15 Great Things to Do in Waikiki Hawaii

Waikiki is a vibrant region in Honolulu, it’s a tropical dream come to life. Waikiki is the crown jewel of Hawaiian escapades.

With our carefully selected list of essential activities in Waikiki, Hawaii, rest assured of an adventure that’s not only one-of-a-kind but also truly unforgettable.

Prepare to be enchanted by the Aloha spirit, leaving with not just souvenirs, but memories etched in your heart forever.

1. Surfing Lessons

Surfing lessons in Waikiki, Hawaii, offer an unforgettable experience for both beginners and experienced surfers.


Waikiki, with its gentle, rolling waves and vivid setting, is an ideal location to learn the art of surfing.

Surfing schools in Waikiki cater to all levels. Beginners start with the basics on the beach, learning about safety, surfing etiquette, and techniques for paddling out and catching waves.

Instructors are typically experienced surfers, often with lifeguard certification, ensuring a safe and educational experience.

The boards used for lessons are typically longboards, which are more stable and easier to learn on.

2. Sunset Watching

Sun Watching in Waikiki, Hawaii is one of the most enchanting experiences you can have. Waikiki offers numerous spots for you to bask in the warm glow of the setting sun.

Waikiki Sunset
Waikiki Sunset” by Andym5855 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

First, head to scenic views on the sandy beach of Kuilei Cliffs Beach Park. Nestled at the foothills of Diamond Head, this park gives you an outstanding vantage point while feeling the ocean breeze.

The Kahanamoku Beach section of Waikiki Beach. Located near the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort with its iconic, colorful mural, you’ll enjoy a lively sunset background.

For a quieter ambiance, stroll to Queen’s Surf Beach, near the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. This part of the beach is less crowded, allowing for a more peaceful and intimate sunset experience.

3. Whale-Watching Cruise

A Waikiki Whale-watching cruise is an enthralling experience that offers a unique opportunity to observe some of the ocean’s most majestic creatures in their natural habitat.

These cruises typically operate during the whale-watching season, which in Hawaii runs from November to May.

This is when humpback whales migrate from the cold waters of Alaska to the warmer climes of Hawaii for breeding and birthing.

The calm and clear waters off the Waikiki coast provide an ideal setting for observing these magnificent animals.

4. Visit Diamond Head State Monument

Diamond Head State Monument is situated to the east of Waikiki on the island of Oahu and is Hawaii’s most iconic and recognizable landmark.

Diamond Head State Monument

Known in Hawaiian as Lēʻahi, this ancient volcanic crater dominates the landscape, offering breathtaking views and a unique glimpse into Hawaii’s natural and cultural history.

The monument is perhaps most famous for the Diamond Head hike, a relatively short but steep trail that leads to the summit of the crater.

This trail, about 0.8 miles (1.3 kilometers) one-way, is a well-trodden path that attracts thousands of visitors each year.

The hike takes about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete round trip, depending on one’s pace. Along the way, hikers are treated to stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu.

5. Shop at Luxury Row

Luxury Row in Waikiki, Hawaii, represents a premium shopping experience, showcasing a blend of high-end fashion and sophisticated elegance facing the setting of Hawaii’s tropical beauty.

Situated on Kalakaua Avenue in the heart of Waikiki, this upscale retail strip is a paradise for shoppers seeking luxury brands and designer labels.

The architecture of Luxury Row is a blend of modern and tropical aesthetics, with spacious, beautifully designed storefronts that seamlessly integrate into the lush surroundings.

The area is known for housing some of the world’s most renowned luxury brands like Chanel, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, and others, making it a key destination for fashion enthusiasts.

6. Hula Shows

Hula is a traditional Hawaiian dance that tells stories and shares emotions through graceful movement and the rhythm of the music.

Hula in Waikiki
Kuhio Beach Hula Show – Joan ‘Aunty Pudgie’ Young and Puamelia” by Jun Seita is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

One of the most popular locations to witness a captivating hula performance is Kuhio Beach Park.

For those seeking free hula shows, Waikiki Beach Stays offers live Hawaiian cultural performances, where you can enjoy the beauty of hula dancing and mesmerizing melodies.

The Rock-A-Hula Show combines powerful Hawaiian and Polynesian music with rock n’ roll performances of superstars past and present at the Royal Hawaiian Theater.

7. Traditional Luau Dining

Traditional Luau dining is an integral part of Hawaiian culture, offering a unique blend of food, entertainment, and hospitality.

The luau is a traditional Hawaiian feast that dates back to ancient times, though it has evolved over the years to incorporate elements from various cultures that have influenced the Hawaiian Islands.

At a luau, you’ll have the pleasure of indulging in a variety of scrumptious Hawaiian dishes. Some highlights include the Kalua pig, poi, lomi salmon, and haupia.

To add to the charm, your meal may be served on traditional ti leaves or in eye-catching coconut shells.

