Things to Do In Waikiki


View of Waikiki skyline.

Most people who visit the Aloha State end up staying in the Waikiki area of Honolulu on the island of Oahu.  This is because this is where almost all of Oahu’s and the State of Hawaii’s hotels are located.  More than half of the State of Hawaii’s 54,000-plus hotel and condominium room units are located on Oahu and most of them can be found in Waikiki.  So if you are the typical visitor to Hawaii, chances are that you will be spending some time in the Waikiki area either staying at a hotel or visiting the sights at this world renowned tourist destination area.  Here are some of the things that you can readily see or do while in Waikiki.

Spend Time on the Beach – There is the world famous Waikiki Beach and other surrounding beaches right at your doorstep.  So take advantage of it.  You can swim, sunbathe, body surf or surf.  If you don’t know how to surf, there are a number of places in Waikiki that can teach you how.  Many tourists may not be aware that that the beaches in Waikiki are, for the most part, not a naturally formed ones.  Much of the beach areas are made up of sand imported from other places from Hawaii as well as from outside of Hawaii, including California.  Others may not know that besides Waikiki Beach, there are also the Duke Kahanomuku, Fort DeRussy, Gray’s, Queen’s Surf, Kapiolani and Sans Souci beaches, all in the Waikiki area. Plus, even though some large Waikiki hotel properties might be directly fronting them, by law, all beaches in the entire State of Hawaii are public.

Go to a Museum, Aquarium or Zoo – Within close walking distance of your hotel in Waikiki, you can visit the US Army Museum of Hawaii in the Ft. DeRussy, the Waikiki Aquarium and the Honolulu Zoo.  The US Army Museum is located in what used to be a coastal defense fortification and showcases memorabilia from the early Hawaiian era to the Vietnam War. The Waikiki Aquarium is a relatively small, but very interesting, place to get a better perspective of the wide variety of sea life that can be found on Hawaiian reefs, such as those that can be found right off Waikiki. The Honolulu Zoo is also worth seeing as it features nearly 1,000 animals and numerous family-oriented events as well as is the only zoo in America founded by a sovereign monarch.

Shop Till You Drop – All along Waikiki you will find places to shop.  Here you can find a wide range of shopping opportunities, including high end designer clothiers and jewelers, convenience stores, souvenir shops and a number of large shopping centers. The largest shopping centers in Waikiki are the Royal Hawaiian Center, the Waikiki Shopping Plaza and the DFS T Galleria.

Spend Time on or Even Under the Water – You can go sailing on a fast moving catamaran or even take a submarine ride where you can see the remains of a sunken ship and airplane as well as loads of Hawaiian reef fishes that like to school around them.  Catamaran sailing and the Atlantis submarine ride are available at the Hilton Pier located in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki.

Get Some Fresh Air, Exercise and Great Views – Runners can take a brisk and invigorating morning jog along Kapiolani Park and then along the Ala Wai Canal and back to your hotel.  If you like to hike, you can take a city bus that will take you right in front of a tunnel that leads into Diamond Head Crater. From there, you can take a short, but exhilarating, 45 minute hike up the crater summit through old World War I era fortifications which includes a system of underground tunnels, steep and long stairwells and concrete observations points. One you reach the summit, you’ll be rewarded with one of the best commanding views of Waikiki.  Diamond Head summit is also a great place to view the Hawaiian sunrise and many visitors make the early morning trek up the crater to see this morning spectacle.


View of Waikiki from Diamond Head summit.