Explore Oahu

Oahu's Local Favorites

When visiting a new city, one of the best ways to get to know it is to do as the locals do. After venturing to Oahu’s historic sites, get to know the modern culture of the islands through popular locally frequented spots.Explore the island’s natural beauty through a picturesque hikes including Manoa Falls or Lulumahu Falls, where natural waterfalls abound, or go snorkeling at Shark’s Cove in the North Shore, away from the tourist-packed waters at Hanauma Bay.

Before leaving the island, discover Oahu’s food landscape and sample popular comfort dishes. Find out what the fuss over the island’s favorite canned meat and sink your teeth into a Spam musubi, which can be found at any 7-Eleven and most grocery stores. For a heartier meal, try a loco moco, a plate of white rice, hamburger patty and a fried egg smothered in gravy. Journey through the island, and see Oahu as the locals do. 

Kailua Beach

With its steady breezes and sandy shoreline, Kailua is Oahu’s windsurfing capital. Take a lesson, rent equipment or just relax in the sand and gentle surf.  Located at the end of Kailua, turn right on Kalaheo Drive. Restrooms are available.

Malaekahana

Located 35 miles away from Waikiki, the beachside campgrounds are tucked between Laie and Kahuku on the island's northeastern side. The site offeres 74 developed campsites with easy beach access.

Koko Crater

Approaching Hawaii Kai from Waikiki, you will see pyramid-like Koko Head. This volcanic tuff cone has a demanding hiking path straight up the flank, consisting of over 1,000 railroad ties. If you’re in good shape, give it a go—the views from the top are spectacular.

North Shore

Known as Oahu’s “country,” communities here lead a laid-back lifestyle, making Honolulu’s hustle and bustle look like New York City by comparison. In Haleiwa Town, natural food stores and cafes sit alongside surf and souvenir shops.

Nico's Pier 38

French born chef/owner Nico Chaize's motto is “only the freshest” and that is what you will get at his eponymous restaurant.

Matsumoto's Shave Ice

There’s always a line outside of Matsumoto’s no matter what time of year it is, with hordes of visitors and locals waiting to get some shave ice (Hawaii’s answer to the snow cone). This family-owned shave ice stand has been in business for nearly 60 years.

Rainbow Drive-In

A local institution with a loyal following, Rainbow Drive-In has been serving plate lunches for nearly 50 years.

Helena's Hawaiian Food

One of the only Hawaiian food restaurants to offer sit-down service, you can expect all of the traditional style dishes here, plus some signature dishes like pipikaula-style short ribs. To prepare pipikaula (Hawaiian smoked beef), strips of beef are rubbed with coarse salt and then hung to dry.

Art & Flea

Dubbed an “event for creatives by creatives,” Art & Flea’s monthly markets focus on art, fashion and music. It was also the first of its kind in Honolulu when the girl-power trio of Tiffany Tanaka, Aly Ishikuni and Nicole Franco founded it in 2010.

Chinatown

A vibrant community dating back to the 1800s, this historic wedge in Honolulu was established by the first Chinese immigrants to Hawaii.