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Waikiki Land Activities
After a day at the beach, explore Waikiki by foot, bike or even rented moped. Learn how to strum an ukulele or dance the hula at the Royal Hawaiian Center . Picnic with the family in Kapiolani Park then visit the Honolulu Zoo across the street. There are endless Waikiki attractions to explore. Or venture beyond Waikik i to Pearl Harbor or the North Shore to get the most out of your stay on Oahu.

Hula on Oahu

Hula is a uniquely Hawaiian dance accompanied by chant or song that preserves and perpetuates the stories, traditions and culture of Hawaii. You can see authentic hula throughout Oahu at live performances at hotels and resorts and seasonal festivals and competitions like the International Waikiki Hula Conference (May), the King Kamehameha Hula Competition (June), and the Prince Lot Hula Festival (July).

A luau is another fun and festive place to watch the hula and learn about Hawaiian and Polynesian culture. Fantastic luau venues can be found throughout Oahu including the Alii Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center on the North Shore , the Paradise Cove Luau in the Ko Olina area of Leeward Oahu , and the Royal Luau at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel , one of many luau events in Waikiki .

Hula is traditionally taught by a kumu hula (hula teacher) in a hula halau (hula school) but visitors can get free lessons at select Oahu hotels and resorts and places like the Royal Hawaiian Center . If you're brave enough, some luau performances even let you take the stage to show off your new hula skills.

Honolulu Zoological Society

151 Kapahulu Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
Join us on Facebook

Reservation Info

Phone: (808) 926-3191
Fax: (808) 926-2622


The Honolulu Zoo is open 9:00 am to 5:30 pm daily. The last entry is taken at 4:30 pm. We are open every day except Christmas Day.

Cost: $8 adults, $4 locals
$1 kids ages 6 to 12, kids ages 5 and under are free

Memberships are available for families for $40 a year and give you free admission, discounts in the shop, snack bar, and on our educational programs, plus the newsletter "Zoo View".

The Zoo is 42 acres and home to 995 different animals from the tropics. Komodo Dragons, orang-utans, elephants, primates, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and a variety of African animals can be seen daily. Be sure to see the wildest place in Waikiki!

Twilight Tours of the Zoo are held every Saturday night from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm. These walking tours are led by a guide and are appropriate adults and families with kids ages 5 and up. Please call 971-7195 to register.

Waikiki is more than a place. Waikiki is an experience. And Waikiki's sights and attractions will help you discover why the past and the present unite here in so many fresh and unexpected ways.

Waikiki Beaches
Waikiki has a variety of beaches to explore from Duke Kahanamoku Beach near the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort and Spa to Kaimana (San Souci) Beach near The New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel . The main stretches of beach in Waikiki include:

Waikiki Beach : This is the classic shoreline behind the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Moana Surfrider .

Kuhio Beach : When the world thinks of Waikiki, this golden stretch of sand along Kalakaua Avenue is what comes to mind. To the east, Kapahulu Pier extends into the Pacific giving you a stunning view of the Waikiki shoreline. The rock "Wall" shelters the beach, providing a tranquil spot to swim with the family.

Queens Surf Beach : Past the volleyball nets at the Diamond Head end of Waikiki, the beaches get less crowded and grassy areas spring up, offering pleasant spots for picnicking.

Waikiki Attractions
Waikiki has a variety of attractions to see including the Waikiki Aquarium , the U.S. Army Museum , and the Honolulu Zoo across the street from the 100-acre Kapiolani Park. Not far from Waikiki you can go on an Atlantis Submarine ride, take a tour of stunning Shangri La or enjoy the ocean views from the coastal Leahi (Diamond Head) Lookouts.

As the sun sets, shop , dine , dance, and listen to live music in venues like the new Waikiki Beach Walk and in hotels and resorts throughout Waikiki. Beyond the borders of Waikiki, you'll discover a wealth of interesting attractions, from the USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor to the legendary beaches of the North Shore .

Waikiki Historic Trail
To learn more about Waikiki's history, take a stroll along the Waikiki Historic Trail, which highlights 23 historic sites, 19 of which are marked by Bronze surfboards with a wealth of historical information.

