Sometimes the anticipation of Hawaii’s sunny skies overrides responsibility and we end up a bit more red than tan after our first few days in paradise. Luckily, there are plenty of things to do in Oahu to keep you occupied while that aloe vera does its job. Whether you’re a sunburned family looking for a break from the heat or a vampire who’s terrible at picking a place to spend your vacation, there’s plenty to see and do in Honolulu after dark and indoors.
Ditch the snorkel and climb aboard the Atlantis IV submarine for an underwater adventure that doesn’t require you to get wet. Enjoy an air-conditioned afternoon diving into the depths of the Pacific, catching sight of wrecks-turned-reefs home to confetti-colored fish and graceful sea turtles. With wide viewing portholes to catch all the action along the way and engaging commentary from Atlantis Adventures’ trained guides, there’s plenty to see and learn about aboard the Atlantis IV.
Soak up knowledge instead of UV rays with a trip inside the Bishop Museum, home to millions of artifacts that bring Hawaii’s heritage to life. Explore interactive exhibits on everything from surfing to volcanoes, check out personal possessions from early Hawaiian royalty, and learn to identify native plants in the museum’s gardens. Team up with a volunteer docent to enjoy a guided tour of the museum, and don’t forget to swing by the Science Adventure Center to get hands-on with interactive exhibits.
Magic of Polynesia
Waikiki meets Vegas in a spectacular performance by award-winning illusionist John Hirokawa. Settle into your seat for Magic of Polynesia, a thrilling dinner theater show that combines Hawaiian traditions with exciting stage designs, pyrotechnics, and dramatic light displays. With grand illusions, mesmerizing choreography, and tasty fare, it’s the perfect way to catch some fun after the sun goes down.
Any tour that starts with a chant to ask permission from otherworldly spirits is A-Ok in our book. Team up with a supernatural guide from Oahu Ghost Tours to uncover Honolulu’s spooky side. Listen to historical narratives as you pass through hotspots of paranormal activity, look for orbs of light, and pay attention to subtle temperature changes that could indicate you’re not alone.
City Lights Helicopter
Take to the skies above Honolulu’s glittering skyline for a nighttime look at the Big Island by helicopter. Fly over stargazers on Waikiki’s beaches, pass by Diamond Head’s dramatic summit, and follow moonlit paths broken up by incoming waves as you cross over the waters of the Pacific. Let your guide from Novictor Aviation help point out local landmarks, and learn a bit about Hawaii’s past with your unique aerial perspective.
Massage & Facials at the Mandara Spa
Take a vacation from your vacation, indulging in soothing massage, facial, and body treatments from the experts at Mandara Spa. Whether you’re looking for the relaxing lomi lomi massage, a revitalizing coconut body treatment, or a mineral-rich facial sure to leave you feeling refreshed, there’s plenty to indulge in at this award-winning spa.
Friday Night Lights
Every Friday night, the skies above Waikiki are illuminated, if only briefly, in a dazzling fireworks display set off by the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Catch the sparkling show from beaches near the Hilton or team up with a local guide to make the experience a bit more magical.
Grab a spot out on the water to watch the fireworks from the comfort of a luxury catamaran operated by Maita’I Catamaran. Afterward, follow the stars with a moonlight sail off the coast of Waikiki, catching sight of the dark silhouette of Diamond Head’s looming summit along the way.
Shutterbugs can get pointers on the best places to catch dramatic photos of the evening’s ‘sky-rotechnics’ with tips from Oahu Photography Tours and then take some time on to scout out perfect places to catch long-exposure shots of the stars, or work on light painting technics on the beach.
Finally, if you’re looking to pair your seat at the show with a little outdoor adventure, consider heading out with Nocturnal Adventures to take in the show on a stand-up paddleboard. Before and after the display’s dazzling lights, put on your own illuminated show by flicking on your board’s LED lights to light up the ocean floor in neon hues.
How would you beat the heat in Hawaii?