10 Things to Do at Night in Oahu

If you are looking for nightlife, you should know that Oahu is the center of the party in Hawaii, where you will find the best proposals to enjoy under the moon.

Lorena Morales

Lorena Morales

10 min read

10 Things to Do at Night in Oahu

Oahu by Night | ©Ed Dunens

There is plenty to see and do on Oahu, Hawaii's most populous and cosmopolitan island, both day and night. Beach bars, dinner cruises and parties to dance until the candles burn out are some of the proposals that you will find throughout the island.

During the night on Oahu, you can attend a Luau party, where in addition to enjoying the shows and music, you will taste delicious local dishes. You will also have the opportunity to see the hula dance, both in its traditional and modern versions. Are you ready to enjoy the night in Oahu?

1. Attend a typical Luau party

Luau| ©Andy L
Luau| ©Andy L

If you visit the Hawaiian island of Oahu you can't miss the traditional Luau parties, where you will experience a different night and learn more about the island's culture.

In these celebrations you can taste typical foods such as kalua pig, lomi lomi salmon, laulau, poi or poke, while listening to live traditional music and enjoying the famous hula dance.

The kalua pork is one of the most requested dishes in these celebrations. It is cooked in an oven made under the ground, called imu, on which the pig is placed wrapped in tano leaves. It is cooked with the steam rising from the oven.

Originally, Luaus were family celebrations held on special occasions, which were eventually opened to visitors.

In ancient times, for religious reasons, women did not eat with men, until King Kamehameha II broke with that tradition. This gave birth to the Luau festivities, which still retain many of their traditional elements.

In Hawaii, Luau is often used as a synonym for party or celebration, so some are more traditional than others. When you arrive at these celebrations, a lei is placed around your neck to welcome you. A lei is a garland made of natural flowers, vine leaves or ferns.

These garlands are demonstrations of affection in general and are usually given as gifts, for example, to congratulate someone or to say goodbye.

Book a Luau party on Oahu

2. Tune in to the rhythm of the traditional hula dance

Hula dance| ©ginapualani
Hula dance| ©ginapualani

Hula is a traditional Hawaiian and Polynesian dance, often performed at Luau parties.

Dancers and warriors dance to the rhythm of percussion instruments and traditional chants, which originally told stories of kings and gods. These dances are often seen at festivities, bars or hotels.

Hulakahiko was the name of the dance in its origins, when stories about the creation of the world or its gods were told and passed on from generation to generation. At that time, it was accompanied by instruments such as gourd or coconut drums, rattles or the Lli Lli, made with volcanic stones, among others.

The version we can enjoy today, and which has been adapted to our times, is the hula auana, which is accompanied by ukulele, guitar or bass.

In the hula dance, each movement has a meaning, that is, it conveys an emotion or an idea.

Traditionally, the dances were performed by men and, later, women's dances emerged. That is why it is believed that the first hula were performed by warriors to show loyalty to their superiors.

Some hula shows on Oahu

There is a free hula show at sunset at the Kuhio Beach Hula on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 6:30pm to 7:30pm near Waikiki Beach.

If you visit Oahu in spring, you can attend the World Invitational Hula Festival or the Merrie Monarch Festival, and if you go in June you can enjoy the King Kamehameha Hula Competition.

3. Delight in the North shore Food Trucks

North shore Food Trucks| ©Javner
North shore Food Trucks| ©Javner

After a day at the beach, the many Food Trucks on Oahu's North Shore offer a wide variety of food to pamper your palate: from pizzas to tacos, Thai food and, of course, drinks.

If you are looking for good food but don't want to go to a fancy restaurant, at the Food Trucks you will find variety and lower prices.

Food Trucks are, as their name suggests, trucks converted into food stands, decorated in a very colorful and cheerful way. Many of them also have a mini fair with clothing, souvenirs or accessories. Tables are set outdoors so you can enjoy the delicious dishes they serve.

Some food trucks, such as Impossibles Pizza, move along Kamehameha Street in Haleiwa, i.e., they really are on wheels, but most stay in fixed locations.

Food Trucks serve one type of food in particular: tacos or shrimp, Thai food or desserts, acai or Mexican food. There are options for all tastes, even for vegans and vegetarians. It is ideal to go in a group and highly recommended for you to try the local food.

