Top things to do in Waikiki at night

This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian)

Woman enjoying a beautiful sunset on the beach, one of the things to do in Waikiki at night
Watching the sunset is definitely one of the best things to do in Waikiki at night!

While planning our honeymoon we kept on reading that Waikiki Beach is one of the most expensive areas in Oahu. Of course I knew that during our vacation we could take advantage of a few tips to save money in Hawaii, but I needed to think of something we could do when the sun set. Possibly without breaking the bank! Since I think it will be useful to many of you, let me offer a comprehensive list of cool things to do in Waikiki at night. All of them have been tested and approved: there’s something for every pocket! You will find romantic cruises, top notch restaurants as well as… pizza, karaoke and stargazing! Let’s have a look at what to do in Waikiki at night!

Old style microphone on stage at Blue Note Hawaii
Jazz music or sick dance beats: two faces of Waikiki by night!

Dance at top clubs, bars and lounges

When the sun goes down, Waikiki starts singing and dancing. If you think luaus are the only thing that goes on in Oahu, you’re in for a surprise! Waikiki Beach is the island’s main party district. Trendy lounges and over-the-top clubs are everywhere. Let’s see what are some of the best you can go to, and why we loved them!

  • Blue Note Hawaii: do you like Jazz music? Then add a visit to this iconic lounge to your list of things to do in Waikiki at night! Located in the Outrigger resorts, Blue Note Hawaii always has great live music, from local talents to international sensation… all in a stylish setting that we immediately fell in love with!
  • Rumfire: popular among the locals, it’s one of the highlights of Waikiki nightlife. Everyone loves this posh beachside lounge, especially because of their creative cocktails and Asian fusion cuisine. While view from the bar is absolutely breathtaking, I suggest you get down to their dance floor: parties at Rumfire are known to be absolutely epic!
  • Duke’s Waikiki: Duke’s is a lively place to drink, eat, dance and just enjoy the aloha spirit. You can sit right on the beach, remove your shoes and relax with your feet in the warm sand, or run wild at one of their hot parties. The name of this old school tiki-bar pays homage to the surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku.
  • Mai Tai: this bar at The Royal Hawaiian Resort is known for making one of the 5 best Mai Tai in Waikiki! You can sit overlooking the beach (sunsets here are unforgettable) sipping your cocktail, or enjoy their delicious snacks before to go out clubbing. While prices are quite high, it is to be expected because Mai Tai is located in a luxury hotel. Yet the service is quick and everyone kept on smiling at us: we never felt more welcome!
  • Ginza Night Club: while when we read “Ginza” we can’t help but think of our trip to Japan, this night club has nothing to do with the Land of the Rising sun. It is in fact one of the best dance spots in Honolulu, with 3 bars and 2 levels of vip table service options. Every Friday and Saturday the dance floor bursts with energy until the wee hours of the morning. You can find the Ginza Night Club at Ala Moana Hotel in Downtown Honolulu: drink lots of coffee and maybe an energy drink before you go there!
  • Bar 35: in case you’re getting worried everything is too expensive in our list of things to do in Waikiki at night, we’ve got you! Bar 35 is the perfect hipster lounge with brick walls, home-brewed beer and great music. It’s a place where you can have a tall mug of good beer and pizza without having to break the bank. A night out at Bar 35 can be one of the most fun things to do in Honolulu at night or a homely pizza-date. Up to you!
  • Maui Brewing Company: A great place to taste a pint (or two) of home-brewed beer. This place has the all-American feel of a beer bar: it’s lively, funny, and they play great music. If you’re on a Hawaii vacation with a group of friends, add it to your list of things to do in Waikiki at night. You won’t be disappointed!

Starry sky at Duke Kahanamoku beach with silhouettes of palm trees
Stargazing in Waikiki is one of the most romantic things to do in Hawaii!

