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O'ahu away from the tourist crowd

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Found this guide helpful

If you've been to Hawaii before and have already seen the tourist attractions, you might want to see "the other O'ahu." The one most tourist types miss in the rush to see the glitz and island icons. Hawaii doesn't have to be expensive if you're willing to pull the plug on the tour operators. This is a quick guide to see a different Hawaii.

Good for
  • History Buff
  • Nature Lover
  • Foodie
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

20 Places

3 City Tips

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20 Places

Tanioka's Seafood and Catering

Restaurants

Keawaula Beach / Yokohama Bay

Beaches

Hannara Restaurant

Restaurants

L & L Drive-inn

Restaurants

Bishop Museum

Speciality Museums

Ka'ena Point State Park

Geologic Formations

Barbecue Kai Incorporated

Restaurants

Hapa Grill

Restaurants

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

Cemeteries

Chinatown

Neighbourhoods

Honolulu Hale (City Hall)

Government Buildings, Points of Interest & Landmarks

Makapu'u Beach

Beaches, Parks

Makaha Beach Park

Beaches

Hawaii Plantation Village

Speciality Museums

Aiea Loop Trail

Hiking Trails

Round Top Drive

Scenic Drives

Pali Highway

Scenic Drives

Malaekahana State Recreation Area

Nature & Wildlife Areas

Ted's Bakery

Restaurants

Shiro's Saimin Haven

Restaurants

John S's City Tips

  • As you travel outside Waikiki, SMILE. It makes you look good without costing anything. Smiles lead to conversation. You get what you put out--be Happy!
  • Don't be afraid to try "different food." The best places are the ones with a local crowd lined up.
  • If you're a people-watcher, catch THE BUS. It's affordable and if you have the time to slow down, it's the best way to leave the Waikiki crowd behind.
  • Save
    Tanioka's Seafood and Catering
    Restaurants (Japanese, Seafood, Hawaiian, Asian)
    John S Says:

    Tanioka's features good Ahi and Tako Poke--if this sounds strange to you, ask for a little sample. Old-style "Cone Sushi"...known as Inari, but really--this one is not the Japanese kind. It's the best you'll find in Hawaii! Spam and other musubi(rice cakes) are another standard.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    Tips
    • There is ALWAYS a line at this take-out place. It's worth standing in it!
    From the community
    Ranked #393 of 2,844 restaurants in Oahu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Best poke on island 14/10/2017
    • We Even Got T-shirts Today! 17/09/2017
    • Tanioka's Seafood and Catering
    Address:
    94-903 Farrington Hwy
    Waipahu, Oahu, HI 96797-3200
    Phone:
    +1 808-671-3779
    Hours:
    Sun
    09:00 - 15:00
    Mon - Fri
    08:00 - 17:00
    Sat
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Keawaula Beach / Yokohama Bay
    Beaches
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    If you want a sunny beach without the crowd...a place with warm emerald water, this is one of the beaches you want to play. Watch your belongings. The bathroom may not have tissue all the time. The shower after the beach is great!

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Your best bet is to park near the lifeguard tower at the surf spot called "Third Dip." Once you're there, you'll understand "the dips."
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 27 things to do in Waianae
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Makua beach! 14/11/2017
    • The view is magnificent! 02/10/2017
    • Keawaula Beach / Yokohama Bay
    Address:
    end of Farrington Hwy
    Waianae, Oahu, HI 96792
    Other:
  • Save
    Hannara Restaurant
    Restaurants (American, Hawaiian, Diner)
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    If you want to see where local folks go for casual dining on the West Side of O'ahu--if you are on a food budget--if you want to try food you've never had. This place is for you.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Walk into the place with a smile...Say "Hi!" to strangers. Expect to see local faces and shapes.
    From the community
    Ranked #344 of 2,844 restaurants in Oahu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Very friendly staff 25/09/2017
    • Local lunch 16/08/2017
    • Hannara Restaurant
    Address:
    86-078 Farrington Hwy
    Ste 101
    Waianae, Oahu, HI 96792-3014
    Phone:
    +1 808-696-6137
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    06:00 - 20:00
  • Save
    L & L Drive-inn
    Restaurants (Fast food, American, Asian, Contemporary)
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    L&L's are EVERYWHERE on O'ahu. They're all individually owned and managed. Want a real adventure? Go up Liliha Street to the "Original L&L."

