museum. Credit score: Gypsy with a Day Job

#27. Style an iconic pineapple mushy serve

Attempt a Dole Whip mushy serve at the Dole Plantation the place it was first created for Disneyland’s Enchanted Tiki Room in 1986. It’s a cult favorite and for Disney fans it’s a ceremony of passage to order a Dole Whip from its unique house.

The frozen smooth serve comes in 6 flavors but when you’re a purist you’ll be able to’t go past pineapple. Mild and refreshing, creamy and sweet, Dole Whip is the right Hawaiian treat!

Cup of Dole Whip - Hawaiian foodAttempt Dole Whip on the Dole Plantation

#28. Attend a luau

Every Oahu itinerary ought to embrace an evening at a Hawaiian luau. Positive it’s very touristy and never all that low cost however it’s plenty of fun with plenty of food culture and entertainment thrown in.

I attended the Toa Luau experience in Waimea Valley. It started with a collection of hands-on cultural actions akin to learning to weave head crowns from palm leaves and grating your personal coconut. Then there was a luau buffet with all the trimming including kalua pork (sooo scrumptious) and taro straight from the recent coals.

Whereas everybody was merrily consuming and consuming the night time away dancers singers and musicians carried out on a stage in entrance of us. You’ll be able to’t go to Hawaii without experiencing a luau!

Toa Luau tickets: From $98

Men around a Luau cookout in Oahu itineraryA typical Hawaiian luau ought to be on every Oahu itinerary

#29. Stroll via a tropical paradise

Discover all types of native Hawaiian crops flowers and timber on the best way to a hidden waterfall at Lyon Arboretum. It’s one of the loveliest locations to go to in Oahu.

There are various peaceful jungle trails, amongst over 5000 species of crops and timber. Most botanic gardens in Hawaii cost a high entrance payment but the arboretum is free to go to and equally as impressive.

* Free

View of Lyon Arboretum - Places to visit in HonoluluThe Lyon Arboretum is of the top Honolulu points of interest

#30. Journey the bus with locals

You don’t want to lease a automotive to travel round Oahu – the local bus can take you just about anyplace! Positive it’s very sluggish however when you’ve got time on your aspect it’ll save you a lot of money.

Bus tickets value $2.75 for 1 experience or $5.50 for a 1 day cross. By means of seeing all forms of individuals, overhearing conversations and passing via many various streets you’ll undoubtedly experience the native way of life.

I took the bus from the airport to Waikiki and in addition from Waikiki to Chinatown, Pearl Harbor and Ala Moana. They go to many other Oahu tourist points of interest similar to Hanuma Bay and Diamond Head.

Buses go so far as Byodo-In Temple, Dole Plantation and Waimea Valley in the North Shore but permit 2-3 hours each approach for Oahu locations which might be away from Honolulu and Waikiki.

Packed Oahu bus - Oahu public transportDriving the bus is a fun method of getting round Oahu

#31. Go massive with an enormous ice cone

Shave Ice is greater and higher at Shimazu’s. Order the smallest cone and it’ll nonetheless be bigger than your head. Or go all out with the X-Giant Larry, the king of shaved ice in Oahu. The finely shaved ice is tremendous clean and you may create your personal cone with an enormous variety of totally different syrups and toppings.

Cone of shaved ice on blue table - things to eat in OahuSettle down with a cone of shave Ice

#32. Stroll out to your personal personal island

Put on your water footwear and make the brief and rocky 10 minute walk out to Goat Island. Look on Google Maps and you’ll see that the shape of the island resembles a goat, nevertheless it’s truly now a protected fowl sanctuary referred to as Mokuauia Island.

Goat Island can also be the closest islet to Oahu however its still off the crushed path so you’re probably to have it all to your self. You possibly can walk around the island, wade in the water and benefit from the serenity of your personal piece of paradise.

Sign on Goat Island - Interesting things to do in OahuGet off-the-beaten-track on Goat Island. Credit: Forest & Kim Starr [CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

#33. Experience a monorail in a mall

Overlook Ala Moana and go where the locals store at Pearlridge Middle. There are extra shops you possibly can afford to shop at and the meals courtroom prices are cheaper too.

Pearlridge continues to be pretty giant (the most important mall in Hawaii after Ala Moana) so journey the monorail between the two sections for $1 to cover more ground.

#34. Go to the Taj Mahal of Hawaii

Whatever your beliefs, you’re positive to be stunned by the great thing about the Laie Hawaiian Temple, which is residence to the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints. It sits on an previous sugarcane plantation and as you stroll up to the primary constructing you’ll move reflecting swimming pools, fountains and landscaped gardens.

You possibly can’t go contained in the temple until you’re a Mormon and you’ll find out why in the massive customer middle together with lots of historical past and information about the church.

* Free

Outside Laie Hawaii Temple  - Oahu attractionGet in contact together with your religious aspect on the Laie Hawaii Temple

#35. Take pleasure in breakfast with a view

Start the day with a hearty breakfast buffet at Duke’s Waikiki, overlooking the seashore. You possibly can see Diamond Head in the space and outrigger canoes in the water. I stayed at the Outrigger Seashore Resort the place the restaurant is situated however it’s open to everyone.

Breakfast is served from 7-10:30am and the buffet costs $18. Take pleasure in made-to-order omelets, alongside pancakes and bacon, with freshly brewed coffee. Fruits are costly in Hawaii so benefit from the recent native pineapple, papaya and oranges.

Hawaiian restaurant decor at Dukes WaikikiDine-in on the colourful Dukes Waikiki

Is Hawaii Protected?

Hawaii is understood for being safer than many locations in the USA, nevertheless it’s still necessary to concentrate on theft and pickpockets. Vacationers are often targeted so we advocate sporting a money belt with RFID blocking and touring with an anti-theft daypack.

Rental automobiles are straightforward to determine so don’t depart valuables inside. Maintain your valuables locked in a protected in your lodge room and don’t depart necessary issues unattended on the seashore.

Although the U.S. is a comparatively protected nation for travel, medical prices are high so in the event you’re a world visitor we advocate buying travel insurance coverage before any trip. We’ve been using World Nomads via 80+ nations over the previous 12 years and have been really proud of their protection and providers.

For extra details take a look at our World Nomads assessment right here.

Oahu Accommodation

In Waikiki I stayed at Outrigger Seashore Resorts. The rooms have been big (together with the loos) though the decor was a bit dated. It’s value upgrading to the sea view rooms with balcony. If you’d like to be in the center of the motion you will get a greater location beachfront pool and all.

In the North Shore I stayed at an Airbnb in Sunset Seashore. Premium properties usually are not low cost and they are often snapped up quick so guide forward. I was touring with my family of seven so Airbnb was nonetheless higher worth than staying at a lodge particularly as we might eat in for many meals. Click on here for $40 off your first reserving.

Examine Airbnb prices in Oahu

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