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Aloha Oahu

Aloha OahuOkay, guys — who knows the killer spots on Oahu? Mr. Lovely and I are getting ready to head to Hawaii later this month, and I’m so pumped! He’s never been before, and the last time I went was years ago. Also, the last time I was there it was a beautiful trip but pretty touristy. This time we’re looking for off-the-beaten-path, live-like-a-local type stuff. I’m talking hole in the wall restaurants, hidden beaches, and the spots that you won’t find hanging out on Waikiki.

I’d love to know if you’ve been to Oahu and had an experience you were pumped about! Don’t be shy — leave a comment and we’ll put it on our list of to-dos. Aloha! xoxo


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21 thoughts on “Aloha Oahu

  1. You have to go to the North Shore! My boyfriend and I drove around and stopped for fresh fruits at roadside stands. If you go all the way up Kamehameha Highway (and stop in the little towns along the way!), Waimea Beach is a winner. Drive on past that, to Haleiwa, and you’ll see a park of food trucks and stands. We had the best garlic shrimp and rice there of my entire life at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck:


  2. I went to oahu a few years ago and did the whole touristy circle in wakiki, hanama bay, dole pineapple you name it! id love to go back and do it local style, Looks like Mel knows some taking notes 🙂

  3. Yes! Oahu is amazing. We had a really relaxing long weekend there back in February.
    Some recs:
    – eat at the blue water shrimp truck, it’s amazing. Especially the one at North Shore. It’s WAY better than Giovanni’s.
    – Matsumoto Shave Ice in the North Shore
    – Red Velvet Pancakes at Mac 24/7
    – We rented a car and downloaded an app called Gypsy Guide. It takes you on a tour around the island, hitting all the cool spots like Dole Plantation, North Shore and Turtle Bay.
    – If you are going to Pearl Harbor, make sure to book the tickets in advance!
    -Marukame Udon for ramen. YUM.
    – Leonard’s Bakery for malasadas is a must.

    Have fun!

  4. My mom is from Oahu and a lot of family lives near Waikiki. I second going to Leonard’s Bakery for malasadas! Dobash and haupia are my favorite. If you’re on Oahu June 14, check out the King Kamehameha Day parade and celebration.

  5. Hawaii is magical! Definitely check out the Grass Skirt Grill on the North Shore- best fish I’ve ever had in my LIFE! It’s cash only, so be prepared. In Honolulu, the absolute best coffee is at Island Vintage. They also have the most phenomenal lunch food. I forgot what it’s called, but they have a giant salad with smoked ahi tuna salad and pistachios that I still dream about a year later. There’s a spot up the coast that’s called “the blowhole” that you should stop and see. Just don’t get too close, you could get sucked in! Have a wonderful time!!

  6. We’ve lived on Oahu for the past 3-4 years and there are some amazing spots that most people don’t know about or don’t have time to go to!

    As for beaches, the south shore has tons of beautiful ones! But really, anywhere you go, there are beautiful beaches!

    – Bellows (part of the air force base): it is open to the public from Friday @ 12pm until midnight on Sunday (closed on the weekdays for military training). Calmer waves with a decent sandbar that you can walk out into.
    – Sandy Beach: rough waves – most people body surf or boogie board there
    – Lanikai: located in Lanikai/Kailua – it used to be more secretive but now it gets pretty crowded as more people know about it. You’ll park in residential parking and walk to the beach. This beach has the iconic twin Mokulua islands that you see in postcards, etc.
    – Chinaman’s hat/Kualoa Beach Park: you can go to the beach and if the tide is low, you can walk out to chinaman’s hat
    – Lagoons at Ko’olina (West Oahu): calm & beautiful

    – Sweet Home Waimanalo (south shore): delicious local, fresh food
    – Cinnamon’s (Kailua): delicious breakfast, known for their red velvet pancakes
    – Keneke’s (down the street from sweet home waimanalo or on the north shore): local hawaiian food
    – Little Village (chinatown): I haven’t personally eaten there myself but I’ve heard good things
    – Shirokiya (ala moana mall): it’s like a little japan town with delicious cheap food (and beer garden for like $1) and shopping.
    – Tamura’s (Kailua), The Hibachi (Kailua), Nico’s (by the airport), Fresh Catch (Kaneohe) & Uncle’s (by the airport): delicious Poke!
    – Monkeypod (Kapolei): I heard this place was really awesome too

    There are TONS of farmer’s markets going on throughout the week & weekend…there are tons of food stands and delicious treats you can buy there. I highly recommend checking one out!

    If you like hiking, there are tons of beautiful hikes. Check out – this is the website I use to see reviews/pictures of hikes, beaches, and other activities. The hikes are categorized by level of difficulty so it’s a really good resource.
    *A popular but easy & gorgeous hike is the Makapu’u Lighthouse hike…you can also go down to the tide pools by diverting off the path…if the tide is low enough, you can swim in the tide pools as well.

