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72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore

For the past two weeks, I've been on vacation in Hawaii with my dad and sister. We started the trip with a three-day adventure on Oahu, then a relaxing five days in Maui, and finished it off with a two-day layover in San Diego. It was such a fun trip and we packed so much in our time there, so I'm very excited to share everything with y'all!


72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore

I'm splitting this series up in to three posts: Oahu, Maui, and San Francisco. Today we're kicking it off with Oahu -- check back in a few days for the Maui post!!

We left for Hawaii Monday afternoon and arrived late Monday night. We struggled to find a restaurant that was open once we landed, so we ended up at M.A.C, a casual restaurant inside the Hilton Waikiki. My fish tacos were a good way to start off the trip, but they weren't super memorable or anything. I forgot to take a picture because it was midnight and I was exhausted, but they're just generic fish tacos.


72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore

On Tuesday morning, we got up early and hiked the Makapu'u Trail. My sister had heard about the famous Makapu'u Tide Pools on TikTok and wanted to explore them. We ended up not going to the tidepools because the only way to access them is by climbing down an incredibly steep unmarked trail of rocky terrain (we saw a couple people successfully climb down, but we decided it wasn't worth the risk); however, we did climb up to the top of the hike and witnessed an insanely gorgeous view. 


After our hike, we went to the beach to cool off. The first beach we went to had really rough waves, and the lifeguard recommended a more mild beach for us, so we headed to Waimanalo Beach per his recommendation. Located on the east side of the island, Waimanalo Beach is tucked away and it has the clearest water I've ever seen. I've never been to Bora Bora, but it was exactly what I imagine Bora Bora to look like: calm, clear, turquoise blue water that meets soft white sand. I felt like I could float in the water there forever.


72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore
After the beach, we stopped at Island Brew Coffee for a quick bite. I had an iced haupia pie latte, and it was really good! The cafe is really cute and has tons of delicious pastries + quick bites.

72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore
tshirt // similar tote // shorts // bucket hat // phone case

That afternoon, we walked around the shops at Ala Moana. It's a really nice mall in downtown Honolulu. They had a huge Zara and a really nice Brandy Melville!


72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore




72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore
After shopping, we ventured up to the North Shore to watch the sunset. We grabbed a late lunch that consisted of fish tacos at North Shore Tacos (again, okay, not fantastic) and acai bowls at The Sunrise Shack (good but a little overhyped in my opinion).


72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore

We ended up watching the sunset at Waimea Bay Beach, and it was gorgeous!

72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore

We were going to eat dinner on the North Shore but struggled to find a place that looked good, so we drove back down to Honolulu, where we were staying (we stayed at the Marriott Waikiki, which was a really nice hotel). We hoped to eat dinner at Duke's or Hula Grill, two of the most popular restaurants in Honolulu. However, we failed to realize that dining in Hawaii is still only at 50% capacity, and because of that, waitlists are incredibly long and reservations are hard to come by. Honolulu is also extremely busy right now, so even at 8pm, restauraants that closed at midnight were all booked for the evening. We finally found an open place: Waikiki Brewing Company. My dad and I split a Barbecue Chicken Pizza. It was good, but I was disappointed that there were no fish entrees on the menu.


72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore

On Wednesday, we woke up and planned to hike Diamond Head, the famous volcano, but we realized it was closed on Wednesdays, so we hiked Manoa Falls Trail instead. It was gorgeous: incredibly green and lush, with a waterfall at the top--it reminded me of a scene from Snow White or Sleeping Beauty!


72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North ShoreWe drove up to the North Shore for lunch again, and ate at a little restaurant called Farm To Barn. It was probably one of the best meals I had during the entire trip! I had a bagel egg sandwich, and it was phenomenal. My sister had the ube waffles, which were also really good! 


72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North ShoreWe got dessert at Matsumoto's Shave Ice. I'd heard a lot of good reviews about this place, and I really enjoyed my shave ice (plus, the mochi was so good!) but I don't think it was worth the 45-minute long line we waited in.

There are a lot of cute stores in Haleiwa, the town we had lunch in, so we walked in some of those. My favorites were Malibu Shirts and Polu Gallery.

72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North ShoreWe spent the afternoon visiting Pearl Harbor, which is obviously not a very lighthearted excursion, but riding the boat out to the memorial over the ship remains was a very moving experience. I recommend everyone do this in their lifetime if the opportunity arises.


72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore

For dinner, we planned ahead and got our name on the waitlist early at Hula Grill. We put our name on the waitlist at 5 and were seated around 7. While we killed time, we walked around the shops in Waikiki (they have a lot of high-end stores like Gucci and Louis Vuitton). We visited Hula Grill the last time we were in Maui (they have a location on each island) so we had high expectations, and we were not disappointed! It was easily one of the best dinners we had on the trip. I got macadamia crusted mahi mahi and I split a Caesar salad with my sister. We also enjoyed loads of their housemade foccacia bread!


72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore
top // shorts

The next morning, we hiked Diamond Head. It was a really cool hike that ended in a gorgeous view of the Pacific Ocean. I really love how there are so many different hikes in Oahu and each one has a totally different vibe!


72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore

72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore

After hiking, we got breakfast at Koko Head Cafe, which was another amazing meal. I got an egg sandwich that was nothing short of perfection and hash browns that were so flavorful.


72 Hours On Oahu // What To Eat & Do In Honolulu + North Shore

I've seen a lot of travel guides mention Leonard's Bakery, known for their famous malasadas (basically giant Portugese donuts without a hole), so of course I had to try some! Leonard's had a suuuuper long line (I waited probably around an hour) but the malasadas were worth it! They have several different fillings you can try, but my favorite was the sweet and sour donut that didn't have a filling. The ones filled with guava were really good, too!


We then headed to the airport for our flight to Maui... check back in a few days for a jam-packed Maui recap!!


A couple more restaurants we wanted to try but didn't:

- Duke's

- Arvo Cafe (I saw Jaci Marie Smith just went here and I'm so sad we didn't go)

- Pupukea Grill

- The Country Eatery

- Tiki's Grill & Bar

- The Pig & The Lady


Thanks for reading! If you go to any of these places, let me know how you liked them!

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