Waikiki Travel Guide

Waikiki sunset

Sights to See

Waikiki beach

Photo credit: www.flickr.com

Of course, the beach is Waikiki’s crowning glory. However, there are also many other things to see at this popular Hawaiian district. Here are several attractions you should not miss out:

1) Waikiki Beaches

Well of course, a trip to Hawaii is not complete without dipping in its fabulous, crystal clear beaches. While in Waikiki, make sure to try out these top three beaches:

  • Waikiki Beach, located behind the Moana Surfrider and the Royal Hawaiian Hotel
  • Kuhio Beach, considered the poster ‘beach’ of Waikiki. This beach stretches along Kalakaua Avenue, with its eastern side providing stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.
  • Queen Surf Beach, a “quieter” beach located along Diamond Head. This beach is perfect for picnicking with the family.

2) Leahi / Diamond Head State Monument

Seated beyond the borders of Waikiki is the Leahi, meaning “brow of the tuna” in Hawaiian. Undoubtedly one of Hawaii’s most famous landmarks, this 760-foot crater is said to have formed 100,000 years ago. From being a military lookout in the early 1900’s, it has transcended into a national jewel, thus it was named a Natural Landmark in the year 1968. Nowadays, Leahi is the popular attraction of choice for tourists who enjoy hiking, since the apex of the crater provides panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Admission is USD 1 for walk-ins.

Address: East of Waikiki

3) Atlantis Submarines

Experience what it is like to be ‘under the sea’ by catching a ride at Atlantis Submarines. A fun activity with the family, the tour can give you a comprehensive view of marine creatures, as well as the capsized vessels along the Hawaiian coastline. Admission for kids is USD 43; for adults, USD 114.

Address: Kapiolani Boulevard

4) Waikiki Aquarium

As a tropical paradise, Waikiki is surrounded by the world’s most majestic creatures. Marvel at the beauty of more than 500 marine creatures, 3000 marine specimens, and two endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals by booking a trip at the Waikiki Aquarium. Founded in 1904, this University of Hawaii-managed aquarium is the third oldest aquarium in the United States. Admission price is USD 9 for foreign tourists.

Address: Kalakaua Avenue

5) U.S. Army Museum

This museum houses numerous army-related artifacts that were gathered in Hawaii through the years. But apart from these relics, the most important vestige of the museum is the building itself. It is housed in the Battery Randolf, a big concrete emplacement with 12 foot-thick roofs. Built in 1911, the Battery served as a part of Honolulu’s Coastal Defense System. Audio tours are available for USD 5.

Address: Saratoga and Kalia Road

6) Duke Kahanamoku Statue

Tagged as one of Waikiki’s most iconic symbols, the statue of Duke Kahanamoku is a bronze sculpture that welcomes eager visitors to the world-famous Kuhio Beach. Kahanamoku is one of Hawaii’s greatest residents; he was an Olympic swimmer who managed to bag several medals in his heyday. Apart from being the “Father of Modern Surfing,” Kahanamoku also served as the town sheriff and the Hawaii Ambassador of Goodwill.

Address: Kuhio Beach

Waikiki’s Best Restaurants

Now that you are done with your surfing lessons in Waikiki Beach, it is time to reward yourself (despite the numerous flops and falls) with Waikiki’s best food. Award your stomach with the finest fare in the district by eating at any of district’s top-caliber restaurants:

1) Roy’s Waikiki

Taking advantage of the sea’s finest offerings such as Onaga, Opakapaka and Ono, Roy’s Waikiki is well-known amongst the communities because of the way it fuses European flair with Asian fare. According to most diners, the must-try specialty at this restaurant is its Butterfish – just one of the many recipes that will make you come back for more. Main entrees cost USD 20 to USD 38.

Address: Lewers Street

2) D.K. Steakhouse

Conceptualized by D.K. Kodama, D.K. Steakhouse is the go-to restaurant for visitors in search of succulent American steaks. D.K. is well-known to many because of its dry-aged beef and tasty béarnaise sauce. The steakhouse’s best recipe, according to Fodor’s, is its Cowboy Rib-Eye Steak, a 22-ounce piece of heaven served with creamed corn and grilled onions. Entrees cost USD 50 and above.

