For part 3 of my Hawaii trip, Mike and I took a day trip to the ever so popular Waikiki Beach! Although we stayed in Kailua during our Hawaiian vacation, there was no way we were missing out on all the fun things to do in Waikiki.
Diamond Head Hike
Driving from Kailua Beach to Waikiki, we decided to take a detour and hike up the Diamond Head. Not knowing what to expect, we sunscreened up and brought plenty of water to keep us hydrated. The hike only took us about 30 minutes, but then again we did have proper hiking shoes, as opposed to flip-flops or even high heels (don’t ask, I have no idea what some people are thinking when they decide to hike up a volcano – albeit one that is no longer active but still!) and we didn’t have any kids with us or strollers (even though the signs clearly said no strollers, some people were adamant that they could push the strollers up the trail). There are a lot of people going up and down the hiking trail and both lanes of “traffic” are busy, so unless there is enough room to pass the person in front of you, hiking etiquette says you can really only go as fast as the person in front of you. Regardless of how long it takes, the view from the top is breathtaking and worth the sweat!
Things To Do In Waikiki
Despite the arm and a leg that you pay for parking (more on that below), I can now appreciate why tourists gravitate towards Waikiki. This beachfront neighborhood offers everything from world class shopping to restaurants that are masters in gastronomy. Not to mention there is a lot of activity on the streets to keep you entertained and of course there is the beach! Whether you are in the water, soaking up some rays, or people watching on shore – there is something for everyone.
Even before going to Honolulu, I knew that the shopping would be spectacular. My sister told me to save up and top up my shopping fund because I would need it (yes, I make it a point to create a shopping fund when I travel so I can spend guilt free). I was giddy with excitement even before getting to Ala Moana Center, but as soon as I stepped inside the mall I was salivating. There are actually more than enough stores along Kalakaua Ave to satisfy most shoppers, but who’s kidding who? There was no way the shopaholic in me would go to Honolulu without venturing to Ala Moana. There were so many stores I didn’t know where to start. I couldn’t diddle-daddle because we had dinner plans with my good friend Neal, so I was a women on a mission and bee-lined it to my favourite stores. Whenever I go shopping, Mike and I usually head off on our own because the poor guy hates to shop and prefers to wait at a pub or coffee shop, whereas I like to throw myself into retail therapy and I don’t want him knowing the kind of workout I put my credit card through so . . . it really is just better for our marriage this way :).
After some intense shopping (on my part) Mike and I met up with a Neal at the infamous Duke’s Restaurant and Bar in the Outrigger Reef Resort. I have to say, this was a five star experience for several reasons:
- Food: the food was amazing and there was a great selection to satiate whatever type of food you are craving. We started with the crispy coconut crusted black tiger shrimp (I could have eaten that all day). For our meals, Neal and I both ordered the sautéed mac nut and herb crusted fish (the best seafood dish I had while in Hawaii) and Mike ordered the Huli Huli Chicken, which earned him a raised eyebrow from Neal because why wouldn’t you eat fish/seafood while in Hawaii? Most people would jump at the chance to load up on the fresh seafood, but Mike doesn’t like seafood so chicken it is!
- Dessert: we had the Hula Pie (well, okay it was mostly me who polished it off). If you’ve never tried it before, it is worth going to Duke’s just for this Pie.
- Price: I thought the drinks, appetizers, and entrees were all reasonably priced and most importantly the portions were more than enough to satisfy your appetite. I’ve been to some restaurants where the food and presentation were great, but I had to have a second dinner because I was still hungry.
- Service: the staff were all friendly, attentive, and responsive. It wasn’t the type of restaurant where the waiters and waitresses avoided eye contact as they zipped from one table to the next. They came over frequently enough to see how we were doing, but not often enough that it got annoying.
- Atmosphere: Duke’s is an extremely lively place and during dinner a trio came around to serenade us with traditional Hawaiian music. We also had the perfect view of the Hawaiian sunset and that was definitely a Kodak moment.
- Location: Duke’s is located in the Outrigger Reef Resort, which is on Kalakaua Avenue so it is easy to get to after a day of shopping or laying on the beach.
Parking in Waikiki
One of the most common complaints about Waikiki is the cost of parking. Here are some things I discovered that could help you save on parking:
- There is free street parking on Ala Wai Boulevard, but read the street signs carefully as there are days when they clean the streets so you won’t be able to park there.
- Check with the shops and restaurants to see if they will validate parking (most do).
- Try the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Centre Park as most of the shops will validate parking.
What is your list of things to do in Waikiki?
Want to read more about Hawaii? Check out these posts:
These stories and adventures give me something to smile about everyday, I hope that it brings you a little something too.