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Things that a "non-tourist" tourist MUST do on Oahu

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vancouver, bc
posts: 35
Things that a "non-tourist" tourist MUST do on Oahu

Hi There,

I am taking my first trip to Hawaii(and first time seeing blue water) at the end of August with my significant other. We're late 20s and are adventurous. I'm just finding out we didn't pick the "best" hotel, but we weren't planning on spending much time in our room at all, so this leaves LOTS of time for exploring. I know that I want to go to Lanikai Beach, and I also want to do some snorkeling. If anyone can offer some advice on what/where to eat and what to do, that would be great! We'll be celebrating our ten year anniversary, so any advice you've got on something romantic to do, or somewhere a little fancier to eat, that would be so helpful. Thank you!

Saint Cloud...
Destination Expert
for Oahu
posts: 22,045
1. Re: Things that a "non-tourist" tourist MUST do on Oahu

Lots of info:


San Antonio, Texas
posts: 451
reviews: 1
2. Re: Things that a "non-tourist" tourist MUST do on Oahu

Get the book Oahu Revealed. It will give you a great deal of background on exploring the island (some info on restaurants). If you don't want to take a chance on purchasing the book, look thru it at the bookstore. There is a great deal of info on TA but the info in Revealed is much easier to read thru than searching thru a ton of threads to cover the same stuff.

Sharks Cove for snorkeling

Dukes Barefoot Beach Bar for drinks or Dukes Canoe Club for dinner - make a reservation for a table at the rail

House Without a Key for drinks or Orchids for dinner

San Antonio, Texas
posts: 451
reviews: 1
3. Re: Things that a "non-tourist" tourist MUST do on Oahu

The link dusty shows is excellent. Thats where I started my planning.

posts: 31,148
reviews: 14
4. Re: Things that a "non-tourist" tourist MUST do on Oahu

Are you going to be there on a Saturday morning? You can go to the farmers market at Kapiolani Comm College. I haven't been yet but hear it has food, music, etc. in addition to produce.

I love Arancino's italian cafe on BeachWalk. This isn't your fancy place, just a cool little out-of-the-way eatery with good food and drinks.

I am not a tour-taking person but really enjoyed the Honolulu Academy of the Arts & their sponsored tour of the Doris Duke ShanriLa estate down past DiamondHead. Check the website to see if that's anything of your interest.

Ocean House at Outrigger Reef was very nice for dinner, at sunset. Let them know it's an anniversary, and get a table with the best view.

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 37,525
reviews: 352
5. Re: Things that a "non-tourist" tourist MUST do on Oahu

For a romantic dinner for your anniversery, Michel's at the Colony Surf or Orchids at the Halekulani.

Go to Chinatown for dim sum, the Chinese Cultural Plaza at 100 N Beretania St has Legend, Empress, Won Kee & Fook Lam.. all are good.

Of course you want to hit Leonard's bakery for malasadas, Zippy's for breakfast, Rainbow Drive-in for plate lunch...

Duke's Barefoot Bar has good burgers and a nice atmosphere for lunch, the Shorebird is nice for a dinner, you cook your own steak.

Anna Miller's at the Pearlridge Mall is a great local place for breakfast.

Ala Moana is a nice mall and has everything, but I prefer Kahala Mall because it is nice, but local, few tourists.

I also usually visit the University of Hawaii campus bookstore and get UH workout shirts and sweat shirts.

Destination Expert
for Oahu
posts: 33,169
reviews: 15
6. Re: Things that a "non-tourist" tourist MUST do on Oahu

As your first trip to Hawaii, there are some things you should do - whether you consider yourself a tourist or not ... and, BTW, you are a tourist.

Pearl Harbor/Arizona Memorial is a must. I think that either Bishop Museum or Iolani Palace is a good idea -- to give you some perspective of where you are ... Hawaii's history and people - including links with Great Britain. The Polynesian Cultural Center is an all-day event - but truly one of a kind, A+ activity.

Take The Bus to Hanauma Bay early one morning for snorkeling. Climb Diamond Head ... surf Waikiki.

If you scroll down the Oahu Forum you will find tons of ideas of activities, restaurants, etc.

vancouver, bc
posts: 35
7. Re: Things that a "non-tourist" tourist MUST do on Oahu

Wow I've gotten a lot of info here! The Oahu forum posted above is very helpful. I'm excited to try ALL of the places that y'all have recommended for food. I can't wait to try Poke. We'll be there late the 21st(friday) until the next saturday(leaving at 7am), so I think the Farmers Market is a definite must. Maybe we can go there on our way to another beach or something. I'm SO excited!!!

posts: 1,471
8. Re: Things that a "non-tourist" tourist MUST do on Oahu

Check out Dusty's link and definitely go check out the other great parts of the island (like the North Shore and Kailua Beach), instead of just staying in Waikiki!

Destination Expert
for Newport, Depoe Bay
posts: 8,365
reviews: 43
9. Re: Things that a "non-tourist" tourist MUST do on Oahu

BLBL is right, you are aa tourist.

Arizona and Diamond Head are must sees whatever you are. And Waikiki Beach too.

Only time we stayed on Oahu was at Waianae on very west end. Weather was not good then and only place we saw the sun was there and we saw the sunset every night. Now Waianae is really non-tourist

vancouver, bc
posts: 35
10. Re: Things that a "non-tourist" tourist MUST do on Oahu

Yes I checked out Dusty's link, VERY informative. I know I am a tourist, I just don't like doing the cheesy things the tourists do in my city...but I guess we'll see about that. I think I'm going to get the book too...thanks!