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Hawaii can be an expensive vacation, but if you’re staying on Waikiki, there are plenty of things to do for free. Here are 20 free things to do in Waikiki & Honolulu:
1.Kuhio Beach: Nothing beats a day at the beach! And they won’t charge you a dime to lay out your towel for the day and frolic in the clear blue water.
2.Watch the sunset: Sunsets on Waikiki are pretty magical. You can watch from the beach for free, or venture up to a resort poolside bar for a special treat.
3.Friday fireworks. Every Friday night, the Hilton Hawaiian Village shoots off fireworks in the skies over Waikiki. Watch from the lagoon in front of the Hilton or anywhere in Waikiki really.
4.Ala Moana Center Stage: The Ala Moana is Honolulu’s most prestigious shopping mall, and while the luxury brands there will certainly set you back, their Center Stage offers great entertainment. Check the schedule here.
5.Aloha Tower: Located in Honolulu Harbor, built in 1926 as a beacon to welcome visitors to Hawaii (who came almost entirely by boat), the 10th floor observation deck offers great views of Honolulu and the water.
6.Royal Hawaiian Hotel Tour: The iconic “Pink Palace of the Pacific” offers complimentary walking tours that showcase the hotel’s history every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 PM. Tours meet in the Royal Hawaiian Bakery.
7.Moana Surfrider Tour: Similarly, Waikiki’s first hotel, “the First Lady of Waikiki” also hosts complimentary historical tours every Monday and Wednesday at 11 AM in the Historical Room on the 2nd floor.
8.Hike Diamond Head: While although it technically costs $1/person to walk in, hiking Diamond Head is not to be missed and is a pretty economical adventure.
RELATED: Not very familiar with Oahu? Read up on the lay of the (is)land and where to stay plus my favorite beach resorts, budget hotels, condos, honeymoon resorts, family friendly resorts, luxury resorts, and boutique hotels.
Side Note: If you’re looking for a rental car for your trip, I LOVE Discount Hawaii Car Rentals. They’re seriously the only company I ever use. They’ll give you the very best prices, you don’t have to reserve with a credit card or pay until you show up, you can cancel and re-book anytime if you find a better rate, and they usually have a special that adds additional drivers for no fee. It’s a no brainer. Click here to check rates for your trip.
9.Honolulu Fish Auction: The Honolulu Fish Auction is the only tuna auction in the United States and quite an experience. It’s free and open to the public, but you’ll have to arrive early to see the show (6AM-8AM is preferred) and it’s chilly inside so bring a jacket!
10.Manoa Falls: A popular hike because it’s quick (1.6 miles round trip) and rewarding (hello waterfall!), this may be your easiest chance for waterfall gazing.
11.Hawaii State Capitol: Located in downtown Honolulu, self-guided tours are available 8:30 AM-3:30 PM Monday through Friday. Guided tours are available for the public on Wednesdays at 1 PM.
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12.Tantalus Lookout: Make the drive up to Puu Ualakaa State Park for amazing views of Honolulu, Waikiki, Diamond Head, and Pearl Harbor.
13.Royal Hawaiian Band Concerts: Weather permitting the Royal Hawaiian Band performs every Friday from 12-1 on the lawn of the Iolani Palace. Chairs are set up and a huge banyan tree provides nice shade.
14.Hawaii State Art Museum: Located on the 2nd floor of the No. 1 Capitol District Building in downtown Honolulu, HiSAM features rotating exhibits that highlight the art of the people of Hawaii.
15.Kawaiaha’o Church: Thought to be the oldest church in Hawaii, the “Westminster Abbey of the Pacific” holds services on Sundays in English and Hawaiian.
16.Honolulu Museum of Art: This world-class art museum offers free admission on the first Wednesday and third Sunday of every month.
17.Magic Island: This small manmade peninsula next to Ala Moana Beach Park has a nice protected lagoon to swim in. It’s also a great spot to watch the Friday night fireworks from.
18.USS Arizona Memorial: While some of the attractions at Pearl Harbor require a fee (USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park, the Battleship Missouri Memorial, and the Pacific Aviation Museum), tours of the USS Arizona and the two museums at the visitor’s center are free.
19.Torch Lighting and Hula Show: Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday under the banyan tree at Kuhio Beach, catch a ceremonial torch lighting and hula show.
20.Hawaii Army Museum: Open Tuesday-Saturday from 9-5, the Hawaii Army Museum is home to artifacts from ancient Hawaiian armies to more modern campaigns.
Thanks for sticking around and reading this whole post! It’s always my goal to provide a TON of value to YOU. To that end, lately I’ve been packing my Instagram (@hula.land) FULL of content and adventures that you might want to check out. A lot of my post captions are like mini blog posts with travel info, I’ve got IGTV review videos for luaus and excursions, and helpful story highlights like grocery store prices and hotel reviews. Not to mention that my feed is pretty much the ultimate tropical eye candy! You can follow me here and share my account with your friends! Your support really helps me to keep this blog running!
Also, if you have ANY questions about planning your trip to Hawaii, you can join my free Facebook group here. I’m in there answering questions every day and there are 5000+ other friends who have a ton of Hawaii information to share!
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