Famous for its big blue skies stretching over crystal-clear beaches, Waikiki is one of the top tourist destinations in Hawaii.
It’s ideal for anyone who dreams of vacationing in a tropical paradise filled with sun, surf, hula dancers, tiki torches, and colorful little umbrella drinks.
That said, beaches aren’t the only thing that Waikiki has to offer.
It’s a vibrant neighborhood in the heart of Honolulu, so it’s filled with everything from resorts and restaurants to malls, museums, and movie theaters.
There are also some notable landmarks in terms of U.S. history, including the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.
There’s plenty to do even when you get tired of living the beach life.
Waikiki also used to be the home of royalty!
From 1795 – 1893, the Kingdom of Hawaii was recognized as a sovereign state, and its royal palace was in Waikiki.
It still stands today as the only palace to be found on U.S. soil.
What do you think?
Are you ready to explore one of the coolest destinations in the world?
If so, here are just a few amazing things to do in Waikiki, Hawaii.
1. Waikiki Beach
You can’t visit Hawaii without visiting the beach, and the good news is that Waikiki Beach is the perfect place to sip pina coladas while working on your tan.
You’ll feel like you stepped into a postcard when you see its clean sands, shimming waters, and gently-waving palm trees.
A statue of Duke Kahanamoku, the “father of surfing” and a native Hawaiian son, will greet you at the coast.
You can learn to swim, surf, canoe, or paddle board under his watchful gaze.
If you prefer a more leisurely experience, you can also rent a catamaran to do all of the work for you while you just enjoy the sun and the water; many cruises launch from Waikiki harbors.
Once you’re done outdoors, hit up the world-famous Kalakaua Avenue located right off the beach.
There are countless bars, shops, restaurants, and arcades to keep you busy, and since almost everything is within walking distance, you won’t even need a car.
Just wrap yourself in a beach towel and slap your flip-flops on the ground until you find something interesting to check out.
One thing to note about Waikiki Beach is that it’s actually a series of smaller, interconnected beaches, so even though the whole shebang might be labelled “Waikiki Beach” on a map, you’ll be visiting multiple beaches as you move down the coast.
How’s that for a great vacation?
You can visit a half-dozen beaches all at once!
Address: Kalakaua Avenuue, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815, United States
2. Diamond Head
Formed because of a volcanic explosion more than 300,000 years ago, Diamond Head is a massive crater that sits in the middle of hollowed-out seawalls.
It’s part mountain, part lagoon, and all amazing, and it’s one of the major points of interest in Waikiki.
Hiking is the main activity at Diamond Head, and you can take a number of trails to reach its peaks and observation points.
Once there, you’ll be able to gaze over the cliffs, forests, and rivers of Hawaii with a breathtaking bird’s eye view.
Other activities include things like visiting an old World War II bunker and canvassing the various tunnels, bridges, and stone staircases that dot the trails.
Since it covers some 475 acres, you could spend your entire vacation exploring Diamond Head, and you still wouldn’t hit every landmark.
You can certainly fill up a scrapbook as you try, however!
Address: 18th Ave. Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815, United States
3. Kuhio Beach Hula Show
Hawaii isn’t known for being cheap, but there are plenty of free things to do when you know where to look, especially in a lively tourist neighborhood like Waikiki.
One example is the Kuhio Beach Hula Show.
Held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, the Kuhio Beach Hula Show is both a demonstration and a celebration of some of Hawaii’s most sacred traditions.
There are halau hula, of course, showing off their dance moves, but there’s also torch lighting, fire dancing, and the blowing of traditional conch shells.
You’ll learn a lot about Hawaiian culture even as you’re thoroughly amazed by the skills on display.
If nothing else, the Kuhio Beach Hula Show proves that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun in Hawaii.
Just plan your trip carefully with an eye towards budget-friendly tourist attractions.
Address: Kuhio Beach Hula Mound, Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
4. Iolani Palace
Did you know that you can see a real-life palace on United States soil?
It’s called Iolani Palace, and it was home to Hawaii’s last reigning kings and queens before the monarchy was overthrown in the late 1800s.
Tours are available of both the interior and exterior grounds, and places to go include galleries, drawing rooms, sitting rooms, and warm weather porches known as lanais.
You can marvel at the opulent furnishings, peer at the old-fashioned swords and military paraphernalia on display, and explore the many museum rooms with their antique relics.