    Good for
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • The original Liliha Street store is as local as you can get. Try something you've never had here.
    From the community
    Ranked #1,234 of 2,844 restaurants in Oahu
    • A great lunch plate place 08/08/2017
    • ALL KINE GRINDS !!!!!!!!! 23/05/2017
    • L & L Drive-inn
    Address:
    909 Kapahulu Ave
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96816-1472
    Phone:
    +1 808-735-5505
    Price range:
    USD 8 - USD 8
    Other:
  • Save
    Bishop Museum
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    If you go to the Bishop, take the time to see the observatory programs. Go to the Sports Hall of Fame behind Hawaii Hall. Take the time to look up the mountain to see the Kamehameha School campus.

    Good for
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • If you're a curio shopper, your best "local items" are in the gift shop.
    From the community
    Ranked #16 of 332 things to do in Honolulu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great place 11/12/2017
    • Intro into Hawai'ian and Polynesian culture 10/12/2017
    • Bishop Museum
    Address:
    1525 Bernice St
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96817-2704
    Phone:
    +1 808-843-7654
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    09:00 - 17:00
    Other:
  • Save
    Ka'ena Point State Park
    Geologic Formations
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    If you like to hike and want to see wild country and life, take the hike to the Ka'ena Point Wildlife refuge. Take your camera: Monk Seals, Humpback whales in season, Albatross nesting, and Honu--sea turtles

    Good for
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Go early in the day or in the afternoon for sunset--it's sunny and HOT if the wind is not blowing. Bring a hat or umbrella. Bring Water. Bring a snack. DO NOT leave any trash!
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 27 things to do in Waianae
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful and a monk seal to boot! 21/10/2017
    • Homeless Campground 19/10/2017
    • Ka'ena Point State Park
    Address:
    End of Farrington Highway
    Waianae, Oahu, HI
    Phone:
    +1 808-464-0840
    Other:
  • Save
    Barbecue Kai Incorporated
    Restaurants (Hawaiian, Fast food, Barbecue)
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    Another great plate-lunch joint on O'ahu's West side.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    From the community
    Ranked #1,909 of 2,844 restaurants in Oahu
    • If you like eat out and carry great stop. 23/05/2017
    • locals spot 13/02/2017
    • Barbecue Kai Incorporated
    Address:
    85 Farrington Hwy
    Waianae, Oahu, HI 96792-2640
    Phone:
    +1 808-696-7122
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 22:00
  • Save
    Hapa Grill
    Restaurants (American)
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    If you like sit-down atmosphere and good food at a price that won't break your budget, try Hapa Grill in Kapolei. Sizzling steak is one of their icons.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • CLOSED. Seafood place there now. 29/04/2016
    • Best Mac salad on Oahu 14/08/2015
    • Hapa Grill
    Address:
    91-590 Farrington Hwy
    Kapolei, Oahu, HI 96707-2009
    Phone:
    +1 808-674-8400
    Hours:
    Sun
    08:00 - 21:00
    Mon - Tue
    08:00 - 15:00
    Wed - Thu
    08:00 - 21:00
    Fri - Sat
    08:00 - 22:00
  • Save
    National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
    Cemeteries
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    Looking for some "quiet time?" Looking for a nice view of Honolulu. Want to remember the sacrifices made for freedom? Take a walk here...

