2 Days in Waikiki
Hawaii is one of the world’s best loved summer holiday destinations, and we have the neighborhood of Waikiki partly to thank for that. It was here that the Moana Surfrider was built right at the start of the 20th Century – and today Waikiki is home to hundreds of hotels and resorts.
It’s no wonder that Waikiki’s popularity has skyrocketed, with its easy access to the beach as well as its laidback yet vibrant atmosphere. Add in some of Hawaii’s best eating and shopping, and you have a fantastic place to soak in the sun, sand and surf.
You could easily spend a week in Waikiki, enjoying the sunshine and beaches, but if you’ve only got two days – here are our picks of what to do.
To reward yourself for having gotten up nice and early on your vacation, head straight for Pai’s Deli, a humble sandwich and juice bar that’s popular with both locals and visitors. It’s takeaway only, so grab your favorite drink and then head on for a wander along the shoreline before it gets too crowded.
After you’ve finished your smoothie and morning walk, head on to the Hawaii Army Museum Society which covers history from early battles between Hawaiin tribes through to the Second World War. It’s a well-presented, free museum that is interesting for history buffs and those who just like to understand more about the history of the place.
A little further afield, there’s also Bishop’s Museum that gives a good introduction to traditional Hawaiin culture and history. There’s an impressive amount to see here, and there’s a great guided tour on offer.
For lunch, check out Mahina & Sun’s for fresh, sustainable meals with friendly service and a laidback atmosphere to remind you that you are on vacation!
After lunch, you might want to squeeze in a bit of shopping at Ala Moana Shopping Centre to let lunch settle before heading to Diamond Head for a short but brisk hike to the top. It takes about 45 – 60 minutes to make your way to the top of the extinct volcano. At the top – which is about 750 feet high – you get beautiful views out over Oahu.
At night as the sun goes down, head to the unique Top of Waikiki revolving restaurant to take in great views of Waikiki as well as tasty Hawaiian fare. During sunset is the most popular time for the restaurant (for good reason), so be sure to book ahead of time.
If you’re not quite ready to sleep yet, you’re in luck! Waikiki is known as the party hub of Hawaii, and there are endless options, from the upscale Sky Waikiki which features table service and amazing cocktails, to Addiction Nightclub, where you can dance the night away amongst a generally younger crowd.
Hopefully you’re not nursing too much of a headache this morning, but even if you are – a tasty breakfast followed by a dip in Hawaii’s gorgeous azure waters is a great way to clear it.
Start at Hulu’s Grill for a traditional fried breakfast, or opt for a fruit salad or pancakes if it’s more your style.
After breakfast, get a taxi or bus about ten miles to Haunauma Bay for some divine snorkeling. The other option is to book a half-day trip through one of the many tour companies, who will take care of everything from picking you up from your hotel through to providing the snorkel gear.
Once you get back from snorkeling, if your stomach is growling we recommend stopping in at the fabulously informal Fresh Catch café. Its located just a little outside the Waikiki neighborhood, but is well worth it for the tasty fresh dishes such as the scrumptious poke bowls.
In the afternoon, get ready to relax on Waikiki Beach, while doing a little bit of people watching. It’s one of the busiest beaches in Hawaii, and although that means sacrificing some space on the sand, it also means it has a fun-loving, bustling atmosphere.
After you’ve seen the sun set over the ocean at Waikiki Beach, it’s time to enjoy one more of Waikiki’s great restaurants. For something a little more upmarket that won’t break the bank, we love Tommy Bahama Restaurant, Bar & Store, which has a great view, especially from the rooftop. The meals are also delicious, and always served with a smile.
It’s the perfect place to finish off your two days in Waikiki – preferably with an ice-cold drink in hand - before moving on to your next stop or saying goodbye to the beautiful island. Of course, if you have longer to relax in Waikiki, there is much more to see and do!
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