It’s been a good month or so since Alan and I travelled to Oahu for some R&R. My friend Melanee is headed there this weekend, which reminded me I never shared my travel diary or recommendations! We originally wanted to go to Europe for a babymoon, but the thought of sitting on a long flight worried me a bit. Alan’s brother and sister-in-law live in Honululu and we have never visited them. I know, I know. Everyone tells us if they had siblings in Hawaii, they would visit regularly. I think we’ll be visiting more often than not moving forward. We agreed on Honolulu for 4 days and another 4 days on the North Shore to balance out some city (aka urban life for Alan) with some beach time for me. I will never tire of Hawaii and I’m hoping to convince Alan to make a trek back to Oahu after the bump arrives!
Where to Eat
Oahu does not have a shortage of great places to eat whether you are in Waikiki, Honolulu or the North Shore. We trusted Alan’s brother and sister-in-law for recommendations, plus we just trusted our guts and sense of smell! Alan and I are both adventurous eaters (even while preggers) so we were open to the food trucks and divey spots around Oahu.
Marukame Udon, Waikiki
Honolulu Museum of Art Café + Coffee Bar, Honolulu
Little Village Noodle House, Chinatown
Fumi’s Shrimp Truck, North Shore (although Giovanni’s is the most popular with tourists, locals like Fumi’s better!)
The Elephant Truck, North Shore
Matsumoto Shave Ice, Haleiwa
What to See
Anywhere we travel, Alan immediately looks up the architectural gems to check out. Since I had picked Oahu as our travel destination, I decided to handle the outings for the trip. I first heard about Shangri La about 5 years ago and knew I wanted to see it the next time I traveled to Oahu. Shangri La is a beautiful masterpiece and the former house of Doris Duke. It contains the largest collection of Islamic Art and Collectibles in the country and is not be missed. Off the beaten path is the Liljestrand House designed by Vladimir Ossipoff. It is a modernist gem in the hills above Honolulu and captivated Alan and I from the moment we walked in. The tours are small and led by the son of the original owner who also grew up in the house. If you like modern design and art, make a point to visit Liljestrand.
Other things to see:
Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve – Hanauma Bay is the best way to see Oahu’s marine life and is a great spot for everyone. It gets really packed so arrive early if you want to snorkel.
Iolani Palace – I like the palace because it combines history with great architecture.
Honolulu Museum of Art – This is a great arts museum and the cafe is really, really good.
What to Do
If you’re visiting Oahu for the first time, definitely dedicate a 1/2 day to explore Waikiki. The main drag is like any other city with a row of luxury shops and hotels. I love visiting The Royal Hawaiian – even Alan appreciated all of the pink details! Also, be sure to make time for exploring the North Shore.
Waimea Bay – if you love the beach and appreciate surfing, check out the huge swells and dozens of surfers.
Haleiwa – I love this beach town which reminds me a lot of Tulum or Mal Pais in Costa Rica. Lots of great food trucks, small shops, and pretty beaches along the North Shore.
Diamond Head – Hike Diamond Head! I hiked it at 7 months pregnant and survived and plenty of people and kids do it. Definitely plan to arrive in the morning (around 7 or 8) to beat the heat and to take in the views.
Friday Night Fireworks + Cocktails – If you’re looking for a
cheesy Friday night happy hour, then the Waikiki fireworks show is fun. The fireworks show usually begins at 7:45pm and lasts about 10 minutes. Make reservations at The Modern Hotel, which has pretty great cocktails (according to Alan).