Free Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

| Original: May 18, 2019

Aloha Everyone!

Sorry I've been MIA for the last month. Did you miss me?

I was busy planning our vacation to Hawaii. It's been a few years since we've gone on vacation and I just wanted everything to go as planned. But obviously, when you travel with kids, nothing ever goes as planned. I made lists of stuff I wanted to do but in the end, we just played it by ear.

It was stressful during the trip. You know, hauling around two kids on an island full of tourists. But now that I'm back home, I just wish I could be on that Waikiki Beach again.

Before going, I was asking my colleagues what I could do in Honolulu that is affordable, cheap, or free. The first thing they tell me is, "Everything in Hawaii is expensive. Don't expect cheap anything!"

Well, guess what? We proved them wrong. There are actually several things that you can do for free in Honolulu, Hawaii. Today, I'm going to share with you all the FREE stuff that we did (or had planned but never got to it because sometimes, the kids got in the way).

If you are planning a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii, and reading this, make sure you pin this to Pinterest so you can find it later!

FREE Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

Hula Show at Ala Moana Centerstage

It's not Hawaii if you don't watch a hula show. Ala Moana Center is the largest outdoor mall in the world and every day at 1pm, Ala Moana Centerstage has a free hula show.

This show only lasts for about 20 minutes, but it has about 4-5 dances or so. We went on two separate days and while they were the same dances, they wore different colored outfits! It was very exciting for BB.

You can find more information here.

FREE Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

Torch Lighting & Hula Show at Kuhio Beach

I really wish I got to enjoy this show more, but both the kids were being uncooperative, so I spent more time trying to control them than actually enjoying the show. The show lasted for about 45 minutes.

There was a bit more talking than I expected, and I think this was where the kids started to lose interest. But it was actually very interesting and I would have loved to learn more about the Hawaiian culture.

Shows are held every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, weather permitting. You can find more information here.

FREE Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

O Nā Lani Sunset Stories at International Market Place

This was one of the shows that we didn't get to watch. I only found out about this show because they had a sign at their Queen's Court that said that they have daily shows at sunset.

There wasn't a time shown on the sign so it made planning a bit difficult. It was only later that I found out that times were posted on their website.

Hula Lessons at the Royal Hawaiian Center

If you really want to immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture, take a free hula lesson (or two) at the Royal Hawaiian Center. There are separate hula classes available for children.

When it comes to free Hawaiian cultural activities, the Royal Hawaiian Center is a gold mine. You'll notice that many of the free activities that are on this list are at the Royal Hawaiian Center. 

You can find a list of their cultural programming events here.

FREE Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

Lei Making at International Market Place

This class happens every first Sunday of the month from 12pm - 3pm. We happened to be there on Lei Day (May 1st) which is Hawaii's statewide celebration.

We came across this event by chance because BB wanted to play in their Celestial Pool. I end up making 2 floral crowns and I thought they came out pretty nice given that it's my first time!

More information can be found here.

FREE Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

Lei-Making Class at the Royal Hawaiian Center

Who doesn't want a fresh lei around their neck? I have a theory that people probably began wearing leis around their necks to help them cool off from the island heat. The Royal Hawaiian Center hosts lei-making classes multiple times throughout the week.

Fresh flowers are delivered and beautiful leis are made using a 10-inch needle, which is why they limit the number of participants to 25 and only children of ages 7 and up.

FREE Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

Lauhala Weaving at Royal Hawaiian Center

This would have been another activity that I would have loved to try, but never got a chance to. According to their website, the class "covers the basic skills, technique, preparation and crafting of Hala leaves into wearable Hawaiian art, such as a bracelet". This would have been an awesome handmade gift/souvenir to bring home.

FREE Things to Do in Honolulu, Hawaii

Ukulele Classes at Royal Hawaiian Center

I actually borrowed a ukulele from a friend of mine at work to learn and practice before going to Hawaii. I guess it comes in handy if I run out of money in Hawaii and I need to start busking on the streets.

Instruments are provided, but you can bring your own or buy one there. Beginner classes are available and it sounds like they have freestyle jamming sessions for those who are intermediate or advanced ukulele players.

So I think I've listed approximately a week's worth of free activities you can do between your visits to the beach in Honolulu. We were lucky and stayed in the heart of Waikiki, so all of these places were within walking distance of us.

I can't wait to go back to Hawaii soon! I definitely did not get enough time to explore Honolulu. Is it wrong of me if I don't want to bring the kids next time I go on vacation? Hahaha - oops, did that really come out?

Anyways, mahalo (thank you) for reading, and aloha (goodbye) for now!

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