Oahu is the third largest of the islands of Hawaii (the Big Island and Maui are both larger), located in the United States of America, and the most popular tourist destination. As the location of Honolulu, the state capital, and as home to over 85% of the state's population, the island is appropriately nicknamed "The Gathering Place."
Nicknamed "the Gathering Place," and home to the only real metropolitan area in the Hawaiian Islands, Oahu is truly at the heart of Hawaii. For some, this has been both a blessing and a curse for the island.
On the plus side, visitors to Oahu share in all the amenities and conveniences of Honolulu...bustling nightlife, exciting cultural events, and a wide variety of lodging, dining, and shopping options. On the minus side, Honolulu does not embody the vision that most visitors have of Hawaii...peace, serenity, and relaxation. Honolulu is a big city, and has all the problems that go with it, including crime, traffic, high cost of living, and a lack of affordable housing. Oh, and did we mention traffic?
Indeed, with airlines increasing non-stop service to other islands in the chain from the West Coast, many visitors from the U.S. mainland choose to enjoy their Hawaiian vacation without even setting foot on Oahu.
However, a calming oasis can be found on Oahu; you just need to know where to look. There are many resorts located outside of Waikiki that offer less crowded surroundings. Natural beauty can be found in the two mountain ranges (the Koolau and Waianae ranges) that make up Oahu...some great hikes are located just a 15-minute drive into the mountains from Waikiki. Secluded white sand beaches, funky beach towns, pounding winter surf on the North Shore...all of this can be found on the other parts of Oahu.
So, enjoy Honolulu and all it has to offer. But if you don't see the North Shore during the winter when monster waves pound the shore, if you don't take a drive through miles of pineapple fields, and if you don't take time to visit some of the white sand beaches outside of Waikiki, then you really haven't seen Oahu.
Two mountain ranges make up the island of Oahu. The Koolau Range runs along the east side of the island and forms the backdrop for Honolulu; the Waianae Range runs parallel to the Koolau range along the west side.
The majority of visitors to Oahu stay near Honolulu and the beaches of Waikiki. The rest of the island is less visibly touched by tourism, with only a few B&Bs among the houses and natural sites on the Windward Coast and the North Shore.
- Southern Oahu – the most developed part of the island, mostly made up of the Honolulu metropolitan area
- Central Oahu – a mostly suburban mix of bedroom communities for Honolulu and miles of pineapple fields
- The Windward Coast – the wetter and more lush part of the island, home to many secluded beaches, sleepy villages, and one of the largest Marine Corps bases in the Pacific
- The Leeward Coast is drier, with four rural communities and two up-and-coming resort areas
- The North Shore – home to some of the largest waves on earth in the winter, and the ocean and surfing are a way of life here
Flights from all over the world land at Honolulu International Airport just outside of downtown Honolulu. Free Wiki-Wiki (Hawaiian for 'quick') shuttle buses operate between the Main Terminal and Interisland Terminal every 15 minutes.
TheBus routes #19 and #20 run between the airport and Waikiki. The fare is US$2.00 for adults. Exact change is required and space for baggage is limited.
Car rentals are available at the airport and various locations downtown. A car is worth having for visits to the North Shore or if you are staying outside of Honolulu/Waikiki.
The Oahu bus system, officially called TheBus, runs between almost all towns and to most tourist destinations. Fare for TheBus is US$2.00, for adults, exact change is compulsory and it will get you anywhere on the island TheBus goes.
There is a 4 day TheBus 'Tourist' pass available that can be purchased from most ABC Stores (like a 7/11) for US$20.00. Make sure you 'scratch' it correctly before getting on the first TheBus.
Also available from ABC Stores is a very handy guide to TheBus for US$2.95, highly recommended.
The following are some of the more important major highways on Oahu. Both the common name and the state route number are given here. Unlike many areas of the U.S., locals refer to state highways by name rather than number.
- H-1 runs from Kahala in East Honolulu west, through downtown Honolulu, past the airport and out to the western suburb of Kapolei where it joins Farrington Highway.
- H-2 runs from the town of Waipahu through Mililani to the town of Wahiawa in Central Oahu.
- H-3 runs from the suburb of Aiea, through the windward communities of Kaneohe and Kailua, to the gate of Marine Corps Base Hawaii.
- Nimitz Highway/Ala Moana Boulevard (state route 92) runs from Pearl Harbor to Waikiki; it is the main route from the airport to Waikiki.
- Pali Highway (state route 61) runs from downtown Honolulu to the Windward town of Kailua.