The trail begins at the Royal Hawaiian Center in the heart of Waikiki. The Royal Grove here in historic Helumoa was once home to 10,000 coconut trees. The trail continues to the four Pohaku (Wizard Stones) off of Kuhio Beach said to provide spiritual healing; King's Village, a shopping center that was once the residence of King Kalakaua; and the Duke Kahanamoku statue which has become an enduring symbol of Waikiki. From Hawaiian artifacts on display in hotel lobbies to the weathered photos of Waikiki's surfing past in Duke's Canoe Club , an exploration of Waikiki's history will make your stay even richer.

Pearl Harbor, named for the pearl oysters once harvested there, is the largest natural harbor in Hawaii, a World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument and the only naval base in the United States to be designated a National Historical Landmark. The devastating aerial attack on Pearl Harbor resulted in 2,390 dead and hundreds wounded, and drove the United States into World War II. Pearl Harbor honors this history-changing event with the Pearl Harbor Historic Sites:

USS Arizona Memorial
At 8:06 a.m. on December 7th, 1941, the USS Arizona was hit by a 1,760-pound armor-piercing bomb, which ignited its forward ammunition magazine. The catastrophic explosion that resulted sank this massive battleship in nine minutes, killing 1,177 crewmen.

Today, the USS Arizona Memorial is a place to learn about this historic attack and pay your respects to the brave soldiers that fell that day. Begin at the Visitor Center where you can watch a film about the attack and view plaques honoring lives lost on that fateful day.

You'll then take a boat shuttle to the USS Arizona Memorial, a floating memorial built over the sunken hull of the Battleship USS Arizona, the final resting place for many of the ship's crew. In the shrine room, a marble wall exhibits the names of the men who lost their lives on the Arizona. Poignant and powerful, this is a place where visitors come face to face with the devastating effects of war. Learn more about the Pacific Historic Parks .

Battleship Missouri Memorial
General Macarthur accepted the unconditional Japanese surrender that ended WWII on September 2, 1945 on the Surrender Deck of the Battleship Missouri Memorial. Now located at Pearl Harbor's historic Battleship Row, the massive “Mighty Mo” is a living museum, with exhibits spanning three wars and five decades of service.

Explore the decks of this 60,000-ton Battleship, three football fields long and twenty stories tall. Stand on the Surrender Deck and view the documents that ended the war. Take a tour and get special access to restricted areas. You won't want to miss the ship's most stunning feature: towering 16-inch guns that could fire a 2,700-pound shell 23 miles. Learn more about the Battleship Missouri Memorial .

USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park
The U.S.S. Bowfin (SS-287) is one of the 288 U.S. submarines that carried out the war in the Pacific during World War II. Explore the 10,000 square foot submarine museum to learn about the battle under the seas. A tour of the grounds will take you to a Waterfront Memorial honoring submariners lost in WWII as well as interactive gun and torpedo exhibits.

Step onboard the USS Bowfin, also known as the “Pearl Harbor Avenger,” for a panoramic view of the harbor. Step below decks and walk through an authentic submarine, touring its torpedo room, engine room, and sleeping quarters. In the Bowfin's claustrophobic quarters you may ask yourself if you have what it takes to be a submariner. Learn more about the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park .

Pacific Aviation Museum
Located within former WWII airplane hangars on Pearl Harbor's Ford Island, the Pacific Aviation Museum is an immersive aviation museum complete with interactive simulators and exhibits showcasing the stories behind authentic WWII fighter planes and bombers.

Explore the battle in the skies in Hangar 37, a 42,000 square foot airplane hangar that survived the Pearl Harbor attack. See planes like an authentic Japanese Zero and a B-25B Bomber, similar to the one used in the famous “Doolittle Raid” on Japan in 1942. Gain a new perspective on the war at the Pacific Aviation Museum. Learn more about the Pacific Aviation Museum .

USS Oklahoma Memorial
Dedicated on December 7th, 2007, the USS Oklahoma Memorial honors the 429 crewmen who lost their lives in the Pearl Harbor attack. Approximately nine torpedoes hit “The Okie,” capsizing this 35,000-ton battleship in only twelve minutes.

