Uniquely Local Stuff
We've made up a list of things to do on Oahu that costs
little or selected to give you a flavor of Hawaii local style.
They are in no particular order.
- Drive up the Nuuanu Pali Road to
enjoy the canopy of trees and vines. This road parallels the Pali
Highway for about one mile.
- Stop at the Pali Lookout and enjoy the
panoramic view of the windward side.
- Visit the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.
It's operated by National Parks Service, is free (?), has a great
museum and boat ride to the memorial itself.
- Visit Punchbowl National Memorial Cemetery,
enjoy the view from the lookout and admire the fabulous mosaic panels
at the memorial hall dedicated to WWII, Korean and Vietnam Wars.
- Drive H3 highway,
especially in the morning, both ways. It cuts through the lush Halawa
Valley and comes out through Haiku Valley. Very scenic.
- Eat a Vietnamese sandwich at any of the Bale
Sandwich Shops. Freshly baked French bread with pate and
Vietnamese veggies. ($4).
- Have Pho (Vietnamese soup) at A Little Bit of
Saigon or Hale Vietnam for a different
- Go for a scenic drive up the Windward coast to the North
Shore. Check out the little towns and big surf at Banzai
Pipeline, Tables, and all the surf spots you see in the movies for
- Stop in Haleiwa at Matsumoto's
for shave ice, the quintessential local treat ($2). Haleiwa is a small
North shore town with shops, etc.
- Enjoys a Kalbi Plate Lunch at Yummy's
or any of the many plate lunch stands. Good local Korean food. ($6).
- Get a saimin at Zippy's or Shiro's
Saimin Haven. Get the special ($7). Not the usual Chinese sui
mein or Japanese ramen. Local grinds.
- Drive the southeast coast and stop at Hanauma Bay.
Very crowded nowadays, but the view is great. $6.
- A bit further is Halona Blowhole Lookout.
On a clear day you can see Molokai and Lanai
- Past Makapuu Lookout about 6 miles is
the town of Kailua and Kailua Beach, voted the
Number One beach in the U.S.
- Take a drive up Roundtop Drive and come
down Tantalus Drive. Stop off partway up at Ualakaa
State Park for a view of Honolulu spread below your feet.
Enjoy the cool forested drive.
- Visit Ko Olina Resort on the Leeward
Coast. Stroll along the beaches and hotel fronts. Hotel's too
expensive, but the grounds are exquisite.
- Visit the restored Iolani Palace. ($)
Docents provide tours for a small fee. The only royal palace in the
- Enjoy the nearby Mission Houses Museum
($) or historic Kawaiahao Church.
- Find a Bon Dance and join in or just
watch. These Japanese community dances, frequently in costume,
commemorate the dearly departed. Some also have lighted lanterns
floating off the shore, represent the spirits. Everyone is welcomed.
Check the community section of the newspapers.
- Grab a drink (or Coke) at Hilton Hawaiian Village
Hotel on Friday nights at the side lounge where Jerry
Santos sings local songs by guitar. It's free and Jerry is
- Find a Ki Alo (Slack Key Guitar)
session somewhere. It's uniquely Hawaiian. We have CDs for you to
- Find the Brothers Cazimero show
somewhere. Robert and Roland are special to our local music. Very
polished, they played at Lincoln Center several years ago.
- For culture, visit Bishop Museum ($15)
and / or the Honolulu Academy of Art ($5), both
world renown for Polynesian collection and art respectively.
This just touches what makes Hawaii special. We haven't
the usual big name attractions as you can pick the out yourselves,
(Polynesian Cultural Center ($40), Sea
Waimea Park, all the Waikiki shows,
Two things will help you make friends in the Islands.
- Try not to say "at home, we have ….." , "back in
the states…." , "this is just like…..". It's very
easy to compare, but the reality is that each place is unique and
should be enjoyed for what it is, not what it resembles.
- Don't say "Stateside"; say "Mainland" instead. It's
insulting to forget that Hawaii is one of the fifty states in the
United States of America.
Meet the people. They truly are what makes
The scenery and places are great, but the people reflect why we
choose to live here.
Hopefully, you can find time to sample some of the above list.
Holler if you need more info.
last update March 2006