You can even visit sites of historical importance like the lanai where Queen Lili’uokalani used to take evening walks during her house arrest of 1895.
All in all, a tour of Iolani Palace is one of the most unique things to do in the US.
It’s quite literally the only place in the country where you can see a palace, and you can only see it in Waikiki.
That’s worth a trip, don’t you think?
Address: 364 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96813, United States
5. Queens Waikiki Luau
A luau is another “must” when visiting Hawaii.
It’s one of the most famous activities in the state, and a full, ceremonial luau has cultural merit as well as entertainment value.
Queens Waikiki Luau is the place to experience this kind of authenticity.
Not only does it showcase the hula dancing that you’ve probably seen in movies, but it also has extra fun in the form of lessons, demonstrations, and live music performances with traditional singers and bands.
There’s even a feast centered around a whole suckling pig for a Hawaiian-style buffet!
Experiencing a real-life luau is one of the coolest things to do in Waikiki, and Queens Waikiki Luau will serve that experience with aplomb.
You definitely won’t want to miss this.
Address: 2330 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
Exploring other parts of Hawaii? Why not check out some of the fun things to do in Kona?
6. House Without a Key
Like many tourist destinations, Waikiki comes alive at night.
However, it isn’t filled with gleaming skyscrapers and other marks of the modern metropolis.
Instead, it offers mai tais served amidst glowing tiki torches while hula dancers put on a show!
House Without a Key isn’t the only place to get this experience in Honolulu, but it’s one of the best.
It’s a restaurant renowned for its under-the-stars approach to dining as well as its strong connection to traditional Hawaiian culture.
It’s so iconic, in fact, that it was immortalized in Charlie Chan’s 1925 novel House Without a Key, a tale that also enjoyed multiple movie adaptations.
The menu is delectable, too, so if you’re in the mood for seared scallops, foie gras croquettes, Asian pear tartare, or double chocolate cake served on top of native flowers, you’ve just found your dinner spot.
There’s a reason why House Without a Key has been a popular tourist destination for more than 130 years.
When you’ve worked up an appetite in Waikiki, this is the place to go.
Address: 2199 Kālia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
7. Hilton Hawaiian Village
There’s no shortage of glitzy and glamorous resorts in Waikiki, but the Hilton Hawaiian Village deserves a special shoutout.
Even non-guests can enjoy things like their fireworks shows every Friday evening!
If you are looking to splurge a little on your Hawaiian vacation, however, you’ll find this hotel to be one of the best in the city.
Not only does it offer luxurious accommodations, but its activity roster is jam-packed with food tours, surf lessons, luau demonstrations, sailing trips, sightseeing adventures, and more.
You could spend your entire vacation swimming in private pools or getting pampered by spa and salon techs.
You wouldn’t even have to leave the building.
If you don’t want to check in, of course, that’s okay as well.
Their fireworks show can be enjoyed from multiple spots on Waikiki Beach, making it one of the free things to do in the city.
If you’re a guest, you simply get a front row seat to the show from their lagoon.
Whether you’re spending money or not, you’ll want to know where to find Hilton Hawaiian Village on the map.
It has a lot to offer to everyone who comes to Honolulu!
Address: 2005 Kālia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
8. Leonard’s Bakery
Spend more than five minutes in Hawaii and you’ll be asked if you’ve tried a malasada.
It’s a sweet, chewy, and hole-less doughnut that’s considered a hallmark of Hawaiian cuisine, and you can find it everywhere from street food stalls to fine dining establishments.
The OG, however, is found at Leonard’s Bakery.
This locally-owned Portuguese business has been in operation since the 1950s, and it’s credited with popularizing the malasada as well as several other pastries and desserts that have become Hawaiian staples despite their Portuguese roots.
Here’s a fun fact to really impress upon you the popularity of the malasada in Hawaii: Leonard’s Bakery alone sells more than 15,000 per day!
You can’t leave Waikiki without trying a malasada, and you can’t find better malasadas than the ones at Leonard’s Bakery.
Follow the scent of cinnamon and sugar to partake in this true Hawaiian tradition.
Address: 933 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96816, United States
9. Manoa Falls Trail
You’ve seen the Manoa Falls Trail even if you’ve never stepped foot in Waikiki.
From Jurassic Park to The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, its lush scenery has made it a premiere shooting destination for all kinds of movies.
