Things To Do in Oahu: A Guide For Wedding Guests

Planning a destination wedding in Hawaii is a great way to turn your wedding into a truly memorable experience. Before and after the “I do’s,” you and your wedding guests have the opportunity to explore the beautiful Hawaiian Islands! 

With so much to do on Oahu and throughout Hawaii, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the surfing, shopping, hiking, dining, nightlife, and more. To help you and your guests make the most of your time in Hawaii, I’ve put together a list of some of the best things to do in Oahu. Check it out!

   Photo credit:  Johnny Silvercloud  via  /  CC BY-SA


Photo credit: Johnny Silvercloud via / CC BY-SA

Food & Drink

Let’s start with the most important question: where are you going to eat?! If you’re lucky enough to be in Oahu, you are surrounded by excellent options for food and drink.

Here are a few of my personal favorite places to eat on the island:

  • Buho - A modern take on Mexican cuisine with open-air rooftop dining. Plus, there’s live music every night!
  • Assagios - Fantastic Italian food made with the freshest ingredients. There are five award-winning locations throughout Oahu.
  • Crepes No Ka Oi - Sweet and savory Hawaiian crepes served in a bright and airy cafe featuring local art.
  • Oneawa Market - A true hidden gem. It may be just a corner market, but their take-out steak plates are amazing. 
  • El Mariachi - Modest but tasty Mexican restaurant. There are three locations on the island.
  • Prima - Italian-American restaurant serving food with fresh local ingredients. Their specialty is kiawe wood fired brick oven pizzas - yum!

If you’re looking for Hawaiian food, give these places a try:

  • Highway Inn - Authentic Hawaiian food in a family friendly, no-frills environment. 
  • Fresh Catch - Seafood restaurant with three locations. Known for their poke and sashimi platters. 

BONUS: The Local
There’s nothing more refreshing on a warm day than shave ice and craft soda. The Local makes their treats from (you guessed it) locally grown fruit in Hawaii. They also serve ice cream, dulce de leche, and other cool snacks. 

The Great Outdoors


Hiking is a great way to enjoy the spectacular scenery and nature in Oahu. Here are a few of my favorite hikes:

  • Koko Head - Follow the Koko Crater Trail for 1.8 miles to the top of Koko Head Crater for amazing views in every direction. Give this hike a try if you’re looking for a killer leg workout. 
  • Manoa Falls - Take the Manoa Falls Trail for 1.6 miles to the beautiful 150-foot waterfall. 
  • Lanikai Pillbox Hike - If you’re looking for an easy hike that doesn’t skimp on scenery, try the Lanikai Pillbox hike. On the way, check out two military bunkers and a breathtaking view of Lanikai Beach. 
  • Kuliouou Ridge Hike - Located 20 minutes east of town, this hike is 4.4 miles out and back with views of the Kuliouou Valley.


Surf’s up! If you’re feeling adventurous, check out my favorite surf spot in Oahu: Canoes surf break.

Canoes can be crowded at times, but it’s a great beginner surf break located right in the heart of town. It’s also known as a safe place to learn because of its sandy bottom and few coral heads. You can rent boards on the beach in Waikiki or take a lesson if you prefer. 

Give it a try! Just remember to stay safe. 

Water Activities

Surfing is not the only thing you can do in the waters of Hawaii. Here are a few other fun activities to wet your appetite for adventure:

  • Cruise on the Matai Catamaran - Enjoy a sunset cruise or an afternoon adventure near Waikiki Beach on Oahu’s south shore. I recommend going during the daytime so it’s still sunny and warm.
  • Snorkel in Hanauma Bay - Explore one of Hawaii’s most popular snorkeling locations featuring a high fish population, calm shallow water, and white sand. 
  • Kayak to Mokulua Islands - Sitting off the coast in Kailua, the Mokulua Islands are a popular destination for kayakers to explore. 

Photo courtesy of Ala Moana Shopping Center


Looking to pick up a few things? You’re in luck. Check out these popular shopping destinations:

Kailua Town 

If you’re looking for cute boutiques and hidden treasures, check out Kailua Town. You can check out some of my favorite cute shops:

Ala Moana Shopping Center

If malls are more your thing, check out the Ala Moana Shopping Center. It’s the largest shopping mall in Hawaii with over 340 stores and restaurants. Best of all, you can shop while enjoying a nice breeze as Ala Moana is the world’s largest open air shopping center. 


If you’re in Hawaii for a wedding, you might be looking to extend the party. Oahu has just what you’re looking for. Here are a couple of my personal favorite nightlife spots in Waikiki: 

  • Surfjack Hotel - The Surfjack always has events going on that are regularly attended by locals, like live music, fashion events, and more. The 1960s Hawaii vibes feels like a step back in time. 
  • LayLow Hotel - The LayLow has a cute outdoor patio bar with a fire pit and live music on certain nights. Oh, and more 1960s vibes because it’s awesome. 


One Local’s Perspective

Growing up an Oahu, I have a pretty intimate knowledge of the island and all the great things to do here. When I “play tourist” in Waikiki during the daytime, here’s what I like to do:

  • Grab coffee at the new Starbucks Reserve or at Olive Boutique at the Surfjack Hotel
  • Sit out on the rocking chairs on the lanai at the Sheraton Surfrider Hotel (one of the oldest hotels in Waikiki)
  • Enjoy the view with good company!

There’s no better way to spend a morning or afternoon in Waikiki, but that’s just one local’s opinion. The best part about Oahu is you really can’t go wrong! Beauty and adventure are everywhere. 

Inside Knowledge For Hawaii Destination Weddings

There are advantages of working with a local photographer for your Hawaii destination wedding.

First, as you can tell, I love to share my passion and knowledge with you and your guests. If you’re planning a destination wedding in Hawaii, please share this article with your wedding party and guests to get them excited!

Second, as a photographer, I love to share all the best spots on the islands so you can get the best photos imaginable. If you have any questions about planning a wedding in Hawaii, or you’re looking for a local wedding photographer, feel free to contact me! I’m happy to help.

Kristen Hook