Travel Tips

10 Places the Locals Love on Oahu

Locations in this article:  Honolulu, HI

turtle bayLast Saturday, the Peter Greenberg Worldwide Radio Show aired live from Turtle Bay Resort on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Hawaii is a very popular destination for travelers, especially during the summer. But some areas can get crowded, so we’ve rounded up restaurants, beaches, and sightseeing spots well loved by the locals. Keep reading to find can’t-miss destinations across Oahu, and check out Peter Greenberg’s radio show.

Tita’s Grill

Tita’s Grill is a local favorite located along Kamehameha Highway on the North Shore of Oahu. The rustic, family-owned, roadside diner serves classic Hawaiian food at reasonable prices and is famous for its garlic shrimp, Polynesian bread, and the Loco Moco, a dish made with hamburger patties, eggs, rice, tuna salad, and gravy.

The Kim Taylor Reece Gallery

The Kim Taylor Reece Gallery is a two-story beach house gallery located in Sacred Falls on the North Shore of Oahu. Reece is an accomplished photographer and sculptor who has spent 25 years capturing Hawaiian culture, particularly the art of Hula dancing. He has traveled with the Hawaii State Foundation of Culture and Arts, has visited with dancers from over 37 Pacific Islands, and has many of his pieces on display. The gallery is only open Monday through Wednesday from noon to 5 pm, so visitors should plan accordingly.

Iolani Palace

The Iolani Palace is a National Historic Landmark in downtown Honolulu. The palace was originally built in 1882 by King Kalakaua as an official residence for Hawaii’s monarchy. King Kalakaua and his sister, Queen Lili’uokalani, who later became his successor, enjoyed their luxurious home until the monarchy was overthrown in 1893. The palace remains in downtown Honolulu, and has been meticulously restored. It is open for visitors Monday through Saturday and offers guided tours of their exhibits on artifacts, art, and photography. They also host special events such as concerts, history classes, and quilting classes.

Ted’s Bakery

Ted’s Bakery has become famous for its food, especially the homemade pies and cakes. The bakery has come up with many creative flavors using exotic fruits and haupia, a creamy coconut pudding. They offer Peach Bavarian Cream Pie, Strawberry Guava Pie, Lemon Cheese Pie, Pineapple Macadamia Nut Cheesecake, Chocolate Haupia Cake, and Pumpkin Chiffon Cake, among many others. However, Ted’s is not just a bakery; it’s also a full restaurant serving hot Hawaiian food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Located on the North Shore on Kamehameha Highway, just across from Sunset Beach, Ted’s is a popular destination for locals and tourists looking to escape the crowds at Waikiki Beach.


The Chinatown neighborhood of Honolulu has a rich history as a gateway for immigrants on the island of Oahu. Today, it has become a popular tourist attraction, with a thriving arts scene and vibrant night life. Many new bars, clubs, boutiques, and galleries have begun to occupy charming, century-old buildings, and are surrounded by farmers market booths, fresh flowers, and artwork. Local artists come to display their work for the First Friday Art Walk on the first Friday of every month. Visitors are able to interact with artists and see cultural exhibits showcasing Hawaii’s history and blooming artistic talent. Despite the recent developments in the area, residents and business owners in Chinatown remain committed to preserving the neighborhood’s history and culture. The result is a unique blend of traditional and modern life, and a thriving community.

surboardsBellow’s Beach Park

If you want to skip the crowded beaches of Lanikai and Kailua, head to Bellow’s Beach in Waimanalo Bay. Located on Oahu’s Western coast, Bellow’s Beach is part of the longest stretch of sandy shoreline on Oahu, and many consider it one of the prettiest beaches on the island. The beach is roughly 40 minutes from Waikiki and it’s part of a U.S. Air Force base, which makes it a more secluded spot, ideal for those who want to avoid crowds on the island. Rows of ironwood trees provide plenty of shade in the afternoons, and camping is allowed with a permit. A word of caution, though, for those who have never visited Bellow’s: jellyfish often wash up on the shore, so be careful where you step.

Farmers’ Markets

Several farmers’ markets take place on Oahu throughout the week. The original market at Kapiolani Community College set the standard for fresh, locally grown produce and has been active in supporting local agriculture since the early 1950s. Now, you can find farmers’ markets open in Honolulu, Mililani, and Kailua, in addition to the market at KCC. The markets are not just limited to fresh fruits and vegetables; they also offer fresh flowers, beef, cultured seafood, baked goods, homemade honey, and more.

Makapuu Lighthouse

Hiking in Oahu is an experience filled with gorgeous landscapes and sites that are difficult to find anywhere else. The Makapuu Lighthouse trail is immensely popular. In addition to views that look over Makapuu Beach, Koko Head, and the islands of Molokai and Lanai, the trail also has some popular landmarks. Hikers can see old military pillboxes, giant tide pools, a hidden blow hole and of course, the Makapuu lighthouse. The trail is a moderate level, so it is accessible to a wide range of people.

Kona Brewery

While the Big Island is known for the Kona Brewery Company, they also built an additional restaurant on the Hawaii Kai Koko Marina. Kona Brewery is known for its home brews, such as the Longboard Island Lager, or the Wailua Wheat, among others. The restaurant also has a famous Spent Grain Crusted Pizza and outdoor seating on its dock, offering a unique experience.

Manoa Falls

Located within miles of Waikiki, visitors can see the visually stunning, Manoa Falls. This area is known for receiving more rainfall than any other part of the island. At 150 feet, Manoa Falls is one of the tallest falls in Oahu. The trail to get to the Manoa Falls is mostly flat and takes around 20 to 30 minutes to reach.

For more information about Hawaii, check out:

By Jessica Hobbs with Kandice Martellaro for Peter