Its main attraction is a two-mile hike that ends at Manoa Falls, a gorgeous waterfall nestled in the mountains and surrounded by a tropical rainforest.
Other attractions include Rainbow Valley, a site known for its rainbows, and the Lyon Arboretum, a collection of trees and gardens maintained by the University of Hawaii.
Another interesting thing about the trail is that it’s said to be the stomping grounds of the Night Marchers, a troop of ghostly Hawaiian warriors who once guarded kings and chiefs.
All things considered, a trek on the Manoa Falls Trail is one of the best things to do in Waikiki.
Whether you’re hoping to see ghosts, rainbows, waterfalls, or just gorgeous hua flowers, this is the place to do it.
Address: Na Ala Hele, Honolulu, HI 96822, United States
10. Waikiki Aquarium
Though it’s known for its beautiful weather, there are rainy days in Waikiki, and you might find yourself needing a good indoor attraction to keep the kids entertained when the sky opens up.
On a day like this, consider a trip to the Waikiki Aquarium.
Home to more than 3,500 organisms, the aquarium was built right along the shoreline of a living coral reef, and its dazzling coral collection is a visitor highlight.
There are also clams, clownfish, sea snakes, jellyfish, and more.
A free audio tour is available for those with a smartphone.
Special events include everything from animal demonstrations to aquarium-sponsored beach cleanups.
Of the many things to do in Waikiki, the Waikiki Aquarium is one of the most fun.
It’s also one of the most accessible.
Rain or shine, you can count on the monk seals to bellow hello!
Address: 2777 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
Planning to visit other parts of Hawaii? Why not check out some of the best things to do in Kauai?
11. Ala Wai Golf Course
You’ve never hit a birdie quite like this!
The Ala Wai Golf Course has an incredible backdrop of Waikiki’s most picturesque sights, including Diamond Head, the Koolau Mountains, and the entire Honolulu skyline.
You might actually be distracted from the game by the sheer wonder of the scenery all around you.
When you’re ready to focus, however, the golf course is also impressive in its own right.
It has 18 holes with plenty of amenities for both recreational and professional golfers, including carts, clubhouses, and club rentals.
There’s also an on-site grill when you’re feeling peckish and a snack bar when you want something to nibble on between games.
Golfing in Waikiki can be a truly luxurious experience when you’re surrounded by mountains and volcanic craters.
Who knew that some of the best things to see in Waikiki could be found on a golf course?
Address: 404 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
One of the biggest of its kind, Hawaii’s Chinatown was founded in the 1800s after an influx of immigrants came to work on the island’s sugar plantations.
Today, it’s grown into a vibrant community where dim sum is served alongside suckling pig and coconut cocktails, offering a distinctly unique “fusion” vibe between its two cultures.
Fun places to visit around Chinatown include everything from buffets and tea shops to religious shrines and open-air produce markets.
There are solemn sites of spiritual devotion; there are neon-tinted bars and laundromats; there are brilliantly green rooftop gardens.
You can find a little bit of everything here, and it’s a melting pot in every conceivable way.
Despite its name, Chinatown isn’t only home to the Chinese; there are many Asian and Polynesian pockets in the district, including Japanese, Vietnamese, and Malaysian.
If you’re wondering what to do in and near Waikiki, sidestep into Chinatown for a bit.
You’ll be able to eat some good food, take some good pictures, and create some good memories with global cultures around the world.
Address: 100 N Beretania St, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96817, United States
13. Breakout Waikiki
Many things to do in Waikiki are outdoors, but what if you prefer your fun to be a little more air-conditioned?
Or what if you simply get tired of the sun and need a cool, dark retreat for awhile?
Try an escape room at Breakout Waikiki.
Offering five games in total, Breakout Waikiki is a great place to challenge yourself and your friends to see who has what it takes to escape a doomsday scenario.
From secret sabotage on a train to mind-controlling doctors with illegal test subjects, each game will push you to collect clues, solve riddles, and unleash your inner puzzlemaster.
If you need even more incentive, Breakout Waikiki was once visited by Barack Obama during a press tour, making it the only escape room in the U.S. to have received an official visit from an acting president!
Test yourself. Work together with your friends. Save the world.
These are just a few of the opportunities afforded by Breakout Waikiki, a great vacation destination on Oahu.
Address: 227 Lewers St #112, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
14. Kepoikai II Catamaran
Not all Waikiki attractions are found on land.
