ONE DAY IN WAIKIKI ITINERARY
Updated: Dec 6, 2021
WAIKIKI is a neighborhood in the city of Honolulu, Hawaii. This is the tourist HOTSPOTS of all of the Hawaiian islands. Located on the island of Oahu, Waikiki first started attracting tourists to Hawaii due to the growth in the popularity of surfing as a sport.
Being such a tourist spot, you may ask "What is there to do?"
Thankfully for you, we spent a month living in Waikiki and have come up with this itinerary in order for you to have the perfect day.
933 Kapahulu Ave Honolulu, HI 96816
LEONARD'S BAKERY is actually pretty well known here in Waikiki, and it is for a good reason. They are known for their Malasadas, which are Portuguese donuts topped with cinnamon and sugar.
To be honest, we are not ones to jump to the very touristy eats right away because we often times get disappointed.
After two months of living on the island of Oahu, we decided to give it a try. We were NOT disappointed in this one!!
They sell an arrange of flavors that you can fill your malasada with. We tried the haupia (coconut) and the macadamia nut flavors.
Haupia was both of our favorite flavor, but we did wish that it had more of a strong coconut taste. This is just being very picky, as we are very enthusiastic about coconut.
If you are wanting more of a sit down breakfast, you should try Sweet E's Cafe (1006 Kapahulu Ave Honolulu, HI 96816). Sweet E's Cafe comes highly recommended to us by many locals as one of the best breakfast spots in Waikiki, although we have yet to try it.
Diamond Head Crater Hike
For a more visual idea of the Diamond Head hike, check out our YouTube video.
There are entry and parking fees for Diamond Head, so I suggest that you visit https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/parks/oahu/diamond-head-state-monument/ for the most up to date information.
Keep in mind that Diamond Head is the most popular hike on Oahu, so it is ALWAYS crowded. I recommend that you start the hike before 10am because the crowds around that time are the heaviest. Also, there is very little shade on the trail so it is best to not hike midday.
This hike is rated as moderate by the all trails app. I would also agree on this rating.
A lot of tourists are caught off guard at the difficulty of this hike, so I would not take this hike lightly.
The hike is 1.8 miles long out and back and is paved with guard rails. It took us around an hour to hike up and back, and that is with many stops for filming and rest. Keep in mind that we hike often and are both 26 years old.
At the end of your hike, I would recommend that you get a refreshment at the Honolulu Pineapple Co stand. A very popular thing to try here in Hawaii is DOLE WHIP. Dole Whip is a pineapple soft serve that originated in Hawaii!
Dole whip is always a must in our opinion!!
Things you should bring on your Diamond Head hike:
Lots of water
Hiking boots/tennis shoes
Credit card for entry
At this point, you may want to visit your hotel to freshen up for lunch because I guarantee that you will be pretty sweaty after your Diamond head hike! You may also want to grab your beach gear for a nice relaxing afternoon.
3308 Kanaina Ave Honolulu, HI 96815
Honestly there is nothing better than a Hawaiian plate lunch and this has been our favorite plate lunch that we have tried on the island.
This restaurant is very popular and well known, and I again agree that it is for a good reason.
To be honest, we have heard by many locals that most restaurants down Kapahulu Ave are the places that you want to eat in Waikiki vs the places down Kalakaua Ave (the beach road). They also tend to be must cheaper in price because you are going a bit off of the main beach stretch.
The day that we visited Rainbow Drive-In we shared the BBQ pork plate. This plate came with 2 large slices of pork, rice, and macaroni salad. This was enough to fill us both up (more so me than Sam).
They do give you generous portions!
The menu is very reasonably priced compared to most restaurants in Waikiki. Our plate lunch cost us $9.55. There are some plates more and some plates less, but what really surprised me is seeing the $4 burgers and sandwiches on the menu! That is a bargain!
There is only outside seating at Rainbow Drive-In so keep that in mind, but it is covered.
If you ask me, I would get the lunch To-Go and bring it to eat at Waikiki beach!
Although we have only eaten here one time, we will definitely be back again the next time that we make a trip to Waikiki.
Of course you have to go to Waikiki Beach whenever you are in Waikiki! Although it doesn't rank in our favorite beaches list, it is great to spend at least a day here.
If your hotel is right on the beach then great! Grab a towel or a beach chair and enjoy. The stretch of beach in front of the hotels tend to be the most crowded though for obvious reasons.
If it were up to me, I would walk down the beach just a little bit to find a more secluded spot that is not right in front of a hotel. This will also give you a nice little beach walk! You won't be that far away from people, but it is definitely better than being neck and neck with your neighbor in front of your hotel. I used to walk up and down the hotel zone and wonder how all of those people can be so close to one another.
The water at Waikiki beach has not been the clearest since we have been on Oahu. In fact out of all of the beaches that we have visited, this beach has had the worst visibility. I am not sure if this is seasonal or if it is because there are so many people polluting it, but that is just something that we have noticed.
Our favorite beach spot in Waikiki is at Queen's Beach and beyond. Queen's Beach is actually one of the best spots to snorkel in Waikiki due to the reef that extends close to shore. You will not find great snorkeling many other places in Waikiki other than around Queens and Sans Souci. This spot overall is less crowded than the majority of spots in Waikiki.
