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Best Places in Waikiki

Waikiki is a tourist area/neighborhood in Honolulu. The island is Oahu. It’s easily one of the world’s most recognizable, iconic, and aesthetically pleasing beaches. Beaches aren’t the only thing that Waikiki has to offer. There are so many places in Waikiki to explore.

With its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural heritage, Waikiki offers many exciting and memorable experiences. Whether you are a local resident or a visitor, exploring Waikiki is a must-do experience.

Waikiki also used to be the home of royalty! You can choose the best seasons to visit in Waikiki as your comfort. You can stay at the best hotels in Waikiki and also enjoy the food from the best restaurants in Waikiki.

Are you ready to explore the coolest destinations in the world? If so, Continue Today to gather some of the best places in Waikiki you should not miss:

  1. Waikiki Beach
  2. Diamond Head
  3. Iolani Palace
  4. Queens Waikiki Luau
  5. Hilton Hawaiian Village
  6. Manoa Falls Trail
  7. Waikiki Aquarium
  8. Honolulu Zoo
  9. Chinatown
  10. Kepoikai II
  11. Ala Moana Center
  12. Bishop Museum
  13. Pearl Harbor National Memorial
  14. Aloha Stadium

1. Waikiki Beach in Waikiki

Waikiki Beach

Waikiki Beach is a beach lover’s paradise. It has long stretches of white sand and turquoise blue water, perfect for swimming, surfing, snorkeling, and other water activities. Everyone enjoys the beauty and fun of this beach.

Visitors love staying close to Waikiki Beach for easy access. It’s like stepping into a postcard with its clean sands, shimmering waters, and swaying palm trees. If coming from another Oahu site, consider using the public bus or rideshare services as parking can be challenging.

At the coast, you’ll find a statue of Duke Kahanamoku, known as the “father of surfing.” You can also learn to swim, surf, canoe, or paddleboard under his watchful gaze. Waikiki beaches are the best places in Waikiki.

There are many bars, shops, restaurants, and arcades to keep you busy. You won’t need a car since almost everything is within walking distance.

One thing to note about Waikiki Beach is its series of smaller, interconnected beaches. It means that even though the whole shebang might be labeled “Waikiki Beach” on a map, you’ll visit multiple beaches as you move down the coast.

2. Diamond Head in Waikiki

Diamond Head

Diamond Head, also known as L’ahi, is a unique landmark on Waikiki’s eastern coastline. It’s a State Monument covering over 475 acres that include the interior and outer slopes of the crater.

Diamond Head provides stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and Honolulu. You can also hike to the edge of the 300,000-year-old crater on a trail. It is the best places in Waikiki.

Diamond Head is a huge crater formed by a volcanic explosion 300,000 years ago. It’s in the middle of hollowed-out seawalls. This is part mountain, part lagoon, and truly incredible. It’s a major attraction in Waikiki.

Hiking is the main part of Diamond Head, so you can take several trails to reach its peaks and observation points. Once there, you can gaze over Hawaii’s cliffs, forests, and rivers with a breathtaking bird’s eye view.

Other activities include visiting an old World War II bunker and visiting the various tunnels, bridges, and stone staircases that dot the trails.

3. Iolani Palace in Waikiki

Iolani Palace

The Iolani Palace in downtown Honolulu on Oahu is the only royal palace in the United States. It is an enduring symbol of Hawaiian independence. The palace is a symbol of promise for the Hawaiian Kingdom. It was built by King Kalākaua, “The Merrie Monarch.”

The palace’s first and second floors are now open to the public. On the first floor, you can explore the Grand Hall, State Dining Room, reception, and Throne Room. The Grand Hall has a beautiful koa wood staircase and portraits of the 10 Hawaiian kings and queens.

The Throne Room was where the royal family held formal events and diplomatic receptions. Queen Lili’uokalani’s trial also took place here. There is a room on the second floor where Queen Lili’uokalani stayed under house arrest. In addition, there are the King and Queen’s suites on the first floor.

