background img
Apr 17, 2022

Oahu, Hawaii – Things To Do

Written by
Jordan saying “I love Hawaii”, and Jacob eating some sand!

Typically, when we go to Oahu for vacation and to visit family, these are the places we go to around the island (map with markers and an overview list below):

Places to See

Jacob at Waikiki Beach (The Walls)
  • Waikiki & Waikiki Beach (South) – Iconic tourist spot with great beaches. A lot of restaurants and retail shops cater to out-of-state/country tourists (i.e., more on the expensive side)
  • Dole Plantation (Central) – Hawaii is known for pineapples, and Dole plantation has been around for years
  • Aloha Stadium Swap Meet (South) – Place to get cheap Hawaii gifts, souvenirs and accessories
  • Ko Olina Beach Lagoons (West)- There are 4 lagoons. Great for kids because the waters are calm. Go to Lagoon 4 because it has the most parking and close to Lagoon 3 as well
  • Ala Moana Center (South)- Biggest shopping mall in the Pacific. A lot of high-end stores LV, Prada, etc.
  • Ala Moana Beach Park (South)- There are 2 beaches in this park with a very big picnic park area in the middle
  • Sea Life Park (East) – Great for the kids. Probably 1/2 day at this park
  • Lanikai Beach (East) – This is one of the beaches we love to go to
  • Pearl Harbor (South) – For those interested in WW2 and military history
  • Bishop Museum (South) – For those interested in ancient Hawaiian history
  • Iolani Palace (South) – For those interested in ancient Hawaiian history. This is the palace where the Hawaiian Royal Monarchy used to live and conduct royal duties prior to take over by the United States
  • Halona Blowhole (South) – Drive by scenic spot
  • Waimea Falls (North) – Waterfalls, beautiful scenery and hiking
  • Waimea Bay, Beach and Botanical Gardens (North) – Beautiful beach and bay to visit. There is also a botanical garden nearby
  • Sandy Beach (Southeast)- Obama’s favorite beach
  • Waimanalo Bay & Beach Park (Southeast)- Another beautiful bay and beach on Oahu
  • Makapuu Beach (Southeast)- Another beautiful beach on Oahu
  • Hanauma Bay Beach (Southeast) – Beach within an extinct volcano, great place for snorkeling
  • Koko Head Crater (Southeast) – Close to Hanauma Bay and great for hiking and taking in the scenic views
  • Laniakea Beach / Turtle Beach (North) – Turtles can be seen on the sand on a good day!
  • Honolulu Zoo (South) – This is more for the kids. Located right in Waikiki next to Kapiolani Park and the beaches of Waikiki
  • Waikiki Aquarium (South) – This is close to Waikiki Beach and for the kids
  • Polynesian Cultural Center (Northeast) – Highlights the culture of all the Polynesian islands
  • Aulani Resort (West) – Disney themed hotel/resort. It is close to the Ko Olina Beach Lagoons
  • Waikele Premium Outlets (Central/South) – Very similar to the premium outlets on the mainland
  • International Market Place (South) – It is a small shopping mall with a food court and restaurants in the heart of Waikiki. Caters to more of the tourists and probably a bit more expensive
  • Pearlridge Mall (Central/South), Kahala Mall (Southeast), Windward Mall (East), Ka Makana Ali’i (West) – Shopping malls where the normal local folks go to. There is also Ala Moana Center, which is the largest on the island and also catered to more of the tourists with high-end luxury brands
  • Diamond Head Crater Hike (Southeast) – If you are into hiking and taking in scenic views, try going up and down this extinct volcano

Where to Eat & Snack on Stuff

Soon’s Meat Jun & BBQ Chicken Combo
  • Soon’s Kalbi BBQ Drive-In (South) – First place we go to after getting out of the airport. Our favorite place for Korean BBQ chicken and meat jun. It’s been around for 40+ years!
  • Zippy’s (All Over The Place) – This place is like the Denny’s of Hawaii, but better and serving local Hawaii food
  • Ala Moana Food Court (South) – All the local food in one place
  • Ala Moana Shirokiya Japan Village Walk (South) – Place for all kinds Japanese food and local entertainment
  • North Shore Shrimp Trucks (North)- Most popular are Giovanni’s and Romy’s (but there are a lot of others). Garlic shrimp!
  • Matsumoto Shave Ice (North) – This place has been around for a long time serving up Hawaii shave ice
  • Waiola Shave Ice (South) – Another Hawaii shave ice option closer to Waikiki
  • Stadium Camellia Restaurant (South)- This is a buffet style restaurant when you are really hungry. Very close to Aloha Stadium
  • Nico’s Pier 38 (South) and Nico’s Kailua (East)
  • Duke’s Waikiki (South) – Popular option known for its beachfront location, surf & turf, tiki vibe & umbrella drinks
  • Marukame Udon (South) – There is one at Bishop Ranch City Center in San Ramon, CA. However, the Oahu version is probably a little better because of all the competition for foodies on the island, especially Asian cuisine. There are two on the island – one in Downtown and the other in Waikiki. Also, there are similar foods like this at Ala Moana’s Shirokiya Japan Village Walk
  • Hong Kong Style Food (South) – Downtown Chinatown – Fook Lam Seafood Restaurant (Dim Sum), Papa’s Cafe (Boba Drinks and HK style food), and Sandy’s Cafe (HK style food)
  • Paradise Cove Luau (West) – Near Aulani Resort and Ko Olina. Great if you want the luau experience
  • Rainbow Drive-In (South) – Near Waikiki and been around for years. Known for serving up a lot of the typical local style plate lunches
  • Sam’s Kitchen (South) – Another place to get local plate lunches and located in Waikiki
  • Leonard’s Bakery (Multiple Places) – Known for malasadas!
  • Liliha Bakery (Multiple Places) – There is one in Ala Moana Center, and they serve breakfast and pastries. Known for poi mochi donuts
  • Tamashiro Market (South) – Place for fresh poke and Asian groceries. Been around for many years making fresh poke and other seafood items. They also make local plate lunches there
  • Alicia’s Market (South) – It’s another place for fresh poke, Asian groceries and local plate lunches. They make fresh poke and other seafood items
  • Marukai Wholesale Mart (South) – Japanese supermarket for Japanese products, fresh poke, seafood, Asian groceries, bento boxes and local plate lunches
  • Mango Mango Dessert (South) – This place started in NYC, but it serves up a variety of dessert cakes, ice cream, crepes, waffles, drinks and teas. You can it at Ala Moana Center, Pearlridge Center and near Waikiki at Kapahulu Avenue
Article Categories:
Activities · Food · Hawaii · Places

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.