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10 Can’t-Miss Waikiki Activities For Your Hawaiian Vacation

Waikiki is one of the most famous destinations in Hawaii, but with so many fun activities to do, it can be hard to narrow it down to just one thing. Lucky for you, we’ve created this guide to help with that! So whether you’re looking to learn about Hawaiian history or enjoy the beauty of the ocean and sky from above, we’ve got you covered with our list of 10 must-do Waikiki activities.


10 Best Things to Do in Waikiki

If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, chances are you’ve already decided on the island where you want to spend your time, whether it’s Oahu, Maui or Kauai. But once you’ve made that decision, where do you stay? If Waikiki, then take this list of must-do activities to help you squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of your time in the sun!


1) Enjoy A Delicious Meal

When you’re in Hawaii, you have to enjoy the fresh seafood. Waikiki has some of the best seafood restaurants in the state. Try the poke bowls, they’re amazing. If you’re not a fan of seafood, don’t worry, there are plenty of other great restaurants to choose from. We recommend eating at Alan Wong’s for delicious Hawaiian cuisine and desserts.

The Mai Tai Bar is one of the most popular places to grab drinks on Oahu’s famous beach and food trucks like The Big Kahuna BBQ or Burger Bobs are good for those on a budget.

2) Catch A Show

A great way to spend an evening in Waikiki is to catch a show at the Hawaii Theatre. This beautifully restored theatre offers a variety of entertainment options, from Broadway musicals to hula shows. You’ll be sure to find something that everyone in your group will enjoy.

While you’re in the area, be sure to check out the shops and restaurants that line Kalakaua Avenue. Here you’ll find unique souvenirs as well as high-end designer stores like Louis Vuitton. Plus, there are so many delicious places to eat! Be sure to try some poke or shave ice for a traditional Hawaiian treat!

3) Take A Hike

While most people think of Waikiki as a place to lounge on the beach and enjoy the sun, there are actually plenty of activities to keep you busy. One of the best things to do is take a hike. There are several trails in the area that offer stunning views of the coastline. Plus, it’s a great way to get some exercise while on vacation.
Here are a few of our favorite trails:

  1. Diamond Head State Monument
  2. Koko Head Crater Railway Trail
  3. Makapu’u Point Lighthouse Trail
  4. Waimanalo Bay Nature Preserve
  5. Pali Lookout
  6. Lanikai Beach Trail
  7. Kalalau Trail
  8. Kalihiwai Valley
  9. Hanakapi’ai Falls
  10. Haleakala National Park

4) Ride The Wave

One of the most popular things to do in Waikiki is ride the waves. Surfing is a quintessential Hawaiian experience, and there are plenty of surf schools in Waikiki that can help you catch a few waves. If you’re not into surfing, you can also try your hand at stand-up paddleboarding or bodyboarding.

Just be sure to heed the warnings of the lifeguards and only go out when it’s safe to do so. The water might look calm, but sometimes currents under the surface can make even experienced swimmers panic.

The same goes for snorkelling: never swim alone and always follow instructions from someone who knows what they’re doing. It’ll save you from getting lost underwater or being eaten by a shark!

5) Get A Massage

A massage is the perfect way to relax after a long day of exploring Waikiki. Plus, it’ll help you avoid any jet lag you may be feeling. There are plenty of places to get a massage in Waikiki, so you can easily find one that fits your budget.

For those on a tight budget, Mahina Massage offers half hour massages for $30 – $50. If you’re looking for something more upscale, try out Lomi Lomi Nui Traditional Hawaiian Massage and Spa – their spa packages start at $140 and come with an ocean view.

6) Do Some Shopping

While you’re in Waikiki, be sure to do some shopping! The area is home to a number of great stores, including high-end retailers and local boutiques.

You’ll be able to find everything from souvenirs to beachwear to designer clothing. And if you get tired of shopping, there’s plenty more to do in Waikiki!

Check out the beautiful gardens at Queen Emma Land or the Pearl Harbor Memorial. Or take the kids to one of the many kid-friendly attractions like Hawaii Maritime Center or Sea Life Park. You won’t regret spending your time here!

7) Visit Diamond Head State Monument

A visit to Diamond Head State Monument is a must for any first-time visitor to Oahu. This volcanic crater is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Hawaii, and offers stunning views of Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean.

Diamond Head is also a great place to hike, with a moderate 1.6-mile trail that leads to the summit. The trail can be crowded, so be sure to get an early start.

When you reach the top, you’ll have a 360-degree view of Honolulu and Kapahulu Valley. If you’re feeling adventurous, continue on to nearby Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve for world-class snorkeling opportunities or go surfing at Pipeline.

8) Snap Some Photos

The first thing on your Waikiki to-do list should be to snap some photos of the area’s most iconic landmarks. The Duke Kahanamoku Statue, the Waikiki Beach Sign, and the Diamond Head Crater are all must-sees.

But don’t stop there! Pack a camera or phone with a good camera for the best shots and try to find new angles you’ve never seen before.

In addition to these famous spots, explore other parts of Honolulu like Chinatown, Ala Moana Shopping Center, or Liliuokalani Gardens for a unique perspective.

9) See A Flick At The IMAX Theater

The IMAX theater at the Honolulu Museum of Art is one of the only places in Hawaii where you can see IMAX movies.

With a screen that’s six stories tall, it’s an immersive experience you won’t want to miss. And since the theater is located in the museum, you can also check out some art before or after your film.

There are usually new exhibits every few months, so be sure to check their website for what’s on display during your visit. If you’re feeling hungry after all that walking around, head over to Café 8 1⁄2 and enjoy some gelato while catching up on the latest exhibition news.

10) Take A Paddle Board Out Into The Ocean

One of the best things to do in Waikiki is to take a paddle board out into the ocean. The water is so clear and the views are incredible. You can even see turtles swimming around!

Paddle boarding is a great workout and it’s also really relaxing. If you’ve never tried it before, definitely add it to your list of things to do in Waikiki.

It’s especially beautiful at sunset and makes for some awesome photos.
As soon as I hopped on my first paddle board, I was hooked! It was one of the most fun things I did on my vacation because it felt like I was floating on air.

Plus, there were dolphins jumping out of the water all around me – not many people get to say that about their trip!

Wrapping Up

In Waikiki, there’s never a shortage of things to do. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a little bit of both, you’ll find it all here. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Waikiki today! We hope this blog post has given you some helpful ideas on where to start. Let us know in the comments below what we missed, and we’ll be sure to add them in next time.