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Oahu Trip: What to do?

Felonious PrimeFelonious Prime CanadaRegistered User regular
Hello everyone, so I am going to Honolulu in 2 days ( work decided I should go and bought me tickets which while awesome still kind of sucks because I really didn't want to go) and have done 0 research on what I want to do there, I know I want to see Pearl Harbor but that's about it. I am more into hiking and doing stuff alone than touristy trap kinds of things.

My family is going but I won't be stuck with them if I don't want to be, maybe the tour of Pearl Harbor and a round of golf. I am doing some research on the internet but if anyone knows of some cool trails or hole in the wall restaurants that are great please let me know.

Thanks in advance.


  • KetarKetar Come on upstairs we're having a partyRegistered User regular
    Are you staying in Waikiki, or elsewhere? Will you have a rental car? I can come up with some recs later depending on where you're at and your transportation.


  • Felonious PrimeFelonious Prime CanadaRegistered User regular
    I will have a rental car, and I guess I am staying in a Condo about 30 minutes from Waikiki. I honestly know little about the trip in general just my flights and the first hotel in Waikiki so we don't waste a day at the condo. We are getting off the plane at 11pm, so kind of a waste to use a full day at the condo/villa thing.

  • KetarKetar Come on upstairs we're having a partyRegistered User regular
    Ok. Try to find out where the condo is if you can. Meanwhile, in the Waikiki area for a good casual dinner I'd recommend Side Street Inn on Kapahulu Ave. This is best with a group, as the main dishes are all very large portions meant to be served family style. I've never had anything bad there, but particularly recommend kalua sliders or Chinese sliders to start with, and the bone-in kalbi and spicy garlic chicken for entrees. I'm not sure if we ever went there without getting at least 3 of those 4 - they were just too good to pass up.

    Hula Dog on Kuhio is worth a stop for a quick bite while checking out the beach or just wandering through Waikiki. They do hot dogs in unusual buns, with toppings involving things like guava. May sound off-putting, but they do them well.

    Ramen Nakamura on Kalakaua Ave is my favorite ramen joint in or near Waikiki. Can't go wrong with any variety of ramen, and they do really good handmade gyoza as well.

    Marukame Udon on Kuhio almost always has an overwhelming looking line, but it moves quickly and is worth it. It's also not all tourists, plenty of locals eat there regularly. Great udon with noodles made on site. Lots of good tempura battered options to go with the udon, and some good musubi as well.

    For a high-end sushi experience, Sushi Sasabune would be my top choice. It is expensive though, you definitely want reservations, and some people find the chef a bit overbearing. He's knows as the sushi nazi because you will be instructed exactly how you should eat each piece prepared for you, down to whether it should be taken as a single bite or if you should use ginger or wasabi. Best sushi I've ever had though.

    Sushi ii is also very good and far more casual. Also easier to get into. I think they were BYOB when we lived on Oahu, not sure if they still are.

    The Ala Moana mall is nearby, and is the most profitable mall in America thanks to all of the Japanese tourists. It has a decent food court with some unique options that could be a good lunch spot if with family and nobody can agree on what they want. They also have the Dole Whip available at a stand near the entrance from the mall - pineapple soft serve ice cream that is soooo good, and only available in Hawaii and Disney World that I know of. There's also a good pastry shop that does a mix of Japanese and Japanese-style French pastries, and a Japanese department store that is cool to check out. That store has a food court and pastry shop of its own that are worthwhile as well.

    Waiola Shave Ice was our favorite spot for shave ice and is not too far. Uncle Clay's House of Pure Aloha is good too, with some more unique options, but further to the east. Probably best on your way to somewhere like Hanauma Bay. Hanauma Bay and Diamondhead are big tourist destinations, but people go there for a reason - they're beautiful, and worth visiting. If you can handle a lot of stairs try going to Koko Head and going up to the top.

    Farmers markets in Oahu tend to be good to visit. Fresh fruits and often some really exotic ones you never see on the mainland. A lot of prepared foods as well. The Kailua farmers market is very big and well worth checking out. I think it's on Tuesday evenings, but you should double check. Kailua in general is well worth a visit - very nice beach that we went to often even though we lived much closer to a number of others.

    Get some loco moco for breakfast at some point. Anywhere that looks good.

    I'll try to get some trail suggestions from my wife later. She was much more of a hiker than I was. Pearl Harbor is definitely worth visiting. There should be loads of good golf, but no recs there since neither of us golf.

