When it comes to searching for the perfect honeymoon location, Hawaii always tops the list as one of the most popular locations to go after tying the knot. As the most visited of all the Hawaiian islands, Oahu constantly has new restaurants, activities, and experiences popping up left and right. Whether it’s a honeymoon, destination wedding, or relaxing vacation that brings you to Hawaii, here’s a list of activities and experiences that you should add to your next Oahu trip!
A Royal Hawaiian Lū‘au: ‘Aha‘aina
The 'Aha 'Aina Luau is Waikiki’s only oceanfront dinner show. It recently expanded to Mondays and Thursdays. If you’re looking for an activity to do, this upscale and tastefully done luau should most definitely make your list. Every Monday and Thursday, from 5:30-8:00 p.m., The Royal Hawaiian’s lawn is transformed into a picturesque luau. There are other luaus on the island, but the 'Aha 'Aina not only has the famed Waikiki beach and Diamond Head as backdrops, but the show is beautifully done. The singing, hula, fire throwing, and performances are remarkable.
The luau pays tribute to Hawaii’s traditions and history through food, song, stories, hula, and culture. The site is particularly meaningful as The Royal Hawaiian used to be the site where Hawaiian royalty would vacation and relax. This updated modern luau is a contemporary interpretation of those traditional Hawaiian feasts. The food is served buffet style, but it’s made of a generous spread of local Hawaiian foods with gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options available. Of course there’s a whole kalua pig perfect for photos. The food is not only tasty, but it’s also farm-to-table fresh. Don’t forget to grab some Insta-worthy photos of The Royal Hawaiian. The historic all-pink Honolulu resort, which opened in 1927, is a sight to behold in itself!
The Royal Hawaiian, A Luxury Collection Resort
2259 Kalākaua Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96815
The Best Brunch on Oahu
What’s more romantic than gorging at a buffet together? If there’s one buffet worth eating on Oahu, it’s the Sunday Brunch at the Four Seasons Ko Olina. The hotel, which just opened in late 2016, has impeccable views and a brunch that will put others to shame. As West Oahu’s largest buffet, the spread is no joke. With beautiful the Four Seasons lagoon and live music as a backdrop, the “Brunch for the Seasons” is made of local and seasonal favorites that constantly change. There are many live stations to choose from. There’s a loco moco station, a barbecue pit station that grills up lamb chops, rib eye steak, humungous tiger shrimp, a seafood shack filled with crab claws, shrimp, and oysters on the half-shell, a poke station to make your own poke bowl or order freshly cut sashimi, and more. Don’t forget the prime rib and crispy pork belly carving station. There’s also dim sum, breakfast dishes, make-your-own pasta station as well as a DIY Bloody Mary bar as well as a more kid-friendly desserts station with freshly fried malasadas, cream puffs, chocolate-dipped fruit, muffins, parfaits, and other sweets. In addition to the live stations, there’s also a regular buffet line filled with eggs benedicts, imported Italian charcuterie, cheeses, and tropical fruits depending on what is in season.
Available from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Sundays, $65 per adult.
Brunch for the Seasons, La Hiki Kitchen at Four Seasons Oahu
92-1001 Olani St,
Kapolei, HI 96707
Surf Lessons on Waikiki Beach
Waikiki was once a place for Hawaiian royalty to relax and surf. These days, you don’t need to be royalty to surf like them. Waikiki Beach Activities takes care of all the beach activities and rentals at Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel. Errol Kane, who has taught surfing for 20 years, operates their surf academy. The two-mile stretch of white sand, which locals call Waikiki Beach, is one of the most popular destinations in Oahu. It’s also one of the best places to learn how to surf. Waikiki Beach is an extremely flat sloping beach. The waves break far out and keep breaking again and again, making them very slow and easy to ride unlike the tough waves on the North Shore. Waikiki Beach Activities promises that their students will not only catch waves, but stand up! It’s a rewarding and challenging lesson that’s perfect for first timers. There’s also a 5-acre manmade water recreation lagoon that you can do stand up paddle boarding in.
For those who want to get to the beach, you can access the beach through the Hawaiian Hilton Resort or through the back of the Ilikai Hotel. In addition to the Hilton Hawaiian Village, there’s also a street bazaar part of the village that has close to 100 shops through out.
Waikiki Beach Activities
2005 Kalia Rd,
Honolulu, Hawaii, (808) 951-4088.
Eat at The International Market Place
The International Market Place used to be an open-air marketplace comprised of shops, small restaurants, and souvenir kiosks. It was where tourists ended up at for tacky souvenirs and other gimmicky trinkets. After reopening in 2016, the place has gone through a complete renovation with its multi-level shopping complex complete with mid to high-end shops, an entire level devoted to restaurants, and Hawaii's first Saks Fifth Avenue store.
The International Market Place is home to exciting eateries such as Eating House 1849, Yauatcha, Kona Grill, Herringbone, Stripsteak, and Goma Tei. There's also The Street food court by James Beard Award-winning Chef Michael Mina on the ground level as well as B. Patisserie for dessert and coffee. Baku, which just opened late August, uses a special Japanese robata grill that burns Japanese white oak and coal. Food is first placed on the bottom rack of its four-tiered robata grill, and then it’s moved up as it cooks, which ensures that the food absorbs all the flavors from the charcoal without burning. Herringbone Waikiki, which also opened in August, has an Oyster Happy Hour and is known for their incredible brunch spreads and locally sourced ingredients. The Buffalo Ranch Octopus, Mochi Pancakes, and Lilikoi Mimosas are to die for!
