Hawaii has such a rich history, and experiencing some of the local culture was one of my favourite parts of a recent visit to Oahu. This Honolulu travel guide includes all you need to know about when and where to catch multiple free hula shows. The Royal Hawaiian Center and the Waikiki Beach Walk also offer a variety of free cultural activities, including lei-making, ukelele lessons and so much more. Keep reading for all the details!
Kuhio Beach Torch Lighting and Hula Show
When: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (6 p.m. to 7 p.m. from November to January); check the Waikiki Improvement Association website to double check the schedule.
Where: Kuhio Beach at the Kuhio Beach Hula Mound
What to Expect: This hula show is incredible, and is definitely a must-see. It kicks off with the lighting of the torches and the blowing of a conch shell. Be sure to show up early so you can get a front row seat. It is a popular show, and for good reason!
Royal Hawaiian Center Cultural Activities
The Royal Hawaiian Center is the best place to go for a variety of free cultural activities, almost every day of the week. Cultural classes include lei-making, hula lessons, Lomilomi Hawaiian massage, Lauhala weaving, ukelele lessons and Hawaiian quilting. Check out the Royal Hawaiian Center website for the full schedule. Classes are on a first-come-first-serve basis, so show up early if you want a spot.
Tip: Ukelele lessons at the Royal Hawaiian Center are free, but require a ticket from Helumoa Hale Guest Services. Tickets are available the morning of starting at 10 a.m.
Royal Hawaiian Center Entertainment
When: Every Tuesday to Saturday, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, go to the Royal Hawaiian Center website.
Where: The Royal Grove at the Royal Hawaiian Center (Do not confuse this with the Royal Grove Hotel, which is a 10-minute walk away)
What to Expect: Hawaiian music and dancers put on a show on stage in the Royal Hawaiian Center. We did not make it to one of these shows unfortunately, but it looks like a fun one to see.
Waikiki Beach Walk Cultural Activities
Similar to the Royal Hawaiian Center, the Waikiki Beach Walk offers a variety of free daily cultural activities. The Waikiki Beach Walk is an open-air mall with shops and restaurants. Some of the activities include Hawaiian stamping, hula lessons, ukelele lessons, hoopdance fitness classes and yoga classes.
Waikiki Beach Walk Entertainment
When: Sundays once a month at 5 pm. to 6 p.m.; every Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Waikiki Beach Walk
What to Expect: The music and shows vary, but the one we went to was fabulous. It was an authentic hula show, accompanied by Hawaiian musicians. Straw beach mats are provided to sit on and enjoy the show.
Ala Moana Hula Show
When: Daily at 1 p.m. to 1:20 p.m.
Where: Ala Moana Center, Centerstage
What to Expect: This show is a lot of fun, but it was quite a bit cheesier than other hula shows I’ve mentioned in this post. There aren’t live musicians, but there is a man who sings along to the music and lots of dancers. If you are at Ala Moana anyway, I think it’s a fun thing to do. You can sit on the benches in front of Centerstage or on the next floor up if those seats are taken. We sat up above, which didn’t make for the best photo opportunities, but we had a clear view of the show.
When: Every Friday night from September to May at 7:45 p.m., and from June to August at 8 p.m.
Where: The fireworks are put on by the Hilton Hawaiian Village. We had a great view of them on the beach beside the Sheraton Waikiki.
What to Expect: The fireworks show is quick (five minutes), but I still think it’s worth going to. I always think fireworks are so magical, seeing a fireworks show on the beach in Hawaii was that much better.