    Ko'Olina Lagoon is another nice spot for beach time. Near the Disney hotel, Aulani, but usually not overloaded with tourists. The last time we went there a very large monk seal came in and swam around nearby in the lagoon for a good 30 minutes.

  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    Pillboxes in Kailua is a good day hike, and you could stop at Lanikai Brewing afterwards if you're into that sort of thing. The Manoa Falls hike in Honolulu is a good one, but if it's been raining it will be extremely muddy. There's a beach on the west side of the island called Electric Beach that has good snorkeling, but it can be a long drive if the traffic is crap; as a rule, getting into Honolulu in the morning and out in the afternoon is when it will be the worst. If you do it the other way around you shouldn't have as many problems.

    As far as food goes, Ketar has covered most of it. My favorites in Honolulu are Sweet E's Cafe (breakfast foods) and Tokkuri Tei (Japanese, dinner), but neither of them have full menus online. They're pretty easy to get to from Waikiki, as they're on Kapahulu Avenue.

  • BetsuniBetsuni UM-R60L Talisker IVRegistered User regular
    Another good place I love going is the Like Like Drive Inn. But that's mostly because it is more simple and local type foods with some diner type stuff. Funny, they even have a website now:

    If you love ships and stuff like that, I so recommend checking out the Missouri in Pearl Harbor. It really is neat to see it all and realize how awesome that ship really is.

    I also now know what they changed the name of Puka Dog to thanks to Ketar. Thanks for that info. I second that place since it is pretty good and odd local flavor.

    Steam: betsuni7
  • SmrtnikSmrtnik job boli zub Registered User regular
    If you like hiking, hit up Diamondhead Crater. It's close to Waikiki and a quick but fun hike, with some history.

  • Felonious PrimeFelonious Prime CanadaRegistered User regular
    Thanks for all the recommendations, you guys are awesome. I'll update the thread with everywhere I get to, maybe some pictures too.

  • KetarKetar Come on upstairs we're having a partyRegistered User regular
    edited October 2016
    I'll second everything in Skeith's post. Do the pillboxes, beach and farmers market if possible and make a whole day of Kailua. There's always Starbucks or similar places in the downtown area when you need wifi.

    There's also a popular breakfast place there called Boots' & Kimo's. If the line/wait is too long, just skip it, but if reasonable then try it. The macadamia nut pancakes are their signature item.

    There's a really great bean to bar chocolate shop in Kailua called Madre Chocolate. They make amazing chocolate bars using locally grown Hawaiian cocoa beans as well as their favorite beans from other parts of the world. Their triple cacao bar is so good that we order a box of bars once a year and get them shipped from Hawaii. They also have classes and tours at certain times that can be a lot of fun. Check their website if interested.

    Ketar on
  • MugsleyMugsley DelawareRegistered User regular
    edited October 2016
    There's also Hanauma Bay (you have to pay, but I'm pretty sure it's a State park). The big attraction is the bay itself, but I'm nearly certain there are trails around the area.

    Also, do yourself a favor and take at least one afternoon/day to drive up to the North Shore. There are a few little beaches and house collections where you can stop and stretch your legs. I believe none of the beaches on the Northern part of the island are private.

    Regarding Ko'Olina: it's inside a gated community, but when they built the Disney/Marriott resort, the State required them to leave the beaches open to the public. Depending on the day, there may be a line to park. It's on the other side of Pearl Harbor from Waikiki, so expect a drive.

    If you're there on a Saturday, the swap/market at the football stadium is worth a trip (I think that's the Kailua one mentioned earlier). You can typically find souvenirs there for a lot cheaper than down on Waikiki. Plus some of the vendors sell food.

    If you're in the area of Pearl Harbor, you can eat at the Navy Exchange without the need for a Navy ID (this may have changed since I was last there, but not likely).

    Mugsley on
  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    The swap meet at Aloha Stadium is there on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday-- it's super close to the Arizona memorial, so you could roll those into one day.

  • KetarKetar Come on upstairs we're having a partyRegistered User regular
    Indeed. It's also very much not the Kailua farmers market. Kailua is on the other side of the mountains, and is its own town separate from Honolulu.

  • HandgimpHandgimp R+L=J Family PhotoRegistered User regular
    Oh yeah go on the Bowfin and gain empathy for us poor bubbleheads :P

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