In fact, some of the best, most memorable sights can only be seen from the bobbing waves of the ocean, which is why you should consider a trip with Kepoikai II Catamaran.
Offering everything from small yachts to large, party-sized catamarans, Kepoikai II Catamaran is a company that specializes in outdoor adventures.
No matter what kind of experience that you’re hoping to have, they can provide it.
Take a sunset cruise for a romantic date night; go whale- and dolphin-watching with the kids; hitch a ride to an amazing snorkeling spot.
You can even rent a charter for a multi-day experience that spans all of Oahu’s top tourist attractions!
There will be many wonderful things to see during a trip on the water with Kepoikai II Catamaran, so grab your bucket hat and your binoculars.
You’ll be in for a real treat.
Address: 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
15. Waikiki Trolley Hop-On Hop-Off Tour
If you aren’t sure how to choose from the many things to do in Waikiki, why not see them all?
Held aboard a bright, cheerful double-decker bus, the Waikiki Trolley Hop-On Hop-Off Tour will let you cram an entire vacation’s worth of sightseeing into just a few hours.
There are multiple “lines” to choose from, including a Red Line Historic Honolulu Tour and a Blue Line Panoramic Coastline Tour, so you can cater your experience to your own tastes.
You can also buy multi-day passes to take unlimited tours at your leisure.
Best of all, since it’s a hop-on, hop-off tour, you can pause your exploring at any time whenever something catches your eye.
Whether it’s a tasty-looking restaurant or a kitschy souvenir shop that you just have to check out, the control will be in your hands, not your tour guide’s.
Consider a ride with the Waikiki Trolley Hop-On Hop-Off Tour.
It’ll be a great way to see what the neighborhood has to offer, and chugging along on a bright orange bus will make a fun vacation story when you get home, too.
Address: Honolulu, HI, United States
16. Ala Moana Center
With almost 300 stores, the Ala Moana Center is the biggest shopping mall on the island of Oahu, and it’s also something of a cultural touchstone for tourists.
This is because the mall often puts on shows and demonstrations of Hawaiian culture, and many of its retailers are Hawaii-based or Hawaii-exclusive, meaning that your dollars will directly support local enterprises.
The atmosphere of the mall is upscale: Many luxury brands are housed within its open-air plaza lined with palm trees and gleaming with glass shopfronts.
The “food court” is also more of a “food palace,” offering dozens of sit-down restaurants, including fine dining establishments.
You don’t have to open your wallet, however, if you’d prefer to window shop.
There’s tons of stuff to do at the mall.
Check its schedule to see what hula dances and other special events are happening as early as this weekend!
The Ala Moana Center is one of the must see destinations in the Honolulu area.
Even if you don’t spend a dime, it’s worth a visit for the sights, sounds, and scents of a true Hawaiian mainstay as well as the opportunity to support local businesses with your patronage.
Address: 1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96814, United States
17. Bishop Museum
Also known as the Hawaii State Museum of Natural and Cultural History, the Bishop Museum is a site of great cultural significance in Waikiki.
It’s dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of Hawaii’s founding populations, including the long-ago monarchs who built the very foundation of the land.
It’s also dedicated to science, particularly natural science, so it can be a fun destination for visitors who enjoy biology, geography, and zoology.
Exhibit topics can include everything from the traditional tattoos of Polynesian tribes to current, award-winning Hawaiian surfers.
There are great works of art to admire, including paintings, portraits, and murals; there are specimen collections of dozens of flora and fauna.
If you’re the literary type, you might also appreciate the endless shelves in the archives.
It rivals the Smithsonian in terms of sheer scale!
If you’re thinking about what to do in Waikiki that will allow you to truly appreciate the land that you’re standing on, consider a trip to the Bishop Museum.
It’ll be educational and informative all at once.
Address: 1525 Bernice St, Honolulu, HI 96817, United States
18. Foster Botanical Gardens
Hawaii is filled with rugged natural beauty, but there’s something to be said about a well-cultivated garden as well.
It can be just as beautiful as the wilderness, especially when it looks like Foster Botanical Gardens.
Mostly dominated by trees, Foster Botanical Gardens is a place of zen.
Its Buddhist leanings can be seen in things like cuttings from the Siddhartha’s tree, but you can still enjoy the peace and tranquility of the space as a secular visitor.
Its orchids, butterflies, and baobab saplings will inspire self-reflection even as they take you on a visual journey through the wonder of nature.
