Travel

Actually Cool Things to Do in Honolulu

Once friends and family hear you’ve moved to Honolulu, everyone wants to come visit. Who wouldn’t want to spend a week in paradise, even if it means couch-surfing for a few days? The difficult part of their visit is showing guests around, as many of us locals have forgotten what makes Honolulu special and distinct from the other islands. Here’s a quick list of things to do -- some free, some cheap, some worth the price -- so that any guests to the islands can see why we’ve moved so far away to the middle of the Pacific. Work and life might have just made you forget our island's natural beauty, but these activities should jog your memory.

Spot humpback whales in the warm Pacific Ocean waters

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Downtown Honolulu
Spring in Honolulu is one of the best times to discover whales in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean. While humpback whales make their way towards Hawaii to mate and give birth between December through May, the two best months to spot them are February and March. Head downtown to the pier and find cruise companies like Atlantic Cruises that offer several whale-watching cruises -- some even with lunch and drinks -- with naturalists that offer whale watching tips and insight into these incredible creatures. 

Take a unique glimpse into 19th-century Hawai’i at the Mission House Museum 

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Downtown Honolulu
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1965, the Hawaiian Mission Houses are a collection of three restored houses that offer a glimpse into life in 19th-century Hawaii after the Christian missionaries arrived in the islands. Guided tours every Tuesday to Saturday offer visitors a look into two of Hawaii's oldest houses, dating back to the 1820s and 1830s. The third, built out of coral cut away from ocean reefs in 1841, served as a printing office (ka hale pa'i) where some of the first printed materials and books were produced in Hawaii.

Snorkel at Sharks Cove on the North Shore 

Free
North Shore
While there are countless sports on Oahu to discover the island's vibrant marine life, a local favorite is Sharks Cove at Pupukea Beach Park on the North Shore. Known for its tide pools (located on the south side) that are teeming with small fish and other marine animals, Sharks Cove is the ideal location to go if you have your little ones in tow. The shallow turquoise waters are crystal clear, and the lack of waves makes it an ideal snorkeling location -- expect to spot reef triggerfish, butterflyfish, parrotfish, crustaceans, eels, and more. Just be sure to wear protective footwear as the entry to sharks cove is rocky, plus the tide pools are made of lava rock, which is jagged and sharp.

DIY comfort food crawl through the Royal Hawaiian Center

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Waikiki
Spanning three city blocks, the Royal Hawaiian Center is an upscale shopping center housing retailers like Fendi, Harry Winston, Jimmy Choo, and Hermes, as well as local boutiques offering unique souvenirs and one-of-a-kind pieces. Plus, it’s also home to a number of restaurants, including the Pa'ina Lanai food court, both offering meals under $20. Start off at Noi Thai Cuisine with a warm bowl of Tom Kha Gai soup, made with coconut milk, chicken, mushrooms, lemongrass, spring onions, cilantro, and galangal. The truffle mac & cheese from Island Vintage Wine Bar or a bowl of sizzling Sukiyaki Udon at TsuruTonTan are sure to fill you up. For dessert, stop by the Honolulu Cookie Company for a freshly baked shortbread cookie.

Sandy Beach bodysurfers
Sandy Beach | Phillip B. Espinasse / Shutterstock

Watch bodysurfing pros tackle the waves at Sandy Beach  

Free
Koko Head
Located on Oahu's south shore at the base of Koko Crater, Sandy Beach is a popular spot for bodysurfers, thanks to its location on the island. The waters receive both north and south swells, and in the winter, this means that the powerful waves show no signs of stopping until they reach the powdery white-sand shoreline. Getting in the water is not recommended, unless you are an experienced athlete familiar with the potential dangers that these waters possess. Instead, spend your day watching the bodysurfing pros in action -- it's incredible how they make riding the waves look like a breeze.

Pack a picnic and check out the view at Tantalus Lookout 

Free
Makiki
For an unobstructed bird' s-eye view of Diamond Head, Waikiki, Honolulu, Honolulu Airport, and the vast surrounding ocean and Wai'anae Mountains to the far right, head to Tantalus Lookout. Located within the Round Top Forest Reserve, the area also has a quiet park and picnic tables, making it an ideal location for a summer afternoon picnic surrounded by Instagram-worthy views in every direction. The Ualaka'a Trail is also an easy one-mile trail through lush rainforest, it's also kid-friendly.

