Things To Do In Oahu Hawaii – In general, you would be right to assume that vacationing in Hawaii can be expensive. However, one of the easiest ways to make your trip more affordable is to look for attractions that don’t cost you anything! That’s why in this article we list the 22 best free activities on Oahu, Hawaii.
To help you further with your planning, we’ve even divided these attractions into groups by location on the island. For example, you can find great free things to do in Honolulu, on the North Shore, and on the Windward Shore of Oahu! So whether you prefer to jump on the beach, walk or take pictures, keep reading to find out exciting things to do in Oahu for free.
Things To Do In Oahu Hawaii
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Best Things To Do In Oahu
Waikiki Beach is one of Hawaii’s most famous beaches and one of the best things to do in Honolulu for free.
If you’re visiting Oahu, chances are you’ll be staying in Waikiki for at least part of your trip. That said, you can’t miss spending time on the famous Waikiki Beach! This sandy beach is one of the most notable places in Hawaii because of its surfing history and accessible location.
So grab your beach towel and gear and relax as you watch the surfers and fellow beachgoers pass by. You can also swim, paddle board or take a catamaran ride here. With its incredible view of the Diamond Head State Monument, Waikiki Beach is also a great place to take photos in Oahu.
If you have more time and want to explore more beaches in the area, we recommend the nearby Ala Moana Beach Park. This 100-acre park features a half-mile of golden sand beach just across the street from the Ala Moana Center.
Best Things To Do In Oahu With Kids (hawaii Vacation Fun)
Located in the heart of Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian Center is much more than just a shopping center! It even offers weekly cultural activities and experiences, which are some of the best free things to do in Waikiki.
These exciting events include lessons in ukulele playing, hula dancing, lei making and lauhala weaving. Plus, you can see free hula shows and live music performances by local bands.
See the full list of events at the Royal Hawaiian Center here. Grab a delicious shaved ice from Island Vintage after your visit downtown. Then take a walk through the beautiful Royal Hawaiian Hotel, also known as the ‘Pink Palace of the Pacific’.
Visiting Pearl Harbor is one of the best things to do in Hawaii. So it may come as a surprise that entering this historic site is free! However, keep in mind that you must make a reservation for Pearl Harbor National Memorial’s USS Arizona Memorial program through the Recreation.gov website.
Family Friendly Activities On Oahu
While you technically don’t have to pay for your ticket, the site charges a service fee of $1 per person to complete your reservation (non-refundable). After you receive your confirmation email, be sure to print your QR code or take a screenshot on your phone.
The Kuhio Beach Torchlighting and Hula Show is a free event across from the Hyatt Regency Waikiki. It takes place on the only authentic hula hill in Waikiki, near the Duke Kahanamoku statue.
Most of the year you can watch the program on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays (weather permitting) from 18:30 to 19:30. However, in the months of November, December and January it lasts from 18:00 to 19:00.
The performance begins with the blowing of a traditional shell and features authentic Hawaiian music and hula. There is plenty of seating on the grass, or you can bring a beach chair! Visit the official website here for more information.
Free Things To Do In Oahu, Hawaii (honolulu, North Shore, & More!)
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Oahu for free, check out the Duke Kahanamoku Statue. Located on Kuhio Beach, this bronze statue commemorates ‘the father of modern surfing’.
In addition to his incredible surfing skills, Duke was also a five-time Olympic medalist in swimming and a military police officer during World War II. As a way to honor his impressive legacy, visitors often pay tribute to the statue.
However, be aware that the Hawai’i Tourism Authority currently discourages this practice, as the acidity of the flowers degrades the bronze. So if you want to leave a slate here, place it at the feet of the statue.
While in Honolulu, you don’t want to see the Royal Hawaiian Band perform. King Kamehameha III created this band (originally called the “King’s Band”) in 1836 to perform at important state functions, funerals and parades. Today, it is the only full-time municipal band in the United States, appearing in more than 300 concerts and parades each year.