- Likelike Highway (state route 63) runs from the Kalihi district of Honolulu to the Windward town of Kaneohe.
- Kalanianaole Highway (state route 72) starts from the east end of H-1 and runs through the East Honolulu suburbs around Makapuu Point, and through the rural community of Waimanalo, ending in Kailua.
- Kamehameha Highway (state routes 99, 80, and 83) is the main highway on Oahu, starting from Pearl Harbor, going through the leeward communities of Aiea and Pearl City, then through Central Oahu, around the North Shore, and along the Windward coast ending at the town of Kaneohe.
- Farrington Highway (state route 93) is two separate roads: the south side starts where H-1 leaves off in Kapolei and leads to the Leeward coast communities of Nanakuli, Waianae, and Makaha, ending at the south end of Kaena Point State Park. The north side starts from Waialua on the North Shore through the community of Mokuleia to the north end of Kaena Point State Park(the road used to go around the point but the part that actually rounded the point has been closed and replaced with a nature preserve. A trail connects the two portions).
- Fort Weaver Road/Kunia Road (state routes 76, 750) goes from Schofield Barracks near Wahiawa south to Ewa Beach.
Also operating from Barbers Point to the Aloha Tower in Honolulu is TheBoat . Fares are $2 one way and is a very cost effective way of seeing the shoreline of Honolulu and surrounding areas. There is a snack shop on board. Transit time is approximately one hour.
This is a sampling of attractions on Oahu. For more detail on attractions in Honolulu proper, see the Honolulu article.
- Hawaiian Waters Adventure Park, Farrington Hwy Kapolei(Just off the H-1), . 10:30-4:00. A decent sized water park featuring 14 attractions, including thrilling rides such as the Tornado, Shaka and Cliffhanger, as well as family friendly attractions such as Keki Cove, Kapolei Kooler and the Surfsliders.38.
- Polynesian Cultural Center,  55-370 Kamehameha Highway, Laie, HI 96762 (from Honolulu, highway 63 Likelike Highway to 83 Kahekili Highway/Kamehameha Highway, about 20 miles NW of Kaneohe). +1 808 293-3339, +1 800 367-7060 toll free from mainland U.S. Monday-Saturday, 11AM - 8PM; individual attraction hours vary, see website for details. Hawaii's most popular paid tourist attraction, the Polynesian Cultural Center offers something found nowhere else: the opportunity to experience the culture not just of Hawaii, but also of seven other Polynesian island groups, all in one place. Recreated traditional villages of Hawaii, Samoa, Aotearoa (Maori New Zealand), Fiji, the Marquesas, Tahiti, Tonga, and Rapa Nui offer educational exhibits by native islanders, some of which can be hands-on. Award-winning Horizons evening show offers Polynesian entertainment. Basic admission $50 adults, $38 children, includes cultural center and evening show. Alii Luau package $80/$56 includes luau and basic admission. Parking $5. Other premium packages available. Discounts for Hawaii residents and U.S. military.
- USS Arizona National Memorial— Memorial to those moored at Battleship Row at Pearl Harbor. They were the initial targets of the first wave of attacks on the Americans. The 184-foot memorial was completed in 1961 and a flag is flown from the destroyed mast. Visitors can see a historic short film recapping the events and explore the Pearl Harbor Museum, complete with wartime memorabilia. Open from 7:30AM to 5PM daily and is closed on all major holidays.
- Honolulu Academy of Arts,  1035 Kinau Street Lot. $10. Considered Hawaii's premier example of kamaaina- (old-time-) style architecture, the Academy is the state's only general fine-arts museum and has expanded steadily over the last decade. It boasts one of the top Asian art collections in the country, including James Michener's collection of Hiroshige's ukiyo-e prints.
- The Bishop Museum . Founded by a Hawaiian princess, the Bishop musuem displays the world's greatest collection of natural and cultural artifacts from Hawaii and the Pacific.
- Iolani Palace 364 South King Street. The only Royal Palace on US soil and the seat of the Hawaiian government until the 1960s. $6 - $20.
- Queen Emma's Summer PalaCE. Built in 1847, the restored home of Queen Emma and King Kamehameha IV offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Hawaiian monarchy. Hours: daily 9AM–4PM; closed major holidays. Admission: Adult $6, Child 17 and under $1, Seniors $4; reservations required for groups of 20 or more.
Oahu has between 30 and 40 great tourist beaches, several more than 1 mile in length. 