Romance your significant other on the best Waikiki beaches

The stretch of white sand of about 2 miles, commonly called “Waikiki Beach“, goes from the Hilton Hawaiian Village to Kapi’olani Park. Because of the indiscriminate cementation and of the erosion, these beaches have almost disappeared. The sand we see today comes from Papohaku Beach, on the nearby island of Molokai. While lots of people crowd the beaches during the day, at night you will mostly have them all to yourself. A romantic date at the beach or a beach picnic can thus also be two amazing things to do in Waikiki at night. Stargazing… or watching the fireworks (keep reading for more info)!

The most beautiful beaches that we just fell in love with are:

  • Kahanamoku Beach – Located on the other side of the Hilton Hawaiian Village , it features a beautiful coral reef. The area is very quiet, and during the day it’s the best place to go to for snorkeling and swimming.
  • Central Waikiki Beach – The first beach we’ve explored as soon as we arrived in Waikiki! Since we only had to cross the street from our hotel to get there, we loved to walk under the stars after dinner or after having a nice drink. During the day it’s overcrowded, and at night it can be still a bit noisy because of all the restaurants and bars, but heck, we just loved to take off our shoes and walk on the warm sand!
  • Sans Souci Beach Park – Another one of our favorite beaches in Waikiki, next to the New Otani Kaimana Beach Hotel. It’s one of the beaches that were never crowded when we visited, not even during the day! It’s a bit off the beaten path, away from the crowds, so it can be perfect for a romantic date under the stars.
Deejay live set with people dancing at Ginza Night Club in Waikiki at night
If you want to spend a wild night in Waikiki head over to Ginza Night Club!

Book a segway tour up Diamond Head

The crater that is the backdrop to Waikiki and the wealthy neighborhood of Kahala is called Diamond Head and it’s probably the most popular attraction in O’ahu. The ancient Hawaiians called it Le’ahi and on its summit they built a temple dedicated to the God of War, Ku: here they used to practice human sacrifices.
The name “Diamond Head” came in 1825 when a few British sailors mistook the Calcium crystals shining in the sun for diamonds.

During the day hiking Diamond Head means having to deal with crowds and heat waves. Yet if you visit at night, it can be definitely more fun! Segway of Hawaii is a tour operator that offers sunset tours of Diamond Head… on segways!
I don’t know about you but I’m terribly clumsy. So I won’t lie: I fell on my bum twice. If you are game, definitely try them because they were absolutely great. Otherwise you can hike Diamond head at sunset for free: be aware that Diamond Head Park closes at 6 pm!

The fireworks show on Friday night in Waikiki
The fireworks show on Friday should definitely be in your list of things to do in Waikiki at night!

Enjoy the Waikiki weekly fireworks

Among all the things to do in Waikiki at night you should definitely try to find some time on Friday evening for the Waikiki fireworks. Organized by the
Hilton Hawaiian Village at the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon (did you notice the big building with a rainbow on the side in the Waikiki skyline? That’s it!), they start at about 7:45 pm.
This show lasts about 10 minutes and it is generally a very nice way to end your week. If you are stargazing on the beach (we have watched them from Central Waikiki Beach) you can watch the show for free. Yet at Hilton Hawaiian Village (here you can find the best deals in case you decide to stay there), they have a special screening by the pool for the guests who are lodging at the hotel. It’s very posh and romantic!

Things to do in Waikiki at night | A cruise ship sailing off the Waikiki Coast at night
Cocktail cruises can be so much fun: bring your camera with you!

Treat yourself to a Cocktail cruise

If you want to pamper yourself on a luxury cruise on a 52 feet catamaran, you can add an evening cruise to your list of things to do in Waikiki at night. A Oahu Cocktail cruise is a mix of music, great cocktails (of course!) and a dinner with an all-you-can-eat formula. If you’re lucky enough to book a late afternoon cruise, you will be treated to a swoonworthy sunset. On Friday nights you can watch the fireworks show from the catamaran! Which is one of the very cool things that usually make Instagram go crazy!