Learn the art of traditional Hawaiian crafts at Kīpuka

Free-$
Kaka’ako
Kīpuka, a makers' space in Kaka'ako's arts district, has a critical mission: to promote the teaching of traditional Hawaiian crafts and culture to the local community. Located in Ward Village, the space offers weekly classes in a number of Hawaiian art forms, some of which are donation-based or for a nominal fee. These include lei hulu classes (feather leis that were once reserved for Hawaiian royalty), Hala weaving workshops, Ni'ihau shell jewelry sessions, and even introductory 'Ōlelo Hawai'i language lessons.

Makapu'u Lighthouse trail
Makapu'u Lighthouse trail | Lu Yang / Shutterstock

Hike to the Makapu’u Point Lighthouse for a view of Molokai

Free
Honolulu
Originally built in 1909, the lighthouse sits on a 600-foot sea cliff that overlooks Makapu’u Beach. Recent renovations to the moderately easy, two-mile trail mean the area is now repaved with new lookout points added. Be sure to spot the island of Molokai in the distance, as well as two smaller islands -- Manana or Rabbit island, and Kaohikaipu -- located closer to the shore. And, if you're visiting between December to May, it's an ideal location to spot whales coming in from the chilly waters of the North Pacific Ocean.

Kakaako Farmer's Market
Kakaako Farmer's Market | Ward Village

Sample fresh Hawaiian produce at a farmers’ market

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Citywide
There's no better place to sample a variety of the island's agricultural bounty than at farmers’ markets. Held several times a week at various locations in Honolulu, markets allow visitors to meet local farmers and purveyors, and sample Oahu grown products like Manoa honey, Kahuku corn, Waialua chocolate, and more. The Honolulu Farmers Market happens every Wednesday at the Neil Blaisdell Center, the Hyatt's Farmers Market sets up every Thursday at the Hyatt Regency in Waikiki, the Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market is on Saturdays, the Mahiku Farmers Market is every Friday and Monday evening at King's Village, and the Pearlridge Farmers' Market and Kaka’ako Farmers Market are every Saturday morning.

Try a rum tasting at the Kō Hana Rum Distillery

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Kunia
For over a century, sugarcane was the most valuable crop on the Hawaiian islands after it was brought over by the Polynesians in the 1800s. Head to the Kō Hana Rum Distillery in Kunia to see how the production of their craft bottles of Agricole rum is made from sugarcane grown on the property. Distillery tours run daily from 10am to 4:30pm. Sample fresh cane juice, as well as various white and aged rums at their daily rum tastings, which are offered until 6pm.

Catch the country’s only tuna auction at the Honolulu Fish Auction

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Downtown Honolulu
You don't have to be in Japan to experience the unique world of fish auctions. If you wake up early enough and head to Pier 38, you'll find yourself surrounded by fishermen, chefs, and buyers all waiting for the Honolulu Fish Auction to begin. Expect to learn about seafood safety requirements, as well as see the sheer variety of fish that end up for sale. On a good day, approximately 100,000 pounds of fish can be auctioned off. While the auction happens daily, tours are only offered on Saturdays beginning at 6am and need to be booked in advance. 

Learn how to pound poi at the Waiahole Poi Factory

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Kaneohe
A traditional Hawaiian food, Poi is produced from the kalo (taro) plant. It is a classic dish found in Hawaiian luaus, on plate lunches, and even sold in restaurants like the Waiahole Poi Factory. Located in Kaneohe, this hotspot has been serving Hawaiian comfort foods like squid luau, lau lau, kalua pig, and of course, hand-pounded poi since it first opened in 2009. But, the Waiahole Poi Factory's roots go back further -- it was initially built in 1905 to function as a commercial poi factory. Today, the space also hosts poi pounding workshops that teach both locals and visitors the history and significance of poi.

Valley of the Temples Memorial Park | Takamex / Shutterstock

Spend a peaceful afternoon at Valley of the Temples Memorial Park

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Kaneohe
Situated right at the foot of the lush Ko'olau Mountain range, the Valley of the Temples Memorial Park is a serene 240-acre space complete with a Zen garden, meditation space, and, of course, the stunning replica of a Byodo-In Temple (the original is in Uji, Japan). Built in 1968, the temple commemorates the 100th old anniversary of the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. With a two-acre koi pond, wild peacocks roaming the property, and traditional Japanese gardens to explore, you can be sure to spend an afternoon in peaceful surroundings, completely engulfed by nature.