- Kailua Beach Park - Located just below the Kaneohe Bay and directly above Bellows air force station, this beach is famous for its excellent swimming and wind surfing. With nice fine sand - perfect for sunbathing and recreational activities, and a backdrop of tiny offshore islands, this makes for one of Oahu's most beautiful beaches. Recently, the beach has suffered from erosion, removing a significant amount of sand from the shoreline. As a result, the space available on the beach has been severely reduced.
- Kualoa Regional Park - Located along the Northeast side of the island, this beach is rarely crowded and has a great view of the offshore island, Chinamans hat, so called this due to its resemblance of the peasants chapeau worn by rural Chinese. With Kualoa mountains in the background you might feel you are in the movie Jurassic park, due to the fact that Kualoa range is where much of the footage took place. Also this area was considered sacred by ancient Hawaiians due to the whalebones that would wash on shore that would be used for valuable tools and jewelry.
- Kahana Bay Beach Park - Located along the windward side of the island, directly across Ahupua'a O Kahana state park, this is one of Oahu's best kept secrets. This beach cove is nestled at the very bottom of the Kualoa mountains and is often over looked by people traveling up the coast due to the outlining of pine trees along the beaches edges. With its seclusion, calm waters and plenty of shady spots for those not fond of the too much sun, you can obviously see why this is one of Oahu's best kept secrets.
- Lanikai Beach - This small stretch of thin beach is home to some of the most clear and blue water you will find surrounding Oahu, and with views of the two beautiful offshore islands, known as the Mokuluas, you truly feel engulfed in the tropical setting.
- Ala Moana Beach Park/Magic Island - Known as "The path to the sea", this beach park is famous for its recreational activities. Located just west of Waikikis beaches and directly across from tha Ala Moana mall, this area features a 76 acre park located along the shore, and is often home to many family gatherings and company outings.
- Sunset Beach - So called due to the beautiful sunsets that occur almost everyday on this spot, this white sand beach is one of the longest running beaches on Oahu, stretching 2 miles in length and between 200 and 300 feet in width at some spots. In the winter months, Sunset beach is home to one of the best surfing spots on the island and features several international surf competitions. In the summer months during the calmer seas this is a nice spot swimming and snorkeling.
- Ehukai Beach Park - Also known as "Reddish tinged water", this also home of the famous Bonzai Pipeline. In the winter months this beach features 30 to 40 foot waves, when the swells are high, and frequented by many of the worlds best surfers. Part of the triple crown surf tournament, I would stay out of the water in the winter months unless you are familiar with the surf, due to the fierce breaking waves and strong undertow. However in the summer months the calm ocean makes a good spot for swimming and a good sandbar.
- Waikiki Beach - Meaning "sprouting water", this beach runs along Kalakaua Ave. and is home to many of the areas featured resorts. Often filled with tourists and guests of the hotels that line the beach, this area is where you can take some of the famous catamaran rides that are manned by the beach boys, not the the band, but true beach boys. The calm surf and shallow waters makes a nice spot for wading in the waters, bodysurfing, and beginning surfers.
- Waimea Bay Beach - Located on the North Shore, in the winter months this is home to some of the largest and most dangerous ride-able surf in the world, with waves reaching 30 plus feet, and with in-shore breaks often at 12 feet, experienced swimmers and surfers need only apply. However in the summer months the calm surf makes for nice swimming and with a nice size beach is great for sunbathing. If you are brave enough you can climb "da big rock", which is a popular free jump spot, and has platforms to jump off of at 5 and 18 feet.
- Sandy Beach Park - Located along the windward side of the island just past Halona Beach Cove, with calm surf, this is a superb spot for swimming and amateur bodysurfers. However most of the year there has somewhat rough surf and many of the best bodysurfers on the island call this beach home, because the waves here are rivaled by no where else on the island.
- Bellows Beach Park - Located right near Bellows air force station, this beautiful beach has shallow water and small consistent waves which makes for good swimming and beginning surfers.
- Hale'iwa Beach - Located in the Historical town of Hale'iwa this brown sanded beach is one of the few spots on the island where you can sit on the beach and watch the sun rise and set. With plenty of beach to lay out and being within walking distance of shops, eating, and sightseeing this is an attractive family spot.
- Halona Beach Cove - This beach is also nicknamed Eternity beach, receiving the name eternity because of the love scene that takes place on this beach from the movie "From here to Eternity". Most tourists usually go to this spot on the windward side of the Island just passed Hanauma Bay to view the Halona blowhole. The only way to get this beach though is to scale down the somewhat steep cliffs that protect this tiny but very scenic beach. Also beware of the sea turtles that frequent the spot, although they will not harm you, if you are caught touching them or trying to ride them, you will be fined.
