If you’re planning a trip to Waikiki, Hawaii, you’re in for a treat! This bustling beachfront neighborhood is not only known for its stunning sunsets and crystal-clear waters, but also for its vibrant events and celebrations that bring the streets alive with excitement. From traditional Hawaiian festivals to lively music concerts and exhilarating sporting events, Waikiki offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, a foodie, or simply looking to have a good time, this article will guide you through the best events in Waikiki Hawaii that you definitely don’t want to miss. So grab your sunscreen and get ready to immerse yourself in the spirit of Aloha!
Waikiki Steel Guitar Festival
If you are a fan of the unique and mesmerizing sound of the steel guitar, then the Waikiki Steel Guitar Festival is an event you don’t want to miss. Held annually in Waikiki, this festival brings together some of the world’s most talented steel guitar players for a weekend of enchanting performances. You can immerse yourself in the beautiful melodies and intricate fingerpicking techniques that make this instrument so captivating. Whether you are a seasoned steel guitar enthusiast or simply looking to discover a new musical passion, the Waikiki Steel Guitar Festival is a must-visit event.
Waikiki Beach Walk Concerts
Imagine strolling along the picturesque beaches of Waikiki, feeling the warm sand beneath your feet, and being serenaded by live music. That’s exactly what you can experience at the Waikiki Beach Walk Concerts. This series of free concerts showcases local musicians and artists, offering a diverse range of musical genres, from Hawaiian melodies to contemporary pop. Grab a beach towel, find a cozy spot on the sand, and let the music transport you to a state of pure bliss. Whether you’re a music lover or simply looking to unwind and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, the Waikiki Beach Walk Concerts are the perfect way to spend a tropical evening.
Waikiki Spam Jam
Spam lovers rejoice! The Waikiki Spam Jam is a delightful celebration of Hawaii’s unique love affair with this canned meat. Held annually on Kalakaua Avenue, this festival brings together food vendors, local restaurants, and live entertainment, all centered around one common ingredient – Spam. From Spam musubi to Spam burgers, you’ll find a wide variety of creative dishes featuring this beloved island staple. Indulge in the flavors of Hawaii, sample delicious Spam-infused treats, and enjoy the lively atmosphere of this one-of-a-kind food festival. The Waikiki Spam Jam is a tasty and fun event that showcases the unique culinary culture of Hawaii.
Annual Prince Kuhio Celebration
Honoring the legacy of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole, the Annual Prince Kuhio Celebration is a vibrant cultural event that pays tribute to this influential figure in Hawaiian history. The celebration features a wide range of activities, including traditional Hawaiian music performances, hula dances, art exhibits, and educational workshops. Learn about the fascinating history and cultural traditions of Hawaii through interactive displays and engaging presentations. The Annual Prince Kuhio Celebration is a fantastic opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of the islands and gain a deeper appreciation for the people and stories that have shaped Hawaii.
Experience the true spirit of aloha at the Aloha Festivals, an annual series of events that celebrate Hawaiian culture and traditions. Spanning several months, these festivals include various activities such as hula performances, live music concerts, street parades, and craft fairs. Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors, rhythmic dances, and enchanting music that embody the essence of Hawaii. The Aloha Festivals offer a unique opportunity to connect with the local community, learn about Hawaiian customs, and enjoy the warm hospitality that the islands are renowned for. It’s a celebration of all things Hawaiian and a joyful experience you won’t want to miss.
Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival
For lovers of acoustic guitar music, the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival is a dream come true. Named after the unique fingerstyle technique used by Hawaiian musicians, this festival showcases the best in slack key guitar talent. From soulful ballads to lively melodies, you’ll be transported to a world of soothing sounds and intricate musical compositions. The festival features performances by both seasoned musicians and up-and-coming artists, offering a blend of traditional and contemporary slack key guitar styles. Whether you’re a seasoned music connoisseur or simply appreciate the beauty of acoustic melodies, the Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Festival is an event that will leave you captivated and inspired.
