Although Oahu’s weather makes it feel like summer all year long, there’s still something about the turning of the solstices that make June through August feel just a bit more relaxed. Maybe it’s the extra warm spark in the air, or maybe it’s just that school’s out and the tourists are here to party. No matter the reason, Honolulu and the rest of the island have a surplus of events you need to go and check out, so fill your social calendar with our top picks for fun times and make this a season to remember.
This month-long event returns with food, entertainment, games, and rides, so you can fill up on cotton candy, funnel cakes, and hot dogs, then try to keep everything down while you tackle the Zipper, Super Sizzler, and the Pharaoh’s Fury swinging ship.
Bring your own food, beach chair, or blanket for a sunset picnic on the pier of the USS Missouri, where you can enjoy live music and tours of the docked battleship. Gordon Biersch beer will be flowing but just remember to bring cash.
After a three-year sail around the world, the Polynesian Voyaging Society crew of this traditional canoe returns home. The team arrives at Magic Island and is celebrated with live music, speakers from the community, and food from local restaurants.
Honolulu Night Market returns with its largest block party to date, with three music stages, food, and over 40 retail vendors. Catch a special screening of Hokulea’s highlights from their voyage, Disney’s Moana, a swimwear fashion show, and a special tribute to POW! WOW! Hawaii co-founder Kamea Hadar for his commitment to perpetuating Hawaiian culture.
Spend the day learning standing acrobatics with Liz and Max Acro, then join the glow-in-the-dark yoga party, where you can paint your body with fluorescent colors while a live DJ and experienced instructors turn you into moving art. After that, head to the happy hour at Ravish for some adult beverages.
Start the holiday by cheering on bands, military and veterans groups, and students as they march down Kainalu Drive, from Palapu Street to Kailua Intermediate School. Be sure to find your seats early -- this neighborhood parade has been a tradition for over 70 years and lawn space fills up fast.
This popular show lights up the sky with a spectacular fireworks celebration so beloved that families and friends camp out the night before for prime views. Pitch a tent or come early in the evening before the park fills up.
If you’re looking to escape large crowds on Independence Day, this North Shore resort hosts a food, music, and fireworks celebration starting at 2pm. Bring your appetite as Eat the Street, the island’s popular food truck rally, returns with over 30 trucks.
For one weekend a year, this 4,000-acre working cattle ranch is home to the island’s annual agricultural showcase, with live music, comedy, plenty of food, and contests involving corn husking and chili pepper eating.
The local surfer/singer-songwriter takes the stage for two nights, and all proceeds benefit his Kokua Hawaii Foundation, which supports environmental education for schools and communities. Get your tickets ASAP.
Over 400 local vendors showcase food products, books, apparel, jewelry, and crafts, which means there’s a good chance you’ll find that perfect something for that hard-to-get person on your holiday shopping list a few months in advance.
This week-long festival honors legendary waterman Duke Kahanamoku with a schedule jam-packed with the Olympian’s favorite sports, including longboard surfing, paddleboard racing, swimming, tandem surfing, surf polo, beach volleyball, and stand-up paddling.
The Convention Center transforms into a comic lover’s dream, with cosplay, an artist’s alley, panel discussions, and guest speakers like William Shatner, Spawn creator Todd McFarlane, and X-Men writer Chris Claremont. Don your best costume and join in on the fun.
Opa! Get your belly ready for the best of Greek eating in the islands with specialities like spanakopita, souvlaki, and gyros, then wash it all down with Grecian beer and wine. If you’re not too full, you can bust a move as several bands play on the main stage.
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Summer Nakaishi is a freelance writer for Thrillist, who’s most likely heard every single “summer” joke that’s ever existed in the history of all mankind.