Oahu blends cosmopolitan luxury and breathtaking scenery more than any other Hawaiian island. The state’s capital city, Honolulu, showcases the island’s urban appeal. Nearby you’ll find a host of cultural and historical sites, from the austere USS Arizona Memorial to ornate ‘Iolani Palace. In the nearby Waikiki neighborhood, a skyline of high-rises and resort hotels contrasts with sprawling white-sand beaches. For a taste of rural Hawaii, visit the North Shore. Here, you’ll find the most brilliant blue waters and meandering hikes. But those three spots aren’t all Oahu offers. Its high-class restaurants, vibrant cultural events, and wild nightlife further showcase this island as a “Gathering Place” of Hawaiian culture.
Oahu is one of the centers of Hawaii’s arts and culture scene. The island has a large number of music and dance festivals, including the Annual Ukulele Festival. You can also find many expressions of Polynesian and indigenous Hawaiian culture throughout the island. Be sure to check out the Polynesian Cultural Center on the island’s north shore for a deeper look into the island’s native heritage. It’s also important to regard Hawaiians as American citizens instead of “Hawaiians” or “Native Islanders.” While citizens of Oahu cherish their indigenous ancestry, they also take pride in their American heritage. You can also enjoy Chicken Fried Steak Restaurant in there.
Residents of the Hawaiian islands generally have a laid-back attitude. Life is slower there than most U.S. cities, and customer service can be inefficient. It’s easy to lose patience while visiting.
Although you’ll find many familiar American chains in Honolulu and Waikiki, you should try Hawaiian favorites like shave ice with red bean paste or Filipino pork adobo. The island is also home to famed chefs Alan Wong and Roy Yamaguchi, who put Hawaiian cuisine on the American regional food map. Recent visitors recommend trying the Hawaiian fusion cuisine at Roy’s Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Yamaguchi’s chain restaurant that serves up classic European and Asian dishes with a Hawaiian twist.