Honolulu is a special place. Oftentimes it’s people’s first introduction to Hawaii. It’s a bustling city on a volcanic island and you forget that everything has to be flown in, which means a trip can get pretty expensive. But it doesn’t have to be! Here are 5 free ways to enjoy Honolulu:
1) Hike Diamond Head
This is a bucket list no-brainer for obvious reasons. Look at that view! The trail takes you to the edge of a 300,000 year old crater and offers breathtaking views of the Pacific and Waikiki.
While the hike isn’t that long in terms of distance, it can be somewhat challenging due to its ascent. Parts of the trail are over uneven rock, and the 99 steps near the end of the hike are steep. But you’ll see kids as young as 5 and adults as old as 75 up there.
If you go, keep in mind no one is permitted to hike after 4:30 PM, as the hike takes about a 1.5-2 hours (round trip). Parking is limited and the park can get busy. Also, this is technically not free – but it’s close enough – it costs $1 per person to hike or $5 per car.
2) Catch the Friday Night fireworks
Every Friday night at 7:45 p.m., the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort & Spa puts on an amazing fireworks show on the beachfront of the hotel. While the fireworks can be seen from afar, a great place to see the show is from the Duke Kahanamoku Lagoon or the patio of Tropics Bar and Grill. Wherever you end up, arrive early to snag a good spot!
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3) See a traditional hula show
The Waikiki Hula Show features authentic Hawaiian music and hula shows by Hawaii’s finest hula halau hula (dance troupes) and Hawaiian performers. Shows take place at 6:30pm on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound, near the Duke Kahanamoku statue.
4) Enjoy live music
Most of the major resorts like the Royal Hawaiian and the Outrigger Reef and shopping centers in Waikiki offer free live entertainment daily. Hawaii.com offers an extensive list here.
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5) Hit Waikiki Beach
It’s one of the most iconic beaches in the world and the best part about it is it’s free! Avoid the crowds by headed toward the sand near the Kapi’olani park instead of right in the heart of the city.
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