Other places to visit on-site include temples, statue collections, and themed gardens where you can sit and even picnic among the flowers.
You don’t have to climb a mountain to appreciate the majesty of Hawaii’s landscapes.
Just take a quiet, thoughtful stroll through a little piece of zen at the Foster Botanical Gardens.
Address: 180 N Vineyard Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96817, United States
19. Pearl Harbor National Memorial
While not technically located in Waikiki, the Pearl Harbor National Memorial is just a short drive away in the greater Honolulu area, and it’s often considered one of the most important things to see during a trip to Hawaii.
Visitors can climb aboard the USS Arizona Memorial to learn more about the attacks of December 7, 1941.
Tours of the ship are self-guided, though there are audio tours that you can coordinate with as you browse the various displays, exhibits, and memorials.
A documentary film is available for viewing, and other nearby sites of exploration include a submarine and a battleship.
On certain days, elderly survivors of Pearl Harbor will give talks about their experiences on ground zero.
If you’re wondering what to do in Hawaii, make time for the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.
It’s an essential part of American history, and though melancholy at times, it’s also a national legacy that shouldn’t be forgotten.
Address: 1 Arizona Memorial Pl, Honolulu, HI 96818, United States
20. Hawaii Convention Center
The Hawaii Convention Center is the venue space of Honolulu.
From high school proms to high-tech business conferences, there’s always something new on the calendar, and this can be a boon for the adventurous traveler.
Do you like anime?
Hit up the annual Kawaii Kon in April.
Are you an art lover?
Buy tickets for Monet: The Immersive Experience in June.
Are you a collector?
The Coin Show Expo is held every November.
Since it’s centrally located in Honolulu, you can also find a number of special events happening near and around the convention center, so don’t forget to check out those possibilities as well.
You never know when there will be a cultural festival happening on the front lawn.
The Hawaii Convention Center is a great place to visit while you’re in town, so whether you’re looking for concerts, sporting events, or geeky pop culture conventions, give them a call.
Address: 1801 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
Looking for more thrills around Hawaii? Why not check out some of the best things to do in Maui?
21. Moana Hotel
Its palace-like architecture is flanked by white marble columns, green palm trees, and wide balconies and lanais.
The interior is just as impressive as the exterior, offering luxurious suites with top-of-the-line amenities.
You can also arrange with the front desk for all kinds of vacation activities, including surfing, snorkeling, golf, massages, and yacht cruises.
Fun fact: The Moana Hotel boasts the only oceanfront spa in all of Waikiki!
The Moana Hotel is such a brilliant place that you can consider it one of Waikiki’s attractions.
It might sound strange to say that about a hotel, but it’s the kind of destination that inspires selfies.
You’ll definitely want to tell your friends back home all about it.
Address: 2365 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
22. Aloha Stadium Swap Meet and Marketplace
Also known as the “Aloha Swap,” the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet and Marketplace is a gigantic flea market that’s unlike anything else in Waikiki.
It’s worlds apart from the sleek and gleaming surfaces of the malls.
Instead, it’s a large, busy, colorful, crowded and charmingly rustic experience run by locals.
Admission is $1 per person, and it’ll quickly pay for itself as you explore everything on offer.
You’ll see kitschy t-shirts and gaudy jewelry as well as hand-blown glass sculptures and delicately crafted masks, totem poles, and ukuleles.
Fresh flowers are available by the armful.
Artists sell paintings, photos, beach prints, and more.
Food is also a big part of the market, so go with an appetite.
From the ice cream trucks to the vendors selling homemade breads and hand-cut cheeses, you’ll have your pick of tasty treats.
You’ll also have the opportunity to try some Hawaiian classics like malasadas!
Remember: You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have fun in Hawaii.
There are plenty of cheap things to do, including spending an afternoon at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet and Marketplace.
Address: 99-500 Salt Lake Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96818, United States
23. Hana Koa Brewing Company
“Who doesn’t love a spontaneous night out?” asks the Hana Koa Brewing Company, as they explain why they don’t require reservations.
It’s this kind of casual and fun-loving attitude that makes them one of the most beloved date night destinations in Waikiki.
At its heart, the Hana Koa Brewing Company is a brewery.
Tours and tastings are available if you’d like to go behind the scenes and learn how your favorite brews undergo the transformation from grain to bottle.
