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, be prepared for crowds at some attractions.

Attend a holiday parade

Kick 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.

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 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.

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

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 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.

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.

Enjoy the outdoor activities

Whether on land or sea, there’s plenty to do outside during the holidays 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 and perfect for playing in the water, or learning how to surf. Kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and snorkeling equipment are also available to rent at a number of local shops. 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. 

The weather in Hawaii is warm and sunny year-round, but it can be very windy in December. Average temperatures during the day will be in the 80s(F) and drop into the 60s at night, so make sure to pack some longer sleeves and pants for night activities or hiking.

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 today!