named “The Gathering Place,” Oahu has always lived up to its name. The
majority of Hawaii’s populace calls
the third largest in the archipelago of the eight major Hawaiian
Islands. Along the beautiful sun-kissed beaches, tropical mountain
ranges and flowing pasturelands live a fusion of east and west cultures.
These cultures are rooted in the traditions and values
of the native Hawaiian people. Come discover the varied contrasts
between ancient and modern life on the beautiful island of Oahu.
From the crystal clear waters off Kailua beach to the metropolitan skyline of downtown Honolulu your adventure will uncover countless breathtaking views. The historic American Florentine architecture of Iolani Palace meets the tragically timeless Pearl Harbor memorials. The primarily tourist city of Waikiki on the south shore mirrors the small surfing town of Haleiwa on the world famous North Shore. You may find yourself hiking up famed Diamond Head (Leahi), perhaps reveling through Hawaii’s best shopping, or simply relaxing on the pristine sands of Oahu’s superb beaches, you’ll find splendor in every corner of beautiful Oahu.
Nestled between the Waianae Mountains and Koolau range lies the lush central valley. This valley offers a glimpse into Oahu’s storied history. Through the central portion of Oahu on your journey north between Honolulu and the North Shore, are pristine residential areas among the Leilehua Plateau near adjacent Wahiawa, there you’ll find the world-renowned Dole Pineapple Plantation with its record holding shrub built labyrinth in Hawaii. The surrounding fields are reminiscent of Oahu’s once thriving sugar cane and pineapple plantation industries.
The Dole Plantation, celebrated for its Guinness Book of World Records shrub maze, the Hawaii Plantation Village, where you can learn about the area’s plantation history, and the Aloha Stadium, home to the University of Hawaii’s football games and the preferred NFL Pro Bowl location.
Oahu Art and Culture Scene:
Oahu is a melting pot of lifestyles from around the world. There are varied cultures, and ethnicities all mainly influenced by Pacific Islanders. The one unifying factor of life on Oahu is the Spirit of Aloha, loosely translated as “the joyful (oha) sharing (alo) of life energy (ha) in the present (alo)”.
The native Hawaiian influence is apparent throughout Oahu. Nowhere can it be better seen than through the eyes of history. The historic places of Oahu such as: the Iolani Palace, the King Kamehameha I Statue, the Duke Kahanamoku statue on Waikiki beach, and the Bishop Museum all celebrate the Spirit of Aloha and the endeavors of the Hawaiian people.
People from around the globe have contributed to the Spirit of Aloha. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Puerto Rican, Portuguese and Pilipino migrants arrived during the agrarian boom of the 19th century. Their home-grown influences can be tasted in Oahu’s local cuisine and seen in the many diverse year round festivals. Educational tours highlight the vital role migrants played in the evolution of the Spirit of Aloha. Venues such as the Hawaii Plantation Village and Oahu’s various museums offer an in-depth look at Hawaii’s continental origins.
The community treasures of art, dance, music and theatre highlight the blend of eastern and western inspired urban and rural cultures. On Oahu, you will discover locals who thrive by keeping these diverse cultures alive and well. Though you may arrive on Oahu via a 21st century method of travel…you will quickly leave the hustle-and-bustle of the twenty-first century behind as you experience the timeless Hawaiian culture expressed through the Spirit of Aloha.
Oahu boasts more festivals than anywhere else in Hawaii, varied events range from parades to sporting events and cultural celebrations. A prime location to submerge yourself in Oahu’s unique arts scene, watch authentic hula, or sample the tastes of Hawaii, your visit to Central Oahu will demonstrate that Oahu hosts events enjoyed by all.
Hawaiian culture is center stage during the annual Honolulu Festival each March. This festival celebrates authentic Hawaiian art, music and dance and is topped by a parade through the streets of Waikiki. Enjoy a front-row seat to the parade from numerous Waikiki shops, eateries and hotel balconies lining the route down Kalakaua Avenue. Another event not to be missed is Oahu’s annual Lei Day celebration, often referred to as May Day, held each May 1st in spectacular Kapiolani Park. The event includes exhilarating live music during the brightly colored lei-making competitions. Following the Lei Day celebration in June of each year is the King Kamehameha Floral Parade, this parade highlights the island’s traditional pau riders (female riders in elaborate dresses and lei) riding horseback alongside brightly adorned floats representing the Hawaiian royal court. The following month of July is the Prince Lot Hula Festival held in the plush Moanalua Gardens. There you will find hula hālau (troupes), traditional Hawaiian games and local handmade crafts. The next annual event is recognized as Hawaii’s singular statewide jubilee, the Aloha Festival is held each September and is famous for its showcase of Hawaiian history, traditional dance, and local musical numbers.
Additionally, Oahu offers the chance to experience a wide assortment of both amateur and professional sporting events year round for the more athletically inclined. Come enjoy these events under the tropical Hawaiian sun including: the Sony Open each January, December’s world-renowned Honolulu Marathon and of course it wouldn’t be Hawaii without the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, referred to as the “Super Bowl of Surfing,” held November through December each year as the surf conditions allow on Oahu’s famous North Shore.
After enjoying all Oahu has to offer, you are bound to be hungry. Flavors abound for those desiring an example of local cuisine, stop by each May to the Wahiawa Pineapple Festival to enjoy the tastiest pineapple and assorted accompaniments. Each September delights one and all with the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, a four-day epicurean escape featuring dreamy luncheons and shore-front barbeques. Also each September is the Downtown Honolulu and Chinatown’s Taste of the Arts presenting various local eateries. Oahu residents and visitors never need a reason to enjoy all that this beautiful island has to offer. You’ll revel in the nearly year round opportunities to explore, discover, imbibe, and taste your way across our wonderful island. For in-depth information, visit Oahu Events.
Weather on Oahu:
The tourist mecca resorts of Waikiki, the North Shore and the lush Windward Coast (east) are more humid and get much more rain than the arid Leeward Coast (west). The weather in Waikiki, along the Windward coast, and the North Shore is generally more pleasant year round. However, you should be prepared…these areas often experience showers without notice. Usually you will have time to dry off before the next unexpected shower! Surf season on the North Shore runs from November through February. Be prepared for high surf advisories, frequent rain showers and heavy traffic. These conditions don’t mix well if you are driving a convertible or a rented motorcycle. In the summer months, the North Shore surf turns docile as the winter storms of the Northern Pacific subside. During these months the beaches of the North Shore are generally used by swimmers and sunbathers instead of big-wave surfers.
Oahu typically enjoys only the two seasons of summer and winter. Summer (May – October) enjoys highs into the low-90s. Average air temperature is from 74° F (23° C) to 88° F (31° C) with modest humidity hovering around 50% during the day. Winter (November – April) temperatures typically range in the low-70s to mid-80s. Constant mild trade winds keep even the hottest summer months comfortable. Thankfully, Oahu is comfortable year round!