Christmas in Waikiki

Palm trees decorated for Christmas in Waikiki

Christmas in Waikiki is a truly magical experience with festive decorations all around, joyful holiday music on the streets, and plenty of fun things to do for people of all ages. There are a variety of experiences on Oahu that make for a memorable holiday season on the island!

Since Oahu is so popular with tourists, many places will remain open on Christmas Day. However, because this is the peak holiday season on the island, be prepared for crowds at some attractions. If you are planning a vacation to Waikiki over the Christmas holiday, here are activities and suggestions for enjoying this festive time of year!

Attend a Holiday Parade

Festive holiday lights in WaikikiKick off your holiday season with the Waikiki Holiday Parade, which takes place each year on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The parade commemorates Pearl Harbor, and includes marching bands, colorful floats, and holiday characters. Later in December, the Electric Light Parade offers a festive atmosphere to light up the night with holiday cheer.

Add Hawaiian Flavor to Your Christmas

For those looking for a unique experience this Christmas season, Waikiki offers a variety of cultural activities that celebrate the season and Hawaii’s heritage. Spend an evening at one of the local luaus to participate in a Polynesian show and try traditional Hawaiian food. 

Take a trip to the Polynesian Cultural Center in Laie for Christmas in Polynesia events throughout the month of December. There are activities for the kids, train rides, a Christmas scavenger hunt and a visit with Santa. The Polynesian Cultural Center will also be open for regular cultural activities during this time, including the Island Villages experience and evening shows.

Make your Holiday Bright and Merry

Waikiki and Honolulu are lit up with light displays throughout the holiday season. The best way to see Christmas lights in Holiday Lights bus tour on Waikiki Honolulu is to hop on the Holiday Lights Tour, which runs for most of December. An open-air double decker bus will take you around downtown Honolulu, with holiday music and stories along the way. The whole experience is approximately 2 hours, which includes a 30 minute joyful ride to the Honolulu Hale, roughly 1 hour of fun exploring the Hale, and a festive 25 minute ride returning to the Kewalo Basin.

Or visit Aloha Land to experience a winter wonderland in the tropics! Aloha Stadium is decked out with light displays, inflatable playgrounds, fresh snow to play in, Santa’s Workshop, and a full food court. The whole family will have a great time at this winter carnival.

Stroll down Waikiki Beach to find all sorts of vendors, performers and festive decorations. Stop by the Sheraton Waikiki hotel lobby to check out their famous Christmas sand sculptures. Keep an eye out for Santa walking around in his Hawaiian shirt and sandals, or even surfing the waves!

Go Christmas shopping

Waikiki area shopping centers offer a variety of stores to find that perfect holiday gift. The Royal Hawaiian Center fully decks the halls in December, with a 34 foot Christmas tree, holiday lights and Santa’s Workshop. Bring the whole family to meet Santa, with free photo prints, cookies and a shopping discount pass provided. 

The Ala Moana Shopping Center is another great option in the area. Located just a ten minute drive from Waikiki, this four level shopping center offers a variety of chain and local stores. The Ala Moana center is decorated for the holiday season, with Santa visits available, as well as special holiday shopping offers.

Enjoy the Outdoor Activities

Whether on land or sea, there’s plenty to do outside during the holiday season on Oahu. Put on your swimsuit and head to Waikiki Beach for a beach day with spectacular scenery. The waves on Waikiki are known to be calmer, perfect for playing in the water or learning how to surf. The water is still warm in December, making it the perfect time of year for kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, and snorkeling. Or lace up your hiking boots for stunning views on Diamond Head or one of the other many hiking trails of Oahu.

If you are looking for a change of scenery from Waikiki, head to the north end of Oahu for some of the best surfing beaches in the world. Check out world-class surfing at Haleiwa Beach for the Vans Pipe Masters competition in December.

Sports fans can also enjoy some college football at the Hawaii Bowl, which is typically held on Christmas Eve at the University of Hawaii stadium. 

What to Expect in Waikiki in December

December marks the beginning of the winter season in Hawaii, but “winter” here is a relative term. While the rest of the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing colder temperatures, Waikiki remains pleasantly warm, with daytime temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (24-28°C), making it an ideal destination for those seeking a respite from the winter chill.

December is considered the off-peak season for tourism in Waikiki, which means fewer crowds and a more laid-back ambiance. You can enjoy the beaches, restaurants, and attractions with a bit less hustle and bustle compared to the busier summer months. While this time year is relatively dry in Waikiki, it’s also part of the rainy season in Hawaii. Be prepared for occasional rain showers, but they’re usually brief and followed by sunshine.

Novation Realty offers a variety of affordable downtown Waikiki condo rentals, perfect for your December vacation. Our Waikiki condos are ideally located close to Waikiki Beach and within walking distance to area restaurants, shops, nightlife, and more. Our guests enjoy smooth & easy check-in with virtual instructions, a 24/7 guest line, welcome coffee and tea set, and AC, WiFi and cable in every single property. We would love to host you on your Waikiki holiday vacation!

No matter what type of activities you and your family choose to enjoy during the holiday season, Christmas in Waikiki will be an unforgettable experience. Don’t miss out on the magic and start planning your holiday getaway today!