Uncovering the Hidden Gems of Waikiki, Hawaii

Waikiki, Hawaii is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and luxurious resorts. But beyond the well-known attractions, there are hidden gems waiting to be discovered by those willing to venture off the beaten path. As a local expert, I have had the privilege of exploring Waikiki and uncovering some of its best-kept secrets. In this article, I will share with you some of the hidden gems that make Waikiki a truly special place.

The Secret Beaches

When most people think of Waikiki, they picture the famous Waikiki Beach with its bustling crowds and iconic Diamond Head backdrop.

But just a short walk away from this popular spot, there are several hidden beaches that offer a more secluded and tranquil experience.

Kaimana Beach

is a small, crescent-shaped beach located at the end of Waikiki near Diamond Head. It is a favorite among locals and offers stunning views of the ocean and Diamond Head. The calm waters make it perfect for swimming and snorkeling, and there are often sea turtles spotted in the area.

Fort DeRussy Beach

is another hidden gem that can be found in the heart of Waikiki. Tucked away behind a row of hotels, this beach offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

It is also a great spot for watching the sunset.

Kuhio Beach

is a lesser-known beach located on the east end of Waikiki. It is a popular spot for locals to surf and bodyboard, but it also has a calm area for swimming. This beach is also home to the Duke Kahanamoku statue, a tribute to the legendary Hawaiian surfer and Olympic gold medalist.

The Local Eateries

While Waikiki is known for its high-end restaurants and fancy resorts, there are also hidden gems that offer a taste of the local cuisine. These eateries may not have the most glamorous settings, but they serve up some of the best food on the island.

Ono Seafood

is a small, unassuming shop that serves up some of the best poke bowls in Waikiki.

The fish is always fresh, and the portions are generous. It's a favorite among locals and tourists alike, so be prepared to wait in line.

Leonard's Bakery

is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth. This bakery has been around since 1952 and is famous for its malasadas, a Portuguese donut covered in sugar. They also offer a variety of other pastries and baked goods.

Rainbow Drive-In

is a local institution that has been serving up plate lunches since 1961. This no-frills eatery is known for its delicious Hawaiian-style plate lunches, including the famous loco moco (rice, hamburger patty, fried egg, and gravy).

It's a great spot to grab a quick and affordable meal.

The Hidden Hikes

Waikiki may be known for its beaches, but it also has some hidden hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the city and surrounding areas.

Makapu'u Lighthouse Trail

is a popular hike located on the east side of Oahu. The trail is paved and relatively easy, making it suitable for all skill levels. At the end of the trail, you will be rewarded with stunning views of the Makapu'u Lighthouse and the ocean.

Manoa Falls Trail

is a hidden gem located just a short drive from Waikiki. This moderate hike takes you through a lush rainforest to a beautiful waterfall.

It's a great way to escape the city and immerse yourself in nature.

Koko Crater Trail

is not for the faint of heart. This challenging hike involves climbing over 1,000 steps to reach the top of Koko Crater, where you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the island. It's a great workout and offers a unique perspective of Waikiki.

The Local Culture

Beyond the beaches and hikes, Waikiki also has a rich cultural heritage that is often overlooked by tourists. These hidden gems offer a glimpse into the local culture and history of the island.

Honolulu Museum of Art

may not be as well-known as some of the other museums in Honolulu, but it is definitely worth a visit.

The museum features a diverse collection of art from around the world, with a focus on Asian and Hawaiian art. They also offer free admission on the first Wednesday of every month.

Kawaiahao Church

is known as the "Westminster Abbey of Hawaii" and is one of the oldest churches in the state. It was built in 1842 and is still an active church today. Visitors can take a self-guided tour or attend one of their Sunday services.

Hula Show at Kuhio Beach

is a free event that takes place every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday evening at Kuhio Beach Park.

This traditional hula show features dancers from different hula schools and is a great way to experience the beauty and grace of this Hawaiian art form.


Waikiki may be a popular tourist destination, but it also has hidden gems waiting to be discovered. From secret beaches and local eateries to hidden hikes and cultural experiences, there is so much more to Waikiki than meets the eye. So next time you visit this beautiful island, be sure to venture off the beaten path and uncover some of its best-kept secrets.