- Barbers Point - Located on the ewa part of the island, this beach is frequented by many of our men and women in the armed forces due to the base that is located just down the road. Also due to its small surf and scarce crowds it is not a bad beach for the beginning surfer. With a bar located right on the beach, open on weekends, and nice views of Honolulu, this beach is a nice spot to get away from your more touristy spots.
- Ko'Olina - The resort famous for housing many of the pro bowlers that visit every year in February, also features some of the most beautiful man-made beaches on the island. The 4 lagoons, named Kolola(whale), Hanu(turtle), Naia(dolphin), and Ulua(fish), feature some of the most beautiful sunsets that you will not find anywhere else on the island. With literally no surf the lagoons are often nice to just float around in. Given that the lagoons are located about 30+ minutes (rush hour makes it over an hour) from Waikiki these lagoons are generally not crowded and only frequented by locals and guests of the resort.
- Three Tables - This beach located off the Kamehameha Highway, North Shore, and is sandwiched between Sharks cove and Waimea Bay, it features some very nice snorkeling. Beware of the surf in the winter months though. The waves can sometimes reach 30 to 40 feet in these areas depending on the swells. Therefore most of the snorkeling and the wading the many tide pools along this beach are done in the months of April to October.
- Pokai Bay Beach Park - Hawaiian for "Night of the Supreme one", this beach is named after the Hawaiian chef Pokai who according to legend brought and planted the first coconut palm tree on the island. This west shore beach is one of the most protected beaches on the island even during the months of rough surf, which makes for nice swimming conditions.
- Makapu'u Beach Park - Hawaiian for "Bulging Eyes", this beach is located just below Makapuu Point, which is Hawaii's eastern most point. Popular for its bodysurfing and picturesque views of Rabbit Island, this beach is a very appealing yet relaxing spot, although beware of the rough surf, strong shore break and undertow, that can arise through-out the winter months.
- Mokule'ia Beach Park - Located on the northwestern tip of the island, this long white sandy beach is frequented by many of the local Hawaiians for its enticing windsurfing conditions and nice fishing spots.
Gardens and views
- Diamond Head State Park See Honolulu for more details.
- Round-Top Forest Reserve— Excellent view of Honolulu and the surrounding area.
- Ho'omaluhia Botanical Garden, in Kane'ohe. Translated as "To Make a Place of Peace and Tranquility", the Ho'omaluhia Botanical Gardens certainly does that through 400 acres of lush gardens specializing in Hawaiian/Polynesian plants. There is also a 32-acre lake, picnic areas, and a campground on site.
- Nu'uanu Pali Lookout. See Honolulu for more details.
- Hale'iwa Historical town— You may recognize the location as being the site of a former television series called 'Baywatch', but this more than 100 year old historic town offers more than that. Many of the buildings are on the State Register of Historic Sites, and the rustic old building that dot the town are simply charming.
- Pu'u O Mahuka— National historical sight and Hawaiian holy site.
- Lyon Arboretum— Located in the Manoa Valley. Operated by the University of Hawaii.
- Byodo-in 47-200 Kahekili Highway, Kaneohe, HI 96744 (about 5 minutes from Kaneohe town),8:30AM to 4:30PM daily. Situated against the backdrop of steep green cliffs is a recreation of the 900-year-old Byodo-In Temple in Kyoto. The temple grounds include a nine-foot Buddha statue and the three-ton Peace Bell. Byodo-in is located in the back of the Valley of the Temples cemetery. Admission $2.
- Waimea Valley Audubon Center , 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712 (across Kamehameha Hwy. from Waimea Bay Beach Park), 9:30AM to 5PM daily except Jan. 1 and Dec. 25; 9:30AM to 3PM on Thanksgiving Day (4th Thurs. in Nov.) and Dec. 31. Formerly known as Waimea Falls Park, the National Audubon Society received a contract from the City and County of Honolulu to operate the site as a nature preserve. The preserve is home to endangered moorhen and a botanical garden with both endemic Hawaiian plants and other plants from around the world. A 0.75 mile hike on paved trails leads to the centerpiece of the park, Waihi Falls, where visitors can swim in the pool at the base of the falls. Admission $8 adults; $5 seniors, military, and children (4-12); discounts for Hawaii residents.