As a nod to its previous form, the 100 plus year old banyan was preserved with the new mall built around it. While the majority of the companies in the International Market Place can be found elsewhere on Oahu, what makes this place unique are the restaurants that they've brought in, many of which are new to the island.
2330 Kalakaua Avenue
Honolulu, HI 96815
A Romantic View of Waikiki
Orchids is one of the most romantic and scenic restaurants in Waikiki. Tucked away in the famed Halekulani Hotel, Orchids overlooks a beachfront venue that hosts live Hawaiian music every night from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Show up for a meal and enjoy the spectacular ocean views of Waikiki and Diamond Head as your backdrop. Orchids serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner. They also have a large, impressive spread with live stations during their Sunday Brunch buffet. Although the views are incredible no matter what time of day you go, there’s nothing like getting dolled up and watching the sunset from Orchids while being surrounded by a myriad of orchids.
Orchids’ most famous drink is their mai tai. Their signature recipe dates back to the reopening of the Halekulani Hotel more than 30 years ago. The famous Halekulani Mai Tai uses three types of rum, Bacardi Gold Rum, Bacardi 151 Rum and Bacardi Select, which gives it the perfect balance of tartness and sweetness.
2199 Kalia Road
Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Sail via Yacht or Catamaran from Ko Olina Marina
For an intimate yacht or catamaran experience, Mana Cruises is the way to go. You sail straight out of Ko Olina shores, which is possibly the most beautiful marina on Oahu. The yacht has a six-passenger limit and comes with three rooms, showers, a full kitchen, and lounging spaces. Each boat comes fully stocked with lots of food, drinks, activity gear, towels, etc. Guests are also allowed to bring any other drinks aboard; Mana Cruises does not charge corkage fees. Your cup will never be empty. The food spreads are so extravagant that you’ll leave full.
Depending on the time of year, the cruises have seen various species of fish, turtles, eels, Spinner Dolphins, Humpback Whales, and various other marine animals. In addition to hanging out and enjoying the coastline views, the boats can also make stops for fishing, snorkeling, swimming, or even open water sailing. Mana Cruises does a number of different morning, sunset, and night cruises available for charter.
Ko Olina Marina
92-100 Waipahe Place
Kapolei, Hawaii 96707
Kualoa Ranch is a must visit when on Oahu. Not only is it one of Hawaii’s most versatile wedding locations with 4,000 plus acres of hidden valleys and ancient Hawaiian cultural sites, but it’s also the location where of some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. Kualoa Ranch has a number of unique tours available. Hop aboard a vintage school bus for Hollywood’s “Hawaii Backlot” Tour, to see where over 50 of Hollywood’s biggest movies and TV shows were filmed. Snap a photo of yourself at the famous Jurassic Park fallen tree, find Godzilla’s footprints, and visit several famous film locations from 50 First Dates, You Me & Dupree, Mighty Joe Young, and various Hawaii Five-0 and LOST locations.
If Hollywood isn’t your thing, you can grab a seat on an ATV tour through scenic valleys and remote areas many tourists don’t know about or board Kualoa Ranch’s private 49-passenger catamaran for a tour out on Oahu’s beautiful Kaneohe Bay with stops at Mokoli’i Island (Chinaman’s Hat) and Hokule’a Beach.
49560 Kamehameha Hwy
Kāne‘ohe, HI 96744
Party with Locals!
Wang Chung’s is the ultimate hidden gem. It’s located inside the Stay Hotel in Waikiki. The small karaoke joint/gay bar is located in the back of an otherwise inconspicuous alley. Not only do they have a great brunch, but their free karaoke and happy hour is the talk of the island. Wang Chung's is a guaranteed good time. The staff is extremely friendly and the décor is Instagram worthy. One of the best parts of Wang Chung’s is their endless song possibility. There’s no giant book you need to flip through to find your song. Instead, patrons simply visit their homepage and search for the song to see if they have it. There's no center stage to intimidate people. The microphones are passed around the bar and someone is always willing to join in. There is no judgment. Sing as off-key as you want. The bartenders even join in on the fun and belt out songs too, although they all sound like they’re finalist from some singing competition. If you’re lucky, you may see some famous faces in the crowd. Lea Salonga was spotted singing to Disney songs recently.
2005 Kalia Road
Hilton Hawaiian Village
Honolulu, HI 96815
* Every Friday, The Oahu Hilton Hawaiian Village puts on an amazing 45-minute fireworks show. The performance features a lighting of the torches ceremony, live Hawaiian music, and traditional Polynesian dances. Grab a seat around the Super Poolside before 7 p.m. or purchase a poolside seat for $15. For those who don’t mind missing the performances, there are many areas from the beach where you can view the fireworks portion for free.
2005 Kalia Rd,
Oahu, HI 96815-1917