See stunningly beautiful street art in Kaka'ako

Free
Kakaako
The hip district of Kakaako was once known for its run down warehouses until a group of internationally known street artists bombed the neighborhood with colorful graffiti a few years back. Now the area is the must-see and be-seen district for cutting-edge street art, cool dining, entertainment and shopping. The art scene includes Pow! Wow! Hawaii -- a collective group of artists that gather for a weeklong event every February to paint new murals over the older ones. After a walk through the area, stay for coffee at the chic Arvo, or go for cocktails and tapas at the posh Bevy.

Remember Pearl Harbor at U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Park

Free-$
U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Park
Take your “never been to Hawaii” friends to honor the fallen at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial Park at Pearl Harbor, the infamous site of the surprise Japanese attack that nearly destroyed the US Pacific Fleet. Today the park is a National Historic Landmark with a large museum with many WWII artifacts and a theater that shows a film explaining the events that led up to the attack. You can also take a ferry ride to see the memorial built over the remains of the U.S.S. Arizona. Make sure you get there early as tickets to the ferry run out quickly. The visit is free, but for additional fees, you can visit the U.S.S. Bowfin Submarine Park and the Pacific Aviation Museum. The aviation museum can only be accessed through a tour as it sits inside an active military base. A hangar at the museum still bears scars from bullets fired from the attacking Japanese airplanes.

Hike atop a massive crater at Diamond Head

Free
Diamond Head
Hike up the iconic Diamond Head to see the sunrise over Waikiki. The long-dormant volcano once played host to a military base and the century old 1.6-mile trail leading to the top is now a favorite with tourists and locals alike. The two-hour hike is moderately easy with several switchbacks and a steep staircase leading through a tunnel. At the summit, you’ll be greeted with fantastic views of Waikiki and the rest of Oahu. Take note of the lighthouse and the bunkers scattered along the rim of the crater. The hike is free, but parking inside the crater is $5 per car. The park is open from 6am to 6pm daily and the last entrance to the trail is at 4:30pm. Perhaps stop by Bogart's Cafe before you go for a great breakfast or brunch.

Observe the sea turtles at Laniakea Beach

Free
Laniakea Beach
No trip to the North Shore of Oahu is complete without a quick stop to see the sea turtles at Laniakea Beach. The turtles usually swim close to shore munching on seaweed in the morning and bask in the sun on the sand in the afternoon. Note that the beach, found just west of Haleiwa Town, has become very popular with tourists and locals alike, which sadly causes traffic gridlock and parking issues. Sea turtle activist groups usually guard the area and rope off the turtles from visitors. And if you choose to swim at the beach, sea turtles are endangered species and are protected under federal law. Do not interact with them.

Watch surfers charge huge waves at Waimea Bay

Free
Waimea Bay
Oahu has some of the world’s biggest waves in the winter months, and the bravest of surfers gather at Waimea Bay to slide down their monster silver faces. Head down to Waimea, found down west from Haleiwa Town, to see the best of the best. If you are lucky enough, you might catch The Eddie surf contest that runs only when waves reach over 30 feet. In the summer, the bay turns glassy and swimmers can enjoy an almost lake-like experience. After watching the surfers charge the waves, head back down to Haleiwa for shave ice at Matsumoto’s or great burgers at Kua Aina Sandwich Shop.

Find tranquility in the middle of the city at Kapiolani Park

Free
Waikiki
Are your guests tired of the hustle and bustle of Honolulu? Pick up a picnic basket and head down to Kapiolani Park to enjoy peace and quiet in this park located on the Diamond Head side of Waikiki. The 300-acre park, named after Hawaiian Queen Kapiolani, offers unsurpassed views of Diamond Head Crater and the Pacific Ocean. The Honolulu Zoo is just around the corner as is the Waikiki Aquarium, and its Waikiki Shell concert venue often hosts shows weekly. When well-known artists play at the Shell, locals will gather on the grounds outside venue to hear, but not see, the show. The park has ample parking and the beach is just across the street.

