Travel Guide North America USA Western United States Hawaii Oahu Honolulu Honolulu/Waikiki



One of the best-known beaches in the world, Waikiki is a famous district of the city of Honolulu, on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Sandwiched between the Ala Wai Canal and the ocean in the shadow of the towering Diamond Head crater, Waikiki is noted for being the tourist center of the Hawaiian Islands. Waikiki was the favorite playground of Hawaiian royalty in the 19th century, when it was an area of wetlands fed by streams from the valleys above Honolulu. That all changed in the 1920s when the government decided to build what would become the Ala Wai Canal, which would drain the wetlands and pave the way for later development.
These days, this 1.5-mile (2.4-km) stretch of white sand beach is the nucleus of Hawaii's tourist industry, packed full of high-rise hotels that promise to treat you like a king, some of which may also require a king's ransom for admission. Although it is often criticized for its concrete-jungle appearance, large crowds, and touristy feel, there is a lot to enjoy here and you can still find a quiet spot if you know where to look.



Sights and Activities

Kapiolani Park. A large public park at the east end of Waikiki (toward Diamond Head), home to the 1 Waikiki Shell amphitheater and the Honolulu Zoo. Right across the street on the shore is the Waikiki Aquarium.
Honolulu Zoo, 151 Kapahulu Ave (cnr of Kapahulu Ave and Kalakaua Blvd), ☏ +1 808 971-7171. Daily 9AM-4:30PM, closed 25 Dec. Lovely zoo with lots of exotic animals and plenty of the big-name ones like elephants, rhinos, lions, zebras and giraffes. $14, $8 residents/military, $6 children, under age 3 free.
Waikiki Aquarium, 2777 Kalakaua Ave, ☏ +1 808 923-9741. Daily 9AM-4:30PM, closed 25 Dec. The third oldest aquarium in the U.S., this incredible institution has hundreds of species of marine life from Hawaii and the Pacific, including sharks, octopus, jellyfish, colorful reef fish, coral, and an outdoor exhibit with Hawaiian monk seals. $12, $8 residents/military, $5 children/seniors, age 3 and under free.


If not the most famous stretch of beach in the world, Waikiki Beach (which is in fact, a series of beaches) is by far the most famous in Hawaii. It forms the foreground of most postcard pictures, with Diamond Head in the background, and it is the first beach that comes to mind when most people think of Hawaii. Consequently, it is also, by far, the most crowded. It's a good place to learn to surf if you can manage not to hit or be hit by other beginners in the throng.

Kahanamoku Beach. Named after legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku, this is a man-made beach and lagoon on the Ala Moana end of Waikiki, in front of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Resort.
Fort DeRussy Beach. Located adjacent to a park, this is the widest stretch of beach and one of the most popular. It is also a good spot for snorkeling, with a coral reef a little offshore.
Royal Manoa Beach. Located in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and the Moana Surfrider Hotel, this is perhaps the most crowded stretch of beach in Waikiki.
Kuhio Beach. With an offshore retaining wall, this is a calmer section of beach that's great for families and beginner surfers. Along Kalakaua Avenue are four stones known as the Ancient Pohaku (Wizard Stones) which are believed to hold spiritual healing powers. There is also a statue of legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku located here, often adorned with leis and a popular photo spot.
Queens Surf Beach. In front of Kapiolani Park, this is a quieter section of beach that's also popular with gays. The snorkeling is great here, with huge tangs, Moorish Idols and other fish.
San Souci Beach. Located between the War Memorial Natatorium and the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel, this is a much quieter section of beach that's protected by a reef; great for families and swimming.



Events and Festivals


  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.


  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.



Getting There

From the airport, there are plenty of options for getting to Waikiki. The Airport Waikiki Express provides shuttle service to hotels in Waikiki every half hour for $9 per person; look for the bright yellow t-shirts. Be warned that these are full coach buses, and if your hotel is on the eastern end of Waikiki, it will take the shuttle just as long to get through all the other hotels and traffic as it did to reach Waikiki from the airport. If you are a party of multiple people, it's better to take a cab.

