O‘ahu The Gathering Place

Aloha, and welcome to “THE GATHERING PLACE.” Now is the perfect time to visit O‘ahu.

As summer crowds dwindle, kama‘aina (locals) and malihini (visitors) will enjoy our island’s finest excursions. Whether you crave eclectic cuisine, turquoise waves, sandy beaches or breathtaking scenery, it’s all here—and so much more!

O‘ahu is a cultural melting pot. From the bustling city to secluded serenity, our island delivers. To assure you experience the best of all there is to see and do, we’ve compiled O‘ahu’s finest activities into this handy guide.

So, grab your camera and get ready to explore BEYOND THE CITY (pg. 110-118) and experience FOOD, FUN & AFTER DARK (pg. 124-133) unfathomable anywhere else!

While you’re here, expect to wake up and GO SNORKELING (pg. 78) on a hunt for “Nemo” in a sunken volcano crater. By afternoon, jaunt to the North Shore to FIND THE SHRIMP SHACK (pg. 112) before you HANG IN HALE‘IWA (pg. 65). Come sundown, you’re in Waikiki to CATCH A SHOW (pg. 94) before you SEE NIGHT LIGHTS (pg. 98) dance across the sky in a dazzling fireworks display.

If you’re fortunate enough to visit O‘ahu in December, you’ll catch the beginning of humpback whale season, so CRUISE HUMPBACK WHALE TERRITORY (pg. 61) and enjoy one of the most magical times of year in Hawai‘i!

To keep the whole family entertained, VISIT AN AQUARIUM BY THE REEF (pg. 95) and watch your keiki (kids) squeal in delight as they spot weedy sea dragons. Get ACQUAINTED WITH DOLPHINS (pg. 84) or SPEND A DAY AT KAILUA BEACH (pg. 80). If you’re lucky, you may meet a honu (sea turtle) and “Flipper” all in one day!

History buffs will get their fill strolling the immaculate halls of ‘IOLANI PALACE (pg. 109), the only royal palace in the U.S., or in their ESCAPE TO SHANGRI LA (pg. 104). Travel back to pre-statehood days as you TOUR A FAMOUS BATTLESHIP (pg. 65) or VISIT THE ARIZONA MEMORIAL (pg. 63). GO POLYNESIAN (pg. 52) as you walk in the footsteps of our ancestors, or EXPLORE KUALOA (pg. 56) to see “Gozilla’s” footprint! Experience ESSENTIAL O‘AHU (pg. 52-67. GO TO A LU‘AU (pg. 58) for hula, then HIKE DIAMOND HEAD (pg. 65) to overlook our glorious waters.

Don’t forget to TREAT YOUR TASTE BUDS (pg. 125) with Aloha State favorites you won’t find anywhere else! Sample sweet, airy malasadas or GO CUCKOO FOR CACAO (pg. 128) on a chocolate tour. Why not TAKE A SUNSET DINNER CRUISE (pg. 126) and add a few ‘ILIMA AWARD-WINNING RESTAURANTS (pg. 132-133) to your itinerary? Whether you PADDLE A KAYAK (pg. 81) or GO ON A PHOTO SAFARI (pg. 70), you are in for adventure.

Whatever your reason for “gathering” here, e komo mai (welcome)! We’re eager to entertain you with 101 Things To Do!

View our top picks below or see all 101 Things To Do on O‘ahu!

Explore and plan your trip to Hawaii!
In our travel guides, find 101 things to do and an insider's look at travel ideas and bargains in your favorite Hawaii vacation spots. Get it now.

Go Polynesian

Founded in 1963, the POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER celebrates Hawai‘i’s diverse Polynesian background with award-winning performances and interactive attractions. PCC’s signature attraction is a group of six villages and two exhibits highlighting islands from Fiji to Samoa, where hundreds of Polynesian islanders share their customs and traditions with visitors. Moving through the villages, visitors will find… Continue »

Go Snorkeling

SNORKELING is a great way to get a glimpse of the incredible underwater world surrounding the islands without having to go through training or cash out. To snorkel, all you need is a mask, snorkel and fins; however, tours also offer lessons, factoids, gear, transportation to snorkeling hotspots and sometimes, even lunch. If HANAUMA BAY… Continue »

Go on a Photo Safari

While here on O‘ahu, you’re likely to experience more scenic imagery than humanly possible to remember. From the churning North Shore surf to tranquil, hidden ocean coves; from a sea turtle or monk seal snoozing on a quiet beach, to a rainbow-colored shave ice—only a picture can begin to capture these thousands of words. Whether… Continue »

Cruise Kailua on a B-cycle

While a car can get you from Point A to Point B quickly, sometimes it’s better to slow down and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of your surroundings. Set your speed on cruise control on the seat of a bicycle rented from Hawai’i B-cycle. This new bike-share concept recently launched in Kailua with the… Continue »

Take a Private Island Tour

You’d like to get away from the maddening crowds, but let’s face it: You’re visiting the island that’s nicknamed “The Gathering Place.” O‘ahu has a bevy of beautiful sights and activities—one of the benefits of it being the most metropolitan island in the state. Indulge in a unique experience by taking a private guided tour…. Continue »

Catch a Show

Sometimes it’s nice to kick back and enjoy a show, no matter if you’re on Broadway or in tropical paradise. Here are a few options if you’re in the mood to do just that: Sure to take your breath away is LEGENDS IN CONCERT WAIKIKI “ROCK-AHULA!”, a 75-minute song-and-dance extravaganza that boasts the musical stylings… Continue »