It’s a golden year for the Polynesian Cultural Center, and the exciting visitor attraction—located just an hour’s drive from Waikiki—has plenty in store to celebrate its 50th anniversary! Founded in 1963, PCC showcases Hawai’i’s diverse Polynesian background with award-winning performances and interactive attractions. At PCC, visitors travel through six villages and encounter the cultures of… Continue »
O‘ahu The Gathering Place
The best way to learn about a place is to dive in feet first, and on O’ahu, there’s a literal sea of opportunities waiting to be discovered.
Explorers looking to go beyond the norm can uncover a host of options, from hiking a rainforest trail that ends at a staggering waterfall, to soaring over a volcano on an interisland tour, to swimming with the fi shes at a legendary snorkeling bay. There’s even a new seafaring attraction that recently hit O’ahu’s shores—a replica pirate ship!—welcoming adventurers of all ages to come aboard.
Those seeking a more relaxing stay can fi nd a bit of solitude at the Valley of the Temples and its awe-inspiring Byodo-In Temple, take a peaceful ride along the beach on an eco-friendly Segway cruiser, capture stunning memories on a photo safari, indulge in some retail therapy at Ala Moana Center, or spend the day wandering one of O’ahu’s many premiere art galleries and museums.
While Waikiki Beach is known for its calming, warm waters, there are other activities on dry land worth investigating, too.
Families can let their keiki (kids) run wild at Kapi’olani Beach Park before checking out some real animals at the nearby Honolulu Zoo and Waikiki Aquarium. For history buffs, Jimmy Buffet’s Honolulu Surfing Museum is a good place to learn about surf culture (and to pick up a juicy cheeseburger in paradise!), while those looking for a bit of live entertainment can find music, magic and more at one of several hotel shows.
On the other side of the island, Kailua Beach is an ideal destination for those looking to take part in a variety of ocean sports (think kayaking, surfing, scuba diving, stand-up paddling and snorkeling). Or venture to O’ahu’s legendary North Shore to scope out some big waves, which can grow to mammoth sizes during the winter months.
On the return to town, take a detour through historic Hale’iwa to pick up some island art, homemade crafts and local snacks, including Matsumoto’s famous shave ice. Then make a stop at the Dole Plantation in Wahiawa for a train ride on the Pineapple Express. While there, get to know the plantation’s bounty of botanical specimens in the Pineapple Garden—just be sure not to get lost in the twists and turns of this outdoor maze, which happens to be the largest in the world!
Other landmarks you won’t fi nd anywhere else but O’ahu include ‘Iolani Palace, the only royal “castle” in the United States; Pearl Harbor, the fi nal resting place for American heroes; and cultural parks like the Polynesian Cultural Center, Kualoa and Waimea Valley, just to name a few.
Before you get started, take a moment to page through this helpful guide to get an idea of all there is to do and see while here on O’ahu. You’ll soon discover why they call it “The Gathering Place” and why people keep coming back for more.
No matter what your reasons are for “gathering” here, welcome, and we can’t wait to get you on your way with this sampling of O’ahu’s top 101 Things to Do!
View our top picks below or see all 101 Things To Do on O‘ahu!
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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 »
O’ahu is a shopper’s delight, with trendy and high-end retailers offering the latest apparel, jewelry and lots more. Ward Centers spans several city blocks from Kewalo Basin to Ala Moana Beach Park in Honolulu. It features several different shopping complexes with everything from native books and psychic readings to chic clothing boutiques. Waikele Premium Outlets… Continue »
On board a helicopter, it’s possible to lift off from a heliport, bypass populated areas and leave civilization behind in minutes. Look down and you’ll fi nd yourself fl ying low over deep, impossibly tangled, uninhabitable canyons, where inland waterfalls drop hundreds of feet right outside your window. Now and then, helicopter tours will hover… Continue »
Hawai’i burst into America’s history nearly two decades before statehood when, on Dec. 7, 1941, it became the target of a Japanese attack on the U.S. Pacific fleet in Pearl Harbor. The attack, which claimed the lives of 2,388 military and civilian personnel, resulted in the damage and/or loss of 21 vessels and 170 planes…. Continue »
Life on O’ahu’s North Shore is centered around a lively surf town with a colorful past. Once the playground of Hawaiian royalty, Hale’iwa is a picture of the past, with rustic buildings set against the backdrop of picturesque beaches. In fact, it is these very beaches and their big winter waves that are the major… Continue »
Honolulu, like many great cities, developed around a harbor; in fact, hono means “bay” and lulu means “calm” in Hawaiian. Today, the Aloha Tower and Honolulu Harbor bring to mind a time when Honolulu was known as the “Crossroads of the Pacific,” filled with ships from lands far and wide—first from explorers, then merchants, and… Continue »
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: The Society of Seven (SOS) has been headlining its show at the Outrigger Main Showroom since 1969 and continues to pour… Continue »
O’ahu is home to many golf courses. Some of them are ultra-exclusive—operated only for military personnel or private club members—while some are so busy that tee times are difficult to arrange. Municipal Courses Ala Wai Golf Course Pali Golf Course Ted Makalena courses in Kahuku, ‘Ewa Village and West Loch Resort Courses Hawai’i Prince Golf… Continue »