“One day, you will wake up and there won’t be any more time to do the things you’ve always wanted. Do it now.” -Paulo Coelho
When it comes to wanderlust and adventure, Hawaii is full of uniquely fun sites and activities that make for unforgettable vacay memories. Whether you’re a nature lover or a beach bunny, a historian or an art connoisseur, there’s an amazing array of things to do on Oahu for everyone. Take a look at our Oahu Bucket List for 10 quintessential places you’ve got to visit during your next trip to the island (in no particular order!).
There’s a reason that Diamond Head is at the top of every Oahu Bucket List…it’s the most iconic hike on the island! This great workout ends in unbeatable panoramic views of Oahu. And, if you want to learn along the way, opt for a self-guided audio tour with tidbits about Hawaii culture, history, and more! As always in Hawaii, don’t forget to bring your camera, and a tube of sunscreen!
For the best variety of fresh, local goodies unique to Hawaii, check out the Kapiolani Community College Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning and Tuesday evening. From organic fruits and veggies to fragrant buds in bloom, the Farmer’s Market is full of Hawaii’s best local vendors. Grab a bite to eat and a souvenir to take home!
With over 1 million visitors served as of April 2018, there’s a reason why Pearl Harbor is a quintessential Bucket List location. Pay homage to this historical site and tour areas such as the Visitor Center, USS Arizona Memorial, Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, Battleship Missouri, USS Oklahoma Memorial, and Pacific Aviation Museum.
Tip: Arrive early since some tour tickets are only offered on a first-come, first-served basis!
Whether you’re a snorkel explorer or a lazy sun tanner, Hanauma Bay is the perfect place to spend the morning. To the naked eye, this curved bay is a peaceful place to lay out in the sand. Dive into the water, however, and discover a whole new world of aquatic life, including many types of coral reef and fish.
Tip: BYO – towel, swimsuit, and reef-safe sunscreen.
Beyond the natural wonders of Hawaii, Oahu is a marvelous hub of art and culture. The Honolulu Museum of Art is the culmination of this, with exhibitions of visual and performing art, films and videos, and other public programs. To see a list of current exhibitions and events, check out their website!
You can’t visit Oahu without stopping for dinner at Top of Waikiki, Hawaii’s only revolving restaurant. With rotations completing once an hour, your ever-changing view guarantees photo ops at every turn, including Diamond Head, Waikiki Beach, and the Honolulu city lights. Award-winning Hawaii regional steak & seafood doesn’t hurt, either.
History and beauty meet at Punchbowl Crater, formally the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific. Honoring America’s veterans, this memorial commemorates service members of 20th-century wars, including those killed at Pearl Harbor. Respectfully view the memorial pathway lined with a variety of memorials donated by various organizations and foreign governments in honor of these fallen soldiers.
Finding Nemo is easy at the Waikiki Aquarium! Perfectly family friendly, the aquarium is full of native Hawaiian marine life and is the perfect spot for amazing day full of adventure. View Hawaiian plants and seaweeds, jellyfish, fish, seals, and other fun critters. Can you say humuhumunukunukuapua’a?
Explore the heritage of the Pacific Islands at this cultural playground. You can’t miss this Hawaiian luau, complete with Polynesian entertainment and ‘ono (delicious) Hawaiian food, like Imu Pork and poi. Even visit six “island villages” representing six different island nations, full of fun activities for the whole family!
The Waikiki night sky is lit on Fridays, thanks to the Hilton Hawaiian Village fireworks display off of Waikiki Beach! At 7:45 or 8pm (depending on the season), pick any spot in Waikiki for front row seats to this bright and colorful light show. The best part? It’s free!