50 Things to do on Oahu – The Best Hawaii Activities

50 Things to do on Oahu

There are so many things to do on Oahu. From Waikiki to Chinatown to Oahu’s Famous North Shore be sure to check out our list of 50 things to do on Oahu. If you have been to Oahu I hope this list can take you back to paradise if only for a few minutes. If you are planning a Hawaii Vacation this is a great place to get ideas for the best Hawaii Activities.

Things to do on Oahu


1. Pay Your Respects at Pearl Harbor – Pearl Harbor is Hawaii’s #1 attraction. A trip to Hawaii is not complete without experiencing Pearl Harbor, the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Bowfin submarine, the USS Missouri and the Pacific Aviation Museum.

2. Learn to Hula at a Luau – Oahu offers a variety of Hawaii Luaus. Check out my Guide to the Best Oahu Luaus to find the perfect Hawaiian Luau for you!

3. Hike Diamond Head – The famous Diamond Head hiking trail consists of 175 steps, as well as dark, underground tunnels and old military bunkers. The hike is worth the reward of 365-degree scenic summit views of Oahu 762 feet above sea level. 

Diamond Head Hawaii


4. Shop at the Aloha Stadium Swap Meet – This is Hawaii’s largest open air flea market where you can find some of the best deals in town. The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet is open 3 days a week with over 400 local merchants.

5. Eat (or drink) at Duke’s WaikikiDuke’s is the triple threat: delicious food, amazing cocktails and scenic views! Enjoy a Mai Tai or a slice of their famous Hula Pie as you enjoy the beauty of Waikiki Beach.

6. Shave Ice at Matsumoto’s – Located on Oahu’s North Shore, M. Matsumoto Grocery Store opened in 1951. Matsumoto’s serves the most famous Shave Ice in the world. Don’t even think about calling it a snow cone! The shave ice has a light texture that allows Matsumoto’s homemade syrup to float through the ice. 

7. Get Lost at Dole Plantation – Get lost in the world’s largest maze at Dole Plantation!  Take their Plantation Garden Tour, ride the Pineapple Express and be sure to try their famous Dole Whip!

8. Swim with Dolphins – Experience a Dolphin Adventure at Sea Life Park or Swim with Wild Dolphins on an Oahu Dolphin Cruise.

Hawaii Dolphin Excursions


9. Relax On A Sunset Cruise – Take in the beautiful Oahu Sunset on a Waikiki Sunset Cruise or Dinner Cruise!

10. Spend the Day at the Polynesian Cultural Center – The Polynesian Cultural Center is Oahu’s #1 paid attraction. It is 42 acre open park where you can immerse yourself in the culture, customs and music of Polynesia.

11. Surf – Hawaii is the birthplace of modern surfing. I can’t think of a better place to learn to surf! Check out this blog post about my first surf lesson!

12. Drink a Mai Tai – With fresh fruit juice, Hana Bay Gold rum and Diamond Head Dark Rum a mai tai tastes best when consumed on a beautiful Hawaiian Beach.

13. Watch Friday Night Fireworks – Presented by the Hilton Hawaiian Village the fireworks display takes place every Friday night at 7:45 pm.

14. Grab a snack at Leonard’s Bakery – Be sure to try their famous malasadas!

15. Relax on Lanikai Beach – Lanikai Beach was ranked as the #1 beach in the world by Conde Nast in 1996. Enjoy the white sand, calm water and scenic views of this beautiful beach.

16. Take a Helicopter Tour – Experience a different perspective of Hawaii with Oahu Helicopter Tours. Enjoy great aerial views of remote valleys, lush mountain peaks and hidden waterfalls.

17. Snorkel at Hanauma Bay – Tucked inside an ancient volcanic crater, Hanuama Bay is a sparkling crescent-shaped bay that boasts a magnificent marine environment. 

Hanauma Bay Things to do Oahu


18. Explore the Honolulu Zoo – The Honolulu Zoo is 42 acres and home to 905 different animals from the tropics.

19. Get a Fresh Flower Lei – Receiving a fresh, fragrant lei greeting is one of my favorite Hawaiian traditions.

20. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck – Two words: Garlic. Shrimp. Don’t miss this delicious shrimp truck on the North Shore.

21. Rent a car and get lost – Sometimes the best discoveries are by accident. Reserve a rental car and hit the road and see what Hawaiian treasures you will find on your own.

22. Eat a Hula Dog – Not just a hotdog – a celebration of flavors in your mouth! Be sure to get their famous lilikoi mustard on your Hula Dog.

23. Parasail over the Pacific – See Diamond Head and Waikiki Beach from 1,000 ft in the air! Waikiki Parasailing offers some of the best views in Hawaii.

Waikiki Parasailing


24. Find an ABC Store – My favorite store in Hawaii is the ABC Store! If you forgot to pack something don’t worry they probably sell it at the ABC Store. With over 39 stores on Oahu you will know why ABC could stand for “All Blocks Covered.”

25. Try Spam Musubi – Spam is a staple in Hawaii. Don’t be afraid to try Spam Musubi. It is a delicious treat and perfect if you are on the go!

26. Float in the water at Waikiki Beach – Relax and enjoy the warm water of Waikiki Beach.

27. Enjoy the Aloha Spirit – Aloha encompasses a deep meaning that is “the joyful (oha) sharing (all) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo).”

28. Hike Koko Head – The Koko Head Hike consists of 1,048 steps to the top but the real challenge is the 1,200 ft increase in elevation. This is a tough hike but the views from the top are breathtaking.

Koko Head hike aerial view


29. Circle Island Tour – A professionally organized tour of Oahu will not only expose you to many locations and attractions on the island, but it will also allow you to relax and let someone else be the guide.

