Hiking Manoa Falls
You’re in Hawaii, so you expect to see a waterfall, right? Well you don’t have to go very far to view the falls when you take this short rainforest hike. You’ll hop on a lush trail through a stream and a grove of Eucalyptus trees before reaching a bamboo forest, and finally, the falls. Located close to the University of Hawaii in beautiful Manoa Valley, about a fifteen-minute drive from Waikiki. Expect to get a bit muddy and bring bug spray—it’s tropical!
Diamond Head Crater
Not only is Diamond Head Monument a historic landmark, it’s also one of the most popular hiking destinations on Oahu. Diamond Head crater was formed about 300,000 years ago during a single, explosive volcanic eruption, leaving a distinct shape recognizable from anywhere in Waikiki. Climb to the top for a good uphill workout with amazing coastal views. The payoff is worth the effort!
If surfing isn’t your thing, but big waves are, then you’ll love an outrigger canoe ride off Waikiki Beach! Ancient Hawaiians used outrigger canoes to travel between the islands and for fishing. Take a tour of Waikiki in a modern version of these canoes and see living reefs, a plethora of fish, sea turtles (which we call honu), and dolphins! Canoe rides are available at the many ocean activities stands along Waikiki Beach.
Surf Lessons and Board Rentals
For those who aren’t afraid to get wet, the best way to see the waves is to catch one off Waikiki Beach! Legendary surfer, Duke Kahanamoku, made Waikiki famous for surfing. With its protective bay and mellow waves, Waikiki Beach remains one of the most desired places to surf. Take a lesson and you’ll up on a board in no time!
Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay
Take a drive to the East side of the island for world-class snorkeling and breathtaking scenery. Hanauma Bay is a nature preserve that offers snorkel gear rentals right on the beach! Bring your underwater camera - you’ll spot lots of marine life, stunning coral, and maybe even the Humuhumunukunukuapuaa, the state fish of Hawaii.
Culture and History
Take a tour through this National Historic Landmark, once called Puuloa, meaning "long hill," or Wai Momi, literally, "water of pearl," by early Hawaiians, named after the abundance of pearls once found within its protected waters. You’ll learn about World War II history by visiting four sites at the harbor: the USS Missouri, the Pacific Aviation Museum, the Arizona Memorial, and USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park.
Polynesian Cultural Center
Better known around town as the “PCC,” the Polynesian Cultural Center, located in the town of Laie, offers guests a glimpse into the cultures of Samoa, Aoetearoa, Fiji, Tonga, Tahiti, and Hawaii. Meet the people, hear the music, and taste the food of Polynesia in this village experience. End your day with a luau and their renowned evening show, HA: Breath of Life .
If you’re looking for a family-friendly, authentic cultural experience, then head over to the Bishop Museum in Honolulu. Focusing on the arts, culture, and history of the Hawaiian culture, the Bishop Museum offers a variety of art exhibits, print collections, and a planetarium with daytime and special evening programs. You’ll be amazed by what you’ll learn in such a short amount of time!
Located in downtown Honolulu is the official residence of Hawaii’s monarchy and the only palace in the United States. Walk through stunning living restorations that recreate a time when King Kalakaua and his sister and successor, Queen Liliuokalani, lived within the palace walls. The palace itself is gorgeously appointed, but the grounds are also full of beauty and history.
Deep within beautiful and lush Manoa Valley are 194 acres that comprise of the Lyon Arboretum. The gardens are home to more than 5,000 tropical plant species, which you can view in seven different gardens. The arboretum is also an active research facility and academic resource offering a wide range of cultural programs. Perfect for true nature lovers and families!
If you’d love to see what’s under the sea from above it rather than below it, then the Waikiki Aquarium is a must-see attraction, located just minutes from the hotel. Located on Waikiki Beach is a small but impressive aquarium where you can view colorful corals, South Pacific marine life, Hawaiian marine life, a Hawaiian Monk Seal habitat, and so much more!
Located at the edge of Waikiki between Diamond Head and bustling Kalakaua Avenue is 42 acres of land that makes up Oahu’s only zoo. Over 900 different animals live in this area – everything from Komodo Dragons, orangutans, elephants, primates, birds, reptiles, amphibians, a variety of African animals, and various gardens! Make a day of it and bring the whole family!