Visitors can also access the basement gallery exhibits, with artifacts such as Hawaiian crown jewels. They also have historic photographs and an exhibit about the restoration project, the restored kitchen, and Chamberlain’s Office.

4. Queens Waikiki Luau in Waikiki

Queens Waikiki Luau

The luau is a famous activity in Hawaii with cultural and entertainment value. Queens Waikiki Luau offers an authentic experience. It is the top attractions in Waikiki

Conveniently located in Waikiki at the International Market Place! Learn the Hula, Eat Delicious Hawaiian Food, and enjoy an Authentic Polynesian Show with the Fireknife Dance!

It showcases the hula dancing you’ve probably seen in movies and has extra fun in lessons, demonstrations, and live music performances. With traditional singers and bands, you can enjoy the show

At Queens Waikiki Luau, you’ll enjoy a Hawaiian-style buffet with a whole suckling pig feast. Experiencing a real luau is one of the coolest things to do in Waikiki, and this luau will serve that experience with excellence.

5. Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki

Hilton Hawaiian Village

Hilton Hawaiian Village is Waikiki’s only true resort destination located on the widest beach stretch in Waikiki. Do as much or as little as you like at Duke Kahanamoku Beach & Lagoon. It is the world-famous stretch of pristine white sands and azure waters fronting the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.

The Hilton Hawaiian Village is a glitzy and glamorous resort in Waikiki. Even if you’re not staying there, you can still enjoy their fireworks show every Friday evening! This is one of the top attractions in Waikiki.

For a luxurious Hawaiian vacation, consider splurging on the Hilton Hawaiian Village. It’s one of the best hotels in the city. You’ll have access to private pools and top-notch spa and salon services. You can even enjoy your entire vacation without leaving the hotel.

If you don’t stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, you can still enjoy their fireworks show. It’s visible from various spots on Waikiki Beach, so you can watch it for free.

If you’re a guest at Hilton Hawaiian Village, you’ll have a front-row seat to the fireworks show from their lagoon. But even if you’re not a guest, you can still see the show from various spots on the beach. Remember to check the map to find Hilton Hawaiian Village. 

It’s a fantastic place with lots to offer for everyone visiting Honolulu!

6. Manoa Falls Trail in Waikiki

Manoa Falls Trail

If you’re looking for hiking trail that could be classified as more of “walking trail” yet still offers up gorgeous scenery, then Manoa Falls Trail should be on your Oahu must-do hiking list. This is the best places in Waikiki.

Manoa Falls Trail is a great walk for those who can’t hike the strenuous trails or are exploring with kids. The trail is just 1.6 miles round trip and doesn’t have too much uphill grade. In the lush, verdant Manoa Valley, the trail is just 15 minutes from urban Honolulu, but it feels worlds away once you’re on it.

The trail offers plenty of shade from trees throughout the journey. You’ll begin with eucalyptus trees, giving off a pleasant scent. As you go further, you’ll find old, twisted banyan trees, tropical flowers, and finally, a bamboo grove.

The trail leads to the 100-foot-high Manoa Falls, flowing down a large rock face. The waterfall’s strength varies with recent rainfall. Don’t be disappointed; remember the saying, “The journey is the reward,” which holds true for the Manoa Falls Trail.

7. Waikiki Aquarium in Waikiki

Waikiki Aquarium

Waikiki Aquarium is one of the popular things to do on Oahu among the many Honolulu attractions for visitors to Oahu. Located next to a living coral reef, this award-winning aquarium in Waikiki will delight you with multi-colored tropical fish, monk seals, reef sharks, live corals, and more!

The exhibits at this Honolulu aquarium consist of about 3500 marine animals and are visited by over 350,000 visitors annually. All programs focus on Hawaiian and tropical Pacific aquatic life.

Make sure to check out the recently opened Sea Horse exhibits. There are 9 displays of these precious and rare syngnathid species, including popular sea dragons, pipefish, and other beautiful and colorful peculiar sea horses. A couple of sea horse nursery tanks are currently on display.