Some crewmen were actually trapped in compartments below deck after the ship capsized. They used hammers and wrenches to signal rescue crews on the surface. Two days after the attack, thirty-two men were rescued from the overturned hull of the Oklahoma.

Aloha Swapmeet

Just 20 minutes away from Waikiki, discover unique treasures at Hawaii's largest open air flea market where the locals shop for the best deals in town.

Open three days a week, we offer endless rows of over 400 local merchants offering the best value on imported merchandise, hand made items, eclectic art pieces, popular local snacks, and other made in Hawaii products. This is sure to be your one stop destination to find that special gift or souvenir for everyone on your list.

Atlantis Submarines

1600 Kapiolani Blvd Ste 1630
Honolulu, HI 96814

Reservation Info

Toll Free: (800) 548-6262


Experience Hawaii's only real submarine tour! Create lifetime memories diving into the habitat of countless, exotic sea creatures in the comfortable and safe submarine. Marvel at sunken aircraft and shipwrecks, and the "new homes for fish" Atlantis creates through its impressive reef development activities.

U.S. Army Museum Of Hawaii

2131 Kalia Rd.
Honolulu, HI 96815-1936

Reservation Info

Phone: (808) 955-9552
Fax: (808) 941-3617


Coastal defense battery housing military memorabilia from early Hawaiian period through Vietnam War. Gallery of Heroes honoring Medal of Honor and Distinguished Service Cross recipients. Gift Shop. Free Admission.

The Waikiki Aquarium

2777 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
Join us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Reservation Info

Phone: (808) 923-9741
Fax: (808) 923-1771


Founded in 1904 and administered by the University of Hawaii since 1919, the Waikiki Aquarium is located on the shoreline of Waikiki Beach next to a living reef and across from Kapiolani Park. The Aquarium showcases more than 500 marine species, and maintains more than 3,000 marine specimens. New Hawaiian Green Sea turtle exhibit. Peppermint Angelfish one of the Ocean's rarest fish. Only one on display for the public in the world. Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Exhibit.

The Aquarium is open daily from 9 am to 4:30 pm. Admission prices: $12 Adults, $5 Children (4-12), FREE Children 3 & under, $8 Kama ‘aina, $8 Active Duty Military, $5 Seniors(65+), $5 persons with disabilities, FREE Fowa Board Members

2014 marks the 110th anniversary of the aquarium making the Waikiki Aquarium the 2nd oldest in the United States.

For more information about the Waikiki Aquarium, including membership and facility rentals, please call 808-923-9741 or visit

Visiting Oahu and having a great time does not have to cost a bundle. You'll find plenty of free or very inexpensive activities and sights on Oahu.

When we recommend for the top things you should do and see on each island, we focus on the aspects that are unique to that island. For Oahu, we think the military history and scenery are two of the major highlights, and you'll see that reflected in this list of suggestions for what to see and do on Oahu.

1. Visit the USS Arizona National Memorial in Pearl Harbor. The first time I saw the memorial, I was speechless for a while and then I was moved to tears. Though it is a solemn place, the history that you'll learn here is very much worth the time to visit it. There are several things you need to know so that you are prepared for your visit, so see our detailed advice for visiting the USS Arizona Memorial .

2. Visit Punchbowl National Cemetery . This is a another solemn, yet peaceful site. Where else would you find a cemetery in the center of an extinct volcanic crater? You will find tremendous views of Honolulu at lookouts here, as well. See our tips for visiting Punchbowl .

Lanikai Beach

3. Enjoy the stunning scenery. If you don't have a rental car and you are on a limited budget, you can take Oahu's excellent public transportation, TheBus, to tour around the island. TheBus' Web site actually has has some very useful information aimed at sightseers . We'll list just a sampling of the places we'd love for you to see. We'll attempt to put them in somewhat of a logistical order starting Southeast and going in a counterclockwise direction around Oahu.