Additionally, city buses #19 and #20 ($2.50, $1 per child or senior; exact change required, local bills and coins accepted) connect Waikiki to the airport once every half-hour, passing through Downtown. You can catch them on the outside second level of the international and domestic departure terminals. Note: The bus only allows luggage that fits on your lap and under your seat. If you have more luggage than this, consider other options.

If coming to Waikiki by car from the airport or points west, follow signs for the H1 freeway east, then follow H-1 east about 2 miles (3 km) to the Waikiki/Nimitz Highway exit and follow the Nimitz Highway (which turns into Ala Moana Boulevard past Downtown) straight into Waikiki. Another option is to stay on H1 east and take exit 25A (King Street); after merging onto King Street, stay to the right and take the second right onto Kapahulu Avenue and follow Kapahulu into Waikiki. If coming from the east, take H1 west to the Kapiolani Blvd exit and follow to Kapiolani Blvd to McCully Street and make a left into Waikiki.



Getting Around

When getting directions in Hawaii you're more likely to hear "mauka", "makai", "ewa", and "diamond/koko head" rather than north, south, west or east. Mauka means towards the mountains. Makai means towards the water, in this case the ocean. Ewa means toward Ewa Beach, or roughly west, and Diamond/Koko Head means roughly east in the direction of Diamond Head. This means that directions are dependent on where you are on the island. In the case of Waikiki and Honolulu, which are located on the south shore of Oahu, mauka roughly means north, and makai roughly means south.

In Waikiki, the three main streets, from makai to mauka, are Kalakaua Avenue (one way Ewa to Diamond Head, along Waikiki Beach), Kuhio Avenue (two-way), and Ala Wai Boulevard (one way Diamond Head to Ewa, along the Ala Wai Canal).

Everything in Waikiki is within easy walking distance of each other. Another option is to use a moped - around Waikiki, numerous stands can rent mopeds (small motor scooters). Prices vary greatly, so look around a bit before deciding. These bikes generally cannot exceed 35 mph (56 km/h), allowing for easy travel on city streets. A couple of rules to remember and locals will respect you better:

1. Stay to the right! At all times stay as far right as possible, and if turning, stay to the far right of the lane you are in (moving to the far right side of the road as soon as you can).
2. It is illegal to ride double, so avoid having a passenger on your bike.
3. Don't park your bike on the sidewalk -- police will ticket.
4. Unless experienced, don't ride the bikes in at night in dark areas -- it is very difficult for you to be seen.




Teddy's Bigger Burgers, 134 Kapahulu Ave, ☏ +1 808 926-3444. M-Th 10AM-9PM, F-Su 10AM-10PM. This is one branch of a small chain. The name represents truth in advertising. The burgers are very big and juicy, and so are the grilled chicken breasts. The other ingredients, such as the lettuce, tomatoes, and onions are also fresh. Good value, good food even for people who usually steer clear of burger joints. The decor has a retro 1960s feel and the sound track they play is classic 1960s/early 70s rock.
Marukame Udon, 2310 Kuhio Ave, ☏ +1 808 931-6000. 7AM-10PM. Cafeteria-style restaurant specializing in Japanese Udon--thick, long noodles served with meat, vegetables and broth. There is usually a line out the door but service is quick since it is cafeteria style,. Under $10.
Duke's, 2335 Kalakaua Ave (at the Outrigger Waikiki Hotel), ☏ +1 808 922-2268. Named after legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku. For meals and drinks right on the beach you can't beat Duke's. It's a bar and a restaurant. Their Sunday live music is a local favorite.
Eggs 'N Things, 2464 Kalakaua Ave, ☏ +1 808 926-3447. Daily 6AM to 2PM, 4PM to 10PM. This very popular breakfast/brunch spot attracts lines, so don't go if you're in a big rush. They make excellent omelettes and pancakes, and there are three syrups on the table; the coconut syrup is the best of the three. Portions are humongous, so go very hungry or order with restraint. Service is polite, and the vibe is convivial.
LuLu's Waikiki, 2586 Kalakua Ave (across the street from the Honolulu Zoo), ☏ +1 808 926-5222. 7AM-late. This is an enclosed, but open-air sports bar on across the street from the beach.
Mikawon Korean Restaurant, 2310 Kuhio Ave (not easily visible from the street - in a pedestrian mall about a half a block from Kuhio Ave), ☏ +1 808 924-3277. Daily 10AM-10PM. Very informal, with colorful testimonials in various languages papering the walls. Clientele is primarily Korean, and staff speak little English, so don't expect a lot of help in deciding what to order. Just get whatever seems good to you (some photos in the menu may help), and enjoy some delicious real Korean food. Excellent banchan (complimentary side dishes), too.
Tiki's Grill & Bar, 2570 Kalakaua Ave (in the Waikiki Beach Hotel), ☏ +1 808 923-8454. Good food and service.
Top of Waikiki, 18F Waikiki Business Plaza, 2270 Kauakaua Ave, ☏ +1 808 923-3877. Dinner only. Hawaii's only revolving restaurant and offers views of both ocean and mountains. Best time to dine is at sunset. Serves pacific-fusion cuisine.




