Visiting Waikiki Is a Highlight of any Hawaii Vacation

Categorized as Oahu Vacation Information

Ocean Fun, Night Life and Historical Attractions In Waikiki

No visit to Hawaii is complete without a stop in Waikiki. You can surf the famous waves in front of the old hotels, see Hawaiian music along the shoreline, and even visit many attractions that give you a sense of the rich traditions of culture and history of Hawaii. This whole area used to be fishponds and taro patches. Now it is Hawaii’s most valuable real estate and the gathering place of people from all over the world.

A nice way to start the day in Waikiki, before you join the throngs of people along the main stretch of Kalakaua Avenue, is to take a walk in beautiful Kapiolani Park. This expansive park on the eastern end of Waikiki was dedicated by King Kalakaua to his wife Queen Kapiolani. The park used for horse races and polo games as well as music and festivities, as it is today.

Kapiolani Park is set beneath Diamond Head State Monument which has a nice 1 1/2 mile hike to the summit giving you a great view of Waikiki.

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Across from Kapiolani Park is the Waikiki Aquarium where thou-sands of marine species are on display, and with great interactive exhibits for kids.

Not far away on the other side of Waikiki is the Ala Moana Shopping Center, which opened the same year Hawaii became a state in 1959. At the Ala Moana you will have the choice of visiting hundreds of shops and eateries.

Most of your day, however, can be spent right in the heart of Waikiki eating great food, laying on the beach, surfing and swimming, and of course people watching.

Hot Tip: Don’t want to stay in the city your entire vacation? Stay in a Kailua vacation rental or Lanikai beach rental. Both destinations are just a short drive to Waikiki but feel a world away.

Along the shore of Waikiki is the U.S. Army Museum (open from10 to 4:15 from Tuesday through Sunday; admission free) that once served as part of Oahu’s defense system and now displays tanks and other military artifacts honoring the heroic 100th Infantry Battalion and 442 Purple Heart Battalion that fought so valorously in World War II.

Music and hula can be seen at the International Market Place at 2330 Kalakaua Avenue where there is also lots of great shopping amidst ponds and tree-lined paths.

Near Kuhio Beach in Waikiki you can see the famous Wizard Stones that are said to hold the powers of Tahitian priests who visited in ancient times. Nearby you can watch surfers and bodyboarders from the breakwater.

The next beach over is known as Kahanamoku Beach in honor of the famous surfer and Olympic swimming champion Duke Kahanamoku. His statue along Waikiki Beach reminds everyone of this Hawaiian hero who was known as the “Ambassador of Aloha.”

One of the most interesting historical attractions in Waikiki is the Moana Hotel on the beach. Known as the First Lady of Waikiki, the Moana opened in 1901 and began Waikiki’s prominence as a world famous resort destination. This was a time when horse-driven tram cars shuttled visitors to Honolulu.

The hotel was so successful that the Matson Company built the Royal Hawaiian Hotel with its famous pink turrets. The hotel be- came known as the Pink Palace and today is still one of Hawaii’s finest hotels and also a great place to visit to see a piece of Waikiki history where Henry Ford II, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Nelson Rockefeller, and Babe Ruth stayed.

If you are in the mood for shopping then you will enjoy Waikiki’s endless array of boutiques ranging from inexpensive gifts to very high end fashions.

During a walk along Kalakaua Avenue you are sure to see entertainment as well, from street performers to the well-known Hawaiian music groups that play on the lanais of the many hotels along this road.

After a day of sun and surf and shopping you can relax by a poolside overlooking the beach and hear the sweet sounds of Hawaiian music by some of the Islands’ best performers. This is all commonplace on a typical Waikiki day!