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • History Buff
    Tips
    • Watch your valuables...watch your car. Even in quiet places, hit and split crooks abound. You don't have to be paranoid...just be aware.
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 332 things to do in Honolulu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Overwhelming 10/12/2017
    • A place to remember 10/12/2017
    • National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific
    Address:
    2177 Puowaina Dr
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96813-1729
    Phone:
    +1 808-532-3720
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    08:00 - 17:30
    Other:
  • Save
    Chinatown
    Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    If you've never been to China, this will give you a taste of Asian marketplaces. Check out the food-court. It's not Ala Moana Shopping Center.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • History Buff
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Downtown Honolulu is relatively small. Feel free to walk around and check out the architecture.
    From the community
    Ranked #97 of 332 things to do in Honolulu
    • It's sad 07/12/2017
    • Walk around the streets of Chinatown 04/12/2017
    • Chinatown
    Address:
    100 N Beretania St
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96817-4712
    Phone:
    +1 808-521-3826
    Other:
  • Save
    Honolulu Hale (City Hall)
    Government Buildings, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    This building as well as the Kawaihao Church across the street and the heritage buildings in the area are worth checking. If you walk past the Kamehameha statue, you'll find Hawaii's Supreme court. Go in! Look around--great historical exhibits...and they're free.

    Good for
    • History Buff
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Go here as part of a Honolulu City walk...not with a guide but on your own.
    From the community
    Ranked #105 of 332 things to do in Honolulu
    • Christmas at Honolulu Hale (City Hall) 04/12/2017
    • So cute during Christmas! 18/01/2017
    • Honolulu Hale (City Hall)
    Address:
    530 S King St
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI 96813-3014
    Phone:
    +1 808-527-5666
    Other:
  • Save
    Makapu'u Beach
    Beaches, Parks
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    If you're looking for a nice sand bottom beach with body surf kind of waves that is not too challenging...this is your spot. If the surf is up--use caution and common sense.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Bring your own snacks and be sure PACK UP and leave no "Opala" (trash) for "someone else" to pick up!
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 18 things to do in Waimanalo
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Beautiful but use caution 29/10/2017
    • Beautiful beach 08/10/2017
    • Makapu'u Beach
    Address:
    41-095 Kalanianaole Hwy
    Waimanalo, Oahu, HI 96795-1808
    Other:
  • Save
    Makaha Beach Park
    Beaches
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    This beach is the heart of the West Side. If you see a white-haired gentleman sitting at a picnic table under the Hao tree near the apartment building...it's probably the legendary Richard "Buffalo" Keaulana. Introduce yourself--show respect--smile! It goes a long way with the locals. "Pushy" gets you pushed.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • Take a walk along the sand and walk to the point. Take a dip in Beal's Pond.
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 27 things to do in Waianae
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • BEST SNORKELING SPOT ON THE WHOLE ISLAND!! 10/11/2017
    • Amazing snorkeling 29/09/2017
    • Makaha Beach Park
    Address:
    84-369 Farrington Hwy
    Waianae, Oahu, HI 96792
    Other:
  • Save
    Hawaii Plantation Village
    Speciality Museums
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    The 100 year plus Plantation Era is documented in this "living museum" in Waipahu. If you've wondered why "local faces" look like a blend of cultures, Hawaii's Plantation Village will give you an insight. Local docents provide unique tours through the housing and plantation buildings featuring a natural spring and surrounding taro patch. The Okada Educational Building needs to re-open. You can help by asking the City and County why it is still closed. This building houses the exhibits that chronicle the migrations of labor that came to Hawaii to make a new start.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • If you see a guy in the taro patch, it's probably "Clifford"...give him a shaka!
    • Hawaii's Plantation Villiage is NOT Polynesian Cultural Center...it's how Hawaii really was in a bygone era. If you want "real Hawaii" come to The Village
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 10 things to do in Waipahu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Daniel knew his stuff 02/12/2017
    • Visited to observe the different cultures 28/11/2017
    • Hawaii Plantation Village
    Address:
    94-695 Waipahu St
    Waipahu, Oahu, HI 96797-2601
    Phone:
    +1 808-677-0110
    Other:
  • Save
    Aiea Loop Trail
    Hiking Trails
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    If you like hiking and are tired of the Diamond Head hiking path, try this one. It's not a long trail. There's a he'au in the park here.(Hawaiian temple)

