Waikiki Beach activities
November 19, 2019
| by
Karen Fields

Oahu Things to Do: How to Spend a Day in Waikiki!

Waikiki is the center for activities, shopping, restaurants and more on Oahu. See this Oahu Travel Blog article, ‘Oahu Things to Do: How to Spend a Day in Waikiki’ for a guide on how to make the most of a day in Waikiki.

Waikiki is a neighborhood in Honolulu on Oahu and is a stretch of land, approximately a half mile wide and approximately two miles long. The main street, Kalakaua Avenue runs the length of Waikiki and is lined with many shops, restaurants, high rise residential buildings and hotels. To the south end of Waikiki lies Diamond Head Crater.

Of course, Waikiki is best known for the beautiful world-famous beach, Waikiki Beach. While Waikiki is a small part of the island of Oahu, it is where a lot of the tourist activity takes place. 

Our latest Oahu Travel Blog article; 'Oahu Things to Do: How to Spend a Day in Waikiki' – introduces to options you have for how to make the most of your time exploring and enjoying Waikiki. 

Important: We have not created a set schedule for enjoying each of the recommended activities below in one day – that would be impossible. Rather, you should review the list of activities below and determine which activities you would like to enjoy and those you may wish to skip to create the ideal itinerary. The best advise we can give is to remember that you are in paradise, take things slow and easy and expect to find unscheduled activities along the way and you will find that that you may want to spend more time enjoying one activity and you may choose to skip 1 or 2 activities altogether.

So, take a look at the list of recommended activities and plan your ideal day enjoying Waikiki.


Breakfast in Waikiki
Waikiki features a variety of breakfast restaurants to choose from.

Breakfast: You will have a very full day ahead of you so be sure to start early and be sure to start with a great breakfast at one of the very best breakfast spots in Waikiki:

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Location: Right next door to Ambassador Hotel Waikiki - 2040 Kuhio Ave #1, Honolulu, HI 96815
This is a great place serving a variety of beverages including its signature ice-blended options, quick and great for ‘on the run’ drinks and bites.

Bill’s Hawaii
Location: 280 Beach Walk, Honolulu, HI 96815
Distance from our Waikiki Hotel: .5 Miles
Serving Hawaiian influenced dishes, breakfast menu with global touches in breezy, bi-level digs.

Hula Grill Waikiki
Location: 2335 Kalakaua Ave #203, Honolulu, HI 96815
Distance from our Waikiki Hotel: 1 Mile
Beachside eatery is a sandy hub for pupu, fish tacos, tropical drinks, live music & people-watching.

Goofy Café & Dine
Location: 1831 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 201, Honolulu, HI 96815
Distance from our Waikiki Hotel: .5 Miles
Great breakfast options with Acai Bowls, French Toast, Loco Moco and always fresh Coffee. 


Diamond Head Crater in Waikiki
A hike up Diamond Head Crater is one of the most popular activities you can enjoy on Oahu.

Early Morning: You can choose to enjoy the following activities together or only one activity and save the other activities for a second day.

Hike Diamondhead
Distance from our Waikiki Hotel: 15 Miles
A hike up Diamond Head Crater is one of the most popular activities you can enjoy on Oahu. This hike is actually fairly easy, and it can be done in about an hour to an hour and a held depending on the crowds.  The trip to the summit and back down is approximately 1.6 miles. From the top of the trial you will have an amazing view of Honolulu, the ocean and coastline below.  You may choose to do this activity first (the park opens at 6:00 a.m.) to enjoy the early morning sunrise and then enjoy breakfast afterwards.

Hanauma Bay – Lookout!
Location: 7455 Kalanianaʻole Hwy, Honolulu, HI 96825
Distance from our Waikiki Hotel: 10 Miles
You will not have time to enjoy a long day at Hanauma Bay, but since this is such a beautiful activity, we recommend that at the very least, take a drive out to view Hanauma Bay from the lookout point above. This is an amazing Oahu Landmark and if you have time on another day of your visit it is defiantly worth making time to spend a couple of hours enjoying snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters.

Pro Tip: If you choose to visit Diamond Head Crater first thing in the morning, it is advisable to add Hanauma Bay to the list to hit next and then go to breakfast at one of the spots in the area or on the way back from Hanauma Bay to Waikiki.

Pearl Harbor Memorial
Location: 1 Arizona Memorial Pl, Honolulu, HI 96818
Distance from our Waikiki Hotel: 11 Miles
A tour of the Pearl Harbor Memorial is among the most popular of all Oahu Activities.  You will want to allow for 2 to 3 hours for the entire tour and there is also the 75-minute USS Arizona program that features a boat ride and video presentation. It is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that you buy your tickets in advance of your visit.

Explore Chinatown
Location: Beretania Street, Nuuanu Stream, Nuuanu Avenue, and Honolulu Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii
Distance from our Waikiki Hotel: 3.5 Miles
spending on your timing and how long you are at the Pearl Harbor Memorial, you may want to visit Chinatown before or after your visit to Pearl Harbor Memorial since you will pass Chinatown on the way to or on the way back from the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

Take a Mai Tai Cruise
Location: Waikiki Beach
Distance from our Waikiki Hotel: .8 Miles
See Waikiki Beach and the beautiful buildings of Waikiki and Honolulu, Diamond Head and more from the view of a wonderful Catamaran Sailboat! You can take one these fun 90-minute (usually) cruises while enjoying tasty cocktails and of course Mai Tai’s for a morning, afternoon or sunset cruise. Of course, the late afternoon sunset cruise is most popular.