- Dole Plantation , 64-1550 Kamehameha Hwy., Wahiawa, HI 96786 (about 3 miles N of Wahiawa on highway 99, 1 mile N of the jct. with highway 80; H-2 north to its end, then continue on highway 99, approximately 40 minutes from Waikiki). (808) 621-8408. Visitor center and garden open 9AM to 5:30PM daily; train and maze to 5PM daily. Once a roadside fruit stand, this tourist attraction has been renovated and billed as "Hawaii's Complete Pineapple Experience." Among the attractions are a pineapple variety garden, a 20-minute miniature train ride into the surrounding pineapple fields, and the Pineapple Garden Maze, recognized in the 2001 Guinness Book of World Records as the world's largest maze. Admission free for site; garden tour $3.75 adults $3.00 children; train $7.50 adults $5.50 children; maze $5.00 adults $3.00 children. Discounts available for U.S. military and Hawaii residents.
- Visit Sea Life Park where you can swim with dolphins, sea lions or stingrays.
- Try windsurfing, surfing and body-boarding at Waikiki and (less crowded and more scenic) North Shore and Kailua Beach. - see Oahu Surf Conditions, Radar, and Forecasts and Girls Who Surf for lessons.
- Snorkeling and diving trips leave from Waikiki and most hotels.Oahu especially great for wreck diving as many ships and airplanes sunk during World War 2 - See Diving Sites in Oahu
- Enjoy horseback riding on the North Shore and Windward Koolau Range
- Explore hiking all over the island: in particular, Diamond Head State Park (excellent view of Honolulu and the surrounding area). Also visit Lanikai's Pillbox (leftover from WWII sitting above Lanikai). Gives spectacular view of Waimanalo, the Koolau Mountains, Kailua and the Mokulua Islands sitting in the distance.
- Kayak on the Windward side to the Mokulua Islands which are a bird sanctuary and also offer encounters with turtles which have made a huge comeback in the Windward bay area. It should be noted that it is against state law to violate the sanctuary area. The beach on the islands is not part of the restricted zone, however.
- Driving tour around East-side of island gives spectacular views. Stop several times along the route to see blowhole, swim in secluded cove, hike up to the Lighthouse for amazing views or check out ancient Hawaiian drawings and Heeiaus.
- Driving tour over the Pali Highway; be sure to visit the Pali Lookout.
- Drive up to the Round-Top Forest Reserve. (excellent view of Honolulu and the surrounding area)
- Snorkeling and sun bathing at Hanauma Bay
- Viewing Marine Wildlife (the best 1/2 of Oahu is underwater!)- see Wild Side Specialty Tours to sail with whales, dive with dolphins, and snorkel coral reefs with turtles and tropical fish.
- If the hot weather is too much for you, go ice skating at the Ice Palace in Honolulu (see "Do" in the Honolulu article).
Shopping malls are mostly everywhere in the major districts. Here are some better-known shopping malls on Oahu that are easily accessible by car or bus.
- Ala Moana Center - see Honolulu. Largest shopping mall in Hawaii and the fourteenth largest shopping mall in the United States.
- Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center,  (see Honolulu). Located in the heart of revitalized Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian Center is one of Oahu's top shopping malls. The Oahu mall features a wide variety of shopping and dining options amongst its 110 shops and restaurants.
- DFS Galleria (Duty Free Shops) - see Honolulu. Newly renovated emporium featuring luxury brands alongside souvenier shops. Its main feature is the Tube, a walk-through aquarium visible from indoors and on the sidewalk at the corner of Kalakaua and Royal Hawaiiian Avenues. Some sections are for international travellers only.
- Waikiki Shopping Plaza - see Honolulu. 75 speciality shops are spread over five floors.
- Aloha Tower Marketplace - see Honolulu. Waterfront marketplace and shopping mall.
- Kahala Mall - see Honolulu. Shopping mall that also serves as a key stop on a number of TheBus routes.
- Koko Marina Shopping Center - see Honolulu. One stop shop for water sports, food, and shopping.
- Windward and Kane'ohe Shopping Mall— Features over one hundred twenty stores, you'll be sure to find what you need here.
- Ward Center— Be sure to check out this contemporary retail gallery featuring the works of fifteen of Hawaii’s top artists.
- Pearlridge Center, on Kamehameha Highway in Aiea, is the main shopping mall in Leeward Oahu. It's actually two malls in one, with two distinct architectural personalities. Uptown Pearlridge, anchored by Macy's, has a plush, wood-toned decor, while Downtown Pearlridge, anchored by Sears, is built around an urban theme. The two building are connected by the SkyTrain, a monorail that runs regularly between the two malls; it is the only monorail in the state.
