Celebrate the Aloha Spirit with a range of Waikiki’s annual events from the Waikiki SPAM Jam Festival or the annual Lei Day celebration. Whether it’s sun-kissed Waikiki’s spectacular views, delicious bites, or enticing events, there is something to enjoy for everyone.
Geek out at the Amazing Comic Con Aloha, which takes place at the Hawaii Convention Center on Kalakaua Ave. The annual event brings together comic book and pop creators and celebrities for three days of meet-and-greets, cosplay contests, an international artist alley and more. During Valentine’s Day week, get romantic at the annual Hawaii Salsa and Bachata Congress, which features world-renown dancers and some of the island’s hottest DJs at Sheraton Waikiki Resort.
If you’re looking for a day full of parades, crafts and educational exhibitions, make sure to stop by The Honolulu Festival supporting the Koa Tree Planting Project. The Honolulu Rainbow Ekiden accompanies the festival as a family-friendly run at the picturesque Kapiolani Park.
Towards the end of March, bring the whole family to the Waikiki Aquarium for an anniversary party with face painting, arts and crafts, educational activities, hula performances and food trucks.
While the Irish may not be a large demographic in Hawaii, locals still love celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. An annual parade takes place on Kalakaua Avenue with marching bands, military, keiki groups and community organizations, and restaurants in Waikiki often offer a special menu with Irish favorites.
An important celebration in Hawaii is Prince Kuhio Day on March 26, 2024—a day celebrating the birth of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole, the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaii. In the past, a parade takes place through Waikiki, but changed locations to Kapolei in 2023. The location for 2024 is still to be determined, so be sure to check online.
You won’t see anything like the Waikiki SPAM Jam Festival, on the mainland! The street festival celebrates Hawaii’s unusually large consumption of SPAM with a variety of booths and restaurants. The celebration also includes free entertainment and all of the proceeds benefit the Hawaiian Foodbank.
Film geeks love the Hawaii International Film Festival, which presents its spring showcase during April. There are free and paid exclusive screenings and opportunities to talk story with film cast and crew.
Over at Jefferson Elementary School, the Hawaiian Scottish Festival and Highland Games typically take place over the first weekend of April, where you can play traditional games, listen to bag pipes and eat haggis.
May 1st is Lei Day in Hawaii. The annual Lei Day Celebration at Kapiolani Park features lei exhibits, the annual Lei Court, foods, crafts and entertainment. You won’t want to miss the biggest celebration held in front of the Outrigger Beach Resort.
While the tranquil ocean water may be calling your name, don’t forget to dive into traditional Hawaiian culture too. The three-day Pan-Pacific Festival (full of arts, crafts, foods, and performances) is a great place to start.
Local music takes the spotlight throughout the summer months at Waikiki Aquarium with their Ke Kani O Ke Kai Summer Concert Series and at the Honolulu Zoo with their Wildest Show Summer Concert Series. There’s food and beverages for sale, and you can lay out a blanket or picnic chairs to sit on the lawn and watch the evening concert.
Hawaii honors its first king with King Kamehameha Day on June 11, 2024. Throughout the State of Hawaii, people celebrate his legacy of how he united the Hawaiian Islands into a single kingdom. Here on Oahu, there’s a floral parade and hoolaulea (block party) that begins at King Street in front of Iolani Palace and ends at Kapiolani Park. Celebrate with food, music, hula, cultural activities, games, education, demonstrations and workshops.
Want to watch authentic Hawaiian hula? Be sure to make a stop at the annual Prince Lot Hula Festival featuring performances from a variety of hula groups. The annual Ukulele Festival at Kapiolani Park Bandstand, a Waikiki summer tradition, is the largest ukulele festival in the world. The free concert features guest artists and an orchestra of more than 800 students. For Fourth of July, fireworks aren’t legal, but many resorts and neighborhoods provide a show: Hilton Hawaiian Village, Ko’olina Resort, Turtle Bay, Ala Moana Center, Kailua, Schofield Barracks and more.
The annual Duke’s OceanFest honors the legacy of Duke Kahanamoku’s life through a variety of lifestyle sports activities including surfing, paddleboard racing, swimming, beach volleyball, tandem surfing, and more. Duke spread his love of surfing by teaching the sport to others around the world. Duke’s Oceanfest, a non-profit organization, provides resources to other organizations with hopes to enrich the lives of Hawaiian youth.
Held last year at the Hawaii Convention Center, the Made in Hawaii Festival is a three-day shopping spree with nearly 450 local vendors. The criteria to be a vendor at the festival is to sell locally made products, so you can be sure you’re supporting small and local businesses when you shop.
The Annual Waikīkī Ho‘olaule‘a beachfront street festival, hosted by Aloha Festivals, showcases Hawaiian culture through endless cuisine and craft booths. The festival also features music and other forms of entertainment on four stages. The festival ends with the Annual Floral Parade which ceremoniously debuts all aspects of Hawaiian culture in a colorful march throughout Waikiki.
Imagine 20,000 yellow rubber duckies racing down Ala Wai Canal! It’s a spectacle that takes place every September to raise funds for the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Hawaii.
Attend the Okinawan Festival, a celebration of Okinawan culture with food, bon dancing, andagi (deep-fried doughnuts) and music held at the Hawaii Convention Center.
An annual fundraiser called Over the Edge takes place early October, where you can rappel 40 stories down the side of the Hyatt Regency Waikīkī Beach Resort and Spa. Proceeds go towards Special Olympics of Hawaii.
If you’re feeling hungry, visit the International Market Place to check out their Grand Lānai Restaurant Week. Participating restaurants offer prix fixe menus at special prices throughout the week. In the past, they’ve held a “Taste of Lanai” event where attendees can taste small portions from the menu at a fancy evening event.
Every year on Halloween, the spookiest night of the year, thousands walk down Kalakaua Avenue in their best costumes and stop by Waikiki restaurants and bars, which will often provide special drinks, menus and costume contests.
For Thanksgiving, many Waikiki restaurants will be hosting take-out feasts and special turkey dinners. Hawaii Food & Wine Festival happens early November, bringing together Michelin-star chefs for food and wine tastings, cooking competitions and demonstrations.
The Kalakaua Festival offers keiki rides, handmade products from local vendors and food. Kalakaua Avenue will be closed between Seaside Avenue and Kapahulu Avenue to host the festival.
Eager to make your visit a little more active? Participate in the annual Honolulu Marathon. There’s no better place to run than paradise!
Since 1998, the Waikiki Holiday Parade has been honoring the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The parade begins from Fort DeRussy Park and ends at Kapiolani Park. The torch-lit parade will host local bands, marching bands from the mainland, Pearl Harbor survivors, military units, local officials and entertainers.
Hauoli Makahiki Hou—Happy New Year! Waikiki is the place to be to catch dazzling fireworks set off from a barge located off Waikiki Beach. Restaurants, bars and nightclubs in the neighborhood will host celebrations with live music, DJ, disco dancing and special menus so you can enjoy dinner while seeing the midnight fireworks show.