If you’re looking for a shopping getaway, Oahu is home to Ala Moana, one of the biggest shopping centres in Hawaii. Hawaii is also a hub of traditional cultural experience’s that you can immerse yourself in from trying traditional cuisine, to going to Hawaiian luaus. Hawaii is the perfect destination for every type of holiday, and you will not be disappointed.
Where to stay?
Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki – 2005 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI
The Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki is a large-scale resort located on Waikiki beach around a 7-minute walk from the main street (Kalakaua Avenue). With 6 towers of upscale rooms and suites, 20 restaurants, a saltwater lagoon, 5 pools and the beach at your doorstop, the Hilton Hawaiian Village is a tropical home away from home.
The Hilton Hawaiian Village offers many experience’s and amenities and is full of cafes and restaurants so you can occupy yourself all day without even having to leave the resort. The resort is also home to the Friday night fireworks that people from across Waikiki come to see, so for the best viewing spot I recommend standing out on your balcony (if you have ocean view) or dining at the Tropics Bar and Grill (a restaurant inside of the Hilton Hawaiian Village) to ensure you have prime position for viewing the fireworks.
The Kahala Hotel & Resort– 5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI
The Kahala Hotel is located a 15-minute drive from the main street in Waikiki however this excluded oasis is not only luxurious but pet friendly which makes everything better! This oceanfront resort features a private dolphin lagoon, a spa, a large pool, 5 restaurants and free surf and paddleboard lessons!
With greenery, golf courses and a private beach, The Kahala offers luxury accommodation and a dog program.
Trump International Hotel Waikiki – 223 Saratoga Rd, Honolulu, HI
Trump International Hotel is located a short walk away from the main street in Waikiki. The luxury hotel offers a sleek tower, 4 luxury restaurants and an outdoor pool and hot tub. The 38-story high building boasts breathtaking views of Waikiki and an infinity pool and a state-of-the-art health club. The Trump Hotel is also pet friendly, welcomes up to two dogs per person and ensure that they get the luxury treatment with their ‘Trump Pets’ program. The program includes gourmet treats for your pup, plush dog beds, a water bowl with bottled water, pet walking services and pet toys to entertain your furry friend!
The Laylow, Autograph Collection - 2299 Kuhio Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
The Laylow is located around a 9-minute walk to Waikiki Beach and a 3-minute walk from Waikiki’s main shopping/eating strip (Kalakaua Avenue). This chic hotel features a modern design that intertwines with a tropical Hawaiian feel, providing a relaxing oasis. Not only is the hotel pet friendly but it also offers a rooftop pool, casual dining, a 24/7 fitness centre and a boutique feel. The Laylow is an affordable accommodation option with a great location and amazing service. Bring along your best friend, human or pet!
Where to eat?
The Cheesecake Factory – 2301 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI
The Cheesecake Factory is a MUST go in Hawaii. For a classic American cuisine, The Cheesecake Factory is great for lunch and dinner with great prices and big portions, you definitely get bang for your buck. You will need to make sure you get there early for dinner or be ready to wait around 45 minutes to an hour and a half for a table! They do give you a buzzer (like many of the restaurants in Hawaii) so you are able to go for a walk along the main road within around a 500-700m radius while you are waiting for a table.
Must get menu items: Avocado Eggrolls (appetizer), Old Fashioned Burger, Oreo Cheesecake
Tropics Bar and Grill – 2005 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI
Located at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, the Tropics Bar and Grill features lovely indoor/outdoor seating arrangements so you can enjoy the beauty of Waikiki beach and the Hilton Resort. The restaurant is great for breakfast, lunch or dinner however I recommend you book in advance for dinner on a Friday night so that you can enjoy the life music as well as being perfectly located to see the live fireworks that the Hilton puts on.
Must get menu items: BBQ Beef Brisket, Blue Hawaii Beverage
Búho Cocina y Cantina – 2250 Kalakaua Ave #525, Honolulu, HI
This amazing rooftop location is located in the main Waikiki shopping strip. The restaurant gives you a taste of Hawaiian nightlight with live music, great food and cocktails and an open-air rooftop that allows you to look over Waikiki. The menu follows a share style with lots of reasonably priced Mexican food.
Must get menu items: Chips and Salsa, Al Pastor Tacos
Hula Grill – 2335 Kalakaua Ave #203, Honolulu, HI
The Hula Grill is located at the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort and is a great and much talked about lunch and dinner spot for authentic Hawaiian food. Featuring Hawaiian flavours sourced from local fisherman and farmers each day, you’re guaranteed a fresh meal with a beach front location.
Must get menu items: Pan seared Mahi Mahi
Dukes – 2335 Kalakaua Ave #116, Honolulu, HI
Dukes located in the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort is a hotspot for its beachfront location and surf ‘n’ turf vibe and menu. Part of a family of restaraunts that include the Hula Grill, Dukes serves a breakfast buffet, lunch buffet and salad bar at dinner alongside a menu full of authentic flavours. The tiki vibe and umbrella drinks make Dukes a memorable restaurant for atmosphere, location AND food.
