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10 best things to do in Waikiki
Hi, and welcome if you’re new around here! My name is Amy, and I’m a Hawaii Travel Advisor. I not only plan and book Hawaii travel, but I also share my best Hawaii tips via this blog. If you need any help planning your trip, feel free to contact me. Even if you plan to DIY your trip, I offer expert advice and tips to make any Hawaii vacation epic.
Even though I already have 10 best things to do on Oahu post, I wanted to write specifically about the best things to do in Waikiki. Oahu is home to over 1 million residents, and it has quite a variety of activities for tourists. When most people think of Hawaii, they think of Honolulu and Waikiki, so of course, I had to quite a blog post covering the Waikiki and surrounding area.
Top 10: Best things to do in Waikiki
From the beach to cultural activities to shopping, let’s check out the best things to do in Waikiki.
1. Waikiki Beach
No Waikiki stay would be complete without visiting the world-famous Waikiki Beach. Although I believe there are better (and less crowded) beaches on the island, Waikiki Beach is a must-see!
2. Iolani Palace
Iolani Palace is the former residence of Hawaiian Monarchs in downtown Honolulu. This National Historic Landmark was the home of the Hawaiian Kingdoms last two monarchs: King Kalakaua and Queen Liliuokalani. While you’re in the area, check out the King Kamehameha I statue, the State Capitol Building, and the historic Kawaiahao Church. You’ll also find the Hawaii State Art Museum not far away.
3. Royal Hawaiian Center
If you’ve read my “best island to visit in Hawaii” post, you know that Oahu is where the real shopping is located. The Royal Hawaiian Center is an upscale mall specializing in jewelry, gifts and so much more. At over 300,000 square feet, it is one of Hawaii’s largest shopping malls.
If you love shopping, make sure to also check out the Ala Moana Center, the world’s largest outdoor mall.
4. Take a surf lesson
Waikiki is the perfect place for a surf lesson. If you’re even slightly interested in surfing, I highly advise you to try it! I’ve had lots of clients who took surf lessons, and everyone did better than they expected! What better place to take a surf lesson than Hawaii?
5. Sunset Waikiki Cruise
Several companies offer Waikiki cruises, but I believe a sunset cruise is the best way to go! My favorite is this Waikiki Sunset Cocktail Cruise.
6. See Waikiki from the air
Helicopter tours can be expensive, but it’s definitely worth the splurge. You can check out my post on Hawaii helicopter tours to see pictures and get more info. You can take the Oahu ECO tour by Blue Hawaiian or fly over Oahu on this open-door helicopter tour.
7. Visit Shangri La
The Shangri La Museum of Islamic Art, Culture & Design is housed near Diamond Head. This popular museum was built in 1937 as the Honolulu home of American heiress and philanthropist Doris Duke. It is now open to the public and one of the top-rated museums in Hawaii.
8. Pearl Harbor
Although not technically located in Waikiki, Pearl Harbor is nearby and one of the most popular attractions on Oahu. If you’re staying in Waikiki without a car, I recommend a chauffered-transfer small group tour. Otherwise, drive over and explore the history of Pearl Harbor on your own.
If you’re trying to decide if you need a rental car in Hawaii. I have a blog post for that too!
9. Check out the local sea life
There are several ways to check out the local sea life. A Submarine Scooter Adventure is a fun and unique way to explore underwater. The Atlantis Submarine Adventure is something that many of my clients have also enjoyed. If getting in the water isn’t for you, why not check out the Waikiki Aquarium?
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10. Hit Kalakaua Avenue
Known as the “Heart of Waikiki,” Kalakaua Avenue is one of the premier shopping destinations on the island of Oahu. The shops range from high-end boutiques such as Tiffany and Co., Gucci, and Prada to local Hawaiian apparel and souvenir shops like the ABC store. If you love to shop, Kalakaua Avenue will not disappoint.
Bonus: Get a Go Oahu Card
The Go Oahu Card can be a great way to make the most of your trip. Make sure to check out all of the details because many activities do need to be booked in advance.
If you’re struggling to figure out your Hawaii vacation, why not work with a Hawaii Travel Advisor? I help my clients through all aspects of planning their vacations, from suggestion where to stay to booking flights and accommodations, to planning excursions and even creating a custom itinerary.
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