Recent culinary offerings make a pleasant surprise for visitors to this tourist mecca. The arrival of food halls means budget-conscious visitors now have even more choices at mealtime.
10. Food halls such as Waikiki Yokocho Gourmet Alley (808-926-8093) and The Street (808-377-4402) are great options for thrifty visitors.
11. Spam musubi is a local go-to snack after an afternoon of surfing. At Musubi Cafe Iyasume, sticky rice is hand-molded around Hawai’i’s favorite canned meat, along with toppings like kimchi, eel, cheese, or avocado and bacon. $1.88–$4.58. 808-921-0168.
12. Get into vacation mode with a slushy $5 piña colada during happy hour (3–6 p.m. and after 10 p.m.) at The Myna Bird, one of 13 venues at the 1-1/2-year-old food hall The Street. 808-377-4402.
13. Shoppers and other visitors to the Royal Hawaiian Center near the Royal Hawaiian Resort can enjoy complimentary Hawaiian music and hula performances, ‘ukulele lessons, and lauhala leaf–weaving classes.
14. The ever-present line outside Marukame Udon and Tempura might be intimidating, but it moves quickly. Pick a broth for the thick, house-made noodles ($3.75–$7.25) and add an assortment of crispy tempura items ($1.25–$1.75) from zucchini to pumpkin. 808-931-6000.
15. The iconic Royal Hawaiian Resort (“The Pink Palace of the Pacific”) is home to ’Aha‘aina, the only oceanfront lu’au in Waikiki. Take in ancient tales, mele (chants and song), and dance, and feast on slow-roasted kalua pig, poke (raw-seafood salad), and galbi ribs. Mondays and certain Thursdays. $187.43. 808-921-4600.
16. At midcentury modern–inspired The Laylow, thoughtful touches include a welcome gift basket with candy, cookies, and flip-flops; fruit and infused water by the pool; complimentary shave ice; cruiser bikes; and ‘ukulele lessons. Rates start at $299. 808-922-6600; laylowwaikiki.com.