Otherwise, the restaurant of the brewery is world class.
The menu ranges from finger foods to full-course meals.
It also has a distinctly Asian flavor with dishes like kimchi, lettuce wraps, panko tofu, and Korean-style short ribs.
If you’re looking for cool places to dine tonight, hit up the Hana Koa Brewing Company.
It isn’t fancy, and it doesn’t require a tie or a reservation.
You can just show up and enjoy yourself!
Address: 962 Kawaiahao St, Honolulu, HI 96814, United States
24. Mai Tai Bar
Another great restaurant, the Mai Tai Bar is a must do if you’re looking for Waikiki attractions with killer cocktails.
Its signature drink is right there in the name, but they also offer wines, margaritas, draft beers, and more.
You can get a nice buzz going by the second course!
The menu includes everything from “pink palace pancakes” for brunch to truffle fries and poke bowls for dinner.
The indoor/outdoor seating is open day and night, and you can enjoy live music after the sun sets.
At all times, the surf will gently roll into the beach in front of you, creating an ambient atmosphere that’s unlike anything at home.
The Mai Tai Bar is one of the best places to go in Waikiki, especially at night when the drinks are flowing and the musicians are playing their ukuleles.
Whether you’re hoping for a chill evening with friends or a romantic date night with ocean views, this is where you can make it happen.
Address: 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
25. Magic Island Lagoon
Waikiki’s beaches make it one of the best vacation spots in the world.
However, you don’t have to stay on the six beaches that form the official Waikiki Beach.
You can also check out sandy slices of paradise like the Magic Island Lagoon.
A man-made peninsula, the Magic Island Lagoon has large “seawalls” that hold back the tide and provide a calm, shallow basin for beach goers.
It’s the kind of place that’s great to take the little ones and a pool noodle or two.
You might also appreciate its tranquility if you’re tired of brushing elbows with the bigger crowds of larger, more public beaches.
Amenities at the lagoon include showers, restrooms, concessions, and picnic tables under shady trees.
A lifeguard is on duty during the day.
Admission is free.
If you’re looking for a calm spot to enjoy the sun and surf, consider Magic Island Lagoon.
It really does live up to its name with a magical environment where you can escape the daily grind and simply “be” for awhile.
Address: Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
26. Honolulu Museum of Art
With more than 50,000 pieces on display, the Honolulu Museum of Art is one of the premiere destinations for art aficionados on the island.
Not only does it house everything from wood blocks to watercolors, but it also represents each and every culture of Hawaii, spanning more than 5,000 years of history to include both prehistoric relics and modern, cutting-edge art.
When you’re done admiring the galleries, you can also sign up for classes and workshops to learn more about art or even master the techniques to create your own.
Another great thing about the museum is that there’s no admission fee on the first Wednesday and third Sunday of every month, so if you’re looking for free things to do while on vacation, this could be an option.
Go for the art.
Stay for the breathtaking beauty and legacy of Hawaii preserved in picture form.
That’s the experience that you can have at the Honolulu Museum of Art, so it’s well-worth a visit.
Address: 900 S Beretania St, Honolulu, HI 96814, United States
27. Children’s Discovery Center
The fun never stops at the Children’s Discovery Center, one of Honolulu’s most exciting destinations for kids.
Adults will appreciate it as well: It’s educational while still being entertaining and physically and mentally engaging.
Your little ones will learn without even realizing that they’re learning!
Activities at the center include things like wandering through simulated rainforests, exploring life-sized replicas of the human body, and buying and selling fake goods at a historic sugar plantation.
Kids can load cargo as airplane pilots or study rainbows through magnifying glasses as geologists.
If they’re interested in this type of play-acting, they can also dress up in various costumes and pretend to be career professionals in a homemade town.
Maybe you’re a parent looking to burn off some of your kid’s energy before dinner.
Maybe you’re a teacher looking for tourist attractions that are suitable for a K-12 field trip.
Either way, the Children’s Discovery Center is one of the most fun places to visit for younguns in Waikiki, so it should definitely make your shortlist.
Address: 111 Ohe St, Honolulu, HI 96813, United States
28. Honolulu Fish Auction
If you’ve never witnessed a fish auction, this is your chance.
The Honolulu Fish Auction is one of the most unique experiences that you can have in the city, and it’s also a fascinating glimpse behind the curtain of a little-known industry.
