There’s a new vibe in Waikiki - one of the most happening beaches in the world - that brings together the best of its eclectic multi-cultural energy with the soul of aloha wrapped in a fresh and exciting art and music scene. Here are five ways to tap into the best of Waikiki's energy, culture, and surf scene that will make you embrace a local saying ... lucky we live Hawaii.
1. Dive in into the local art scene
Waikiki's new art scene is a diverse and multi-cultural blend of ancient techniques accented with a hip modern aloha vibe. Showcasing the rising stars of Waikiki’s art scene is the new lifestyle hotel Waikiki Beachcomber by Outrigger. Recently renovated, it formed The Beachcomber Originals - an artistic collective - featuring twelve breakout local artists in its “B Original” series that weaves together beach culture, music, and local art.
Extreme-surf photographer, Zak Noyle's work is featured in every guest room and around the property. Printmaker Abigail Romanchak fuses a Hawaiian sense of identity into textured wall prints. And Margo Ray is best known for her massive mural featuring a colorful homage to legendary hula dancer Beverly Noa.
2. Discover Waikiki's musical heritage
Imagine the soft sounds of Hawaii’s slack key guitar music wafting around every street corner. In the 1960s and ‘70s, Waikīkī was the place to get discovered as a musician... back when Do Ho was king and ragtime hapa haole filled the air.
Today, Waikiki's musical tradition is strong with a fresh spontaneity to the music. A table of musicians' friends sit close to the stage and are brought up for a duet or hula. Cultural Director and native, Luana Maitland curates Grammy-nominated local artists to play nightly at the poolside Kani Ka Pila Grille. Down the street, the Hula Grill hosts local favorite performers five nights a week. While the Waikiki Beachcomber hosts monthly jam sessions at Aroma Café.
For all the big band feels of Waikiki's yesteryear head to the Blue Note Hawaii with a top line up of visiting and resident musicians with two shows nightly 365 days a year.
3. Get Wet
Don’t just put your toes into the turquoise water of Waikiki, get wet! Beginner-friendly, it's one of the most forgiving breaks to learn to surf. You don’t have to paddle far. Nor worry about getting "kissed" by the reef. A soft rolling wave, there's time to balance before standing up. For first-timers, book a semi-private lesson with Faith Surf School, where an encouraging instructor pushes you into the waves.
Stand-up paddling and outrigger canoe surfing are also on the menu. Or hop aboard a catamaran. The Holokai is a stunning 49 passenger catamaran that sails multiple times a day on sunset tours and a Turtle Canyon snorkel sails where you may see Hawaiian spinner dolphins or humpback whales while rounding around Diamond Head.
4. Duke’s on Sundays
Sundays at Waikiki are an institution where locals and tourists gather for a beach party like no other. Dance at Duke's Waikiki at their sunset sesh with legendary Hawaiian musician Henry Kapono. Local kids hop on stage and sing a set to the claps and cheers of the crowd. Solo dancers feel the vibes on the beach and groove with their toes in the sand. Families surf with their keiki while sunset catamaran tours pull in and out of the beach. After the sun goes down and the moon rises up, wind down with a moonlit walk on Waikiki's white sandy beach.
5. Dine Aloha-style
Fuel up and start the day off right with breakfast at the Hawaiian Aroma Café for both the best acai bowls and cappuccinos on the island. For a tasty mid-day snack walk down “surfboard alley” where Banán Waikiki Beach Shack sells locally grown banana dairy-free soft serve in a papaya boat. For happy hour head to the Maui Brewing Company for a flight of island-made coconut hiwa porter and pineapple beer. Then pair dinner with live Hawaiian music at the at poolside Kani Ka Pila Grille or the Blue Note Hawaii.