Surfing Lessons on Waikiki Beach
Location: Waikiki Beach
Distance from our Waikiki Hotel: .8 Miles
Who hasn’t imagined themselves catching a giant, 20-foot wave on the monster surf of Oahu’s North Shore? Well, before you tackle one of these monster waves, let’s take a Surf lesson. The calm sur off Waikiki Beach offers a great place to learn to surf, with small to medium sized waves and a calm entry point for first timers. There are several great Surf Schools in Waikiki just stop by the vendors on Waikiki Beach next to Duke’s Restaurant (just down the beach from the Mai Tai Catamaran), and the experienced instructors will get you on your way.


Cheeseburger in Paradise in Waikiki
Duke's Waikiki and Cheeseburger in Paradise are just two of the great lunch restaurant options in Waikiki.

Afternoon: Based on the activities above you will likely be in the heart of Waikiki and surrounded by many great restaurants. Here are a few recommendations.

Duke’s Waikiki
Location: 2335 Kalakaua Ave #116, Honolulu, HI 96815
Distance from Ambassador Hotel Waikiki: .8 Miles
Duke’s is a very popular beach front restaurant located in the heart of Waikiki, looking out onto the beach, the passing Catamaran’s, and visitor’s enjoying the beach, water activities and surfers.

Cheeseburger in Paradise
Location: 2500 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Distance from our Waikiki Hotel: 1.5 Miles
Be sure to grab a window seat and look out on to Waikiki Beach and take in the fresh ocean breezes while you enjoy the massive, tasty Cheeseburgers (they do serve many more items, but what else would you order from a place called, ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise?’) fries, salads and more.

Steak Shack
Location: 2161 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815
Distance from our Waikiki Hotel: .4 Miles
Steak Shack is always voted one of the best places to enjoy authentic Hawaiian Plate Lunches. Located near the beach and serves breakfast & all-day steak plates.


Shopping at the International Marketplace in Waikiki
Waikiki Beach is alive with shopping, live music, restaurants and people enjoying the fresh ocean air.

Late Afternoon: After lunch you can now spend the rest of the afternoon to explore the rest of Waikiki. Waikiki Beach comes alive at night with shopping, live music, lit torches line the street and people enjoying the beautiful night air.

Explore Waikiki Strip/International Market Place/Waikiki Beach Walk
Location: 2330 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Distance from Ambassador Hotel Waikiki: .8 Miles
You will be right in the neighborhood either before or after lunch, you may even find a great place to enjoy lunch in the International Marketplace and Waikiki Beach Walk.  There you will also find many varieties of shops, boutiques, kiosks, ice cream shops, coffee shops and you are sure to see live music, Hula Shows and more.

Take a Bike Tour
Location: Various locations throughout Waikiki
You will be doing a fair bit of walking during your visit and while this is a great way to get around the Waikiki area, you may also want to rent one of the Biki Bikes available throughout Waikiki. These Biki Bikes can be rented with a credit card and rates are currently $2.50 for 30 minutes with other rates for longer periods of time.

Walk along Waikiki Beach
Location: Waikiki Beach
Distance from Ambassador Hotel Waikiki: .7 Miles
Now that the day is winding down, it’s time to begin thinking about nighttime and dinner. For now, you can take a leisurely walk along Waikiki Beach. You can stop in to one of the hotel bars along the beach to enjoy a cocktail or Mai Tai as the sun sets.  

Pro Tip: If you happen to be visiting Waikiki on a Friday night (just after sunset), be sure to plan to be on the beach and enjoy the famous Friday Night Fireworks on Waikiki Beach.


Waikiki Beach at night with Restaurants
Waikiki offers a number of fantastic ocean view restaurants to choose from.

Dinner: Dinner in Waikiki is a great part of any visit. There is a long list of restaurants to choose from for dinner and by this time of the day you have likely past by a few great options.  Here are a few top picks for Waikiki Restaurants with a view.

Beachhouse at the Moana
Location: 2365 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Distance from Ambassador Hotel Waikiki: .8 Miles
Beachhouse at Moana offers a great view of the surf on Waikiki Beach, with great Steak and Seafood selections, and veranda seating.

Location: 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
Distance from Ambassador Hotel Waikiki: .8 Miles
Set right on Waikiki Beach you will dine with fresh ocean breeze and a selection of local seafood, with Spanish-Moorish Cabanas.

Top of Waikiki
Location: 2270 Kalakaua Ave 21st Floor, Honolulu, HI 96815
Distance from our Waikiki Hotel: 1 Mile
If you are looking for something very special, consider the ‘Top of Waikiki’ restaurant – a rotating restaurant with an incredible view of the city, beach and mountains around Waikiki and Honolulu. The cuisine is Pacific Rim, with a selection of Steaks, Seafood, Pastas, Salads and great Desserts.  

Waikiki has a lot to offer and there are many more things than you can fit into one day. We hope our latest Oahu Travel Blog article; 'Oahu Things to Do: How to Spend a Day in Waikiki' has given you some ideas on how to best enjoy your time on Oahu and specifically in Waikiki. No matter what you do, we are confident you will enjoy your time in our island paradise.

Visit our Oahu Travel Guide for more recommendations for all there is to do, see and experience when visiting Oahu.

For the 'Best Rates Guaranteed' at our Waikiki Hotel go here to Check Rates, Book Now or call: 808-941-7777