Waikiki With a Twist

Photo by Keith Roper

A modern twist to Hawaii's busiest spot

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First-time visitors to Waikiki tend to stick with the same places and activities. Walk down the street and you will see 10 different people trying to sell you the same experience. However, whether it’s your first time in Waikiki or you like to make the trip every year, it’s always fun to go a little bit outside the box on vacation. If you’ve already experienced the great touristy things Waikiki has to offer, consider breaking away from the pack, going off the beaten path, and adding a twist to your trip to Waikiki.

Catch a jazz show, try a different kind of restaurant, or plan a romantic date solving riddles. There is no shortage of things to do in Waikiki, yet most people don’t even scrape the surface.

Get on the Water in Waikiki

What better place to learn to canoe or paddleboard than one of surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku favorite spots? The word “Waikiki” translates to “spouting waters” in Hawaiian, and it definitely lives up to the name. Everybody takes surfing lessons, so why not try something a little different like an outrigger canoe or paddleboard? You can rent one and try yourself or hire someone to teach you how. The beach is littered with different companies where you can book a lesson or rental. Consider a legendary group like the Waikiki Beach Boys for surfboards, paddle boards, and outriggers.

If you want to grab a quick dose of ocean spray, a Booze Cruise catamaran is a great way to spend some time out in the water with minimal effort.

Shopping and Eating Out

There are almost too many places to eat and shop along the streets of Waikiki. Most people get so overwhelmed with the choices, they end up having dinner at one of the over-priced tourist traps with sub-par food and drinks. Try something a little different like Hawaii’s revolving restaurant, Top of Waikiki, or take a break from the Hawaiian Regional Cuisine at Buho’s Mexican Cantina. Hideout at the Laylow Hotel is a great rooftop spot for drinks. Get tropical with a drink inside of a hollowed-out pineapple or coconut at Cuckoo Coconuts Tiki Bar. Step into Japan at Waikiki Yokocho, a unique food alley right in the middle of Waikiki.

For a unique Hawaiian souvenir, check out, Waikiki Christmas Store, a boutiquey holiday store with several locations around the state.

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Sights and Sounds

If you’ve already done all the luaus and island tours, consider some local activities with a little twist. Breakout Waikiki is super popular with the residents, and it is within walking distance from most Waikiki hotels. Catch a concert at Blue Note or even a magic show at Magic of Polynesia.

To get a little bit of history without leaving Waikiki, take a walk down Kalakaua Avenue and check out the Four Sacred Stones of Waikiki.

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