Hawaii in a Nutshell: Waikiki

On your way to Hawaii and don’t know where to eat, stay or shop? We’ve got you covered…


Duke’s Waikiki

Right on the sand of Waikiki beach, it would be difficult to find a restaurant with a better view! With a rich history and a barefoot bar, Duke’s is the perfect place to sip cocktails and pretend you’re a local! The above photo was taken from my table on the balcony, priceless.

Moana Terrace

On the roof of the Waikiki Beach Marriot Resort and Spa, Moana Terrace is a great place to soak up some sun and live entertainment poolside! Especially great for appetizers and cocktails, everything we ordered from Moana Terrace was amazing! Definitely try their fruit salad – served in a pineapple bowl… Bliss!

The Cheesecake Factory

There’s nothing more American than the Cheesecake Factory, and you can see why so many people loved it! If you’re planning the Cheesecake Factory for dinner, you want to try and be in before 6pm, after that wait time can exceed 1-2 hours! Meals are cheap, delicious and gigantic! Also, one of the only places I found a real salad.


Where to stay really depends on your budget. My recommendations are that if you’re trying to stay as close as you can to the action, choose a hotel/hostel along Waikiki Beach or Kalakaua Avenue. Kalakaua Ave is the main street in Waikiki, and includes cafes and restaurants, late night shopping and bars and clubs. Some popular choices include Hilton Hawaiian Village, Sheraton Waikiki and Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort if you’re looking to stay on Waikiki with AMAZING views.

We stayed at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani. Only a 2 minute walk from the beach, right on Kalakaua Ave. While it didn’t have the infinity pools and endless views of the ocean like some of the others mentioned above, it was much more affordable, was in the perfect location and offered a great breakfast buffet every morning. Special bonus: The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani also included free international calls, taking all the hassle out of calling loved ones at home!


Ala Moana Shopping Centre

My favourite shopping centre on Oahu. Ala Moana is a half indoors half outdoors shopping centre, that offers every shop you can think of. Including everything from souvenir shops to high end fashion, as well as a great selection of bars and restaurants, you could spend a whole day just at Ala Moana (we nearly did)! Definitely worth a visit, especially to the big American department stores we don’t have at home – they often have heavily reduced designer items

Kalakaua Ave

There is nothing to fault Kalakaua Ave. With shops open until 11pm almost every night, it is the ultimate late night shopping destination. Shops on Kalakaua are often a big bigger to those in Ala Moana, especially Forever 21 (it’s 4 stories!!) and Victoria’s Secret, offering more options and different items in store. We had many late night dinners with a whole bunch of shipping bags hidden under the table.

Honolulu Cookie Company

Just thought I would mention this one, as it is a great gift to take home! Honolulu Cookie Company makes the best cookies, in the shape of mini pineapples. With heaps of different flavours to choose from, including White Chocolate Coconut, Pineapple Macadamia and Kona Coffee, there is something new and different for everyone. We picked up a few of their variety boxes (also shaped like pineapples) to take home for our families, and they were the perfect gift.

For more travel tips and to keep up to date with our adventures make sure you subscribe to our newsletter today

Pin for later: 

Emma Shaw

Emma is a travel photographer and blogger, living in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Thom in between adventures. She started A Make Believe World to share her experiences, travel tips and destination advice with others, and to show that you can still explore the world while holding down a 9-5 job and paying off a mortgage!

Leave a Reply