If you’re fortunate enough to be spending part of the winter holiday season in Oahu, we promise not to be too envious. While many may not expect a load of holiday cheer from this tropical paradise, it’s actually the case that Oahu abounds with delightful Christmas-time attractions and activities.

Oahu basically has all the holiday basics covered, just without all the snow and cold weather. You can enjoy festive holiday parades, an abundant Christmas marketplace, special musical performances, and of course, plenty of opportunities to meet Santa. Our list of the best holiday things to do in Oahu includes:

  • Honolulu City Lights
  • Ballet Hawaii’s The Nutcracker
  • Festival of Lights Christmas Boat Parade
  • Hawaii Symphony Orchestra
  • Chinatown Winter Walk
  • Mele Kalikimaka Marketplace
  • Christmas in Polynesia
  • And more!
Honolulu city lights

Honolulu City Lights

One of the most festive things on Oahu is the brilliant display of lights anchored by a large central tree hosted by the Honolulu City Hall. On opening night, the mayor will illuminate the Christmas Tree, kicking off a series of special holiday events that take place for the rest of the evening. Marvel at a cheerful holiday parade, get free photos with Santa, enjoy a delightful holiday concert, and more.

Ballet Hawaii’s The Nutcracker

You may think you know The Nutcracker, but we’d wager a bet that you’ve never seen a performance quite like this. Ballet Hawaii re-imagines this Christmas classic by changing the setting to the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1858 and introducing none other than Queen Lili’uokalani in a central role. You can also expect brilliant tropical flowers and Hawaiian fauna to make a special appearance in this twist on everyone’s favorite Christmas play.

Festival of Lights Christmas Boat Parade

A beloved annual tradition, the Festival of Lights Boat Parade truly showcases the combination of holiday spirit and Oahu’s maritime culture. Held at Hawaii Kai Towne Center, this family-friendly event also includes live entertainment including hula dances and a musical performance by the United States Air Force Band of the Pacific.

Hawaii Symphony Orchestra

The annual holiday concert as performed by the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra is another delightful tradition on Oahu. This year’s theme is A Very Merry Holiday Pops, and visitors can expect a wide selection of holiday favorites executed with gusto and Hawaiian flair. The venue is also a historic one—the Hawaii Theatre dates back to 1922 and boasts a gorgeous interior.

Chinatown Winter Walk

The transformation of this significant cultural district into a Christmas wonderland is a sight that must be seen to be fully appreciated. More than 40 local merchants will decorate their shop windows for the holidays, each competing with the others in terms of who can boast the best, brightest, and most festive décor. Take a self-guided walking tour of the area to soak up the holiday spirit and to get some Christmas shopping done.

Hawaii Christmas

Christmas at Ala Moana

The biggest and best shopping center on Oahu, Ala Moana boasts a wonderful selection of Christmas time activities for the whole family. Kids can get their photos taken with Santa and everyone can enjoy the abundance of holiday décor that really brings the entire mall into the Christmas spirit. And of course, this is a great opportunity to get plenty of holiday shopping crossed off.

Mele Kalikimaka Marketplace

Held at the Blaisdell Expo Center, this annual Christmas marketplace boasts over 100 different vendors offering unique gifts for the whole family. Find special Hawaiian wares ranging from local crafts, works of art, and jewelry to authentic Hawaiian food and drink. While the adults are shopping, the kids can enjoy a gingerbread workshop and the opportunity to greet Santa and his most famous reindeer, Rudolph. Throw in plenty of live entertainment, and what’s not to love?

Christmas at Polynesian Cultural Center

Christmas in Polynesia

Each December the island’s most popular attraction celebrates Christmas in grand fashion. Visitors can enjoy a Christmas canoe ride alongside other seasonal local activities, like a scavenger hunt, a holiday train ride, and plenty of Polynesian goodies. Don’t forget to hit up the Hukilau Marketplace at the Polynesian Cultural Center for some authentic Polynesian and Hawaiian gift ideas.

More Festive Things to Do in Oahu

  • Bring the whole family to run or walk the charitable Jingle Rock Run
  • Catch Santa as he comes ashore in a canoe at Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort
  • Enjoy a festive holiday luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center
  • Get your holiday shopping done at the Waikiki Christmas Store
  • Marvel at the grand Christmas displays at the Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki
  • Say hi to the Strolling Santa at the International Market Place
  • Snap photos of the exquisite Christmas sand sculptures at the Sheraton Waikiki
  • Visit the Winter Wishes Holiday Festival at the Waikiki Convention Center


Save on Holiday Oahu Attractions

Enjoy the tropical holiday spirit with a Christmas time trip to Oahu. While you’re in lovely Hawaii, don’t forget your pass with Go City!

You can make huge savings on a few of these festive attractions as well as tours, cruises, water sports, and more.

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