- Waikele Center, one mile west of the H1-H2 interchange, is made up mostly of big-box retailers such as KMart, Borders, Lowe's, and the Sports Authority. Across Lumiaina Street from the mall is the Waikele Premium Outlets, made up of upscale outlet stores from such names as Barneys New York, Coach, Michael Kors, Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue, Polo Ralph Lauren, to name a few. By public transport, take bus 42 (slower) or E (faster city express bus) to Waipahu Transit Center, then change to 433.
- Zippy's is a local chain of combination drive-in and sit-down restaurants that are found in many areas on Oahu. (More details in Honolulu)
- Pah Ke's - Located next to the Windward Mall in Kaneohe and serving Chinese cuisine.
- Jack in the Box - This fast food restaurant is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and allows you to choose from the breakfast menu or sandwich menu any time of day.
- L&L BBQ - A local favorite. They serve a variety of "Plate lunches" that include; a meat entree, two scoops of rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, on shredded cabbage.
- Duke's- One of the islands most popular restaurants and bars, their laidback beach attitude is very appealing. Dukes on a Sunday has been a staple in Waikiki for years now, they feature live local music, dining almost directly on the beach and plenty of friendly service. Their laidback attitude encompasses your clothing, its acceptable to wear no shirt or shoes. The inspiration of Jimmy Buffet's song, Dukes on Sunday, Dukes attracts many of the visiting celebrities and football players during probowl, so keep your eye, because you never know who you might see.
- Cheesecake Factory on Diamond Head end of Wakiki. Serving more than just cheesecakes, the menu features an impressive variety of salads, pastas, steaks, all served in generous portions. Be sure to leave some room for the famed cheesecakes though, there's a reason why this restaurant is named after them!
- Benihana- 2005 Kalia Road. Japanese food made fun with friendly chefs preparing the food right in front of you. Good entertainment especially for those with a family.
- Tanaka of Tokyo- Similar concept to Benihana's and with 3 different locations throughout Waikiki.
- Bubba Gump Shrimp Co- This lively seafood restaurant is fashionably themed after the movie Forrest Gump. Your visit here will include a fun atmosphere, trivia questions, movie memorabilia, and an excellent view of Ala Moana Beach.
- Chiang Mai Thai Restaurant (2239 S King St, Honolulu, HI 96826: 808-941-1151) While there are many Thai restaurants on Oahu, this is one of the best and most reasonably priced. The Panang Curry is especially good. You have to drive or take a cab if you're staying in Waikiki, but it's well worth it!
- Sam Choy's:
- Sam Choy's Diamond Head: 449 Kapahulu Ave. 2nd floor (about 2 blocks mauka of Ala Wai Boulevard, just outside of Waikiki), (808) 732-8645.
- Sam Choy's Breakfast Lunch and Crab & Big Aloha Brewery: 580 N. Nimitz Highway (about one mile Ewa of downtown near Honolulu Harbor), (808) 545-7979.
Locals and tourists alike love Sam Choy's. Known for his hearty portions and unique blend of island flavors, this talented chef is a local celebrity, known as much for his friendly demeanor and large girth as his famous cooking. "Never trust a skinny chef."
- Roy's Restaurant  Main location: 6600 Kalanianaole Hwy,(in East Honolulu about 6 miles east of Waikiki, (808) 396-7697. Also in Kapolei at Ko Olina Resort. Known as the "Wolfgang Puck of the Pacific," Roy Yamaguchi is known as one of the originators of Hawaiian fusion cuisine. This flagship restaurant of the Roy's Restaurant chain (which has since expanded to six Hawaii locations, 22 locations on the U.S. Mainland, and four overseas locations) overlooks Maunalua Bay with a perfect westward view.
- John Dominis . Perfect place to celebrate a special occasion. Elegant atmosphere includes an indoor koi pond and beautiful Waikiki ocean views. Friday nights offer a special bonus- the sky over Waikiki is lit by fireworks.
- Alan Wong's,  1857 S. King St, tel 808/949-2526. Chef Alan Wong is one of Hawaii's most acclaimed chef and he serves a delectable modern Japanese cuisine that changes daily. Enjoy your food in style in a restaurant that has a glassed-in terrace and open kitchen.
- Hoku's, 5000 Kahala Ave, tel 808/739-8780. Fusing East and West specialities perfectly, this restauranthas been lauded for its contemporary island cuisine. Recommended are the pan-seared Hudson Valley foie gras, sashimi and slow-braised pork belly.