Must get menu items: Baby back pork ribs, Kimo’s original hula pie (a MUST!!)
Bills Hawaii – 280 Beach Walk, Honolulu, HI
Bill’s Hawaii features tropical décor, relaxed feel and is a great spot for a classic breakfast. After a week and a half every day being cheat day with breakfast buffets galore, all I wanted was a simple aussie breakfast and coffee and Bills has exactly that! The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner however for a classic breakfast Bills is great… and you can bring your pet – win/win!
Must get menu items: full aussie (breakfast), ricotta hotcakes
Hard Rock Café Honolulu – 280 Beach Walk, Honolulu, HI
There are many Hard Rock Cafés located across the world, and the same funky vibe carriers through to the Honolulu location. Situated in the heart of Waikiki, a street away from the main strip of shops, the iconic restaurant has a tropical feel whilst keeping the main essence of rock and roll culture. Located on a second level is an open-air restaurant area with veranda seating and a roof filled with all different types of guitar. With live music, memorabilia and great food, the Hard Rock Café should be on your bucket list.
Must get menu items: Chicken and Beef fajitas, Signature wings
What to do?
Paradise Cove Luau - 92-1089 Alii Nui Drive, Kapolei, HI
Around a one-hour drive from Waikiki beach, the luau at the Paradise Cove is one of the best cultural experiences of Hawaii that you will get! It is one of the better luau’s on offer in Oahu and it is a very interactive and traditional style. With an oceanfront location, traditional Hawaiian music and Hawaiian games, arts and crafts on the beach, the Paradise Cove Luau is a cultural experience that is a must in Hawaii! End your evening witnessing a beautiful sunset on the beach and a spectacular luau performance and traditional dinner.
Surfing Lessons – Waikiki Beach
There are a few locations on the Waikiki beach strip between the Hilton Hawaiian Village and Trump Tower that offer surfing lessons by Hawaii’s local pros. Usually lessons go for around 2-3 hours and the classes are a decent size of 5-7 people at most to ensure you get the attention that you need. If you love getting active and want to test your skills in Oahu, the proverbial heartbeat of surfing - try some lessons!
Hanauma Bay – Hanauma Bay, Hawaii, 96825
Hanuama Bay is located along the southeast coast of Oahu and is one of the most popular tourist destinations. The nature preserve features a beach, green sea turtles, many native fish and coral reefs. Hanuama Bay features one of the most amazing snorkelling experience in some of the clearest ocean water you’ll see! There are many busses that come and go each day so getting there isn’t difficult or too costly! All you need is a towel and your bathers – you can hire your snorkelling gear there!
Ala Moana Shopping Centre – 1450 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI
Ala Moana is the shopping hub of Honolulu. It is a large open-air mall that has everything from all the designer brands to your basic local shops. Ala Moana is the 9th largest shopping mall in the U.S. and the largest open-air shopping mall in the world (2019). Featuring a large food course as well as many restaurants, and of course the hundreds of shops, you could spend your entire day at Ala Moana Shopping Centre, whether you are a shopping lover or not! There is really no need to go to the outlet shopping mall in Honolulu as there are plenty of shops for you to stroll through at Ala Moana.
Ala Moana is a pet friendly shopping centre!
Swimming with the Dolphins – 5000 Kahala Ave, Honolulu, HI (Kahala Resort) 41-202 Kalaniana’ole Hwy, Waimanalo, HI
Swimming with the dolphins is another great activity to do in Hawaii, especially if you have children it can be a really memorable experience. Many places in Honolulu offer this service, however I would recommend the dolphin experience at the Kahala Resort or the Sea Life Park Hawaii. ‘Dolphin Quest’ at the Kahala Resort is around 15 minutes from Waikiki beach and offers a lagoon experience to come face to face with the playful animals. If you are willing to travel a bit further, I definitely recommend the dolphin experience at Sea Life Park Hawaii, located around 35 minutes from Waikiki beach. The experience a Sea Life Park offers a more interactive and special experience whereby you can swim with not only Dolphins but also Sharks, Sea Lions or Hawaiian Rays
The North Shore – North Shore, Hawaii
The North Shore is a stretch of coast in Oahu that is known as the surfing hub for locals and tourists. The coast is known for big waves and hosts the professional surfing contests in Oahu. Apart from the beaches, the North Shore gives you a taste of local Hawaiian lifestyle. With local lunch spots, indie galleries and surf shops it is a great a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of Waikiki. The North Shore is also home to the Dole Plantation which is a great place to go for a tour of the beautiful pineapple fields and tropical gardens that it has to offer.
The North Shore has many pet friendly places to go and many pet friendly beaches, so it is the perfect place to go and enjoy the day with your dog.
Diamond Head – Diamond Head, Honolulu, HI
Diamond Head is a volcanic tuff located around a 10-minute drive from Waikiki beach and is a great hiking spot and well worth the walk when you reach the top and see the views. I recommend heading there early around 7:30am to miss the crowds and the heat. It takes around 45 minutes to an hour to complete the hike however you will want to allow overall about 1.5-2 hours so that you can enjoy the walk at your own pace and enjoy the amazing scenery when you reach the top.