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    Waikiki Neighborhood Guide

    Waikiki, Hawaii’s popular tourist destination, is situated in the southern region of Honolulu on Oahu Island and is known for its beaches, luxury resorts, shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Waikiki translates to “spouting fresh water,” where it was once home to several freshwater springs which flowed directly into the ocean – read below to gain more insight into this rich historical legacy of Waikiki!

    History of Waikiki 

    In the late 1800s, King Kalakaua constructed his summer palace at Waikiki Beach to draw more visitors to this area. However, after being overthrown by US forces in 1893 and being annexed into America in 1898, U. S. military bases began to be established in Hawaii, which helped modernize and attract tourism. Within decades, wealthy American families visited Hawaii regularly and built vacation homes in Waikiki. Waikiki quickly gained popularity as a tourist destination with the construction of luxury hotels such as Royal Hawaiian and Moana Surfrider hotels. Over time, however, Waikiki underwent further development, with shopping centers, high-rise buildings, and other attractions sprouting in this coastal community. Waikiki remains one of the top tourist spots in Hawaii, drawing millions of visitors each year. It boasts an abundant cultural history and houses many important sites – such as the Waikiki War Memorial Natatorium, which is currently closed yet remains a place of great natural beauty that showcases Hawaiian resilience and culture.  

    Waikiki Activities


    Waikiki is famous for its surfing, with ample opportunity for beginners and advanced surfers alike to catch some waves. Many surf schools provide lessons and rentals so visitors can experience surfing right where it all began!


    Waikiki offers amazing snorkeling opportunities, with clear waters offering access to colorful fish, sea turtles, and coral reefs for discovery. Popular locations for snorkeling in Waikiki include Hanauma Bay, Turtle Canyon, and the Waikiki Beach area.

    Diamond Head Hike:

    Diamond Head is an iconic landmark on the eastern end of Waikiki, and hiking to its summit provides stunning views of Honolulu’s coastline and cityscape. This hike covers approximately 1.6 miles round trip and usually takes 1-2 hours, depending on your pace; moderately challenging with steep stairs and a narrow tunnel at its conclusion, yet worth every bit of effort once you arrive at its summit!

    Sunset Sailing in Waikiki:

    Enjoying one of Waikiki’s breathtaking sunsets is best experienced on a sunset sail, offered by many local companies that take visitors out into the open ocean to view it set beyond the horizon – making for an experience that is both peaceful, romantic, and truly unforgettable.


    Hawaiian Luaus are traditional celebrations that combine food, music, dancing, and cultural performances into an enjoyable experience. In Waikiki, there are several luaus where visitors can experience Hawaiian culture through live music and hula dancing; two popular choices are Royal Hawaiian Luau and Paradise Cove Luau.

    Places to Visit:

    Waikiki Beach:

    This world-famous beach lies at the core of Waikiki and is one of the top tourist spots in Hawaii, drawing thousands upon thousands every year. Spanning for two miles along its coastal edge, it provides excellent swimming, surfing, and sunbathing facilities, as well as being lined by hotels, restaurants, and shops, making for an idyllic place to soak up some rays while appreciating Hawaii’s scenic splendor.

    Honolulu Zoo:

    Situated at the center of Waikiki, the Honolulu Zoo features animals from all around the globe – elephants, tigers, and primates alike! Plus, there’s also a children’s zoo, petting zoo, and botanical garden to keep little ones busy for an entertaining and educational day trip! Make this stop on your Hawaii itinerary part of your family outing for memorable family fun and learning!

    Hawaii Opera Theatre:

    Located in Waikiki’s heartland, Hawaii Opera Theatre is an outstanding performing arts center offering opera, ballet, and musical performances throughout the year – it should not be missed by fans of the performing arts!

    International Market Place:

    Situated in the center of Waikiki, The International Market Place offers shopping and dining experiences in an intimate, vibrant environment. Offering shops, restaurants, cafes, live entertainment events, cultural performances, and cultural displays. Visitors can stroll among quaint boutiques while sampling Hawaiian food or simply relaxing and taking in its vibrant atmosphere.

    Waikiki Aquarium:

    An absolute must for marine life enthusiasts and conservationists. Home to over 3,000 animals representing 500 species – many only found here – it provides an incredible insight into marine life conservation in Hawaii. The aquarium features exhibits that showcase Hawaii and global marine life. Highlights of the Hawaii Monk Seal Habitat, Coral Farm, Edge of the Reef exhibit, and Pacific Islands display are among the many highlights available to visitors. The aquarium features several interactive exhibits that enable visitors to gain more knowledge about marine life and conservation initiatives. The Ocean Discovery Center features touch tanks with sea stars, sea urchins, and other marine life, while the Hawaiian Fish Wall allows visitors to identify Hawaii-native fish species. Guided tours provided by knowledgeable and friendly staff members cover topics including Hawaiian marine life, coral reef ecology, and conservation efforts; private tours for groups or families are also available.

    Waikiki Public Schools:

    Ala Wai Elementary School:

    503 Kamoku Street in Honolulu is open now – click hereto visit their website.

    Waikiki Elementary School:

    Can be found at 3710 Leahi Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815 – click hereto visit their website.

    Washington Middle School:

    Can be found at 1633 S King Street in Honolulu, and their website can be found here

    Kaimuki High School:

    Can be found at 2705 Kaimuki Avenue in Honolulu, and their website can be viewed here

    Private schools near Waikiki

    Iolani School:

    Serves grades K-12 at 563 Kamoku Street in Honolulu. For more information and application procedures, please clickhere. Academically, ‘Iolani is well known for its dedication to academic excellence and innovation. Offering both honors and Advanced Placement courses as well as independent study projects for its students. This school consistently performs well on standardized tests while producing individuals who are accepted into some of the nation’s most selective colleges and universities. Iolani School is well known for its comprehensive athletics program, which encompasses football, basketball, volleyball, and swimming teams. Over time it has won multiple state championships across these sports.

    Looking for an Oahu Realtor?

    Are you planning to sell or buy your property in Waikiki? Working with experienced and knowledgeable real estate agents in Waikiki can make all the difference. The Ihara Team can provide you with valuable home buying and selling tips tailored to the Waikiki real estate market. We can also help you explore different neighborhoods in Waikiki and provide insights into the schools of Waikiki. When you’re looking to find the right home, explore property listings, and find homes for sale in Waikiki that meet your needs. We can also connect you with lenders for mortgages and financing options and offer closing assistance. Once the deal is done, we can recommend moving services to ensure a smooth transition to your new home. Looking for a Waikiki realtor?  Schedule a free real estate planning session with the Ihara Team, your trusted Waikiki Realtor.  

    See Waikiki houses for sale below.

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