Travel Oahu – Experience Hawaii Like A Local

Every year millions of visitors from Japan, mainland USA and beyond land at

Honolulu International Airport ready to begin their vacation in paradise. Soon after

landing, most visitors hop in a cab or bus sent from the hotel and begin the journey

past downtown Honolulu and on to their reservation at a Waikiki hotel.

The allure of Waikiki is immediate. The packed streets, sounds of the beach, and

exotic histories call to the traveler who soon hits the streets. Venturing out in

Waikiki can be quite exciting. The streets are filled with foreign languages, throngs

of tourists are dressed in their beach best, and the beginning of surf history can be

seen at the end of the street. Waikiki can be so exciting that many visitors never

escape its imaginary borders. Approximately 6 million of these visitors miss the very

sites that locals find so endearing, remaining within the two square miles of Waikiki.

For those travelers interested in seeing Oahu through its residents’ eyes, please

read on.

Magic Island Beach Park – This popular park is located just west of

Waikiki, across the street from the Ala Moana Shopping Center. The park includes

two beaches, a three mile jogging path, tennis courts, and more. A walk around the

park will expose the center of Hawaiian culture – the family. Large extended families

gather around hibachis, spending the day together with a good food and plenty of

sun. The beaches are significantly less crowded, so for a great day, grab a barbecue

and head down to the beach at Magic Island!

The Contemporary Museum Honolulu – This small museum is located

high on a ridge at Makiki Heights Drive. The drive up the ridge offers amazing vistas

that would otherwise be missed by most Oahu visitors. The relatively small museum

offers changing exhibits in its five galleries. After traversing the galleries, visitors

can wander out onto the sculpture gardens. This is where the true glory of the

museum is revealed. The 3.5 acres of sculpture and meditative gardens are open to

the public and offer some of the most amazing views of Honolulu.

Leong’s Cafe – Many visitors look to a lu’au for more than entertainment;

they are after some great Hawaiian food. However, if you’re interested in real local

style Hawaiian food, you can’t beat Leong’s Cafe located at 2343 North King Street.

As a favorite for plate lunches, kalua pig, lu’au stew, lomi lomi, and more, locals

have been visiting this cafe for over 50 years!

Champion Malasadas – The local treat called Malasadas are so popular

that Fat Tuesday has been re-christened Malasada Day throughout the Hawaiian

Islands. One of the best and most famous bakeries is Champion Malasadas located

at 1926 South Beretania Street. These light portuguese hole-less donuts come with

and without filling and are absolutely worth the effort in getting them!

Honolulu Chinatown – A walk through the streets of Chinatown in like a

walk into another time and place. Whether you are looking for dim sum, fresh

produce, handmade leis, or the new hip lounge, you are sure to find it in Chinatown.

The streets and shops are exotic, offering items not found in a typical american

grocery. Guided walking tours are available for this historic district, but often the

best way is to simply meander through the streets, stopping whenever your interest

has been piqued.

If you are interested in seeing Oahu through a local’s eyes, be sure to spend some

time outside of Waikiki. Stop by some or all of the spots listed above and see some

of what truly makes Hawaii special.

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