Cocktail with a slice of pineapple and fresh mint served in a tiki mug in a bar at Waikiki Beach
If you want to experience the Waikiki nightlife but don’t feel like dancing head over to one of the many lounge bars

Stroll down Kalakaua Avenue

Known as the “Heart of Waikiki“, Kalakaua Avenue is a touristy spot that you should go to at least once during your trip to Hawaii. At night they lit high torches that give the whole street a surreal feel. You will be treated to the sweet scent of flowers in the air, the sound of original Hawaiian ukulele songs… and lots of tourists. That’s because Kalakawa Avenue is full of restaurants and bars. But hey, feeling like a tourist for once won’t hurt you, right? We actually found it cool because it was our first time visiting Hawaii so it was a different experience for us!
Along Kalakawa Avenue there’s also an often crowded Hard Rock Café that has live music events every day of the week.

Children dressed in traditional costumes dancing hula at a luau in Waikiki
In the are around Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon there are often free hula dancers shows at sunset

Attend a Luau

Another one of the “touristy” things to do in Waikiki at night that you should experience is a traditional luau. I’m not saying it’s touristy to offend the local culture, which in fact I love, but because whenever we’ve attended a luau… it was full of noisy tourists.
Please, if you want to enjoy this kind of event, be respectful of others and of the performers!

Luaus are shows with hula dancers, tasty food and fire dancers. Aha’aina Royal Luau at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel (here you can find the best deals for this hotel) is an upscale show that happens on Waikiki Beach on Mondays. At Hilton Hawaiian Village you can get a more interactive experience with the Waikiki Starlight Luau (Sunday-Thursday). On Fridays they also host the Rockin’ Hawaiian Rainbow Revue, a party with Hawaiian music a torch lighting ceremony and hula dancers.

Woman with a red bandana on her head singing karaoke
If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary try a karaoke night in Waikiki!

Sing your heart out at Karaoke

As you probably already know, sometimes we love to share a laugh by singing at karaoke. While our karaoke experience in Tokyo was much more secluded, at Wang Chung’s, located in the Stay Hotel Waikiki, they have a long list of fan favorites that you can scroll to see if you find a song you would like to sing. There’s usually a long queue, because the venue is quite popular, but it’s far from boring. Wang Chung’s is always buzzing with life and it’s one of the most LGBTQ friendly places we’ve been to. So I couldn’t help myself: I had to add it to my list of things to do at Waikiki at night! I hope you get the chance to go because it was a cool and fun experience for us!

Is your list of things to do in Waikiki at night ready? Have a look at our tips to save money in Hawaii: it’s the best way to avoid the tourist traps!

Pin it for later!
Are you planning a trip to Hawaii? Let me show you the best Hawaii nightlife in Oahu, at Waikiki Beach! With options for every pocket, from jazz clubs to clubbing, cocktail cruises and cool bars. Planning your honeymoon? Then go for a walk on the beach under the starry sky or attend a traditional luau! | #hawaii #waikiki

45 Comments

  1. Sandy N Vyjay

    Waikiki is such a beautiful place and there are so many sights and experiences.Hawaii is, of course, nothing less than a paradise and Waikiki seems to be a star of this paradise. The beaches, of course, are the piece de resistance, but apart from that we would love to visit the old hotels, their architecture looks so magnificent.

  2. Carmen Edelson

    Wow, this is such a fantastic guide. I’ll definitely bookmark for the future. I’m definitely interested in the foodie tour and fireworks, I didn’t know about those! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Tasha Haley

    It sounds like there are a lot of free things you can enjoy in Waikiki. I especially love the number of beaches. We travel with a little one and it is always important to find some great beaches. I really want to go to Waikiki so I will take these places and add them to my itinerary when I go!

    1. I believe that traveling with a little one you might want to skip the central beaches because they can be too overcrowded, unless you’re going early in the morning or late at night. The others are way more quiet and safer for kids because there aren’t catamarans coming up to the beach or too many surfers! Are you planning a trip over there?

  4. AMIT AGRAWAL

    Waikiki beaches are so prefect holiday destination. You have taken great shots. Also there are many free things to do which is tempting. The greenery of Kapiolani park is soothing. Aloha cruise looks so luxurious.

