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
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
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.
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
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.