Founded in 1963, the Polynesian Cultural Center celebrates Hawai‘i’s diverse Polynesian background with award-winning performances and interactive attractions. The latest addition to the mix is “Ha: Breath of Life,” a $13-millon evening show that uses the newest technology but celebrates the traditional dances and songs of Polynesia. PCC’s signature attraction is a group of eight… Continue »
O‘ahu The Gathering Place
With this issue of 101 Things to Do Oahu, we are thrilled to introduce our reformatted, easier-to-read and more informative maps. Now there’s more reason than ever to keep this magazine handy with you, as you explore Hawai‘i’s “Gathering Place.” In addition, we’ve gone to the lengths of adding nearly 25 percent new items, which (as we always do) keeps this guidebook fresh and up-to-date.
Hopefully you’ll agree: Unlike publications that simply direct you to affiliated businesses, we employ a network of writers and photographers who scour the islands in search of the best and most intriguing experiences available to our visitors. We like to approach it like this: If it isn’t something a kama‘aina (local resident) wants to partake in, then it shouldn’t be on the list. In other words, it is safe to say that any of the listed items in the following pages are things any one of us would be thrilled to experience.
Take, for example, an al fresco flight in a historic biplane, or a skydive experience, both of which will get your adrenaline pumping up on the island’s North Shore. This suits well for a visit to Hale‘iwa town, where many of the professional surfers who brave monstrous winter waves reside. This is reflected in the community there, which you can note in the surf museum, at swimsuit and ocean wear apparel shops—and shave ice—up and down the avenue.
For a different take on O‘ahu, get yourself to Chinatown on a sunny morning and let the sights, sounds and smells of the various open markets, herbalists and trinket shops intoxicate your every sense. Not only is the culture intriguing there, but also the historical nature of the architecture is fascinating, if you can find the time to look up.
Since these Islands are really the universal home of surf, there are quite a few options for water activities, which you can peruse in our “Waterworld” section (pg. 52). From surf lessons, to kiteboarding, open water dives and sunset cocktail or dinner cruises, the ocean holds many options. Something for everyone, as we like to say.
Of course, there’s no shortage of shopping to be done on O‘ahu. In fact, many of our neighbor island friends make monthly jaunts here—even if only or the day—to pick up the latest cocktail gown, homemade chow fun noodles and even surfboards. Whether it’s high fashion or palate-pleasing items, you’ll find a location here to buy just about anything.
Perhaps most significantly, O‘ahu has many, many venues for exploring the history and culture that is still a very real, living facet of Hawaiian life. From exploring ancient heiau (temples) to hikes that lead you to historic battlegrounds; absorbing the magnitude of the events of December 7th, 1941 at Pearl Harbor to learning how to twirl poi balls at the Polynesian Cultural Center—there’s a lot to learn about Polynesia—and Hawai‘i’s beautiful people, here on O‘ahu.
Now get out there and enjoy our island. Don’t forget to bring along this handy guidebook packed with information.
View our top picks below or see all 101 Things To Do on O‘ahu!
SAVE up to 55% on regular admission rates! Get the Go Oahu Card today!
Picture a textbook-perfect beach that stretches, powdery white, along the shore; a beach where gentle ocean conditions prevail and obliging trade winds pump steam into windsurfers’ sails. This is Kailua Beach, recognized as one of the nation’s top beaches and a favorite of lifeguards, coastal researchers, visitors and locals. The reef and typically reliable ocean… 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 »
The only way to get from one Hawaiian island to another is to board an airplane. There are no ferries. No trains. No underwater tunnels. No bridges. No voyaging canoe passage. That narrows the choice to the three commuter airlines that service the islands. Competition between these carriers has increased availability of flights and discounted… Continue »
Hawai‘i burst into the 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 or loss of 21 vessels and 170… 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 gained celebrity as the location of the television hit “Baywatch.” However, the big winter waves that roll into the town’s nearby beaches are the major draw. The more than century-old town is… Continue »
Honolulu, like many great cities, developed around a harbor. In the late 1700s, when Captain William Brown discovered the inlet known as Kou, the harbor was the only accessible anchorage on the Hawaiian Islands and provided refuge for Asian trade ships. The captain named it Fair Haven. In time, Honolulu replaced Fair Haven in ship… Continue »
What better way to remember your vacation than a Hawaiian Christmas ornament? At the Waikiki Christmas Store, you can find ornaments like surfing Santas, hula girls, Hawaiian reindeer, sea turtles and many more tropical designs. Create memories by getting your cherished ornament customized with your family name and the year you visited the Islands. You… 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. Here is a brief list of some O‘ahu golf courses that are accessible to visitors: Municipal Courses Ala Wai Golf Course Pali Golf Course… Continue »