30. See Sacred Sites – On the Zen Tour you will see waterfalls, dense bamboo forests, burial caves, heiaus and sacred locations on Oahu.

31. Visit North Shore Beaches – Check out famous surfing beaches Pipeline, Sunset and Waimea Bay.

Waimea Beach Things to do on Oahu



32. Visit Byodo In Temple – Located in the foothills of the Ko’olau Moutains, this non-denominational Buddhist temple was established in 1968 to honor the 100 year anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii.

33. Shop ‘Til You Drop – Waikiki offers some of the best shopping in the world. Explore the variety of shops in the Royal Hawaiian Center and Ala Moana Center.  Waikiki also has high end boutiques such as Tiffany & Co, Coach, Gucci and Chanel on Luxury Row.  If you are looking for fun beachwear there are a variety of surf shops on Kalakaua Ave such as QuikSilver and Rip Curl.

34. Encounter a Shark from the Safety of a Cage – View galapagos sharks, sandbar sharks, grey reef sharks and the occasional tiger shark from a polyglass shark cage. A Shark Encounter is a great Hawaii Activity to get your adrenaline pumping!

35. Enjoy Oahu Shows and Entertainment – The stars come out at night in Waikiki! Check out Oahu Shows such as Legends in Concert, Magic of Polynesia and Society of Seven.

36. Learn about Sea Life at Waikiki Aquarium Waikiki Aquarium is the 2nd oldest public aquarium in the US. It was established to “show the world the riches of Hawaii’s reefs.”

37. Get Blown away at Pali Lookout – Located only 15 minutes from Waikiki, the Pali Lookout is a scenic viewing point rich in Hawaiian cultural history, legend and folklore. Pali Lookout is known for high wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour so be sure to hold on to your hat! 

38. Swim in the pool at Waimea Falls – Located in Waimea Valley on Oahu’s North Shore, Waimea Falls drops 45 feet into a pool.

39. Explore Kualoa Ranch – Kualoa Ranch is a 4000 acre working cattle ranch where you can ride an ATV and explore Oahu’s countryside, discover hidden valleys on horseback and enjoy a nature hike through tropical gardens. You can even see locations of many Hollywood film productions at Kualoa Ranch.

Kualoa Ranch ATV Tours


40. Bishop Museum – Learn the history, arts and culture of the Hawaiian people at the Bishop Museum.

41. Submarine Tour – The best way to experience Hawaii’s magnificent marine life without getting wet is Hawaii Submarine Tours! Descend to 120 ft with Atlantis Submarine Tours.

42. Try Poke – If you like fish you must try poke when in Hawaii! Many restaurants offer their own version of cubed ahi marinated with a variety of ingredients. The grocery store Foodland also sells delicious Poke Bowls.

43. Go on a Whale Watching Tour – Whale Watch season is December through April. See majestic humpback whales enjoy Hawaii’s warm waters.

44. Watch the Honolulu Fish Auction –  The Honolulu Fish Auction is the only fish auction between Tokyo and Maine. The bidding begins at 5:30am and up to 100,000 pounds of fish can be auctioned in a day.

45. Leave your Lei at the Duke Statue – A bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku welcomes you to Waikiki. He was an Olympic gold medalist in swimming and known as “the father of modern surfing.” 

Duke Statue Waikiki Beach Hawaii


46. Scuba Dive – Experience Oahu’s beautiful sea life. Explore beautiful reefs, see green sea turtles, dolphins and colorful fish on Oahu Scuba Diving Tours.

47. Explore on Underwater Scooters – This exhilarating Oahu Activity allows you to explore marine life with the help of a Breathing Observation Bubble and an underwater scooter.

48. Eat in Chinatown – Explore the markets, restaurants, arts and nightlife of Chinatown located in downtown Honolulu. Chinatown is an eclectic blend of Southeast Asian cultures.

49. Take a dip in a Resort Pool – One of my favorite places to stay is the Sheraton Waikiki. It has a great pool with waterslides that kids love. The Sheraton also boasts a beautiful infinity pool with breathtaking views of Diamond Head and the Waikiki Sunset.

50. Take a Moonlit Stroll on the Beach – After a busy day of fun Hawaii Activities take a relaxing stroll on Waikiki Beach.

Moonlit Waikiki Beach


Check out Hawaii Discount for low prices on Oahu Activities and additional ideas for things to do on Oahu!

What are your favorite things to do on Oahu? What would you add to the list?

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About Elizabeth

Elizabeth has been blogging about the best Hawaii Activities for over 7 years. She loves sharing the Aloha Spirit.
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4 Responses to 50 Things to do on Oahu – The Best Hawaii Activities

  1. Patricia Munoz--Stephen says:

    Nice to know all you can do. My husband & I have done about 40 things of what’s in your list. But always looking to try other things. My Husbands Uncle is buried at Punch Bowl Crater Cemetery! Beautiful cemetery!! Today as I read out loud things to do my husband & I started reminiscing if our vacations in Hawaii!! We were just there in May (2014) & excited for our next vacation (2015) my husband had been to Hawaii 7 times, I’ve been there 5 times!!!
    Love every time I get to go!!!!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Mahalo Patricia! Yes the Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is beautiful and should be added to the list. I was hoping that those that have already been to Oahu would reminisce as they read the list so I was so happy to read that you and your husband were able to do that! Enjoy your next vacation and please feel free to contact us if you have any questions! Aloha!

  2. Anita says:

    Thanks. About to have our first visit in December! Love what you’ve included – something for everyone!

    • Elizabeth says:

      Mahalo Anita! Have fun in December! Yes there is something for everyone on Oahu! Please let me know if you have any questions about your upcoming Hawaii Vacation!

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