Jasmine Phull found the coolest things to do in Waikiki Hawaii
An archipelago of six islands synonymous with sun, sea and sand, Hawaii does not disappoint. Above, it’s clear blue skies, verdant ferns, towering palm trees and jagged peaks of mountainous ranges and dormant volcanos. They jut behind the odd fluffy cloud, haphazardly – only to return for a few moments. Down below, the mesmerising hula and big waves of Honolulu move surfers, beach-goers and idle sea bathers.
The pacific hot-spot is a watery oasis of spectacular greens, blues and yellows, and its rich indigenous heritage makes it the place du jour for the discerning foodie. A mélange of East, West and Polynesian, ‘local’ takes on a whole new meaning as the city’s food scene extends beyond the golden pineapple. Though the pineapples are not to be missed!
While there is every reason to visit each of Hawaii’s six islands, if you’re stretched for time, zoom into Oahu to find Waikiki. Once a favorite retreat for Hawaiian royalty, the resort area is a fusion of restaurants, shops and nightlife – don’t miss China Town. There’s the emerging arts scene as well as a burgeoning revival of Hawaiian culture.
From hula to luaus, Waikiki warm welcomes encapsulate the ‘aloha spirit’. The friendly, laid-back style of the locals truly sets it apart from the usual beach destination. The long days of sunshine and pleasing year-round climate make Waikiki a great visit – no matter the season.
We round up the best things to do in Waikiki so you don’t have to.
Eat – Marukame
One look at the long line that snakes outside Marukame and you’d never guess it was a chain restaurant. But this daily pilgrimage is testament to its tasty menu. If the glistening, freshly cooked udons are luring in the locals, you bet you’re in safe hands. For just $6, enjoy the spicy sukiyaki beef udon or the cold kakiage tempura udon, complete with fried strips of veggies, ginger and green onions. Though, if you are looking for something really authentic, a ‘kalua’ or roasted pig, is never too hard to find.
Marukame – 2310 Kuhio Ave, Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96815
Stay – Shoreline Hotel Waikiki
When you’re walking distance from the beach, what else do you need? Not much, in our opinion. Unless you count panoramic views, friendly service and rooms you’d happily call home. And on the days you want to roll straight out of bed and into the water, the hotel’s rooftop pool definitely does the job! A home away from home, staying at Shoreline you’d never know you were one of 35,000 visiting Honolulu. It’s the small-town feel that makes this hotel the perfect place for play and rest.
Shoreline Hotel Waikiki, 342 Seaside Avenue Waikiki
Shop – Kalakaua Avenue
Enjoy the shade of the palm-lined street as you peruse the boutique shops of Kalakaua Avenue. In between ABC convenience stores – the place to go for noisy Hawaiian shirts and affordable souvenirs – premiere fashion stores including Marc Jacobs and Chanel abound. The best thing about this strip is that it takes you directly to the beach. For some real bargains, a 40-minute bus ride to Waikele Premium Outlets is a must.
Kalakaua Avenue, Waikiki, 96815, HI
Hike – Diamond Head
A short walk out of Waikiki will lead you to one of Hawaii’s most recognized sites: Diamond Head is a 230m deep volcanic crater. The lasting remnant of an eruption that occurred about 500,000 years ago, it zigzags its way higher and higher into the Hawaiian skyline. Make the trek and we promise your efforts are well rewarded with views of the West: Waianae Mountain range and to the East: Maunalua Bay, and the two mountains beyond: Koko Head, and Koko Head Crater. Go for the 360-panorama that the postcards just don’t do justice.
Diamond Head State Monument, Honolulu, HI, 96815
Words Jasmine Phull a writer by day, an imbiber by night, sipping sours at the bar is all in a day’s work for our resident bar reviewer and travel writer @f_reshprince