It starts around 5AM – 6AM when the boats arrive at the dock with freshly-caught seafood.
From there, the specimens are weighed, judged, cut, cleaned, and generally prepared for auction.
Then, the bidding begins.
Common fish gets sold cheaply or in large quantities to local seafood restaurants; rarer or finer fish sell for staggering amounts to make expensive sashimi.
As a spectator, you won’t be allowed to participate in the auction, but you can watch and comment with others who are also there for viewing.
People come from all over the city to experience the Honolulu Fish Auction.
If you’re looking for fun, unusual things to do in Honolulu, set an early alarm and venture out to see the bidding wars!
Address: 1131 N Nimitz Hwy, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96817, United States
29. Honolulu Zoo
Honolulu Zoo was originally established in the 1800s as part of royal lands granted to the public from King Kalakaua.
He held fairs, festivals, and exotic bird and animal shows that allowed spectators to enjoy wondrous sights from all around the world.
Today, the Honolulu Zoo continues that mission.
While not a large zoo, it still houses an impressive number of animals, and each one has a special habitat or enclosure designed to mimic their natural ecosystem.
The zoo is committed to conservation just as much as entertainment, so you can rest assured that your money is going to a good place.
Besides wildlife observation, other activities at the zoo include shows and tours, including “twilight tours” taken after-hours.
The Honolulu Zoo might not be the biggest or flashiest menagerie that you’ve ever seen, but it has a real, solid history behind it, and it’s dedicated to a good cause.
For these reasons, you can consider it one of the best things to do in Waikiki.
Address: 151 Kapahulu Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, United States
30. Kaka’ako Waterfront Park
With its green hills and rocky coastlines, Kaka’ako Waterfront Park fits right in with other beautifully rugged destinations in Waikiki.
Go a little deeper, however, and you’ll stumble across a secret destination called Point Panic.
Point Panic gets its name from a surging current located right off the seawall.
It can reach speeds up to 10 miles per hour, making it a dare-worthy spot for bodysurfers who aren’t afraid of being tossed around by the waves or delivered to the abrupt drop-off point near the seawall.
Note that only bodysurfers are allowed; surfers and paddle boarders have been banned because of their equipment causing injuries.
At the end of the day, however, if you’re an adrenaline junkie looking for your next fix, you might like a trip to Kaka’ako Waterfront Park and Point Panic.
Thrill-seekers consider it a Top 10 destination when talking about things to do in Hawaii.
Address: 102 Ohe St, Honolulu, HI 96813, United States
31. Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design
Further proving the diverse, multicultural nature of the Hawaiian islands, the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design was started by a white socialite to celebrate Islamic art in the heart of Honolulu.
How’s that for a melting pot?
Jokes aside, the Shangri La Museum is a true testament to Islamic art and culture.
Founded by billionaire heiress Doris Duke after she traveled through the Middle East in the 1920s, it’s brought together thousands of objects from countless races, cultures, and time periods.
From Iranian furnishings to Syrian textiles to Egyptian mosaics, you can find a dizzying collection of art in these galleries.
One thing to note about the museum is that reservations are required, and it’s a something of a hot spot for art connoisseurs all around the world, so you’ll want to plan for your trip several months in advance.
If you can manage to get tickets, however, the Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design is well worth the wait.
Not only is it a grand destination in its own right, but it’s also a standing symbol of bringing humanity together through art.
Address: 4055 Pāpū Cir, Honolulu, HI 96816, United States
32. Aloha Tower
Say goodbye to Waikiki with a trip to Aloha Tower.
It offers a stunning panorama of the island below, so you can take in all of the green hills, blue waters, and white clouds of the land as you enjoy the view one last time.
Originally built in 1926, the Aloha Tower served for many years as a welcoming beacon to sailors and other seafarers who would see the lighthouse before anything else on the shore.
Today, though it’s non-operational as a lighthouse, it serves a similar purpose for tourists.
People often visit as either the first or last thing that they do in Waikiki.
Remember: “aloha” means both hello and goodbye in Hawaiian!
To end your vacation in style, climb to the top of Aloha Tower.
You can’t go wrong with one of the most iconic and enduring of Waikiki’s attractions.
Address: 155 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96813, United States
Start Planning Your Trip To Waikiki
If you’re wondering what to do on the beautiful, bountiful beaches of Waikiki, these are just a few ways to see the sights, down the drinks, and enjoy the very best that Hawaii has to offer.