There are many awesome things to do in Oahu…but here are by top 5 (in no particular order…I highly recommend everything!) Oahu was so much fun…we got to visit Pearl Harbor, go on lots of hikes, see the Polynesian Cultural Center, experience a Magic Show, go to a water-park, go zip-lining, and more! I also ate cheesecake for the first time in Oahu…
#1: Polynesian cultural center
The Polynesian Cultural center is a MUST! Trust me…even I was weary about going, at first, but once I got there I fell in love. It was like a mini-city inside a city…it’s a completely different culture and vibe that you get inside. We absolutely loved it. While at the center, there are many different day shows and acts to see…some in the river, some up in the trees (see picture), some on land. Each act tells a different story.
Fun Fact: 70% of the people that work at the Polynesian Cultural center go to BYI college…they’re students. Some of the money that you pay for your ticket to the Polynesian Cultural Center goes towards their college tuition!
The Polynesian Cultural center is divided into 6 different sections, or places: Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii, Aotearoa, Samoa, and Tahiti. Each section has an exhibit and a unique story…and a show:)
Dinner: As you will definitely end up spending the entire day (if not more), dinner is an experience. There are 2: Prime and Leaou. The Prime Dinner is a normal dinner…you just sit down, eat, and leave. The Leaou dinner is more of an experience…it’s more dinner and a dance…Hawaiian style. Honestly, it couldn’t get any more Hawaiian than that. You eat your food and watch (and learn!) the Hula dance, a traditional Hawaiian dance. The dancers come out and dance with you, and you can go up on stage and dance with them, and it’s super fun! The Leaou dinner isn’t only for adults…I was 12 and my sister was 9 when we went and I still remember it!
The Night Show: After dinner, there is the Night Show. It was TERRIFIC. It brings together all 6 places that make up Polynesia to tell the story of a young boy growing up. It is absolutely amazing to watch, and I highly recommend:))
#2: hiking - diamond head and koko head
Diamond Head Hike: Diamond Head is a gorgeous and scenic hike, perfect for everyone. It is a more touristy hike, as it isn’t too far from Waikiki, but I would recommend going in the earlier morning to skip a crowd. There are no tickets needed:)
A lil’ info: Diamond Head used to be a mountain, but when the entire mountain erupted, it left a crater. The hike is inside the crater. The views are fantastic…but it can get very windy at the top!
Koko Head Hike/Stairs: Koko Head is a must! Koko Head is mostly made of large stairs (1048!). Just like Diamond Head, you get a great view of the city…even though it is a very popular hike among locals and athletes, it isn’t crazy crowded. (Koko Head is harder than Diamond Head, but while we were there we saw small children as well, so it isn’t too bad!)
#3: pearl harbor
I highly recommend paying a visit to Pearl Harbor. It was a sanctuary for the United State military during WW2, and was attacked by the Japanese Navy in December of 1941. Still being an active military base, I strongly suggest going…it’s an experience that you won’t forget, and you get to go on the military ships!
Sites: There are 4 different sites to visit at Pearl Harbor:
- Road to War Museum
- Attack Museum
- USS Arizona (battleship — you can go on and under the deck)
- USS Missouri (battleship — you can go on and under the deck)
Important Info: You do need to buy tickets and go with a tour…however, the tour is mainly for the bus, as you can go around Pearl Harbor on your own:) You can buy tickets HERE.
#4: bay view mini putt and zip
Bay View Mini Putt and Zio: Bay View was a super fun way to spend part of our day! Please note that you must be at least 6 years old to ride the zipline. All ages can do the putt-putt golf! I highly recommend going to spend a little more of a relaxed day…it was super cute and fun:)
#5: magic of polynesia
This was a unique experience for sure! Magic of Polynesia is a dinner-theater-magic show! There isn’t much to say…but be sure to at least check out their website HERE! Trust me, their shows are 3 hours, but they are a captivating 3 hours that go by in a blink.
planning your days: itinerary
Day 1: Putt-Putt Golf, Zipline
Day 2: Pearl Harbor
Day 3: Magic of Polynesia (evening) + Explore the island
Day 4: Hiking
Day 5: Polynesian Cultural Center
Above I list what I recommend doing when…you can definitely change it up but just keep in mind that some activities are definitely more tiring and longer than others. (I recommend ending you trip at the Polynesian Cultural Center, especially if you plan on staying there overnight!)