Hang with monk seals at Kaena Point -- the edge of Oahu

Free
Kaena Point
The amazing hike to Kaena Point at the westernmost tip of Oahu is a must-see Hawaiian adventure. The point is a protected nature reserve and can only be reached by foot. Two access points are found on either the Waianae side or Mokuleia side. Both sides offer relatively easy hikes to the point along the dazzling coastline. Along with the amazing views, you’ll spot lots of wildlife including Laysan albatross that nest on the ground, and if you’re lucky, you’ll likely spot a sunbathing monk seal on the beach inside the sanctuary. Don't get too close to these slumbering giants, as they can be ferocious, and it's against the law to interact with them. There is a beach at the point but no lifeguards. The hike is about 2.5 miles from either side so bring your water and wear proper shoes and clothing. The parking lots on either end have been plagued with car break-ins over the years, so leave your valuables at home or make like the locals and leave your windows down.

Catch a weekly evening fireworks show at the Hilton

Free
Waikiki
Every Friday, the beach that fronts the Hilton Hawaiian Village in Waikiki hosts a free fireworks show. The show starts between 7:45-8pm and lasts about 10 minutes. Sit in the sand near the stage and watch the fireworks explode above. They'll also reflect in the hotel’s lagoon, doubling your visual pleasure. Show up early to grab a spot on the beach. Traffic and parking in Waikiki can be tough on a Friday night so you can also take your guests to Ala Moana Beach Park to watch from a distance.

Celebrate the day of the King

Free
Waikiki
Every June 11, the state of Hawaii celebrates King Kamehameha Day, named for the king who united all the Hawaiian Islands, with a parade that starts at Iolani Palace and ends in Waikiki. The Royal Hawaiian Band, colorful pa’u riders, or Hawaiian women on horseback who wear colorful Hawaiian style skirts, and colorful floats march past revelers who line the parade route. The day before the parade, participants hold a ceremony where floral leis are draped across the King Kamehameha Statue that sits across from Iolani Palace. The lei draping and the parade are not to be missed.

Sway to the hula at Kuhio Beach

Free
Waikiki
Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, Waikiki hosts a troupe of hula dancers performing a show on Kuhio Beach at sunset. The show starts with traditional blowing of a conch shell and lighting of torches around the stage. Groups perform different styles of hula dance and are usually accompanied by a group of musicians. People line the beach around the stage and lay out on the grass.

Walk down Waikiki's Kalakaua Avenue

Free-$
Waikiki
A stroll down Kalakaua Avenue any time of the day reveals the best, and worst, of Waikiki. You can people-watch, take a surf lesson, shoot a gun at an indoor range, or just catch the vibe of this funky slice of the Pacific. Food-wise the strip offers everything from burgers to fancy sushi. There’s also free hula shows on Kuhio Beach Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at sunset. Street performers entertain in the evening on almost every corner.

Shave through rainbow-colored ice

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Various locations
No culinary trip to Hawaii is complete without enjoying the colorful icy treat of shave ice. Locals enjoy this treat any time of the day and usually everyone has their favorite spot. Shave ice was likely introduced to Hawaii via Japanese plantation immigrants and is simply made by shaving down a block of ice, putting the “snow” into a bowl or cone, and topping it with colorful syrups. Matsumoto’s in Haleiwa is world famous for their dessert and people queue in long lines any time of the day. Flavors include mango, lychee, and li hing mui, a salty dried plum syrup. You can also get a scoop of ice cream along with sweet azuki beans, and soft rice balls called mochi. Take your guests to Island Snow in Kailua and order the Presidential Snobama made of cherry, lime, and melon syrups. During his many Hawaii holidays, President Obama was frequently spotted at the shave ice shop slurping down the sugary goodness, and grabbing your own is also a fine local date activity.

Get stuffed on malasadas at Leonard's Bakery

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Kaimuki
Get in line at Leonard’s on Kapahulu and bring home a box of sweet malasadas. Locals love these Portuguese-inspired fried donuts rolled in a sugary powder and Leonard’s has some of the best. And like any good donut, they're not just for breakfast, either. Malasadas also come filled with sweet custards and jams and can be found in many different shops across town. But like anything fried, they don’t taste as good when they get cold so eat them hot.

Get your shrimp on at the North Shore

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Kahuku
After driving around the North Shore, stop at one of the many roadside food trucks near Kahuku and order up plates of buttery garlic shrimp. The trucks are not hard to find as big crowds usually gather around them chowing down on the delicious crustaceans. Giovanni’s, Romy’s, and Fumi’s are some of the names to look for. All plates usually come with a dozen shrimp and two scoops of white rice. They also offer different shrimp plates like lemon butter or hot and spicy and other spots even offer Korean-style short ribs. Be prepared as the shrimp are plated with shells on, so make sure you have plenty of wipes to clean your greasy fingers afterward.