Best Things To Do In Waikiki, Hi (for 2023)
The Royal Hawaiian Band usually performs for free on Fridays at Iolani Palace and on Sundays at the Kapiʻolani Park Orchestra. However, we recommend checking their official calendar for exact times and locations.
You’ll find the Hawai’i State Art Museum (HISAM) in downtown Honolulu, located on the second floor of the no. 1 Capitol District Building. This public museum is open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 16:00 and admission is always free.
It takes about 30 minutes to an hour to see the exhibits, but it’s a great way to experience Hawaiian art! Watch a video tour of the museum here.
The Honolulu area is home to all kinds of amazing hiking opportunities! Two of the most popular free things to do in Oahu are the Manoa Falls Trail (moderate) and the Koko Crater Tramway to Koko Head Lookout (difficult).
Top Things To Do In Oahu, Hawaii
As for Manoa Falls, admission is free; however, you must pay $5 to park in the designated parking lot. In front of the Koko Head Stairs you can park for free at the Koko Head District Park car park.
Note that the most famous hike in Honolulu is Diamond Head (Moderate), which currently has a $5 entrance fee for non-Hawaiian residents along with a $10 parking fee. However, this price still puts Diamond Head in the category of the best cheap things. to do in Honolulu.
Always check trail conditions online before starting your trek, no matter which walk you choose. Trails in Hawaii sometimes close due to inclement weather! In addition, make sure you have a sturdy pair of walking shoes with good grip.
You’ll find the two-mile long Waikiki Historic Trail marked with bronze cast surfboards, starting at Kapiolani Beach Park and ending at Kalakaua Park. Along the way, you’ll learn about Waikiki’s history and culture, especially before it was the bustling area it is today.
One Week On Oahu, Hawaii — Gemini Connect
There are 21 markers on this self-guided walking tour, featuring locations such as the Hilton Hawaiian Village, the International Marketplace, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, and more. The surfboard markers are over six feet long, so they should be easy to spot!
There are only two unmarked stops: the Duke Kahanamoku Statue and the Healing Stones of Kapaemahu. Click here to learn more about the Waikiki Historic Trail and print a map.
Looking for the best free things to do in Honolulu at night? We highly recommend visiting the free fireworks display that the Hilton Hawaiian Village puts on every Friday. The show starts at 19:45. from September to May and 20:00 from June to August.
The fireworks only last about four minutes after they start. So you’ll want to arrive early to get a prime vantage point! We recommend bringing a beach towel and sitting along the beach at the Hilton Lagoon.
Things To Do On The East Shore (windward), Oahu
The Hilton Hawaiian Village fireworks display has been a tradition since 1988, finally returning in June 2022 after a two-year hiatus.
At 18 stories, Aloha Tower was once the tallest building in Honolulu. Today, this retired lighthouse is home to an observation deck that offers fantastic views of Honolulu Harbor and the Ko’olau Mountains. The 10th floor deck is open daily from 09:00 to 17:00. (weather permitting), and it’s completely free to visit.
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is located in Punchbowl Crater and honors the many men and women who have served in the United States military. Construction of this impressive cemetery was first completed in 1949.
Since then, around 53,000 veterans of the Second World War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War and their family members have been buried here. Notably, the famous World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle was one of the first to be buried here.
Things To Do In Oahu On A Small Budget
The cemetery is open every day from 08:00 to 18:00. and is free to visit. The site is well maintained and it is a sobering experience to pay respect to those who have given their lives in service. While you’re there, you won’t want to miss the beautiful view from the Punchbowl Scenic Lookout.
If you’re looking for the best things to do on the North Shore during your Oahu vacation, don’t miss Haleiwa’s highly Instagrammable surf spots. Carole Beller, a California artist, created these installations in 1996 to draw attention to Haleiwa Town.
Since then, these signs have become a popular place to stop and take photos as you drive by.
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