Waimea Valley and Waterfall
Waimea Valley is one of last partially intact ahupuaa, a self-sustaining division of land that ran from the mountains to the sea, consisting of 1,875 acres on the North Shore of Oahu. It has been a sacred place to the Native Hawaiians for more than 700 years. Walk through stunning botanical gardens, view wildlife, swim in a waterfall, and learn about the culture and history of Hawaii as your walk through ancient Hawaiian archeological sites.
Makapuu Lighthouse and the Ka Iwi Trail
Take the paved hike up to the lighthouse for views of the eastern shores of Oahu. On clear winter days, you’ll see beautiful humpback whales playing in the Pacific. In the summer you can even walk down to the tide pools for a swim. There is another, rockier trail called Ka Iwi, which leads to the ocean and offers amazing coastline views plus a chance to spot large green sea turtles!
Situated on Kuhio Avenue, just a short stroll from the hotel, is one of the hottest spots for lunch and dinner in all of Waikiki. The line out the door should be evidence enough as to how great this cafeteria-style Japanese restaurant really is, from the homemade noodles and delicious broth to the crispy tempura. Don’t be deterred by the line, though. It moves quickly.
House Without A Key
Located inside the Halekulani hotel is a causal indoor/outdoor restaurant best known for their pupus and cocktails, especially their signature Mai Tai! Enjoy live Hawaiian music under the century-old Kiawe tree. House Without A Key serves items like fresh ahi sashimi, coconut shrimp, steaks, swordfish, and lobster, as well as a surf and turf barbeque!
Check out something different in Waikiki, just one block from the Aloha Surf! Chuck’s Cellar is a mellow hangout for jazz lovers. This restaurant and bar is designed with exposed brick, low lighting, and classic old-world décor. Locals swear by their prime rib and French dip!
Ala Moana Center
Honolulu’s premier shopping destination offers four levels of shops, dining, and entertainment. Visit local boutiques like Sand People, Maui Divers Jewelry, and Na Hoku for special island gifts, or stick to your favorite department stores and high-end shops like Norstrom, Neiman Marcus, Cartier, Miu Miu, Chanel, and Jimmy Choo. Stop at the food court or one of Ala Moana’s many sit-down restaurants featuring both casual and upscale dining options.
Ward Village Shops
If you’re interested in shopping with more local flair, visit Ward Village for a casual indoor/outdoor shopping experience! Located in the heart of Honolulu’s vibrant Kakaako neighborhood and just minutes from Waikiki, Ward Village houses 135 retail shops, including national and local retailers. If you’re looking for something special, you’ll love the unique selection here!
International Market Place
Known for its iconic banyan tree and lush Hawaiian landscaping, the International Market Place will offer unique open-air shopping & dining with a “Hawaiian Sense of Place” in the heart of Waikiki. Its sure to be among Oahus top places to visit, and were just a short block away! Your shopping adventure awaits.
The North Shore of Oahu is best known for its huge surf, country vibe, and relaxed atmosphere. If you’re looking for laid-back old-time Hawaii, you must visit historic Haleiwa Town, over an hour away from Waikiki. Not only is there access to an expansive beach park, paddle boarding, surfing, and fishing boats, the streets are also lined with food trucks, art vendors, retail shops, restaurants, and refreshing treats like shave ice and acai bowls.
This once sleepy beach town is now a destination for kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, and SUP. With clear blue-green waters and super soft white sand, Kailua Beach is perfect for water activities or for a simple picnic. In addition to the beach park are storefronts that feature island attire and home wares, salons, restaurants, and health food stores that specialize in vegan and vegetarian products.
This retail marketplace located next to the Polynesian Cultural Center is a throwback to 1930’s Laie. Located between Oahu’s eastern and northern shores is a town once known for drawing people together with community luaus and events, known as hukilaus. The Hukilau Marketplace’s vintage décor speaks to the past, but this newly built establishment houses shops, restaurants, and entertainment.
Royal Hawaiian Center and Luxury Row
You don’t have to leave Waikiki to find local shops, large retailers, and luxury items. The Royal Hawaiian Center is a short walk from the hotel and houses some of the best shopping on the island. Here you’ll find H&M, Fighting Eel, Forever 21, Kate Spade, Spark, and more! Walk a bit further and you’ll find Luxury Row’s exclusive high-end shops, like Chanel’s three-story store, Gucci, Coach, and Tiffany & Co!