Sip on cheap beer at the mall

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Ala Moana
Need to take in a quick meal? Head to Ala Moana Shopping Center and hit Shirokiya’s Japan Village Walk. Essentially, it's a food court modeled after an old Japanese village. Pick from over 30 food kiosks offering everything from Japanese ramen to Indian curries to baked bread goodies. The biggest draw here is the beer selection offered by beer stations that sling drinks for as little as a buck a cup. Friday and Saturday nights get raucous, and it can get hard to find an open table. Don’t forget to see a group of Buddha statues in the back that serves as a guardian spirit sanctuary.

Dine on authentic dim sum at Legend

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Chinatown
Honolulu has a vibrant Chinatown that teems with early morning action with vendors selling fruits and vegetables, fresh fish and meats, and authentic Chinese food. Go for a mid-morning breakfast at Legend Seafood Restaurant on Beretania Street, where you can order straight from food carts pushed along the rows of tables. Get the steamed dumplings filled with shrimp, bread buns stuffed with char sui pork, and tasty chicken feet. (Yes, chicken feet, and they are absolutely delicious.) All meals are served with a complimentary pot of Chinese tea. If you come with a large party, you’ll be served on a table with a Lazy Susan so you can pass along the dishes to one another. Legend is aptly named and waits can be discouraging. There are several other dim sum restaurants in the same complex including Fook Lam, another well-known spot that serves an array of tantalizing dim sum. 

Get your local poke fix almost anywhere

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Various locations
Apart from Japanese sushi, most folks don’t usually eat raw fish. But Hawaii is famous for its unique treat of marinated raw fish called poke. The traditional Hawaiian dish consisted of basically fish scraps mixed with sea salt, Asian immigrants added soy sauce and sesame oil, and now the dish is found almost everywhere. Poke is usually made with cubes of ahi tuna, and mixed with onions, seaweed called limu, and various spices. It can also be prepared with boiled octopus, which is locally called tako, tofu, and raw crab. Poke can be picked up at local grocery stores and fish sellers across the island. Some of the best spots are any Foodland grocery stores, Tamashiro’s Market, and Kahuku Superette.

Tour Hawaii's Hollywood backlot

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Kualoa Ranch
Kualoa Ranch on Oahu’s east side has been the background for many iconic Hollywood movies and TV shows for decades, including Jurassic Park, and Hawaii Five-0.  Take your friends on a movie site tour,  where you’ll see Godzilla’s footprints, the road site from 50 First Dates, and many other famed locations. Kualoa Ranch also offers jungle expeditions and a trip to a beach on a secret island.

Be a duke for the day at Shangri-La

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Near Diamond Head
Take a guided tour at Shangri-La, an oceanside home owned by the globetrotting heiress Doris Duke. Built in 1937, the home was heavily inspired by the heiress's travels through the Islamic world and the Middle East. The estate sits in the posh Kahala neighborhood and was built and furnished with items imported from Iran, Syria, and India. The home has a central courtyard, gilded ceilings, wooden paneled walls, mosaic tile work, and Persian carpets. You can also check out the Hawaiian fishpond and tropical garden on the estate. Duke was a trendsetter and lived the life of luxury at her slice of heaven in Hawaii. The Honolulu Museum of Arts offers guided tours Wednesday through Saturday and takes about three hours. 

Get boozy on a catamaran

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Various locations
Set sail with one of the many catamarans that line up along Waikiki beach that offer booze cruises at sunset. Cruise along the coastline and enjoy unlimited beer, wine, and house-made mai tais.  Along the way, you’ll spot surfers, the occasional spinner dolphins, and sea turtles. In the winter months, you might even catch a whale breaching in the distance. The small crew serves as your bartender and the trips are infamously known for singing, dancing, and a lot of fun. The catamarans hold about 50 people and by the end of the 90-minute trip, you’ll have met everyone but you’ll probably forget their names the next morning. You can find several companies that offer these cruises along coastal neighborhoods like Waikiki, Ala Moana, and Kakaako.

Swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Quest

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Kahala Beach
Yes, the Kahala Hotel and Resort actually has a whole program dedicated to interacting with dolphins. The property hosts Dolphin Quest where visitors can get face to face with the beautiful aquatic creatures. For about $200 (prices vary depending on the package), you can swim in a man-made lagoon while dolphins perform around you. Or you can become a trainer for a day and feed the intelligent mammals at this magical experience. Each visit supports important marine conservation, so your dollars are going far during your visit.

Tour the home of the last Hawaiian Queen

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Downtown Honolulu
The controversial history of the Hawaiian monarchy starts here. Built in 1879, Iolani Palace served as the official residence of the Hawaiian monarchy until 1893, when a group of businessmen, supported by the U.S. military, led a coup d’état to overthrow Queen Liliuokalani and imprison her inside the stately premises. The palace remains a somber reminder of Hawaii’s controversial past, but the building is still a stunning testament to history. Take a tour to see the golden throne room and its majestic chairs, as well as the music room on the second floor that displays items given to King Kalakaua during his reign. The room in which Queen Liliuokalani was held displays the quilt she made during her imprisonment. 

Take a beer tour through Kaka'ako

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Kakaako
Several craft brew pubs have popped up in the hip warehouse district of Kakaako. Traipse through the Aloha Beer Company, Brewseum, Waikiki Brewing Company, and Honolulu Beerworks. Each spot brews up specialties like the Cocoweizen, a coconut hefeweizen found at Beerworks, and the Skinny Jeans IPA at the Waikiki Brewery. The Brewseum's building was once home to a military museum, and many of the items are still on display. Along with its tasty beer, Aloha Beer also houses the “secret” speakeasy called the Hi Brau Room, which offers craft cocktails. Each brewery is easily reached by foot and serves food, so no cars or additional stops are required on this boozy tour.

Sway to the hula at one of the best restaurants in Hawaii

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Waikiki
Entertain your guests at one of the classiest beach spots in Hawaii at the House Without a Key restaurant at the famed Halekulani Hotel in Waikiki. Sip perfectly crafted mai tais as you watch a hula dancer sway under a century-old kiawe tree as her accompanying three-piece band softly sings songs from old Hawaii. There's nightly entertainment, and along with pupus, the restaurant also has a full menu serving prime rib and Kona lobster. 

Chow down on kalbi at Budnamujip, an amazing Korean BBQ joint

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Kakaako
If you're over sushi and spam, head to the superb Budnamujip for high-end Korean BBQ. All seating has tabletop grills where orders of short rib, rib eye, and tongue are cooked to perfection over hot coals. Unlimited banchan, or small dishes of Korean veggies like kimchi are also served during your dinner. Make sure to share a bottle of soju, or Korean rice wine, infused with cucumber or lemon. This place may be pricey, but it's worth it.

Savor some of the best sushi you can find outside of Japan

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Kapahulu Avenue
Transport you and your guests to Tokyo for an amazing gastronomical experience at Sushi Ginza Onodera. Just a few minutes drive away from Waikiki on Kapahulu Avenue, this tiny seven-seater bar serves up some of the best sushi this side of the Pacific. The restaurant flies in Japanese regional seafood specialties like sea urchin and hairy crabs from Hokkaido, and each plate is immaculately prepared and presented. The chefs will use samurai-worthy knives to butcher huge chunks of tuna at the counter. Reservations are necessary, and the menu is limited to omakase -- aka whatever the chef chooses to serve. This is a wallet buster, so be prepared.

Learn about the first Hawaiians at Bishop Museum

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Kalihi
Once you're done with the surf and sand, there's a rich history of the ancient Hawaiians preserved and presented over at Honolulu's Bishop Museum, found just west of town in Kalihi. Founded in 1898, the expansive museum houses the largest collection of Polynesian artifacts along with numerous natural history specimens. Check out the Hawaiian royal heirlooms on display, along with the lei niho palaoa, an adornment made of braided human hair wrapped around whale teeth that was worn by the nobility. It's a great spot to learn about the first navigators, volcanoes, surfboards, and the many cultures that stretch across the Pacific, all for just $25 general admission.

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Marco Garcia is a freelance writer and photographer in Honolulu who will do almost anything for eggs.
Wendy Awai-Dakroub is a Hawaii-based writer, restaurateur, franchise business consultant and founder of kid-friendly food and travel blog. Besides her love for travel and photography, she's also “momager" to her kid-foodies Leah and Jaffer. Follow her on Twitter.