If you’re a fan of long-distance running or seeking a unique athletic challenge, the Honolulu Marathon is an event that should be on your bucket list. Held annually in December, this iconic race attracts thousands of participants from around the world. The course takes runners through the scenic streets of Honolulu, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the city’s iconic landmarks. Experience the contagious energy of the crowd, the support of enthusiastic volunteers, and the sheer joy of crossing the finish line in one of the most beautiful locations on Earth. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a first-time participant, the Honolulu Marathon promises an unforgettable experience that combines athletics with stunning natural beauty.
Waikiki, with its famous waves and pristine beaches, is a haven for surfers from all over the world. Throughout the year, various surfing competitions take place in this mecca of wave riding, attracting both professional surfers and enthusiastic spectators. Watch as skilled athletes effortlessly glide along the waves, performing gravity-defying maneuvers that showcase their mastery of the sport. Feel the excitement in the air as competitors showcase their skills and strive for victory. Whether you’re a seasoned surfer or simply appreciate the beauty and skill of the sport, watching a surfing competition in Waikiki is an exhilarating experience that highlights the true essence of Hawaii’s surf culture.
Waikiki Roughwater Swim
Dive into the crystal-clear waters of Waikiki and participate in the Waikiki Roughwater Swim, an annual open water swimming event that attracts swimmers of all ages and abilities. This challenging race takes participants along the famous stretch of coastline, known for its turquoise waters and gentle waves. From seasoned athletes looking to test their endurance to casual swimmers seeking a memorable experience, the Waikiki Roughwater Swim provides an opportunity to push your limits and embrace the beauty of the ocean. The energy and camaraderie among participants create a supportive and uplifting atmosphere, making this event a must for water sports enthusiasts and those looking to challenge themselves in a truly breathtaking setting.
Friday Night Fireworks at Hilton Hawaiian Village
Spend your Friday evening marveling at a spectacular fireworks display against the backdrop of the beautiful Hilton Hawaiian Village resort. This weekly event is a beloved tradition in Waikiki, attracting both locals and visitors alike. Find a cozy spot on the beach, lay out a blanket, and prepare to be dazzled as the night sky illuminates with vibrant colors and sparkling lights. Delight in the magical atmosphere created by the combination of fireworks, live music, and the gentle ocean breeze. Whether you’re looking for a romantic date night or a fun family outing, the Friday Night Fireworks at Hilton Hawaiian Village is an enchanting experience that will leave you in awe.
Waikiki Beachboy’s Fireworks
Head down to Waikiki Beach and witness the mesmerizing fireworks display presented by the Waikiki Beachboy’s. Every Tuesday, this lively beachfront event captivates audiences as pyrotechnics light up the night sky with a symphony of colors. Feel the excitement build as the countdown begins, then experience the sheer joy and wonder as the fireworks explode overhead. The Waikiki Beachboy’s Fireworks show is a beloved local tradition that attracts both tourists and residents, creating a vibrant and festive atmosphere. Whether you’re looking for a memorable way to end your day or simply want to witness the magic of fireworks over the ocean, this event is bound to leave you with memories that last a lifetime.
Art and Cultural Exhibitions
Art Walk at Hilton Hawaiian Village
Embrace your artistic side with a leisurely stroll through the Art Walk at Hilton Hawaiian Village. This monthly event showcases the works of local artists, offering a diverse range of paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and more. The beautifully curated displays provide an opportunity to discover and appreciate the talent and creativity that thrives in Hawaii. Engage with the artists, learn about their inspirations, and perhaps even take home a unique piece of art as a memento of your time in Waikiki. The Art Walk at Hilton Hawaiian Village is a captivating experience that celebrates the rich artistic heritage of the islands and allows you to connect with the vibrant local art scene.