A fun element of this century-old aquarium is the different types of exhibits that have evolved over the years. Take time and explore all the exhibits. You might even find a scuba diver attending to the tanks occasionally.

8. Honolulu Zoo in Waikiki

Honolulu Zoo

The Honolulu Zoo is special as it’s the only zoo established by sovereign monarch grants in the US. It houses around 900 animals from the tropics, including Komodo dragons, orangutans, elephants, primates, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and various African animals.

Honolulu Zoo hosts more than 750,000 visitors a year in its 42-acre setting! It is also unique because it is the only zoo in the United States to have come from a king’s grant – the Hawaiian “Merrie Monarch” himself, King Kalakaua.

Today, the Honolulu Zoo has several permanent exhibits to delight anyone looking for a brief respite from the sun and sand and would like to visit some beautiful animals. The exhibits include a Bird Sanctuary, Tropical Forest, African Savanna, Pacific Islands exhibit, and the Keiki (Children’s) Zoo.

9. Chinatown in Waikiki


Chinatown is located on the western side of Downtown Honolulu’s district. The area is a time-honored juxtaposition of old and new, where traditional markets co-exist with expensive art galleries. You can also people-watch at the River Street Pedestrian Mall and snap a photo of the iconic Hawaii Theater nearby.

However, life has returned to the area in recent years, and Chinatown is now also known for its eclectic arts scene. On the eastern edge of Chinatown is the Hawaii Theatre. This theatre was restored and re-opened in 1996 for shows and live music. The area surrounding the theatre is the Honolulu Arts District, around Nu’uanu Avenue.

The first Friday of each month is an excellent time to visit the Arts District, with the Chinatown Art Walk along Nu’uanu and Bethel Street. The walk will reveal galleries boasting substantial collections of original paintings and affordable prints.

You can find here a little bit of everything here, and it’s a melting pot in every way. You’ll eat yummy food, take good pictures, and create good memories.

10. Kepoikai II in Waikiki

Kepoikai II

Waikiki offers more than just land attractions. For unique and memorable sights, head out to the ocean with Kepoikai II Catamaran. It is the top attractions in Waikiki.

In the Hawaiian language, Kepoikai means “crest of the wave.” Kepoikai II has been sailing Waikiki waters for 30 years since it was designed and built by the late catamaran sailor and boat builder, Captain Don Lipton.

Kepoikai II offers a one-hour sail from Waikikii Beach with amazing views of Diamond Head and the Waikiki shore. No matter what kind of experience you’re hoping for, they can ensure it.

Also, take a sunset cruise for a romantic date night; take whale- and dolphin-watching with the kids; hitch a ride to a fantastic snorkeling spot. You can also rent a charter for a multi-day experience. It spans all of Oahu’s top tourist attractions! 

11. Ala Moana Center in Waikiki

Ala Moana Center

Ala Moana Center has more than 290 stores, including luxury retailers and unique local shops. You can find 70 dining options and four major department stores here, making it a shopping and dining paradise.

The mall often shows and demos Hawaiian culture. Many of its retailers are Hawaii-exclusive, meaning your dollars directly support local enterprises. It is the top attractions in Waikiki

The “food court” is also a “food palace”. It offers dozens of sit-down restaurants, including fine dining establishments. However, you don’t have to open your wallet if you’d prefer to window shop.

Ala Moana Center is a must-see in Honolulu. You can enjoy the Hawaiian atmosphere without spending money. It’s a great place to support local businesses too.

12. Bishop Museum in Waikiki

Bishop Museum

Bishop Museum in Honolulu is the largest museum in Hawaii focused on preserving the history of Hawaii and the Pacific region. This is one of the best places in Waikiki.

The museum strives to preserve Hawaii’s founding populations, including the ancient monarchs that built Hawaii’s foundations. Visitors who enjoy biology, geography, zoology, and science will enjoy this museum.

