O‘ahu The Gathering Place


One of the first questions from visitors is “What should I do when I’m on O‘ahu?” That’s a tough question for any Hawai‘i local—not because there isn’t anything to do, but because there’s so much to do! It’s a challenge to explain all the different ways you can explore this island without rambling on for 10 minutes. O‘ahu, also known as “THE GATHERING PLACE,” has it all—slowed-down beachside living on the North Shore, luscious resort getaways in Ko Olina and the unique combination of first-class shopping and energizing beaches in Waikiki.

No matter what type of adventure you’re looking for, rest assured that you’ll be met with cascading waves, warm sunshine and balmy breezes. The only choice there is to make is what you want to do first. To save you time and assure you experience the best of O‘ahu, we’ve compiled the island’s finest activities in this handy guide.

Thrill seekers can delight in all of the unique-to-O‘ahu LAND DIVERSIONS: FIND FLORA AND FAUNA at a botanical garden, RE-CREATE THE SCENE from some of the movie and television productions filmed on O‘ahu, or SEARCH OUT WATERFALLS. See the island from the sky as you ZIP O‘AHU above a working farm nestled on the North Shore or acquaint yourself with the magical Pacific Ocean and drive east in the afternoon as you HEAD TO HANAUMA BAYto GET INVOLVED WITH SEA LIFE. Prior to sunset, head to Waikiki to SEE NIGHT LIGHTS before you dine on traditional Hawaiian cuisine (fresh fish, tropical fruit and farm-to-table produce) and CATCH A SHOW.

Here on O‘ahu, there is plenty to keep the whole crew entertained. HAVE FAMILY-FRIENDLY FUN when you DISCOVER A HIDDEN TREE HOUSE at the newly revamped International Market Place or VISIT AN AQUARIUM BY A REEF to watch your children squeal in delight as they spot “Nemo” (or “Dory”) and friends. GET A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY and culture during your travels as you ESCAPE TO SHANGRI LA TOUR A FAMOUS BATTLESHIP and then GO POLYNESIAN.

Landlubbers will get their fix on a HIKE TO A LIGHTHOUSE. SHOP PARADISE for souvenirs at one of the island’s many boutiques and luxury shopping centers or PAMPER YOURSELF HAWAIIAN STYLE with a lomilomi massage in the comfort of your own room.

Whatever your reason for “gathering” here, we’re happy to show you the spirit of aloha and delighted 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, and Hawai‘i’s No. 1 attraction since 1977, the POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER (PCC) celebrates the Aloha State’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… 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 hot spots and sometimes, even lunch. If HANAUMA… Continue »

Explore a Valley Time Has Not Erased

Take a trip to O‘ahu’s North Shore to discover a sacred ahupua‘a (a land division that usually extends from the mountains to the sea) that just so happens to have a world-class botanical garden in the middle of it! WAIMEA VALLEY, located across from Waimea Bay, is a 1,875-acre, privately owned nonprofit property filled with… Continue »

Explore Oahu with a Guide

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 »

Walk Waikiki Beach

Take off your shoes, roll up your pants and wiggle your toes in the warm, golden sand. This is WAIKIKI BEACH, a 2-mile stretch of shoreline known throughout the world. From Hilton Hawaiian Village, the beach narrows as you head toward Diamond Head, passing Outrigger Reef Hotel. KUHIO BEACH PARK captures a lot of activity…. Continue »