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Nightlife, shopping, and gorgeous ocean views abound on Oahu

The island of Oahu is the most populous of the Hawaiian Islands. Honolulu is a big, bustling city, from its high rises and high end shopping to the endless entertainment and dining options. But what a place for a city. No matter where you go, the Pacific Ocean isn’t far, and if you stick to the Waikiki area that’s so popular with visitors, it’s often within walking distance.  


There’s no need to rent a car at all if you’re staying in Waikiki, and in fact, you’ll be glad you don’t have to deal with parking – it’s hard to find and expensive. If you don’t want to walk, take advantage of the Waikiki Trolley that transports visitors around. Popular stops include the Ala Moana Mall, Waikiki Beach Walk, and Iolani Palace.


Nightlife in Waikiki abounds. For traditional island sounds, try Chai’s Island Bistro or Duke’s Canoe Club. If you’re looking for a wilder time, Moose McGillycuddy’s, Hula’s Bar and Lei Stand, or Senor Frog’s are good bets. Of course, you’ll want to be sure to check out a luau, too. Try the Waikiki Starlight Luau at Hilton Hawaiian Village or Germaine’s Luau in Kapolei. 


Outside of Waikiki, you’ll find plenty of quieter beaches along the north shore. The waves here can be dangerous and during surf season (November-January) pro surfers – and lots of spectators – are in town riding the waves. Haleiwa is a tiny little town that plays host to a weekly farmers market offering lots of locally grown and locally made products. If you’re traveling Highway 83 along the north shore, keep your eyes open for the famous shrimp trucks, where you can sample savory shrimp tossed with lots of garlic. (Make sure to get extra napkins.)