Overview: Early Hawaiians named the 1.5-mile stretch of beachside land Waikiki—or "spouting water"—because it was once a marshland created by... more »
Early Hawaiians named the 1.5-mile stretch of beachside land Waikiki—or "spouting water"—because it was once a marshland created by... more » mountain-fed streams and gushing spring waters. Despite its swampy sites and smells, the area was still a favorite south shore retreat for Hawaiians who loved its beautiful sand. The beaches are still as stunning. But the marshlands are long gone, much to the delight of visitors who flock here from around the globe.
Whether you’re strolling down the beach or along Kalakaua Avenue, you’ll find Waikiki a wonderland of sights, sounds and fragrant smells. This is a destination that demands exploring on foot since there are just so many delightful, delicious diversions tucked between hotels and even within them. And you can give each as much or little time as you’d like.
Pop in to join a hula lesson. Relax with lunch looking out at the surf. People watch as you stroll along the beach. Window shop and stop for coconut ice cream. While the scene is often bustling, you can discover Waikiki at any pace you desire. less «
Tips: Slather on the sunscreen, don your flip-flops and board shorts, grab a water bottle and be flexible with your schedule! There's just... more » so much going on in this world-famous resort area that you're certain to stumble upon pleasant surprises that will lure you away from your schedule. You may even want to pack a beach towel in case you're inclined to jump in the ocean to cool off! less «
Situated adjacent to the Hale Koa Hotel on Fort DeRussy Beach toward the Hilton Hawaiian Village end of Waikiki, this tribute to military history is a natural starting point for your itinerary.
At the U.S. Army Museum Hawaii, the largest artifact is the building itself. The museum is housed in Battery Randolph, a massive reinforced concrete... More emplacement with roofs up to 12 feet thick. The battery was built in 1911 to house a pair of 14-inch guns that could fire projectiles as far as 14 miles. It was part of a coastal defense system designed to protect Honolulu Harbor from invasion.
The former bastion features exhibits and displays detailing the military history of Hawaii, from ancient times to the Gulf War and the War in Iraq. Each of these hostilities is covered graphically in separate displays with photographs and sound effects creating a real "you were there" experience. If you're a history buff--and especially military history--you don't want to miss the only beachfront museum in Waikiki.
U.S. Army Museum of Hawaii
2131 Kalia Rd.
Phone: (808) 438-2821
If you head on toward Diamond Head and take a left off Kalia Road at Lewers Street, you'll pass the colorful Waikiki Beach Walk on your left. At Kalakaua Avenue you'll find Royal Hawaiian Center on your right.
Sure, there are more than 100 shops and eateries to rev up every taste. But you'll also experience something more through a bevy of... More complimentary Hawaiian culture and arts demonstrations that showcase the state's history and traditions. Depending on the day and time you visit the center, you'll find cultural enrichment programs that include Hawaiian quilting, lomilomi massage and healing, ukulele playing, hula dancing, lei-making, sarong demonstrations and kapa cloth making. So you may catch the tail end of a sarong demonstration, then decide to stay on to make a lei. And on the first and third Thursday of the month between 1 and 2pm, the Royal Hawaiian Band plays at the center's Royal Grove.
RHC is located at Helumoa in the heart of Waikiki, a favorite spot of Hawaiian royalty who spent their days there in the shade of more than 10,000 coconut trees. Within the Royal Grove is a bronze statue of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, great-granddaughter of King Kamehameha. At this site, she penned the last codicil to her will, establishing Kamehameha Schools to educate children of Hawaiian descent. You can also pop into the Kaulani Heritage Room to view three short films on the heritage and history of this land and the vibrancy of the native Hawaiian people. The air-conditioned room is a great escape from the heat as well! Feel free to check out the Royal Hawaiian Hotel that stands beachfront behind RHC.
