Thanksgiving in Hawaii 2018 – Things to Do in Oahu in November & More

If you’re lucky enough to be spending Thanksgiving in Hawaii, you probably don’t need too many ideas about how to spend your time.

That said, if you’re looking for something a little more seasonal than luxuriating on the beach, check out these suggestions of local activities and more seasonal things to do in Oahu in November.

Save on Attraction Admission

Regular admission to a number of these Oahu attractions are included on the Go Oahu® Card.

Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 55% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate.

See all available Oahu passes, attractions & prices.

Please note, some of these special November events may be separately ticketed and not included on the Go Oahu® Card.

Polynesian Cultural Center

Polynesian Cultural Center (6)Explore the many cultures of Polynesia and the Pacific Islands with a visit to the one-of-a-kind Polynesian Cultural Center.

This fantastic attraction features unique cultural artifacts, practices, clothing, and recreated dwelling and working spaces in six different cultures.

A visit here is the perfect way to introduce the kids to Hawaiian culture and heritage, and adults will love their phenomenal dancing, amazing food, and great shopping.

Getting In: Polynesian Cultural Center tickets are included with the Go Oahu® Card.

Hanauma Bay Snorkel

Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve

Credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Heather Titus

This time of year is a great time to get some snorkeling in. The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve is filled with a wide variety of critters, from a rainbow of tropical fish to sea turtles and beyond.

Even better, since fall is one of the off seasons for Hawaii, you’ll be able to enjoy this tropical paradise without the press of too many crowds.

Amateurs and experienced snorkelers alike welcome on this adventure!

Getting In: Hanauma Bay Snorkel equipment is included with the Go Oahu® Card.

Pearl Harbor Historic Sites

USS Arizona and Pearl Harbor (5)Honor our veterans and fallen soldiers during a time of year when remembrance and giving thanks is at the forefront of everyone’s mind.

The Pearl Harbor Historic Sites have much to offer visitors, and a day spent at these inspiring institutions is perfect for everyone from history buffs to your average citizen.

Take the USS Arizona Memorial narrated tour for a chance to learn more about the tragic events of December 7; step aboard the “Mighty Mo” and see the last battleship ever constructed in all her rebuilt glory; and explore the exhibits at the USS Bowfin Submarine and Museum.

Getting In: Admission to many Pearl Harbor Attractions is included with the Go Oahu® Card.

Oahu Museums

Bishop-Museum-3For families who love exploring museums and historic homes, Oahu has plenty to offer.

The Iolani Palace is the beautifully preserved residence of the last two monarchs of Hawaii, complete with historic furniture and decor.

They’re in the process of collecting some of the art and objects once part of the palace, so the collections are continually improving, too.

For science and culture fans, then the Bishop Museum is another must. Come here to see multiple galleries of Polynesian art, artifacts, and historical information. There’s even an “active” volcano display!

Getting In: Iolani Palace tickets and Bishop Museum tickets are both included with the Go Oahu® Card.

Waikiki Holiday Parade

Kalakaua Avenue
November 23, 2018

Image credit: Waikiki Holiday Parade / Honolulu Fire Department.

Image credit: Waikiki Holiday Parade / Honolulu Fire Department.

This energetic parade is a great way to start the holiday season with a bang. Expect thousands of marchers ranging from musical and dance performances to local organizations and groups.

It’s originally designed to commemorate the survivors of the Pearl Harbor attacks, but now combines this great cause with tons of holiday fun.

It’s a wide variety of styles and presentations, too – for example, you’ll get to enjoy performances by 38 different bands from Oahu, the mainland, and more! The parade terminates in Queen Kapiolani Park and is free for all to watch.

Getting In: Admission to the Waikiki Holiday Parade is free.

Holiday Kick Off

The Royal Hawaiian Center, Royal Grove
November 21, 2018

Image credit: Royal Hawaiian Center.

Image credit: Royal Hawaiian Center.

Each year the Royal Hawaiian Center hosts a marvelous collection of events and appearances to “kick off” the holiday season.

From festive musical performances to a visit with Santa and the official tree-lighting ceremony, this is the place to celebrate the holidays in Oahu.

The kids will love the special seasonal activities designed just for them, and adults will enjoy the high energy and colorful decor.

Getting In: Admission to the Holiday Kickoff is free.

43rd Annual Turkey Trot

Kapiolani Park Bandstand
November 22, 2018

Image credit: Frolic Hawaii.

Image credit: Frolic Hawaii.

We don’t usually include Turkey Trots in our Thanksgiving round-ups because, well, we aren’t always in a position to run very far on Thanksgiving morning ourselves.

That said, this ambitious ten-mile race just had to make it on to the list for sheer craziness and awesomeness all rolled into one.

Predict your time accurately and you might win a prize! Registration is still open for those of you who want to preemptively burn off your turkey day calories (it totally works that way…right?).

Getting In: The Turkey Trot is free to watch, but runners require advance registration. More info about registration can be found at the event website.

Christmas Sand Sculptures

Sheraton Waikiki
November – December 2018

Image credit: Sheraton Waikiki Facebook page.

Image credit: Sheraton Waikiki Facebook page.

There are few things as Hawaiian as a surfing Santa Claus made out of sand.

Pay a visit to the Sheraton Waikiki to see their impressive collection of holiday-themed sand sculptures, usually starring a model of the big man himself.

These sculptures are free to view even if you aren’t a guest of the hotel, so don’t be shy about popping in!

Getting In: Sand sculpture viewing is free.

Vans Triple Crown of Surfing

North Shore
November 12 – December 20, 2018

Image credit: Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

Image credit: Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

Although this event will have actually been going on for a while by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is a must-see attraction this holiday season.

This prestigious event is for competitive surfers and aspiring surf stars, and is an integral part of the professional surfing circuit. If you want to see some of the world’s best surfing on some of the world’s most impressive waves, head to the North Shore!

Getting In: It’s free to watch participating surfers, but those interested in surfing themselves will need to register. For more information about the event and to register, visit the event website.

Remember to Save on Attraction Admission

We listed just a few fun suggestions for things to do on Oahu in November and Thanksgiving in Hawaii 2018. Of course, there are plenty of other activities to help fill your plans.

Remember, many of these great options are included on the Go Oahu® Card, where you can save up to 55% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate.

Please note, the November and Thanksgiving events taking place at some of these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included with the Go Oahu® Card.

Consider adding a few of these fun options to your November weekend itineraries.

Go Oahu card

The information contained in this post, to the best of the author's knowledge, was accurate at time of publishing. We do our best to ensure and maintain the accuracy of this information.

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