Almost all bars in Waikiki also serve good food and sometimes it's hard to draw the line between pub and restaurant. Any of these places should also be considered a good place to get dinner.

Hula's, 134 Kapahulu (on the second floor of the Waikiki Grand), ☏ +1 808 923-0669. The oldest and best-known gay-friendly nightspot showcasing a glassed in dance floor. Excellent cocktails, especially mai tais. Music videos are shown on big screens, and are all by request on Monday nights. Open to the air.
Kelly O'Neil's, 311 Lewers St, ☏ +1 808 926-1777. Energetic pub atmosphere with live music playing every night.
Moose McGillycuddy's, 310 Lewers St (across from Kelly O'Neil's), ☏ +1 808 923-0751. 7:30AM-4AM. Live music, daily specials, tasty adult beverages, ono pupus, bikini contest, friendly atmosphere and staff. Huge selection of breakfasts, pupus (appetizers), burgers and specialties. A Waikiki landmark for over 26 years.
The Yard House, 226 Lewers St, ☏ +1 808 923-9273. Not only does it have a wonderful food menu, but they offer over 130 draft beers from all over the world, the huge island bar protects the 4 walls of taps within. If you were wondering how they can have so many beers on tap, just take a walk over to the double pained 2 inch thick Plexiglas wall that allows you to observe the elaborate tap system. It may take you longer to pick out a beer than to actually drink it.




There are many hotels in Waikiki. Try to find a place that's close to the center of town and has decent amenities and has been recently renovated. Don't bother eating at the hotel restaurant unless it's one of the famous high-end ones like Duke's. The usual hotel booking websites all do a pretty good job here, although don't be surprised to find that the name of your hotel has changed since you booked your reservation.