    Good for
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • It could be rainy sometimes...it's warm rain...get over it and walk!
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 13 things to do in Aiea
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Leisure hike 03/12/2017
    • Many different terrains 12/10/2017
    • Aiea Loop Trail
    Other:
  • Save
    Round Top Drive
    Scenic Drives
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    If you're not a hiker but want to see Honolulu from "on high"...take this drive along the winding roads above the city.

    Good for
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • When you leave your car, watch your valuables. The hit & split crooks may be there. Guess what? If they see you're careful with your stuff--you're not their target.
    From the community
    Ranked #202 of 543 things to do in Oahu
    • Awesome twisties! 10/05/2017
    • Easy drive- amazing view at the top 12/09/2016
    • Round Top Drive
  • Save
    Pali Highway
    Scenic Drives
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    Don't just drive the freeway to the Pali...take the old winding road past Morgan's Corner and the Board of Water Supply reserve. This is the old road that is preserved so we remember how travel was in Hawaii.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • History Buff
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • On the way up, stop by the Queen Emma Summer Palace. Docent tours are great!
    From the community
    Ranked #180 of 543 things to do in Oahu
    • Love Driving AcrossThe Pali Highway 11/10/2017
    • Scenic 17/08/2017
    • Pali Highway
  • Save
    Malaekahana State Recreation Area
    Nature & Wildlife Areas
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    Go past the North Shore around Kahuku. Look for this hidden gem of a beach. It's worth finding if you want a relaxed atmosphere at a sandy beach.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Nature Lover
    From the community
    Ranked #118 of 332 things to do in Honolulu
    • Nice quiet park 18/11/2017
    • My favorite place on Oahu 13/09/2017
    • Malaekahana State Recreation Area
    Address:
    Off Kamehameha Highway
    Honolulu, Oahu, HI
    Other:
  • Save
    Ted's Bakery
    Restaurants (American, Hawaiian)
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    As you drive past Sunset Beach headed toward Kahuku, look for Ted's Bakery on the right side of the roadway. All their food is good! Try a plate lunch and finish off with Ted's signature Chocolate Haupia(coconut pudding) pie.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    Tips
    • Expect to stand in line...it's worth it!
    From the community
    Ranked #38 of 2,844 restaurants in Oahu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Can you say delicious 11/12/2017
    • A Must Do On the North Shore! 09/12/2017
    • Ted's Bakery
    Address:
    59-024 Kamehameha Hwy
    Sunset Beach, Oahu, HI 96712-9723
    Phone:
    +1 808-638-8207
    Price range:
    USD 0 - USD 10
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    07:00 - 20:00
  • Save
    Shiro's Saimin Haven
    Restaurants (Asian, Hawaiian)
    See more photos
    John S Says:

    The Japanese call it "Ramen"...when it came to Hawaii, the locals turned it into "Saimin." The key is the "dashi" or soup base. Shiro's has a hundred different varieties and toppings on their soup. They also have good local style sushi and plate lunches. Go to the location in the Waimalu Shopping Center just past Pearl Harbor.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Family
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    From the community
    Ranked #860 of 2,844 restaurants in Oahu
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good local food 10/07/2017
    • Shiro's Saimin Waimalu 11/06/2017
    • Shiro's Saimin Haven
    Address:
    98-020 Kamehameha Hwy
    Aiea, Oahu, HI 96701-5159
    Phone:
    +1 808-488-8824
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    07:00 - 22:30
    Sat - Sun
    07:00 - 23:30
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