Waikiki Experiences - Active things to do in Waikiki
There are many things to do in Waikiki and many experiences Waikiki holds which are not available anywhere else in Hawaii, or in the world at large. From Luaus and cultural classes to sports like surfing and parasailing, this Hawaiian bay is remarkably special. To get a well-rounded feel for what Waikiki is all about, here are ten of the top things to do and enjoy in the 2-mile stretch.
Surfing is one of the most beloved sports not only in Waikiki but in all of Hawaii. To see large barrel waves, you may consider visiting Oahu's North Shore, however, there are many spots in local Waikiki where the sport is enjoyed by a loving community of beginners. In central Waikiki, specifically, near the Royal Hawaiian hotel, there are countless lessons and board rentals available.
One of the best ways to become acquainted with Hawaiian history and culture is to attend a Luau. As the sun sets, another day for Hawaii comes to a close, and the stars begin to peek through the night's sky, Luaus intimately introduce you to Hawaiian customs and traditions. From the local cuisine to culturally rich Hula shows, each Luau has a unique way of sharing with you Hawaii.
Though not all of Oahu's Luaus are contained within Waikiki's borders, you can guarantee there are a few within walking distance from your vacation rental. The most popular in Waikiki are the Diamond Head Luau, the Waikiki Starlight Luau, and the Aha'aina Luau.
Waikiki Farmers Markets
If you're looking to support local businesses, or get a small taste of local life, you can visit one of Waikiki's many farmer's markets. These farmer's markets, not unlike others, are overflowing with local produce (such as Pineapples and Taro) and local vendors selling art, jewelry, clothes and more. One of the most popular farmer's markets in Waikiki is in the Hyatt Regency, near the Pacific Monarch vacation rental.
Cultural classes teaching Hula, Ukulele, Lei making, and more can be found in several of the shopping centers around Waikiki such as the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center. If you want to hear stories and learn from native Hawaiian people, about what makes their culture, history, and customs so special to them, these are experiences in Waikiki you should not miss.
One of the greatest ways to appreciate Hawaii sunsets, is with complimentary cocktails and freshly caught fish, atop a catamaran in the Pacific Ocean. Many of these sunset cruises take off near the Waikiki Shore vacation rental, or from the beach in front of the Royal Hawaiian hotel. The Manu Kai, Holokai, and Maitai catamaran cruises are some of the most popular.
To get a birds-eye view of Waikiki's skyline and the Pacific Ocean, you may consider going on a parasailing cruise - one of the lesser appreciated Waikiki sports. Many parasailing tours depart from the Ala Wai Harbor and Magic Island, destinations that can be accessed with just a short walk from One Ala Moana vacation rentals or other condos in west Waikiki. Parasailing is one of the more adventurous things to do in Waikiki.
The Waikiki Shell amphitheater which sits in 160-acre Kapiolani Park hosts countless local and international shows. You may hear the air of eastern Waikiki fill with music late into the evening, even just by being in the area. However, it is certainly worth checking out (and hopefully scoring tickets to) the shows and experiences available during your Hawaii vacation.
Golfing / Driving Range
When you are ready for a change of scenery, you can head to the Ala Wai Golf Course in Waikiki's neighboring area Kapahulu. This golf course is one of the primary experiences in Kapahulu, other than famous restaurants Uncle Bo's and Leonard's Bakery.
As the sun goes down and both residential and urban Honolulu begin to light up, lights are visible from the golf course, all throughout the Ko'olau mountains and of course, Waikiki. This is the primary sight worth seeing, even if you are not a fan of the sport or the driving range.
Hiking Diamond Head
Another way to get an excellent view of Waikiki is from the very top of Diamond Head crater. This volcanic cone, which is a quick and easy hike compared to Oahu's others, is home to one of the best views of Urban Honolulu. On a clear day, you can even almost see the teal ocean stretch and curve around the horizon. In such close proximity to Waikiki, there are no rivaling lookouts to Diamond Head.
Trolley Tour / Oahu Tours
As Waikiki is geared towards tourist satisfaction, you will likely not find much undiluted Hawaiian culture there. If you want a big-picture view of the greater Honolulu area, you can attend a tour such as the Lea Lea Trolley tour. It really is worth getting outside of Waikiki to further understand what makes Hawaii so special.
Honolulu's countless neighborhoods, restaurants, sights to see, and things to do can be explored easily via the Lea Lea Trolleys. However, the rest of Oahu can be seen with other tours, available for registration throughout Waikiki, or with a simple rental car.