Top Ten Things to Do on Oahu

1. Skydiving on Oahu’s North Shore: If you’re feeling fearless, you can take in a panorama of one of the world’s most exquisite landscapes as you free fall at 120 miles per hour over Oahu’s North Shore. (If you’re too scared to dive, you can also catch the view from your seat on a biplane or helicopter tour.)


Photo by Flickr user Karen Chan 16

2. Doris Duke’s Shangri La: This exquisite property was built by philanthropist Doris Duke in 1937, who was inspired by Middle Eastern design, architecture, and landscaping. The estate is packed with an eclectic mix of art and artifacts, including Turkish furnishings, Iranian tiles, and Indian textiles. You can also see beautiful views of famous Diamond Head from here.


Photo by Flickr user pandk

3. Waikiki Beach: This famous beach is one of the most popular beaches in the world. It’s beautiful, it’s free, it’s fun, and it’s great for people-watching—and, if you’re lucky, seal-watching!


4. Contemporary Museum: Located in a grand Hawaiian estate, this scenic Honolulu museum is a bit off the beaten path. It features a small collection of contemporary art, as well as beautifully landscaped grounds with sculptures and Japanese-influenced gardens.


Photo by Flickr user ytang3

5. Valley of the Temples: In this lush valley against the backdrop of the Ko’olau Mountains, you can see tropical flowers scattered by people in remembrance of departed loved ones. Near a koi fish pond, inside a scale replica of a beautiful Japanese temple, you can light incense and offer a prayer.


6. Waikiki Aquarium: This aquarium, right next to a living reef on the Waikiki shoreline, is one of the oldest in the US and features Hawaiian and tropical Pacific marine life, including two endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals


7. Sans Souci Beach: Avoiding the crowds? Forget Waikiki Beach—this is where the locals go. The water is crystal clear, and the beach is never packed on weekdays. Plus, it’s within walking distance of the Honolulu Zoo. The waters are calm and there’s a shallow coral reef close to the shore, so it’s a good spot for snorkeling.


Photo by Flickr user puuikibeach

8. Makapu’u Point Trail: On the easternmost point of Oahu, this spot is easily accessible to travelers staying in hotels in Honolulu. You can hike up to the Makapu’u Lighthouse to catch breathtaking views of the windward coast, including migrating humpback whales in the fall.


9. The Farmers’ Market at Kapiolani Community College: This sprawling open-air market has everything from fried green tomatoes to abalone to short-rib eggs benedict, not to mention exotic flowers and fruits like guavas and persimmons. If your hotel has a mini fridge (rooms at nearby Maile Sky Court have them), you can stock up on snacks for later. Don’t forget cash!


Photo by Flickr user Loren Javier

10. Honolulu’s Chinatown: As you’d expect, Chinatown features a variety of Asian food like dim sum, roast duck, and bubble tea. During the “First Friday” of every month, the streets come alive as art galleries, bars, and food vendors open up to throngs of locals and visitors alike.