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Waikiki Beach is a neighborhood on Oahu known for combining the laid-back beach life with the buzz of a modern city. Filled with highrise hotels and apartments, this is a favorite vacation spot for many tourists coming to the Hawaiian Islands. There is no denying that Waikiki is an expensive destination. With hotel rooms averaging from $250-320/night and expensive food costs, this is not a cheap destination.
As a Waikiki transplant who currently lives in the more residential side of the neighborhood, I’ve sought out more affordable things to do. Here are ten things you can do for under $10 in Waikiki.
Go To Waikiki Beach
Waikiki has legendary beaches and beautiful water. You don’t have to pay for a beachfront hotel to access this stunning shoreline. All of the beaches in Waikiki are open to the public! You can bring your towel, chair, snorkel, etc. and hang out for the day in the sun and sand.
Walk/Run The Ala Wai Canal
If you want to get your steps in or go for a run, during your time in Waikiki, head over to the Ala Wai Canal. There is a 1.5-mile walking/jogging path that runs along the canal and is home to many locals and tourists exercising daily. It’s a great place to work out without having to pay for a gym on vacation.
Grab A Pau Hana and Live Music
“Pau Hana” in the Hawaiian language directly translates to “done work,” but casually means “happy hour” or “after-work drink.” While the food and drinks in Waikiki can be on the expensive end, many restaurants offer happy hour or pau hana specials that significantly reduce the price of drinks and food. You can easily find a beer or glass of wine for $5-10 during happy hour. Also, many happy hours host live music. So you can sit with a drink, enjoy some tunes, and relax after a day on the beach.
Watch The Sunset
Sunset is a magical time in Hawaii. The sun setting over the beautiful waters and illuminating the sky with colors is absolutely breathtaking. Keep your eye on the time to make sure that you snag a spot to watch it set.
Hike Diamond Head
Cost: $1 person or $5/car
Diamond Head is the picturesque mountain that sits on the eastern side of Waikiki. From the top of Diamond Head, you have views of the Waikiki city-scape and blue ocean. The hike to the top of Diamond Head is about a 1.5 mile round trip trail that is rated as easy to complete.
The cost to enter the hike is $1/person or $5/car. From downtown Waikiki, you can easily take the #2 or #23 bus going east, get off at the Kapiolani Community College (KCC) stop, and walk to the entrance of the park.
Don’t forget to bring a bottle of water, sturdy shoes, and sun protection on your hike! Diamond Head is very exposed to the sun and is a hike, not a walk! Be ready to sweat in the sun for an hour to get up and down.
Sing and Dance With Henry Kapono At Duke’s On Sunday
Henry Kapono’s music is filled with aloha and beach vibes. This famous Hawaiian musician performs every Sunday from 4-6 pm on the lanai at Duke’s Waikiki. His band jams out as the sun sets and the crowd swarms the dance floor. The performance is free to the public, although you can buy refreshments and food from Duke’s.
Eat A Spam Musubi
Musubi is a staple of the local cuisine in Hawaii. What mainlanders sometimes refer to as a “spam sushi,” a musubi is generally made by placing a piece of fried Spam over a bed of rice and wrapping it in seaweed. Hawaii’s best musubi can be found right around the corner at 7-11 Hawaii. If you want to try the local flavor of Hawaiian cuisine, go to 7-11 and eat a musubi!
Walk Kalakaua Ave
Kalakaua Ave is the main thoroughfare of Waikiki Beach. The street is abuzz with local shops as well as high-end shops from around the world. During the nighttime, there are often local street performers who do a variety of performances from dances, to singing, to art. On the weekends and holidays, Kalakaua is also home to a variety of vibrant festivals and parades that occur on selected nights and weekends.
Visit The Duke’s Statue
Duke Kahanamoku is referred to as the father of modern surfing. He took surfing from the beaches of Waikiki to the world. A statue of Duke stands on Kuhio beach right off of Kalakaua Ave in Waikiki. A trip to see the statue is a must-do in Waikiki!
Watch The Fireworks
Around 7:45 on Fridays, the crackle of fireworks and bright colors explodes over the water in Waikiki. This show happens every week at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. For an unobstructed view of the fireworks, I recommend going to the beach, or to a high building that has a clear view of the ocean with nothing blocking the ocean line.
If you are looking for more information about things to do on Oahu and in Waikiki Beach, check out these blogs:
- Top 10 Things to Do In Waikiki Beach
- The Best Things to Do on Oahu
- 3 Pillbox Hikes on Oahu With Amazing Views
- 3 Essential Oahu Hikes To Do in a Day
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