Waikiki is a neighborhood in Honolulu that is known for its famous beaches and tourist spots.
When it comes to vacation destinations, Waikiki is at the top of most people’s lists. As well as the rich culture and incredible food, there are many destinations to visit in and around Waikiki that are definitely worth a visit.
We have compiled a list of 15 things you can do in Waikiki to make your vacation one to remember and packed full of incredible experiences.
The Diamond Head Crater was named by 19th century sailors who believed they found diamonds in the crater, they were actually crystals but that didn’t stop the name from sticking.
It is known to Hawaiians as Lē’ahi which means ‘promontory tuna’, this is because the structure looks like the dorsal find of a tuna fish.
Diamond Head Crater is actually a volcanic tuff cone, don’t worry it is an extinct volcano so there is no chance of it erupting. In fact, the center of it has buildings in it like the visiting center and Diamon Head State Monument.
What you really want to do at the Diamond Head Crater is go up the hiking trail. It allows you to have an amazing view of Waikiki and if you’re lucky you may even be able to spot your hotel.
Whenever you go to Hawaii, experiencing a luau should be at the top of your list. The Queens Waikiki Luau allows you to experience a deep part of Hawaiian culture.
Tickets need to be purchased beforehand but you get to experience dances, drinks, a buffet, and a complementary lei.
It is like a large party where you get to engross yourself with the traditions of Hawaii.
If you are a lover of history, this is a go-to destination for you. Not only is this a museum filled with interesting exhibits, but the building itself is filled with a rich history.
The building was made in 1909 and was initially built to defend Honolulu, which makes it the perfect location for an army museum.
There you can find weapons that are from the Hawaiian wars in the 18th century, World War 2, and the Vietnam War. They also have American and enemy uniforms from the last 200 years.
Many of their exhibits are temporary, so if you have been before it is a good idea to go again.
There is an abundance of incredible beaches to visit in Waikiki, but the Magic Island Lagoon is one to visit.
It is a free-to-visit manmade beach with sea walls to protect it from the waves. While all the beaches are popular, this one is considered to be one of the quieter ones.
This makes it perfect for a romantic walk in the evening.
This is also called the Bishop museum. There you get to learn about the ancient history of Hawaii and its first inhabitants.
The museum also has a focus on multiple scientific fields like zoology and biology. It is a great place to learn about the wildlife of Waikiki.
This is the largest public park in Hawaii and is named after Queen Kapi’olani who reigned from 1874 to 1891. It serves as a border between Waikiki and Diamond Head.
There you can see beautiful flowers, some of which are rare Hawaiian species.
The park is used for recreational purposes with many courts and fields for sports. There is also a bandstand for entertainment and the Waikiki Shell which is a venue for outdoor concerts.
The Waikiki Aquarium is a great place to experience Hawaii’s unique sea life. You get to educate yourself on the various creatures of the sea and how they live.
You get to see the ecology and residents of the coral reefs. There are clownfish, sharks, and jellyfish at the aquarium. You also get to see 2 endangered monk seals there.
Multiple nights a week, you can experience an hour-long hula dance on Kūhiō beach
You get to see the traditional dance of Hawaii and how locals perform it. It truly is a sight to behold and may make you inclined to start having hula lessons.
Shangri La is a museum that specifically features Islamic art from around the world. They have multiple pieces, artworks, and artifacts for you to look at and enjoy.
It is only accessible through the Honolulu Museum of Art, so you get to make a day out of seeing all kinds of art. It is available through reservation only so make sure you get yours early.
When on vacation, going on extensive shopping trips is a must, so why not do it in one of the most beautiful marketplaces.
This marketplace comprises of open-air shops that have internationally famous brands and some more local ones. You also get a variety of food options to choose from and experience local delicacies.
While the shops are open-air, they are sheltered under the large banyan trees. At night they are also lit by street lights allowing them to be open in any condition, day or night.
If you aren’t much of a shopper, then you could simply sit down on a nearby bench and people-watch.
While the aquarium is a great place to look at marine creatures, you can get up close and personal with them on a diving trip.
They are beginner-friendly diving trips, only going down about 20 feet, but you are able to go snorkeling if you aren’t comfortable with diving.
The turtle tour is less than an hour away by boat and off the Oahu coast. There you get to see coral reefs and green sea turtles.
The Honolulu Zoo is in Queen Kapi’olani Park and is 42 acres of land. It holds around 1,200 animals including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals.
You get to see a lot of animals native to Hawaii that you can’t see at your local zoo. You also get to experience the glorious tropical plants that give a rich color pallet to the habitats.
Since it is in the park, you can make a day trip out of experiencing the zoo, and all the recreational activities in the park.
The Pearl Harbor National Memorial is a great place to go pay your respects to the many lives lost on December 7th, 1941 during the attack on Pearl Harbor.
It is located in the greater Honolulu area atop the wreckage of the USS Arizona.
It is a beautiful monument and definitely leaves a last impression on anyone who visits it.
If you have seen Catching Fire or Jurassic Park, then you may want to go on this hike. The waterfall on this hike has been featured in many movies for its stunning beauty. The waterfall is called Manoa Falls and is at the end of a stunning hike.
It is a 3-kilometer hike that is almost as good as the view at the end. The scenery leading up to the waterfall is very scenic and is filled with flora including endangered plant species.
The Iolani Palance is the only palace in the US, so it is a must to visit. It is located in downtown Honolulu.
It was built in 1879 to house the monarchy, the only monarchy in US history. The monarchy would soon be overthrown in 1893 and the palace would fall out of use.
The palace would be restored in 1935 and be used as a temporary headquarters during World War 2.
In 1962, the palace would be restored again after falling into disrepair, and then in 1978, it started to act as a museum.
Nowadays, you can get a tour around the palace and learn all about the history of the Hawaiian monarchy and the events that happened in the palace walls following their downfall.
Waikiki is a perfect tourist destination, you get the rich culture of Hawaii, as well as various amenities that you would expect while on vacation (see also ‘15 Amazing Things To Do In Cape May During Your Vacation‘).
While you are there you get to visit some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and enjoy flavorful cuisine.
Hopefully, on your next trip to Waikiki, you will consider partaking in one of the amazing events we have listed so that you can experience everything that Waikiki has to offer.