- Buzz's Original Steakhouse - 2 Locations: in Kailua across from the beach, and in Pearl City. Buzz's has a laidback ambiance that belies the superior quality of food on offer. Dinner offerings are pricier, but include Alaskan king crab legs (market price) that is well worth it.
- Ruth's Chris Steak House - 2 Locations: in Waikiki and Restaurant Row in Honolulu (near the Ward Center). Although well known as a chain restaurant, Ruth's is still regarded as an upscale fine dining establishment specialising in luxury steaks.
There are several places open till 2AM. Some are open until 4AM. Most of Honolulu's bars and night clubs can be found from Kuhio Ave.
Top 40 (attendance fee usually $5 to $15 during weekends)
- Duke's - (no cover) No trip to Hawaii is complete without a visit to Duke's, especially on a Sunday evening. Duke's has everything you need, an excellent breakfast buffet, affordable lunches, and semi-formal evening dining. Not to mention sunset Hawaiian guitar, excellent drinks, and the best place to enjoy the sunset in Waikiki. They do close at midnight, so the party crowd usually flocks to the following places:
- Moose McGillycuddy's - A college bar on Lewers St, just north of Kalakaua Ave.
- Zanzabar - An upscale nightclub on Kuhio Ave.
- Pipeline - Located on Pohukaina St. in the heart of Honolulu, a remodeled warehouse, it is not much to look at from the outside, but once inside you are in a different world. This local spot features live local bands, plenty of dance music, and with more room to dance then you could possibly need. Throughout the 2 floors, there are an array of large screens that display a number of different sports being played. With good happy hour specials, nightly drink specials, and good dance music going until 4AM every night, they will have you coming back for more every time.
- The Yard House - Not only does it have a wonderful food menu, but they offer over 130 draft beers from all over the world, the huge island bar protects the 4 walls of taps within. If you were wondering how they can have so many beers on tap, just take a walk over to the double pained 2 inch thick Plexiglas wall that allows you to observe the elaborate tap system. It may take you longer to pick out a beer than to actually drink it (located off of Kalakaua Ave. on Lewers street).
- Maddog Saloon - A more local spot, it offers live entertainment on various nights of the week, a dance floor, pool tables and dartboards to keep you entertained. They are also opened until 4AM everyday which is nice for when the other bars close and you still want to party(located on Kuhio Ave).
- Nashville - This is Waikiki's only country bar. They offer country music for all generations, a nice size line dancing floor, pool tournaments Sunday through Thursday with prizes, dartboards and casino nights. They also are opened until 4AM, so be sure to bring your drinking cowboy hat because they like to have a good time in there (located on Kuhio, below the Ohana West Hotel).
- Senor Frogs - A restaurant by day and party atmosphere at night. After many years, the Frog has finally received his Green Card and he's coming to America. And he's bringing all the wild times and great food you've come to expect from Senor Frog's.Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center 2201 Kalakaua Avenue, Suite 313 Lewer’s St. and Kalakaua Ave. Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
- Angles, on Kuhio and Seaside Ave. Features nightly drink specials and live shows and is a great spot to party.
- Hula's', on Kapahulu, in the Waikiki Grand. Oldest and best-known gay-friendly nightspot showcasing a glassed in dance floor.
Usually no attendance fee, but support playing local bands by giving tips to 'em
- Kelly O'Neil's— Energetic pub atmospher with live music playing every night.
Do not believe everything you read in the airlines brochures. In some areas, locals are not that enthused about visitors. You might even see a sign at a beach or a bumber sticker that says "Tourists keep out." This however is the exception and not the rule. As with any large urban area, including some of the areas around Pearl City, "hanging out" at night is not advisable. In Oahu, local law enforcement is very helpful to visitors and will steer you away from potential problems.
One strategy is to find out the credentials of any venue you are visiting. It is not rude to ask a vendor if they are approved by the Better Business Bureau, the Auto Club of America or even the more regional OahuwithKids.com Approved Recognition.
Outside of Honolulu there are very few hotels on the island, but there are at least 1500 condos, vacation homes, Ohanas (a unit attached to a home) and B&Bs. Due to zoning regulations some vacation rentals only accept stays of 1 month or longer.
- Backpackers Vacation Inn and Plantation Village, 59-788 Kamehameha Highway, Haleiwa, Oahu 808.638.7838 (Fax 808.638.7515 Email firstname.lastname@example.org) . Dorms, rooms, and cottages. Walking distance from three great beaches (Sandy, Wahamai Beach & Waterfalls, and Shark's cove) $27-$30 per person.
- Aqua Waikiki Marina, 1700 Ala Moana Blvd,Waikiki Beach, HI 96815, ☎ 808-942-7722, .