8. Discover the Waikiki Aquarium

The Waikiki Aquarium is a well-known public aquarium that has been a part of the local landscape since its opening in 1904. It holds the distinction of being the second-oldest public aquarium in the United States.

This aquarium is renowned for its Living Reef Exhibit with over 100 species of fish and 200 types of coral.

This astonishing 60,000-gallon saltwater tank allows you to get up close and personal with the wonders of Hawaii’s marine life.

They offer a range of educational programs and activities for both children and adults, aiming to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of marine life and the challenges it faces.

9. Stroll through Kapiolani Park

Kapiolani Park is a 300-acre area, selected by King Kalakaua in the 19th century, and offers a picture-perfect escape from the bustling city life.

Kapiolani Park
Kapiolani Park.” by skyseeker is licensed under CC BY 2.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

The park features a variety of outdoor activities just waiting for you to try.

Kapiolani Park also serves as a venue for community events, festivals, and concerts at the iconic Bandstand.

Its proximity to Waikiki Beach makes it a popular spot for both locals and tourists who are looking to relax in a natural setting while enjoying the vibrant life of Honolulu.

10. Take a Catamaran Cruise

Catamaran Cruise represents a unique and delightful experience for those seeking adventure on the high seas.

Catamarans, with their dual-hull design, offer a different sailing experience compared to traditional single-hull boats.

One fantastic cruise option is the Turtle Canyon Catamaran Snorkel Cruise which takes you on a 3-hour voyage towards Turtle Canyon.

Or perhaps a Private Sunset Cruise would be perfect for you. Be enchanted as the sun sets, creating a mesmerizing palette of colors in the sky, while you share the moment with someone special.

11. Waikiki Atlantis Submarine Adventure

The Waikiki Atlantis Submarine Adventure offers a unique and thrilling way to explore the underwater world off the coast of Waikiki, Hawaii.

This adventure allows passengers to board a real submarine and dive deep into the ocean to witness the extraordinary sea life and underwater landscapes that are characteristic of this region.

One of the highlights of the tour is the artificial reefs created from sunken ships and airplanes.

These structures have been repurposed to foster marine life, and they offer a fascinating glimpse into how artificial environments can blend with natural ecosystems.

12. Visit the Honolulu Zoo

Honolulu Zoo, located in the heart of Waikiki, is a great place to learn about Hawaii’s indigenous species and many other fascinating creatures from around the world.

Honolulu Zoo

Spanning over 42 acres, it is home to a diverse array of animals, including species native to Hawaii and others from around the world.

The Honolulu Zoo proudly houses 64 reptiles, 38 mammals, and 160 bird species, giving you the chance to see them up close and personal.

The grounds are beautifully maintained with a variety of native plants and trees, creating a serene and natural environment for both the animals and the visitors.

13. Waikiki on a Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour

A Hop-on Hop-off Trolley Tour in Waikiki offers a unique and flexible way to explore one of Hawaii’s most famous destinations in Waikiki.

On this tour, passengers have the liberty to board and disembark at various stops, allowing them to tailor their sightseeing to their interests.

Throughout the journey, guides often share interesting facts and stories about Waikiki’s history and culture, enhancing the experience.

The open-air trolley design allows for unobstructed views of the scenic beauty, from the bustling city streets to the serene oceanfront.

14. Waikiki Beach Walk

Waikiki Beach Walk is a vibrant and bustling area, known for its beautiful stretch of beach and a multitude of attractions that cater to tourists and locals alike.

Waikiki Beach
File:Waikīkī, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA – panoramio (58).jpg” by hh oldman is licensed under CC BY 3.0. Photo may have been modified, resized, or cropped from original.

This iconic destination is renowned for its stunning white sand beach, which is backed by a promenade lined with palm trees, offering a lovely setting for leisurely walks and spectacular sunsets.

The Waikiki Beach Walk area is a hub for entertainment and shopping. It features a wide array of shops, ranging from high-end boutiques to local souvenir stores.

The dining experience is enhanced by the open-air settings and the occasional live music performances, making it a perfect spot for both casual and romantic dining.

15. Waikiki Segway Tour

A Waikiki Segway Tour offers an exciting and unique way to explore one of the most famous beachfront neighborhoods in Honolulu, Hawaii.

This guided tour provides a blend of sightseeing and adventure, making it a popular choice for both tourists and locals alike.

Participants are typically given a brief training session on how to operate a Segway. These electric, self-balancing devices are easy to maneuver and provide a smooth ride.

The tour takes you along the beautiful Waikiki Beach, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean.

My Thoughts on 15 Great Things to Do in Waikiki Hawaii

While exploring the vibrant Waikiki area, you will find a plethora of delightful activities that will surely make your visit an unforgettable experience.

Imagine yourself basking under the warm Hawaiian sun, surfing on the gentle waves at Waikiki Beach, or feeling your taste buds dance as you try an Acai bowl.

As you journey through this enchanting destination, your fanciful spirit will be ignited as you dive into the colorful marine life flourishing beneath the warm waters of Hawaii.

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