More about North Shore

North Shore is located 48 kilometers (30 miles) from Honolulu, about an hour away if you travel by car. It stretches for 11 kilometers (7 miles). If you are wondering what to do on the North Shore of Oahu you should know that it is one of the most famous surfing spots for its giant waves.

When the waves are calm you can also snorkel or scuba dive, and it also stands out for its incredible jungle valleys.

Book a surf lesson in Oahu

4. Explore Waikiki Beach at night

Waikiki Beach| ©Images Alight
Waikiki Beach| ©Images Alight

Waikiki is a neighborhood where you can find numerous restaurants, bars, nightclubs, concert halls and all kinds of proposals to enjoy at night.

It is located on the south shore of Honolulu and is home to the most famous beach on Oahu, Waikiki Beach. It is arguably the most cosmopolitan neighborhood of the island, where you will have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world. Many people even say it's the best place to party in Hawaii.

Many of these bars and restaurants overlook the beach, such as Michel's at the Colony Surf, which boasts one of the best views of the beach since its founding in 1962.

Many offer music and dance performances under the stars, such as the renowned Mai Tai bar. The gastronomic offer is really varied: seafood, sushi, steak, pasta, tapas, and much more.

When it comes to gastronomy, Roy's Restaurant or Eating House 1849, both by renowned chef Roy Yamaguchi, and Morimoto Asia by chef Masaharu Morimoto are the must.

I recommend you to visit this site so you don't miss any important event in Waikiki.

Yard House Rock Bar

Yard House is one of the must-visit bars for beer lovers from all over the world. The large number of draft beer taps on offer will make it hard to decide on just one and will keep your curiosity piqued all night long.

This bar has a variety of local, imported, seasonal and special edition draught beers: the selection is renewed frequently.

It also offers a varied menu with American dishes, seafood and grilled burgers, among others. To liven up the evening, the bar offers its own selection of music, especially classic and alternative rock.

5. Dinner on a night cruise

Oahu Night Cruise| ©Ken O'Toole
Oahu Night Cruise| ©Ken O'Toole

If there's one thing everyone wants to do on Oahu, it's take to the sea on a luxury cruise. The good news is that you can embark from sunset on the best cruises in Oahu to enjoy an incredible dinner on the waves.

The sea all around you, great music, drinks flowing, unforgettable sunsets and, if you're lucky, dolphins jumping under the moonlight.

There are options for all budgets, from cruises to smaller boats. Some also include shows or live music. It is an excellent plan for a romantic dinner or a more relaxed dinner with family and/or friends, in a beautiful natural setting that will undoubtedly leave you with fond memories.

Another option for those looking for more fun is to embark on a cruise party. These parties on waves are very popular in Oahu, and some of them even have a live DJ. It's definitely one of the favorite options for partying on Oahu.

Book a dinner cruise in Oahu

6. Party the night away in Honolulu

Honolulu by night| ©Daniel Ramirez
Honolulu by night| ©Daniel Ramirez

Honolulu is the nerve center of Oahu and where most of the island's nightlife is concentrated. It is probably the first place you visit when you arrive on the island of Oahu.

Honolulu is a city on the south shore of Oahu with tall buildings and all the attractions of a big city.

In this city you will find many bars, nightclubs, pubs and also theaters and concert halls. If you are looking for fun at night, this is where you will find the greatest variety of proposals, from a quiet dinner listening to live jazz to a discotheque with DJs that will make you dance all night long.

Discotheques and nightclubs

Here I recommend some of the places to dance until late that you can find in Honolulu, although there are many more and the list may be renewed over time.

  • M Nightclub: here you can dine and dance until 4 am. You will find concerts and live DJs.
  • Addiction Nightclub: live music and DJs from 10.30 pm to 3 am.
  • Zanzabar open from 9 pm to 4 am on weekends. In addition to dance floor, it offers salsa classes and comedy shows.
  • Fusion Waikiki: club open daily until 4 am. It has pool tables, drag shows and karaoke.
  • Rumours: 70's, 80's and 90's music, karaoke, projections until 3.30 am.

Comedy U

If it's all about laughter, Comedy U offers unlimited laughs from Tuesday to Thursday. It often organizes competitions and comedy battles. And if you're up for it, after the show you can take the microphone and make your own presentation.