Immerse yourself in a world of artistic expressions at the Waikiki Artfest, a biannual event that brings together talented artists and artisans from around the island. This vibrant art fair features a wide variety of mediums, including paintings, photography, jewelry, ceramics, and more. Explore the colorful booths, chat with the artists, and witness live demonstrations that showcase the creative process. Whether you’re looking to add a unique piece to your art collection or simply want to appreciate the beauty and talent of local artists, the Waikiki Artfest offers a delightful experience that combines art, culture, and community.
Hula Show at Kuhio Beach
No visit to Hawaii is complete without experiencing the graceful movements and enchanting storytelling of hula dancing. At Kuhio Beach, you can witness the beauty of this traditional dance form during the Hula Show, held several times a week. Watch as skilled dancers sway their hips and tell stories through their gestures and expressions, accompanied by the melodic sounds of live Hawaiian music. Feel the deep connection to the culture and heritage of the islands as the hula dancers honor the traditions and legends of Hawaii. The Hula Show at Kuhio Beach is a captivating display of artistry and a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich cultural traditions of the islands.
Local Food Festivals
Taste of Waikiki
Indulge your taste buds and experience the culinary delights of Waikiki at the Taste of Waikiki, an annual food festival that celebrates the diverse flavors of the islands. Sample an array of mouthwatering dishes prepared by renowned local chefs and restaurants. From traditional Hawaiian fare to international fusion cuisine, you’ll find a variety of dishes that showcase the unique flavors and ingredients of Hawaii. As you savor each bite, enjoy live entertainment and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this food lover’s paradise. The Taste of Waikiki is a fantastic opportunity to expand your culinary horizons, try new flavors, and gain a deeper appreciation for the vibrant food scene in Waikiki.
Hawaiian Food & Wine Festival
Combine your love for food and wine at the Hawaiian Food & Wine Festival, an annual event that celebrates the art of culinary excellence. This multi-day festival features renowned chefs, sommeliers, and mixologists from around the world, who come together to create unique dining experiences and showcase the best of Hawaiian cuisine. Indulge in a variety of gourmet dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients, paired with exquisite wines and inventive cocktails. From intimate chef tastings to grand gala events, the Hawaiian Food & Wine Festival offers a range of culinary experiences that highlight the flavors, talent, and innovation of the Hawaiian culinary scene. It’s a feast for all the senses and a must-attend event for food and wine enthusiasts.
Water Sports Competitions
Named in honor of legendary surfer Duke Kahanamoku, Duke’s Oceanfest is an annual event that celebrates the spirit of water sports and outdoor athleticism. Held in Waikiki, this multi-day festival brings together athletes from around the world to compete in a variety of ocean-related sports such as surfing, paddleboarding, swimming, and more. Watch as skilled athletes ride the waves, showcase their endurance, and push the boundaries of what is possible in the water. The vibrant atmosphere, enthusiastic crowd, and the breathtaking backdrop of Waikiki’s beaches create an electrifying experience for both competitors and spectators. Whether you’re an avid water sports fan or simply enjoy watching top athletes in action, Duke’s Oceanfest is a thrilling event that showcases the thrill and beauty of ocean-based athletics.
Waikiki Tandem Surfing World Championships
Prepare to be amazed as couples display their incredible balance, grace, and coordination in the Waikiki Tandem Surfing World Championships. This unique event features teams of surfers riding the waves together on a single board, performing complex acrobatic maneuvers and gravity-defying lifts. The seamless synchronization between partners and the sheer athleticism on display are a sight to behold. Whether you’re an experienced tandem surfer or simply appreciate the skill and artistry of this sport, the Waikiki Tandem Surfing World Championships offer a thrilling spectacle that showcases the incredible teamwork and talent of this specialized discipline.
New Year’s Eve Events
Waikiki Beach New Year’s Eve Celebration
Say goodbye to the old year and welcome the new one with a grand celebration on the famous Waikiki Beach. The Waikiki Beach New Year’s Eve Celebration is a lively event that attracts revelers of all ages. Enjoy live music performances, dance the night away with friends and loved ones, and count down the seconds until midnight with the stunning fireworks display that lights up the night sky. The joyful atmosphere, the sound of laughter and cheer, and the anticipation of a fresh start make this event a memorable way to bid farewell to the past and welcome the future in style. Join the festivities at Waikiki Beach and create unforgettable memories as you ring in the New Year in paradise.
