5 Best Things To Do on Oahu

With an endless array of things to do on Oahu, you won’t get bored.

Fantasy Island-worthy waterfalls, captivating views at every turn, more water sports than one can learn, and seemingly endless trails to explore. Lesser-known places become more familiar upon arrival, with travelers easily finding ways to soak up the local flair and fare. Leis and luaus, museums for surfboards, and adventures amidst sea life create an idyllic visit.

Top 5 Things To Do ON OAHU

1. Visit Pearl Harbor and the U.S.S. Arizona

uss arizona memorial from the sky

2. Snorkel Hanauma Bay

hanauma bay at sunset from rim

3. Hike Diamond Head

View from diamond head hike on Oahu. Looking at Waikiki and Waikiki beach.

4. Swim with the dolphins

Children in the water with a dolphin at dolphin quest

5. Take a helicopter around Oahu.

Above Waikiki in a helicopter with view of Diamond head in distance.

Things To Do On Oahu

Free things to do on Oahu.

Every first Friday of the month, Chinatown in Honolulu closes off the streets for a large block party. Many restaurants offer free pupus (appetizers). It’s an exciting event filled with art galleries, locals and tourists from all over the world. Chinatown on Halloween is quite the spectacle! First Friday starts at 5 PM and supposedly stops at 9 PM. But as locals will tell you it stops when the bars close at 2 AM.

Don’t forget that Pearl Harbor is also a free thing to do on Oahu!

One of the best things to do on Oahu is hiking. Unfortunately, the Diamond head hike is not free. But many hikes on Oahu are free. Our suggestion is if you have some time on Oahu head on down to one of Oahu’s many libraries or get the book, “Hikers Guide to Oahu“. It has an almost complete list of all trails on Oahu. Here is a quick list of our favorites:

  • Maunawili Falls Trail
  • Likeke Falls Trail
  • Lanikai Pillbox Hike
  • Koko Crater Trail

Pro-tip to all of these trails. Especially Maunawili falls. Make sure to check the weather. It can be muddy! Also, if it has rained multiple days prior to your hiking trip you may want to postpone. Walking through Maunawili falls after heavy rains can put you at risk for Leptospirosis. Check the weather!

People watching is a must

From Waikiki to Oahu’s Ala Moana Mall. Oahu has plenty of places to stroll and see the shops and people. Oahu truly is the gathering place. It’s common to see people sitting in Ala Moana mall next to the koi ponds just watching the different types of people stroll by. People from all over the world dream of coming to Hawaii for their wedding, vacation, or just to explore. You never know who you will meet!

Visiting Pearl Harbor is probably the top thing to do on Oahu

Over a million visitors go to Pearl Harbor each year to see the USS Arizona. Another top thing to do on Oahu is to visit the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. The museum was founded in 1889 by Charles R. Bishop. About 200,000 visitors come to the museum each year. It’s a great place for the whole family. You can easily spend an entire day at the Bishop Museum. There is a local cafe to eat Hawaiian local food too. While in Hawaii why not learn about Hawaiian culture and the history of the islands?

Fun things to do on Oahu

A helicopter tour is a very fun thing to do on Oahu. Seeing Oahu from a helicopter is a completely different way to see Oahu. You can see places on Oahu that are almost untouched and inaccessible. Waterfalls, beaches, and sheer mountains will be at the forefront from a helicopter tour. However, you may want to choose wisely before picking your helicopter tour company. We compiled a list of all helicopter tour crashes and accidents to help you choose the best company to fly with.

Some of the best things to do on Oahu

Often the first island of entry for first-time travelers, popular things to do on Oahu include: Snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, hike to the top of Diamond Head Crater above Waikiki, and then relax on the white sands of Waimanalo Beach beneath the green and deeply furrowed Koolau Mountain Range—and this is all before lunch! From touring the historic buildings of Honolulu to surfing in Waikiki, Oahu has something for everyone.