The Brewseum

The Brewseum is an ideal brewery for history lovers. Besides being a brewery, it is also a museum of the Second World War, with a huge collection of objects such as photos, posters, uniforms, weapons, etc. that were donated by war veterans.

It is a picturesque bar where beers are brought to you in an airplane propeller and you can have fun browsing while you learn a little history. You can even take pictures in a military jeep or go to its mysterious basement, which you can access with a password.

7. Take a food tour of Kapahulu Avenue

Kapahulu Avenue| ©Wayne
Kapahulu Avenue| ©Wayne

Kapahulu Avenue is known for offering some of the best food in Honolulu. If you are looking for typical Oahu food, walk along this avenue where you will find something for everyone, from gourmet dishes to fast food and delicious desserts.

There are restaurants specializing in seafood or chicken, like Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Mexican food places like Taco Bell, others specializing in ramen like Onoya ramen, and many more. There are even restaurants where you can order from your car.

Book a food tour of Oahu

8. Attend a fun Rock-a-hula show

Rock-a-hula| ©Ryan Kawailani Ozawa
Rock-a-hula| ©Ryan Kawailani Ozawa

If there's one place that reminds you of Las Vegas, it's the top floor of the Royal Hawaiian Center where the incredible Rock-a-hula show is performed.

On stage you will see tributes to artists of all times, from 1920 to today, such as Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson, dancers dancing with fire knives, hula dances, and other musical performances. The show includes dinner with local and vegetarian options.

Reserve your ticket to Rock-a-hula

9. Explore Chinatown

Chinatown| ©Joel Bradshaw
Chinatown| ©Joel Bradshaw

If you want to experience the nightlife in Oahu, you can't miss Chinatown, the Chinese neighborhood located in Honolulu.

Today it is a place to eat typical food, attend a concert, visit art galleries and see musicals, among many other events. It is a neighborhood that has a more artistic imprint, and an interesting history to know.

Chinatown is one of the oldest Chinatowns in the United States, since it was founded by immigrants in the mid 1800's when they traveled to work in the sugar plantations.

It was also the site chosen by sailors for entertainment when they came to the island on business after months of not setting foot on the mainland. Chinatown became a red-light district during World War II, but that is in the past.

Some of the best restaurants in Chinatown are:

For a drink later you have options with live music at The Dragon Upstairs, pool tables at Proof Social Club, drag shows at Scarlet, one of the island's gay bars, more than 150 beers and local DJs at Bar 35 and many more options.

Hotel Street

Hotel Street is the main street of Chinatown, and is lined with bars and pubs. You'll see many historic buildings marked with plaques and there's even an old sign for the old Hubba Hubba bar, a burlesque and striptease bar that closed in the 1990s.

If your trip falls on the first Friday of the month, be sure to head down this street for the First Friday Block Party where you'll see art exhibits, shows, live music and, of course, food and drinks.

Smith's Union Bar

Smith's Union Bar is one of the historic bars on Oahu, and even in all of Hawaii. It was founded by Joe Halley and his wife Gail in 1934 and still retains its old decor. It is believed to have been a favorite bar of the sailors of the USS Arizona. It is a bar where you can drink beer at a cheap price and sing karaoke if your throat doesn't get cold.

Hawaii Theater

The Hawaii Theater is one of the oldest theaters on Oahu, having opened in 1922. Of neoclassical architectural style, it is considered a building with historical value on the island.

On its website you will find complete information about the performances, concerts and lectures that are performed there. If you are looking for a plan for a quiet evening, the theater is always a good option.

10. Enjoy the live shows at the Ala Moana Center

Ala Moana Center| ©Manny Batinga
Ala Moana Center| ©Manny Batinga

The Ala Moana Center is one of Honolulu's most important shopping centers and is located in the neighborhood of the same name.

On weekends, starting at dusk, there are free hula shows and/or live music. It also has about 160 restaurants where you can dine early and others that are open until midnight, such as Buffalo Wild Wings.

It is a huge mall, with brightly lit courtyards and arcades, water fountains and four floors with about 350 stores. If you're in luck, you might even be able to take part in a hula class for free.

More information about the mall

  • Address: 1450 Ala Moana Boulevard
  • Hours: 11 am to 7 pm. Stores, bars and restaurants have specific hours.