Address: Waikiki Beach Marriott, Kalakaua Avenue

3) Orchids

If you are looking for the best Brunch restaurant in all of Waikiki, then Orchids should be your first stop. This beautiful oceanfront restaurant provides its diners with excellent views of the Pacific as they feast on house specialties such as Kahuku Shrimp Ravioli and Ahi Crudo. Main entrees cost anywhere from USD 28 to USD 49.

Address: Halekulani Hotel, Kalia Road

4) Michel’s At the Colony Surf

Looking for a restaurant that can set the mood for your wedding proposal? Look no further because Michel’s at the Colony Surf can give you the romantic ambiance that you need (alongside delicious food.) Opened in 1962, it is one of Hawaii’s oldest restaurants that specialize in classical French recipes. Entrees cost USD 50 and above.

Address: Kalakaua Avenue

5) Hula Grill and Waikiki

When it comes to delectable Hawaiian cuisine, there is no better place to go to than Hula Grill and Waikiki. Here, you can sample the tropical island’s rich specialties, such as Crab and Macadamia Nut Wontons, Grilled Hawaiian Style Fish and Filet Steak Kiana. Entrée prices range from USD 20 to USD 40.

Address: Kalakaua Avenue

Waikiki’s Top Accommodation Choices

Waikiki hotels

Photo credit: www.govisithawaii.com

Numerous resorts dot the Waikiki coastline, all promising excellent views and world-class amenities. Trimming the list on your own can be quite a chore, so to make the job easier, we have compiled a list of Waikiki’s best hotels:

1) Halekulani

Touted as Hawaii’s most sophisticated resort, Halekulani is a favorite among tourists because of its oceanfront location and excellent service. Upon entering your room of choice (cost is USD 400 a night and up), you will immediately be rewarded with a selection of sinful chocolates and fresh fruits. In case you get tired of frolicking in the Waikiki Beach (highly impossible, you can transfer to the hotel’s African glass-tiled pool.

Address: Kalia Road

2) Aston Waikiki Beach Tower

Ocean views and spacious rooms – these are just some of the many things that make Aston Waikiki one of the most fully-booked hotels in Hawaii, no matter how low or high the season might be. While the rooms start at a whopping fee of USD 679, it continues to attract patrons because of its well-designed rooms and commendable service.

Address: Kalakaua Avenue

3) Embassy Suites Waikiki Beach Walk

If there is anything that Embassy Suites prides itself in, it is its location and excellent service. A stone’s throw away from Waikiki’s hottest restaurants and malls, this hotel is a great pick for those who want to enjoy the city’s finest establishments. Compared to its competitors, Embassy Suites offer a significantly lower room rate – rooms start at USD 419.
Address: Beachwalk St.

4) Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach

True to its name, Outrigger treats its hotel guests to fantastic views of the Pacific Ocean. To top it all up, the hotel offers spacious rooms at affordable rates (starting at USD 299.) If you plan on staying at this hotel, do not forget the sumptuous breakfast buffet offered by Duke, its in-house restaurant.

Address: Kalakaua Avenue

5) Hotel Renew

When it comes to modern boutique hotels, Hotel Renew leads the pack in Waikiki – and the rest of Hawaii. Renew features modestly-sized rooms with beautiful decors and complete bathrooms. Impeccable service is delivered on the dot by its always-smiling employees. Close to the beach, Renew is an affordable option for tourists as rooms start at a reasonable USD 245 per night.

Address: Paoakalani Avenue

Waikiki features an eclectic mix of natural beauty, a vibrant recreational community, and a gamut of historic and modern hotels and attractions. It’s not enough that you simply laze around on its shore. G0 ahead: swim, kayak, snorkel, parasail, walk, and look around Waikiki. The enchanting, misty views of the mountain and volcanoes; the warm waters that come in all shades of blue; and the welcoming, genial personality of the Hawaiian people are just among the many things that will remind you why you’re there– and why you should keep coming back.

 


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Marv Perez