    1. You know what I will always remember? The scent of flowers in the air… and that when we were leaving for Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines they put on the Hawaii 5-0 jingle: we couldn’t stop giggling!!! And we also went to see all the places where they shot the series, unfortunately we never met the actors 🙁

  5. Abby

    I’ve never been to Waikiki, or Hawaii, but it’s on my list. Those beaches sound interesting. I just googled some of them out of curiosity, and boy are they amazing. I have a weakness for gorgeous white sand beaches!

  6. Archana Singh

    WOW! I had not heard before waikkiki beach before. Loved the free things you shared. I love exploring new places like the locals do – and locals don’t spend money on touristy stuff. They enjoy the free things. The Aloha cruise and white sand beach stretch looks gorgeous.

  7. Joella

    I like your tip of arriving at the beach early. I find this is the best time to meet locals and really enjoy a place without all the crowds. Waikiki seems like a beautiful destination and I love the list of free options you have provided. It is always great if you can save some money while still visiting the best a place has to offer.

    1. Oh yes we do it in Italy too! It’s the perfect time to enjoy the beach without the crowds and the sun isn’t too hot yet, so you can just relax on the sand. I’m glad you found it interesting and I hope it’ll be useful in future!

  8. Claire Summers

    I love yur photos of the marine life! So cool. I’m going to Hawaii next month and this post has made me even more excited. I’ve made a note of all the beaches you recommend and I’m going to check some of them out. Thank you so much!

  9. Jamie

    It is so nice to have a list of FREE things to do in a city. Usually those free things allow you to experience the heart and people of the location, instead of the typical tourist attractions. Waikiki is wonderful and has something for everyone.

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      Jamie

      It is so nice to have a list of FREE things to do in a city. Usually those free things allow you to experience the heart and people of the location, instead of the typical tourist attractions. Waikiki is wonderful and has something for everyone.
      3:05 p.m., Monday June 19 | Other comments by Jamie

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  10. Bhushavali

    I get what you’re saying! That’s an assumption we make about many tourist destination. I assumed everything is costly in London while after going there I found so many free things to do!
    The Kapiolani park looks gorgeous. The greenery is breathtaking! Yes, Lost was majorly shot in Hawaii. To see its location would be awesome!

    1. But the free things aren’t as widely advertised, so people have no idea and often end up caught into tourist traps!
      Oh lost was mostly shot in Kualoa Ranch! We are fans of Hawaii 5-0 so we went to see their filming locations and didn’t explore too much about Lost, but I’m sure I’ve seen a lot at the ranch!

  11. Elisa Subirats

    I have always associated Hawaii with lots of volcanoes full of lava. I was surprised to see so many tall buildings instead. Is it like this on all the Hawaii Islands? I think I would like to see the aquarium, it must be interesting to see fishes, turtles and other from this part of the world

    1. I think it’s mostly like this in Honolulu, and Oahu. Maui for example is much less crowded and it’s definitely wilder. Every island has its characteristics, but they’re all so beautiful! The aquarium is very nice and informative, I always make sure to stop at one if I have time!

  12. Brianna

    It’s great to know there are so many more public beaches than just the main one. Though I’m sure many of them get just as crowded! How do you recommend getting from one place to another? Did you rent a car, or rely on taxis?

    1. We rented a car because honestly taxis are SO expensive and the public trasport seemed unreliable from what I’d heard, so we choose not to risk it! Parking was a bit of a mess but our hotel had a complimentary parking and in the evening we just walked around so we didn’t have to fight to find a parking spot! Yet if you want to avoid the crowded beaches, you absolutely can’t stay at the city center: it’s hell! We used our car mostly to explore new beaches during the day, just to get out of the messy city center!

  13. Punita Malhotra

    The Hawaiian dancers have such genuinely happy expressions! I’m sure the vibe is infectious 🙂 I am surely going to visit the old hotels that you mention.

  14. Danik Bates

    Hawaii is high up on my list but have to be honest, I don’t really know where to start but after reading this post Waikiki looks like it has to be explored. I so want to hit those beaches as well 😀

  15. Sherri

    I love Hawaii and will keep this in mind for next time I visit Oahu again! There is so much to see and do that I can’t cover it all in one vacation. 🙂 Love it!

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