'Ilima Hotel, 445 Nohonani St, ☏ +1 808 923-1877. Budget friendly condo hotel two blocks from Waikiki Beach. Free parking and internet. The condos are very large units. From $133.
2 Maile Sky Court, 2058 Kuhio Ave, ☏ +1 808 947-2828. Budget friendly hotel three blocks to Waikiki Beach, four blocks to Hawaii Convention Center. Studios and one bedroom suites available. $70-150, weekly and monthly rates available.
Pacific Ohana Hostel, 2566 Lemon Rd, ☏ +1 808 921-8111. Dorm, private, and studios available. $25-65, weekly and monthly rates available.
Waikiki Beachside Hostel, 2556 Lemon Rd, ☏ +1 808 923-9566. Dorms and semi-private rooms. $20-74, weekly rates available.
Aqua Palms & Spa, 1850 Ala Moana Blvd, ☏ +1 808 947-7256. Spa, WiFi, rooftop pool and receptions.
Courtyard Waikiki Beach, 400 Royal Hawaiian Ave, ☏ +1 808 954-4000. Contemporary, boutique-style hotel right in the heart of Waikiki. Two towers, 401 rooms. It is the only Courtyard in Hawaii.
Prince Waikiki, 100 Holomoana St, ☏ +1 808 956-1111. A hotel that features all oceanfront rooms and suites. Other amenities of the hotel include a championship golf course, day spa, tennis courts, and extensive facilities for meetings, weddings, and social events.
Hilton Hawaiian Village, 2005 Kalia Rd (off Ala Moana Blvd), ☏ +1 808 949-4321. The largest resort in Waikiki, covering 22 acres fronting Waikiki Beach. Five towers with 2,545 units, 90 shops, and 22 restaurants. Alii Tower offers one of the best locations on Waikiki Beach. Beachfront accommodations, exclusive services, enhanced amenities, including the Tower's private pool terrace, whirlpool and private fitness center. The parking garage is very handy; with your room card you can access your car at any time without waiting on valet service. Diamondhead Tower is straight out of the 70s and many of the rooms are poorly maintained with torn wallpaper, water damage and obvious power cables running under carpet. Overall the resort is very crowded in the peak season but for families with tweens may be acceptable.
The Lotus at Diamond Head, 2885 Kalakaua Ave, ☏ +1 808 922-1700. Boutique hotel.
Moana Surfrider, 2365 Kalakaua Ave, ☏ +1 808 922-3111. Have breakfast at The Verdara and dinner at Beachhouse at The Moana, wine at bin 1901 and enjoy the Moana Lani Spa.
Park Shore Waikiki, 2586 Kalakaua Ave, ☏ +1 808 954-7426. Overlooking Diamond Head and the pristine expanses of Kapiolani Park.
Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, 120 Kaiulani Ave, ☏ +1 808 922-5811. Dine at Pikake Terrace, Splash bar & Bento. Also have song and dance show called Creation - A Polynesian Journey.
Aston Waikiki Beach Tower, 2470 Kalakaua Ave, ☏ +1 808 926-6400, toll-free: +1-855-776-1766. A condominium resort with ocean views from every suite, this hotel is located across the street from Waikiki Beach.
Halekulani Hotel, 2199 Kalia Rd, ☏ +1 808 923-2311, toll-free: +1-800-367-2343. One of the nicest (and most expensive) hotels on Oahu.
Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach, 175 Paoakalani Ave, ☏ +1 808 922-3861.
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, 2424 Kalakaua Ave. 4-star twin-tower resort and convention complex on Waikiki Beach. Spa, restaurants, shops and daily entertainment on property.
Ilikai Hotel & Suites, 1777 Ala Moana Blvd, ☏ +1 808 949-3811. Oceanfront hotel that features prominently in the famous opening shot of the Hawaii Five-O TV show. Amenities include a swimming pool, fitness room, meeting rooms, rooftop restaurant. edit
The Royal Hawaiian, 2259 Kalakaua Ave, ☏ +1 808 923-7311. Tai Bar, Azure Restaurant, Surf Lanai Restaurant, oceanfront dinner show, Abhasa Spa, beauty salon, 20 specialty shops.
Sheraton Waikiki, 2255 Kalakaua Ave, ☏ +1 808 922-4422. Nightly poolside entertainment, two swimming pools, laundry facilities, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Spa Khakara, Yoshiya restaurant, live music at RumFire.
Trump International Hotel Waikiki, 223 Saratoga Rd, ☏ +1 808 683-7777, toll-free: +1-877-683-7401. 5-star resort and spa with magnificent views and very helpful staff. Pool, spa, library, free WiFi and daily room servicing.
Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa, 2552 Kalakaua Ave, ☏ +1 808 922-6611. A large resort hotel across the street from Waikiki Beach, with two towers, several restaurants, dozens of shops, a spa and views of the city, ocean, and Diamond Head.



Keep Connected


There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.


See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.


The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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This is version 3. Last edited at 13:52 on Sep 30, 19 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

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