Known as the “gathering place,” the island of Oahu is the third largest island of the Hawaiian chain. It certainly lives up to its nickname since majority of Hawaii’s population resides here and the island is visited by travelers from around the world. Hawaii is also a melting pot of diverse ethnicities evident in the island's culinary traditions, entertainment, art and even languages. Enjoying fun in the sun on Oahu can mean admiring Mother Nature, hanging 10 in the Pacific Ocean or hiking old train tracks on top of a mountain. In no specific order, here are 10 things that travelers should do while on Oahu.
On Oahu, Kapiolani Community College is known for its culinary school but it is also home to a weekly farmers market. Thanks to Hawaii’s warm weather, farmers around the island easily grow fresh crops for businesses, residents and even visitors. With dozens of vendors selling their wares each week, the KCC Famers' Market is a place to smell fresh flowers from Big Island's Green Point Nursery, buy freshly-picked red rambutan fruit (cousin of the lychee) and taste foods such as Otsuji Farm’s sweet potato and banana fritters covered in maple syrup. Enjoy your stroll around the market with beautiful Diamond Head or Mount Leah in the background.
What’s cool: You can buy locally made food products such as jams, coffees, and more to take home with you as souvenirs.
The Hawaiian culture is a big part of Oahu’s identity and the luau at Paradise Cove takes people back in time by creating an authentic experience that shows how the Hawaiian people ate, lived and celebrated. Participate in activities such as stringing a lei, weaving a headband and throwing a spear while learning about Hawaiian history. In Hawaiian, "luau" means to feast and you’ll be able to eat food such as lomi salmon (cold tomato and salmon salad), taro bread rolls, cold haupia (coconut jello dessert), and juicy kalua pork. After eating, sit back and relax as entertainers showcase Hawaiian music and hula's progression throughout the decades.
What’s cool: There is a real imu, or Hawaiian underground oven, on the premises. The staff demonstrates how they use the imu to prepare meals.
Hawaii being a melting pot of cultures means there is a melting pot of cuisines on the island. Food trucks play a big part in Hawaiian culture and while some children grow up chasing the ice cream truck after school, Hawaii children chase after the “manapua man” or neighborhood food truck for a chance to grab something small to eat that range from snacks to plate lunches. Eat the Street is a monthly themed event that happens in the hipster neighborhood of Kakaako on the last Friday of every month. Over 40 food trucks show up serving portions made for sharing -- which means you'll have room in your tummy to try more food. From waffle dogs with cheese, li-hing lemonade, malasada burgers and more, let your tastes run wild and enjoy the assorted flavors of Hawaii.
What’s cool: There is a live DJ and interactive activities such as a life-size jenga for the whole family.