Queen's beach is also great due to the fact that there are many trees for shade and a bathroom and shower. Watch out for surfers here because this is a common surf spot.
Queens Beach is highlighted in red on the map. You will find it right passed the Waikiki Wall. You will also see people playing Volleyball!
Waikiki beach is also a great place to learn how to surf. You will see many business up and down the beach that you can buy a lesson from. Waikiki beach is typically a beginner surfing beach, so don't expect to see many amazing surfers out there.
If you stay long enough on the beach, Waikiki has an amazing sunset! I recommend that you continue walking passed Queens Beach towards Diamond Head for the best sunset. If you stay by all of the hotels, the buildings and mountain will cover up the sun and you will NOT get the best view.
Here is what we typically bring on our beach days:
Reef safe sunscreen
Lots of water/drinks
A change of clothes
To get a view of the sunset and to also see Queen's Beach snorkeling, watch this video!
International Market Place
2330 Kalakaua Ave Honolulu, HI 96815
Depending on your own preference, y0u may want to eat dinner before or after shopping!
Once you clean up after the beach and start to gain an appetite for dinner, you should definitely head to the International Market Place.
The International Market Place is a 3 story mall with hundreds of stores and restaurants. This mall is one of the most gorgeous malls that I have ever seen! It is decorated with Hawaiian decor everywhere that you look. You really don't even have to be shopping for anything in particular to enjoy your time here.
I easily can spend a good hour or two walking around and window shopping while taking in the Hawaiian ambiance. The stores range from affordable department stores to luxury clothing stores and everything in between.
Once gaining an appetite after walking around the mall, you should then head to dinner!
The International Marketplace has a food court and there are also several restaurants surrounding the mall.
2335 Kalakaua Ave, Unit 116, Honolulu, HI 96815
My recommendation for restaurants around the International Marketplace is Duke's Waikiki! This restaurant came highly recommended to us and we decided to give it a try.
The restaurant is located in the Outrigger hotel across from the mall.
Please note that dinner reservations are highly encouraged. We did not have reservations the day that we ate here and waited about an hour and 15 minutes to seat 5 of us.
We got seated at a table outside overlooking the beach in front of the hotel. On the day that we visited, there was live entertainment! The ambiance here was really relaxing and casual.
I did not try any adult beverages but some of my family members did, and they really enjoyed the margaritas.
The fish and chips were really awesome and if I ever go back, I would definitely get them again. I also tried some of the nachos here, and I really enjoyed them as well.
A famous dish at Dukes is their Hula Pie! Many people visit Dukes just to get a taste of their pie. The pie has a chocolate cookie crust, with macadamia nut ice cream, hot fudge, toasted mac nuts, and whipped cream. I totally wish that I would have tried this dessert when we visited, but we opted out.
It is pretty pricey to eat here, but so is everything else in Waikiki. An entree can range anywhere from $15-$25 dollars on average. You can browse their various menus before hand and get an idea on food items and prices before your visit.
If you cannot get into Duke's, I recommend trying their sister restaurant Hula's Grill Waikiki also located in the Outrigger Hotel.
Unfortunately the night life in Waikiki has changed pretty drastically since the pandemic, but if you are up to it, there are still some places that you can visit. We honestly aren't very big night life people, so these recommendations will be mixed of things that we have done and things that have come recommended to us!
We did have the opportunity to walk up and down Kalakaua Ave several times, which is popping when the sun goes down. There is everything from street performers juggling fire, magic acts, and musicians trying to make a buck from passing tourists.
If you just want to be entertained for free, I recommend just walking around and see what you can find. You will not be bored, I promise!
Maui Brewing Company.
2300 Kalakaua Ave Honolulu, HI 96815
We love Maui Brewing Company mainly for their Happy Hour, but we would not be disappointed if we visited at night. Keep in mind that they close at 10pm, but this would be an awesome place to visit post dinner.
Sam loves several of their beers including their Bikini Blonde and Big Swell. I always get their "sloshies" which is just an alcoholic slushie. It is a different flavor each day, and I have never been disappointed.
The food here is always hit or miss, so I would honestly just go for the drinks in order to play it safe.
Sky Waikiki Raw and Bar
2270 Kalakaua Ave, 19th floor
We have not visited this rooftop bar and restaurant, but we have heard of many people that have. You get an awesome panoramic view of Waikiki and Diamond Head. I totally think that this bar would be awesome at night time!
The restaurant is actually revolving, which is pretty awesome and a nice touch!
Their hours are 4pm-10pm.
If you end up trying this place out, let me know how you like it!
I honestly think that most of the clubs, dance halls, and karaoke bars have closed down since the pandemic. When in doubt, you can always visit your hotel bar!
Island Vintage Shave Ice (Honorable Mention)
Located on the outside of the International Market Place, you will know that you are in the right location when you see the line wrapping around the stand.
This has honestly been the best shave ice that we have tried so far on Oahu. Keep in mind that we have only tried a handful of places, but I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. The line is always super long, and I believe that we stood in line for an hour. Don't get discouraged by the line. I thought that it was worth the wait.
We tried the mango and pineapple flavor, and it came with ice cream in the middle as well as boa-boa and mochi. We also added chopped pineapple toppings.
Let us know down in the comments if you decide to visit any of these places, and what your thoughts are! Are there any other places that you recommend?