    There’s so much more but this is what I could think of for now. I hope you have a wonderful time here!

  7. – Eat garlic shrimp from Giovanni’s shrimp truck on North Shore.
    – Marukame Udon in Waikiki. I can’t stop wishing there was one in San Diego.
    – Do the Tantalus/Round Top Drive to Pu’u Ualaka’a State Park.

    1. Oh, and to clarify: seriously consider trying the kamaage udon at Marukame Udon. It requires dipping freshly boiled, still-hot udon noodles in a delish dipping sauce that’s also served hot. Add on any of the tempura goodness offered alongside, and you’re golden.

  8. Ko Olina lagoons are amazing! One day mermaids showed up and it was incredible! My son was 5 and he talked to them for an hour! Lol! The lagoons are protected by large man made rock formations so it’s super safe and wonderful to just hang in the water. The Disney Aulani while touristy is very cool and we had a ball visiting there. We enjoyed the spa at the Marriott, wild animals just walking around! Have so much fun, Hawaii is so beautiful. 🙂

  9. I live on Oahu and you should try:
    Ice Gardens in Aiea-Very, soft and yummy Shave Ice. Try the homemade mochi balls!
    Sunnyside in Wahiawa-It’s on the way to North Shore. The burgers are homemade and their chocolate creme pie is awesome. My dad grew up eating there when he was a kid.
    Ko Olina-Try the first lagoon. It is right next to the Paradise Cove Parking lot. Not that easy to spot but there is a small pathway with a chain link fence. Sometimes there are sea turtles swimming in the water. Less crowded than the other lagoons.
    A slice of Anna Miller’s (restaurant) pie. I love the strawberry or banana cream pie. It is located in Pearl City.
    Ted’s Bakery on the North Shore. Try the chocolate haupia pie or anything haupia. It’s amazing.
    Tamura’s market: Spicy ahi poke bowl
    Enjoy your trip! It is nice and sunny right now. Please send a like to my daughter Chloe’s drawing (the one with King Kamehameha on the canoe with the kids on the globe) on Aloha Festivals page on Facebook (in Photos), if you have the time. She is my budding, little artist!

  10. hi chelsea!
    i’m from la (cerritos) and i moved to oahu couple years ago and it’s definitely a different, but beautiful change. here are my suggestions:
    my #1 fav is 12th Ave Grill! 🙂
    Rainbow Drive-in – chili dog plate & slush float!
    Kim Chee2 in Kaimuki – duk ramen and meat jun, BOMB. 3569 Waialae Ave Honolulu, HI 96816 (808) 737-7733
    12th Ave. Grill in Kaimuki – everything local, their specials of the days are always the best.
    Ethel’s Grill in Kalihi – my good friend’s family mom & pop restaurant, open for breakfast and lunch, closed on Sundays. A total total small hole in the wall. 232 Kalihi St Honolulu, HI 96819 (808) 847-6467
    Pint+Jigger – cool dive bar feeling with good bar food, great beers on tap.
    Salt Bar & Kitchen in Kaimuki – they do all that charcuterie stuff and cure their own meat..
    V-Louge in Ala Moana – good thin crust pizza with soft poached egg, arugula and prosciutto type pizzas! Good late night snack
    Marukame Udon – cheap, good udon in Waikiki off of Kuhio and they just opened one in Downtown. They get pretty busy with a crazy line but it moves fast!
    MW – former chef/pastry chef, husband and wife duo opened their own restaurant. Amazing:
    Samurai – flavored soft serve in Aiea, so good.
    Things to do…
    Easy/Moderate: Makapu’u Lighthouse Hike – all paved, good view of Waimanalo and East Oahu (on the way to Waimanalo, past Sandys Beach), Hanauma Bay Hike – mostly paved (depending on where you enter from)… You park in the neighborhood (On Nawiliwili St. off of Kalanianaole HWY), walk out to the highway and there’s a chained off area that has a small walk way up – you can take that up and it will lead you to the paved road OR you can walk all the way up the highway till you see the Hanauma Bay state park sign and enter through there (both are about 2.5-3 miles, should take you about less than an hour)
    Moderate/Difficult: Mariner’s Ridge Hike or Kuliouou Hike
    Beach?? Lanikai beach, Kaimana beach… IDK – I don’t go to the beach! 😛

    have fun! hopefully the humidity won’t be 100-thousand degrees when you come!! xoxo

  11. I lived there for 4 years so feel free to ask away! You can also check out my blog since I’ve done a couple of posts on Oahu specifically. 🙂

  12. Highway Inn (in Waipahu, not Honolulu)
    Liliha Bakery
    Kamehameha Bakery
    Soul de Cuba
    Cinnamon’s (in Kailua)

    I mean… the list could go on.

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