Once a playground for the Hawaiian royal family, Wakiki is now a playground for the millions of people who visit Hawaii each year. Wakiki is the home of surfing. Where once Hawaiian Royalty would ride the easy surf on handmade longboards, today it is difficult to find a wave all to yourself, thanks to the number of people who take surfing lessons at Wakiki in order to learn how to conquer the waves which often roll into the shore as one long break.
The beachfront these days is almost wall-to-wall hotels, with many being located along the main boulevard of Kalakaua Avenue. Most of the most luxurious and best known hotels are situated here, along with many of the best brand name shops.
One of the major attractions on the avenue is the Royal Hawaiian Centre, one of Hawaii’s largest shopping malls which covers three blocks and has 110 shops and restaurants. As well as the shopping and dining, the center is a great place to enjoy local entertainers or to learn something of the Hawaiian culture by participating in lei making or hula lessons.
Even though the Royal Hawaiian Center is a commercial operation, it also plays an important social role in the local community as profits generated by the centre are used to fund education programs for Hawaiian students.
Wakiki extends from the Ala Wai Canal eastwards to the imposing Diamond Head. Despite its fame, the beach itself is not overly long. For those seeking entertainment, Kuhio Avenue is the place to go as it is almost chokes with restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs which see it erupt with vibrancy, particularly at night when people are seeking fun after a hard day’s sunbaking on the beach or around the pool.
Another of the local attractions is the Honolulu Zoo, which is located in Kapiolani Park close to Diamond Head. Covering 42 acres, the zoo boasts a collection of 950 animals which mainly originate in the tropics.
To learn more about the area you should take the Wakiki Historic Trail, an inter4rsting walk on which it is difficult to lose your way mainly because most of the landmarks are indicated by a bronze surfboard upon which is written all the pertinent information and history of the spot you are visiting.