Waikiki Sunset, Copyright Laura Studebaker

What to Do on Oahu

When you ask most people which of the Hawaiian islands they’ve been to, Oahu is usually the top answer.  With more than 45% of the state’s visitors coming to Oahu, it’s no wonder they’re a hub of activity.

Oahu is the island for fun, shopping, museum-hopping, surf competitions, festivals, and more.


There are so many choices for shopping on Oahu.  Here are some of our favorites!

Want a little culture with your shopping?  Visit the newly reimagined International Marketplace.  There, you can get a guided audio tour (available at the information kiosk) that explains the cultural relevance and Hawaiian historical connection of the location of the shopping center.

Want high end designer fashions?  Find brands like Chanel, Gucci, Miu Miu, Moncler and Bottega Veneta on Luxury Row on Kalakaua Avenue.

Want local Hawaiian chains and restaurants?  Just visit The Waikiki Shopping Plaza.  You’ll find Honolulu Cookie Company, Tanaka of Tokyo (our long-time favorite), Kai Coffee Hawai’i, and more.


Museum-lovers will be thrilled with the museums on Oahu.  Here are three of the top museums!

On our last visit to Oahu, we visited The Bishop Museum.  Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas), The Bishop Museum holds a wealth of information about the history of Hawaii and the migration of its earliest ancestors.  There is so much to see at the museum; we highly recommend taking a guided tour to make the most of your experience.

‘Iolani Palace is a must-visit for those wanting to see the only royal residence in the United States!  King Kalākaua and Queen Liliʻuokalani’s two story palace holds so many original artifacts and historically accurate recreations.  Located in downtown Honolulu, you won’t want to miss this one!

Of course, we can’t mention museums on Oahu without mentioning the Pearl Harbor National Memorial.  Learn all about one of the most pivotal moments in our history at the site of the USS Arizona Memorial, the USS Battleship Missouri Memorial, the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum & Park, the USS Oklahoma Memorial, and the Pacific Aviation Museum.


There is ALWAYS something fun to do on Oahu, and that extends far beyond beach-going.  Festivals are a big draw, for both Kamaʻāina and visitors, alike.

Some annual festivals include the Waikiki Spam Jam, The Lei Day Celebration, The Aloha Festival, and the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

Natural Wonders

No visit to Oahu would be complete without a visit to the North Shore.  Visit the local shrimp trucks in Kahuku and get a plate of garlic shrimp to fuel you up for a day at the beach.  Waimea Bay is a great place to watch professional surfers catch a wave.

While up on Oahu’s North Shore, visit Waimea Valley.  Take a 75-minute guided botanical or cultural tour for the best experience.  Waimea Valley is deeply rooted in Hawaiian history.  Explore this botanical repository and observe its agricultural terraces, while learning about the people who lived here hundreds of years ago.

There is so much more to do on Oahu than what was featured in this post.  Your Happiest Vacations Advisor can build a custom itinerary just for you!  Reach out today!