At Bishop Museum, you’ll find exhibits on a wide range of topics, from traditional Polynesian tattoos to contemporary Hawaiian surfers. The museum also houses impressive artworks, including paintings and murals, and collections of various plants and animals.

For book lovers, the archives at Bishop Museum are a delight with their vast shelves. It’s comparable in size to the Smithsonian! If you want to learn more about the land you’re on in Waikiki, a visit to the Bishop Museum is both educational and fascinating.

13. Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Waikiki

Pearl Harbor National Memorial

At Pearl Harbor National Memorial, discover the significance of the attack on Pearl Harbor during the World War II. It’s a chance to connect with history and honor those who lost their lives.

At the USS Arizona Memorial, you can explore and also can learn about the events of December 7, 1941. Take a self-guided tour with audio assistance to see displays, exhibits, and memorials. There’s a documentary film to watch, and you can also visit a submarine and battleship nearby.

Some days, older people Pearl Harbor survivors share their experiences at ground zero. If you’re wondering about activities in Hawaii, visit the Pearl Harbor National Memorial. It’s a crucial part of American history and a national legacy that should never be forgotten, even though it can be melancholy at times.

14. Aloha Stadium in Waikiki

Aloha Stadium

Are you looking for an exciting shopping experience in Honolulu? Check out this premier outdoor market, held at Aloha Stadium. It is the best places in Waikiki.

The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is best described as a Hawaiian shopping spectacle that’s both entertaining and overwhelming at the same time. This Oahu shopping event, sometimes called the Aloha Flea Market, is a world all its own.

It might be the right choice if you only want one shopping experience on Oahu. You’ll find everything here, from Aloha shirts to used surfboards.

You’ll also find various Hawaiian jewelry, handbags, locally designed and designer knockoff clothes, martial art weapons, household items, local artwork, and just about EVERYTHING Hawaiian.

Consider taking some of these unusual local treats home for your family and friends to try. Whether or not they’ll like it, I’m sure it will make for great conversation and memories.

The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is fun with so much to offer! And it has continued to evolve over the years.

Final Thought

In conclusion, Waikiki is a tourist island. So there is no doubt that this island is full of tourist attractions. You can find so many best places in Waikiki. Waikiki is a tropical paradise with many amazing places to explore and enjoy. Waikiki has something for everyone, from its world-famous beaches and iconic landmarks to its vibrant shopping and dining scenes.

Whether you seek relaxation on the beach, adventure in the water, cultural immersion, or a vibrant urban escape, the best places in Waikiki promise an unforgettable journey filled with beauty, excitement, and the true spirit of Hawaii.

Frequently Asked Questions

This best places in Waikiki guide is for you to explore the island properly. If you have any questions you can ask here. Let’s see some faqs that people usually ask:

What is the famous street in Waikiki?

Kalakaua Avenue. After the last Hawaii king, Kalakaua Avenue serves as Waikiki’s main strip.

What is Waikiki best known for?

Waikiki is a famous 1.5 square mile island on the south shore of Oahu, in Honolulu. It is best known for its famous white sand beach.

Where is the best part of Waikiki Beach?

Enjoy Waikiki’s 8 Best Beaches:
1. Duke Kahanamoku Beach
2. Prince Kuhio Beach
3. Royal Hawaiian Beach
4. Gray’s Beach
5. Fort DeRussy Beach Park
6. San Souci Beach
7. Queen Kapiolani Beach
8. Outrigger Canoe Club Beach

What is the main beach in Waikiki?

Waikiki Beach spans the hotel skyline to Kapiolani Park.

Are Waikiki beaches free?

All beaches in Hawaiʻi are public and free, so grab a chair, towel, and book and bounce around from beach to beach.

What is the least crowded part of Waikiki Beach?

Fort Derussy Beach Park is one of Waikiki’s nicest beaches. It’s generally less crowded as there is a large park rather than a full row of hotels backing onto it.


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