2201 Kalakaua Ave.Less
He's the most famous name in surfing--an Olympic champion, Hollywood actor and Hawaiian folk hero. He's also remembered for his grace in the water, his good humor and his sportsmanship. The "Duke," as Kahanamoku is called, is revered throughout Hawaii. But as you're heading toward Diamond Head along the ocean side of Kalakaua Avenue past the... More Outrigger on the Beach and Westin Moana Surfrider, you'll find one of the most visited spots. Located next to the Waikiki Police State across from the Hyatt Regency, the lei-draped statue shows that even in modern times, the Duke still has a powerful impact with visitors and residents. So if you just made a lei at the Royal Hawaiian Center, this is a great place to place it!
2425 Kalakaua Ave.Less
Heading toward Diamond Head, the right side of Kalakaua Avenue is all surf and sand. Across the street you'll find hotels, shops and eateries like Cheeseburger in Paradise. Named after a mega-memorable Jimmy Buffet tune, the pub-style burger haven operates with a motto of "Cheeseburgers, mai tais and rock and roll." So it's fun to sink your teeth ... Moreinto the signature fare and soak in the atmosphere. These hot and juicy staples are served with 1000 Island dressing, fresh tomato, crisp lettuce and sauteed onion on a sesame seed and whole wheat bun. Be sure to ask for extra napkins.
2500 Kalakaua Ave.
Phone: (808) 923-3731
Hours: Mon-Thu and Sat-Sun 7am-11pm; Fri 7am-12amLess
Another top spot lies just beyond at the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. Looking out toward Waikiki Beach from its second-floor perch in the hotel, Tiki's Bar & Grill is hard to top for fun, casual fare with a tropical tiki-flair. If you're into finger foods, you're covered with favorites such as grilled ribs, kalua pig nachos, calamari katsu and... More Tiki's famous coconut shrimp. There are also a slew of salads, wraps, sandwiches and entrees like grilled Maui Cattle Co. beef ribs. Bring you appetite!
2570 Kalakaua Ave.
Phone: (808) 923-8454
Hours: Daily 10:30am-2amLess
Depending on how much time you have and what your interests are, you have a pair of Waikiki hot-ticket attractions geared to families and nature lovers: the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium.
When you cross the street at Kapahulu, the Honolulu Zoo is impossible to miss on your left.
Home to so much more than just lions, tigers and bears, the... More 42-acre facility brims with birds, mammals and reptiles presented in African savanna, tropical forest and Pacific Island exhibitions. The largest within a radius of 2,300 miles, it is distinguished as the only zoo in the United States originating from a king's grant of royal lands to the people.
Often overlooked in this destination that tends to focus on ocean action, Honolulu Zoo contains more than 1,230 animals that include Komodo dragons, Sumatran tigers, white rhinoceros and meerkats. Among its most popular after-hours family programs is the Twilight Tour that provides a behind-the-scenes look at animal life after sunset.
151 Kapahulu Ave.
Phone: (808) 971-7174
Admission: Children 3-12 $6 and Adults $14
Closed Christmas DayLess
If you're more into aquatics, just cross Kalakaua Avenue to the ocean side of the street and you're set. Have you ever looked into the eye of a zebra shark or watched an octopus open a jar? Or are you hankering to meet the real-life versions of Dori and Nemo (Disney's "Finding Nemo")?
Located next to a living coral reef, the Waikiki Aquarium... More brings guests face to fin with colorful tropical fish, reef sharks, living corals, endangered Hawaiian monk seals, sea jellies, squid, octopus and more. More than 3,500 marine animals in the facility's exhibits represent 500-plus species of aquatic animals and plants.
The aquarium's new Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Exhibit features a living reef ecosystem representative of that found in the world's most isolated islands. Interactive touch screens provide additional information on the significance of the islands, their ecology and biodiversity, and the importance of preserving this almost pristine marine ecosystem for future generations.
2777 Kalakaua Ave.
Phone: (808) 923-9741
Admission: Adult $9, Student with ID and Seniors $6, 13-17 $4, Children 5-12 $2, Children 4 and Under Free
Closed Christmas Day and Marathon Sunday (early December)Less