      • The rocky coast line, beautiful beaches and small islands from Hawaii Kai to to Kailua Beach Park. (Follow Kalanianaole Highway 72 and then divert off to Kailua and Lanikai beaches.) Some consider Lanikai Beach to be the most beautiful in the world. See our post on visiting beautiful Lanikai Beach .
      • Byodo-In Temple near Kaneohe is simply stunning. (Entry requires a nominal fee of $3 per person the last time we checked.)
      • Mokolii (Chinaman's Hat)
      • Laie Point
      • North Shore beaches including a stop at Laniakea Beach to observe the honu (turtles). See item 6 for more details about Laniakea Beach.
      • Ancient Hawaiian temple at Puu O Mahuku to learn about ancient Hawaiian culture and a great view, too.
      • Scenic North Shore surfer town of Haleiwa town for a shave ice for a nominal price.
      • The Pali Lookout towards the center of the island is off of the Pali Highway, Hwy 61. (Update: after originally publishing this article a $3 parking fee went into effect for all non-Hawaii residents. Though I don't like that non-residents are forced to pay the fee, the views from the Pali Lookout are excellent.)
      • For panoramic views of Honolulu, consider taking a drive up the jungle-like, winding road of Tantalus-Round Top drive and stop off at Puu Ualakaa State Park .

4 . See a free fireworks show from Waikiki Beach at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Friday nights. See our post on this long-standing Friday night fireworks show on Waikiki with suggestions of where to see the fireworks.

5. See the free torch lighting ceremony and hula show at Kuhio Beach Park in Waikiki. You'll find a delightful show filled with traditional Hawaiian music and dancing. The excellent beach side setting can't be beat. This show is presented every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and nights around sunset — at either 6:00pm or 6:30pm depending on the time of year. Follow this link to learn more about the free Kuhio Beach hula show . Please note that this hula show normally operates as scheduled, but occasionally, it is subject to change without notice.

A hike to Manoa Falls is a fun adventure

6. Admire the honu (sea turtles) at Laniakea Beach which is also known as Turtle Beach. You'll find this beach on the North Shore between Haleiwa and Waimea Bay off of Highway 83. The best landmark for finding this beach is to look for the southern end of Pohaku Loa Way and the cars parked off the mountain side of the road. (Update: parking may be difficult per this news. ) Use this Google Map link to find Turtle Beach. Laniakea Beach spot makes a nice place to have a picnic at lunch or sunset. We should make sure we caution you that sea turtles (honu) are protected and you should never approach one or attempt to touch one. Remember that you are in their territory and they are coming to land for a rest.

7. Lace up your hiking shoes and hit the trails. For a nice variety of hikes that will show you a contrast of Oahu's diverse terrain, check out our top 3 favorite Oahu vacation hikes .

8. Go snorkeling. Some of the best snorkeling spots on Oahu are Hanauma Bay around Honolulu and Shark's Cove on the North Shore. For more information on snorkeling on Oahu, see this Oahu snorkeling guide .

9. In the winter, watch those incredibly tall waves along the North Shore. The top spots for watching the winter surf are at Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach and the famous Banzai Pipeline at Ehukai Beach . Also in the winter, watch for humpback whales splashing in Hawaii's water. A great vantage point is to take a short hike on the Makapuu Point Lighthouse Trail (off Hwy 72 north of Hawaii Kai) or at the lookouts off Diamond Head Road just above Diamond Head Beach Park on the east side of Diamond Head Crater.

10. Watch the sun sink into the ocean with a sunset picnic. You can either pick up your own picnic supplies from a grocery store or restaurant. Even the ABC Stores that are all over Waikiki have a decent selection for a picnic. Alternatively, many resorts will offer “to-go” picnic baskets. Please note that alcoholic beverages are prohibited on Hawaii beaches. See my article on enjoying a Waikiki Beach sunset picnic .

See these links for more great Oahu vacation ideas:

* More than 50 great things to see, do and taste on your Oahu vacations

* Top 10 Oahu Family Activities and Attractions

* Fun Things to Do on a Rainy Day on Oahu

* Where to find free entertainment and cultural activities on Oahu

* You'll find many more ideas from our free Oahu Vacation guide.

If you're visiting other islands, be sure and read these other articles on great budget friendly things to do in Hawaii:

Originally posted at: 10 Best Free Activities and Sights on Oahu | Go Visit Hawaii

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