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The best things to do in Waikiki
So you’re planning a vacation to Hawaii and you’ve decided to visit Waikiki. Waikiki is one of the most popular places in Hawaii with plenty of things to do.
Even though I already have 10 best things to do in Oahu post, I wanted to write specifically about the best things to do in Waikiki.
Oahu is home to over 1 million residents, and it has quite a variety of activities for tourists.
When most people think of Hawaii, they think of Honolulu and Waikiki, so of course, I had to quite a blog post covering the Waikiki and surrounding area.
If you rent a car in Waikiki, I recommend having a rental car; I recommend Discount Hawaii Car Rental.
Although you don’t need a car on Oahu like you do on the other islands, you’ll probably want one! Waikiki is easy enough to get around by foot/bus/taxi, but you’ll need a car to explore other parts of the island. The North Shore is somewhere you don’t want to miss!
Things to do in Waikiki
From the beach to cultural activities to shopping, let’s check out the best things to do in Waikiki.
1. Waikiki Beach
No Waikiki vacation would be complete without visiting the world-famous Waikiki Beach. Although I believe there are better (and less crowded) beaches on the island, Waikiki Beach is a must-see!
Once you’ve checked out Waikiki beach, here are some of the best beaches in Oahu that are almost always less crowded than Waikiki:
- Lanikai Beach
- Kailua Beach Park
- Sunset Beach
- Ala Moana Beach Park
- Nanakuli Beach Park
- Kahana Bay Beach Park
- Waimanalo Bay Beach Park
2. Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace is the former residence of Hawaiian Monarchs in downtown Honolulu. This National Historic Landmark was the home of the Hawaiian Kingdoms last two monarchs: King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani.
While you’re in the area, check out the King Kamehameha I statue, the State Capitol Building, and the historic Kawaiahao Church. You’ll also find the Hawaii State Art Museum not far away.
3. Royal Hawaiian Center
If you’ve read my “best island to visit in Hawaii” post, you know that Oahu is where the real shopping is located.
The Royal Hawaiian Center is an upscale mall specializing in jewelry, gifts and so much more. At over 300,000 square feet, it is one of Hawaii’s largest shopping malls.
If you love shopping, make sure to also check out the Ala Moana Center, the world’s largest outdoor mall.
4. Take a surf lesson
Waikiki is the perfect place for a surf lesson. If you’re even slightly interested in surfing, I highly advise you to try it!
I’ve had lots of clients who took surf lessons, and everyone did better than they expected! What better place to take a surf lesson than Hawaii?
5. Sunset Waikiki Cruise
Several companies offer Waikiki cruises, but I believe a sunset cruise is the best way to go! My favorite is this Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise.
6. See Waikiki from the air
Helicopter tours can be expensive, but it’s definitely worth the splurge. You can check out my post on Hawaii helicopter tours to see pictures and get more info.
7. Visit Shangri La
The Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design is housed near Diamond Head. This popular museum was built in 1937 as the Honolulu home of American heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke.
It is now open to the public and one of the top-rated museums in Hawaii.
8. Pearl Harbor
Although not technically located in Waikiki, Pearl Harbor is nearby and one of the most popular attractions on Oahu.
If you’re staying in Waikiki without a car, I recommend a chauffered-transfer small group tour.
Otherwise, drive over and explore the history of Pearl Harbor on your own. If you need to rent a car, I recommend going through Discount Hawaii Car Rentals for the best deals.
If you’re trying to decide if you need a rental car in Hawaii, you do! Check out the blog post to find out why.
9. Check out the local sea life
There are several ways to check out the local sea life. A Submarine Scooter Adventure is a fun and unique way to explore underwater.
The Atlantis Submarine Adventure is something that many of my clients have also enjoyed. If getting in the water isn’t for you, why not check out the Waikiki Aquarium?
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10. Hit Kalakaua Avenue
Known as the “Heart of Waikiki,” Kalakaua Avenue is one of the premier shopping destinations on the island of Oahu.
The shops range from high-end boutiques such as Tiffany and Co., Gucci, and Prada to local Hawaiian apparel and souvenir shops like the ABC store. If you love to shop, Kalakaua Avenue will not disappoint.
Bonus: Get a Go Oahu Card
The Go Oahu Card can be a great way to make the most of your trip. Make sure to check out all of the details because many activities do need to be booked in advance.
Hawaii vacation ideas
I hope this list of the best things to do in Waikiki gets you even more excited about your Hawaii vacation. You might want to check out some of my popular Hawaii travel posts while you’re here:
- The best pineapple farms to visit in Hawaii
- 20 things you should never do in Hawaii
- Is Hawaii safe?
- 50 things to do in Maui
- How much does it cost to go to Hawaii?
- How to survive the flight to Hawaii
- What is the best luau in Hawaii?
Although I am a Hawaii Travel Agent, I am only taking on a few clients for 2021. You can contact me if you’d like more information. I would recommend starting with my Hawaii travel guide if you plan to DIY your vacation!
The best way to get Hawaii travel tips and the most current travel information is to sign up for my email list. I send out one weekly email with the latest news, travel deals, and more. Sign up below.
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