Honolulu's Up-And-Coming Cities
Fall on O‘ahu heats up with up-and-coming neighborhoods, outdoor adventures, and exciting events that exemplify the island’s creative energy. September through November is the perfect time to discover this East-meets-West paradise where both contemporary and historic Hawai‘i thrive. Fewer crowds and great rates provide even more reasons to book your fall getaway now. What are you waiting for?
Photo By: Eddy Galeotti
This ever-evolving area boasts terrific shopping and events. The weekly Kaka‘ako Farmers’ Market at Ward Warehouse showcases the abundance of O‘ahu’s farms and ranches. Monthly events include the Eat The Street food-truck rally and Honolulu night market, a giant indoor/outdoor block party with a fashion show, skate ramp, live music, bars, art, and street food. Over at Ward Village, Mori, a gallery-like space, features a rotating list of designers and artists who make everything from jewelry to clothing. And Paiko, a botanical boutique and coffee bar named after a local beach, has amazing planters and related products.
This historic immigrant gateway is also a trendsetting dining, arts, and shopping district. Head to Fighting Eel for breezy, trendy fashions; La Muse for wonderful clothing, jewelry, and home goods; and Hound & Quail for eclectic, mid-century vintage treasures. Foodies will love new restaurants including Livestock Tavern, Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop, and Grondin French-latin Kitchen. The monthly First Fridays Art Walk provides an opportunity to experience Chinatown’s progressive art scene from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and then stay late for the area’s exciting nightlife.
North Shore Escape
Mountains and Valleys
Come watch the world’s best surfers compete for the sport’s ultimate prize on O‘ahu’s fabled North Shore during the Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing, November 12 through December 20. While there, discover this dramatic coastline’s breathtaking mountains, forests, and valleys with North Shore Eco Tours, whose small-group land-based adventures interpret the natural environment through the lens of Hawaiian cultural perspectives, values, and practices. Choose from two hiking adventures—Huaka‘i Nui (Big Adventure) and Huaka‘i Iki (Little Adventure)—or the ATV off-road expedition, Pua‘a Māiki (The Piglet).
This picturesque North Shore surfer town recently unveiled a revitalization project called Hale‘iwa Store Lots. The open-air retail, dining, and gathering space preserves and retains Hale‘iwa’s rural, plantation-era feel with a combination of rehabilitated historic buildings and new construction that matches the traditional architecture. Most merchants have long-established roots in Hale‘iwa, the North Shore, or Hawai‘i. Cool off with a refreshing treat at famous Matsumoto Shave Ice, pick up beachy chic styles at Guava Shop, and take home a modern version of the aloha shirt at Kahala Sportwear.
Windward Coast Valleys and Beaches
For a bird’s-eye view of O‘ahu, head to Kualoa, a 4,000-acre ranch on the northeast coast spanning mountains, valleys, and the shoreline. The new Treetop Canopy Zip-Line Tour soars over gorgeous Ka‘a‘awa Valley and includes seven tandem sections, two suspension bridges, and three short hiking trails. Kualoa hosts the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship on December 6, an off-road half-marathon that winds through the ranch and includes trail runs, a children’s race, and family events.
Take a Hike and Hit the Beach
Don’t miss an opportunity to experience the Makapu‘u Point Lighthouse Trail, a 2-mile round-trip hike with incredible island and ocean vistas that ends at a point overlooking the lighthouse, which was built in 1909 on a cliff 600 feet above the Pacific. Further up the road, Makapu‘u Point provides panoramic views of the Windward Coast, offshore islets, and even Moloka‘i. Later on, take a drive over to Waimānalo Beach, where you can relax on powdery white sands and play in the clear, calm waters.
Leeward Coast Discoveries
Photo by Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson
Under the Sea
Experience O‘ahu’s underwater world from the comfort of Under The Sea Hawai‘i’s glass-bottom boat, leaving from Koolina Marina. Because of the vessel’s hydrofoil design, it travels above the water and provides a comfortable ride in all kinds of seas. You’ll see dolphins, sea turtles, tropical fish, and coral reefs from the boat and can opt to snorkel as well. The company offers several adventures and a staff of trained marine biologist guides who share their knowledge of O‘ahu’s marine life along with Hawaiian culture and history.
Hiking is the only way to reach the dramatic lava shoreline at Ka‘ena Point on O‘ahu’s western tip, a remote and scenic area. Ancient Hawaiians believed it was the place where their souls would jump off into the spirit world to meet their ancestors. Access is available via trailheads from both the Leeward Coast and North Shore. You’ll enjoy incredible views of the Wai‘anae coast to the south, Mokulē‘ia to the north, the Pacific, and wildlife, including endangered Hawaiian monk seals, native flora, seabirds, and humpback whales in winter.
Hawaii Food & Wine Festival
Imagine enjoying a fabulous vintage and a master chef’s creation as the sun sets with Diamond Head in the background. Moments like these await at the fifth annual Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival on O‘ahu September 9–13. Founded by Roy Yamaguchi and Alan Wong—James Beard Award–winning chefs and O‘ahu restaurateurs—the festival showcases the natural bounty of Hawai‘i’s farms, ranches, and seas. Nearly 100 internationally renowned chefs will join purveyors of wine and spirits and food-world luminaries at numerous events. Master mixologists and top chefs will team up at the Asian-inspired Chopstix & Cocktails, Corks & Forks will feature top-rated red wines from the Pacific coast, and Battle of the Brunch Showdown II requires your vote and your palate.