Aloha Tower New Year’s Eve Party
For a New Year’s Eve celebration with a touch of elegance and sophistication, head to the Aloha Tower. This iconic landmark hosts an annual New Year’s Eve party that promises a night of glamour, fine dining, and unforgettable entertainment. Enjoy a gourmet dinner prepared by renowned chefs, savor world-class cocktails, and dance to live music as you wait for the stroke of midnight. Witness the spectacle of fireworks lighting up the sky over the breathtaking Honolulu Harbor, creating a dazzling backdrop for this grand celebration. The Aloha Tower New Year’s Eve Party is a glamorous affair that allows you to welcome the New Year in style and create cherished memories in the heart of Waikiki.
Hawaiian Christmas Celebration
Experience the magic of Christmas in Waikiki at the Hawaiian Christmas Celebration. This festive event brings together the community and visitors alike to celebrate the holiday season with a Hawaiian twist. Enjoy live music, dance performances, and the dazzling display of Christmas lights that decorate the streets of Waikiki. From traditional holiday favorites to unique Hawaiian customs, the Hawaiian Christmas Celebration offers a delightful blend of cultures and traditions. Embrace the joy and spirit of the season, take part in festive activities, and immerse yourself in the warm hospitality and Aloha spirit that Hawaii is known for. It’s a celebration that reminds us that Christmas is truly a time for love, joy, and unity.
Kuhio Beach Hula Show on Memorial Day
Cultural heritage and remembrance merge at the Kuhio Beach Hula Show on Memorial Day. This special edition of the regular hula show pays tribute to the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces. Enjoy captivating hula performances, the rhythmic beats of traditional Hawaiian music, and the spirit of aloha that permeates the event. The Kuhio Beach Hula Show is a beautiful way to honor the sacrifices of those who have fought for our freedom while celebrating the rich cultural traditions that make Hawaii so unique. Take a moment to reflect, appreciate, and embrace the profound meaning of Memorial Day in this heartwarming and soul-stirring celebration.
Waikiki Block Party
Get ready for a lively street festival that transforms the heart of Waikiki into a vibrant celebration of music, dance, and community spirit. The Waikiki Block Party is an annual event that features live performances, street vendors, food trucks, and a diverse array of activities for all ages. Dance to the rhythmic beats of local bands, browse through unique arts and crafts booths, and savor delicious street food as you soak in the infectious energy of the crowd. The Waikiki Block Party is an opportunity to connect with the local community, experience the lively culture of Waikiki, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Aloha Festivals Waikiki Ho’olaule’a
Join thousands of locals and visitors at the Aloha Festivals Waikiki Ho’olaule’a, a grand street festival that celebrates the spirit and traditions of Hawaii. This annual event spans several blocks of Kalakaua Avenue, transforming the iconic street into a bustling hub of entertainment, food, and cultural displays. Immerse yourself in Hawaiian music, hula dances, and live performances that showcase the diverse talent of the islands. Indulge in a variety of delicious local cuisine, shop for unique crafts and souvenirs, and experience the warm aloha spirit that defines Hawaii. The Aloha Festivals Waikiki Ho’olaule’a is an experience that epitomizes the essence of Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage and the joyous spirit of aloha.
In Waikiki, there is never a shortage of exciting events and celebrations to keep you entertained. Whether you’re a music aficionado, a sports enthusiast, an art lover, a foodie, or simply seeking unique cultural experiences, the events in Waikiki have something to offer everyone. From the enchanting melodies of the Waikiki Steel Guitar Festival to the energetic rhythms of the Waikiki Block Party, each event showcases the rich and vibrant culture of Hawaii. So, be sure to mark your calendar and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and flavors of Waikiki’s best events.