- Aqua Continental, 2426 Kuhio Avenue,Waikiki Beach, HI 96815, Phone: 808-922-2232. .
- Castle Hokele Suites Waikiki, 412 Lewers Street, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815. .
- Castle Maile Sky Court, 2058 Kuhio Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815,
Phone: 808-947-2828. .
- Castle's Affordable Waikiki Hotels, 2058 Kuhio Avenue, Honolulu, HI 96815, Phone: 808-947-2828. .
- Ala Moana Hotel, 410 Atkinson Drive, Phone: (808) 955-4811, Fax: (808) 944-2974. . This contemporary hotel is close to many of Oahu's beautiful beaches and attractions.
- Ko Olina Beach Resort, 92-106 Waiali'i Place, Kapolei Phone: (808) 440-7966 (Fax: (808) 469-3624). A property management company offering luxury villa rentals. There is an on-site spa, golf course, lagoons, and fine dining. .
- Luana Waikiki, 2045 Kalakaua Ave, Phone: (808) 955-6000, Fax: (808) 943-8555. . This unique resort hotel provides easy access to everything that Honolulu has to offer.
- Manoa Valley Inn, 2001 Vancouver Drive Honolulu, Phone: 808.947.6019 (Fax: 808.946.6168). 8 B&B rooms in a large cottage.
- OHANA Waikiki West, 2330 Kuhio Avenue, Phone: (808) 922-5022, Fax: (808) 924-6414. . Enjoy your stay at this Waikiki hotel with it's prime location providing easy access to many of the area's attractions.
- OHANA Honolulu Airport, 3401 N. Nimitz Hwy, Phone: (808) 836-0661, Fax: (808) 833-1738. . With it's close proximity to the Honolulu International Airport Corridor, this Oahu hotel caters both business travelers and vacationers.
- Hawaiian Beach Rentals  Island wide vacation rental homes and condos. 1-800-853-0787
- 'Marriott's KoOlina Beach Club, 92-161 Waipahe Place, Kapolei, +1 808-679-4700 ("Toll Free: 1-800-845-5279"),. Spacious guest, one, two and three-bedroom villas with kitchens and more.
- The Wyland Waikiki, 400 Royal Hawaiian Avenue, Phone: (808) 954-4000, Fax: (808) 954-4047. . This contemporary hotel is convenient to many local points of interest and island landmarks that bring the beauty of Hawaii to life.
- Aston Waikiki Beach Tower, 2470 Kalakaua Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815 Phone: (877) 997-6667 . A condominium resort with ocean views from every suite, this hotel is located across the street from Waikiki Beach.
- The Kahala Hotel & Resort, , 5000 Kahala Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816, (800) 367-2525. Legendary luxury Oahu Hotel set on 800 feet of secluded beach, features 345 luxury rooms and suites, five stylish restaurants and a world-class spa on site. This historical hideaway is a favorite with international statesmen and celebrities. Swim with our dolphins with Dolphin Quest! However be careful = this resort is way overpriced! The room descriptions are misleading unless you think "private and secluded" means 20 foot from and overlooked by the restaurant.
- Hale Kai Villa at Turtle Bay, 57-020 Kuilima Drive, Unit 218, Kahuku, Hawaii 96731 . Four bedroom villa rental on a white sand beach that includes Turtle Bay Resort amenities.
- Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki, 100 Holomoana Street, Honolulu, Hawaii 96815 Phone: (808) 956-1111 . A luxury hotel on the island of Oahu that features all oceanfront guest rooms and suites. Other amenities of the hotel include a championship golf course, day spa, tennis courts, and extensive facilities for meetings, weddings, and social events.
- Halekulani, One of the nicest (and most expensive) hotels on Oahu. Located right on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu.
- Ihilani, Ko Olina Resort, Kapolei. (808) 679-0079. Upscale resort on the leeward coast of Hawaii. $250-$450 doubles.
- Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa, 2424 Kalakaua Avenue, . 4 Star twin-tower resort and convention complex on Waikiki Beach. Spa, restaurants, shops and daily entertainment on property.
To get to the other Hawaiian islands, fly Hawaiian Airlines or go! Airlines from Honolulu International Airport. You can also take the Hawaii Superferry (Due to a court ruling the Superferry is currently not an option)
This page was last edited at 01:52, on 27 March 2009 by Omar P. Based on work by Ryan Holliday, Wikitravel user(s) Ephra8, Cacahuate, Biggie54, Shaund and Mrs esterhauzen, Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others.