What to Do When Spending Christmas in Waikiki

You’re leaving behind the cold weather and snow this Christmas and spending it within the warm embrace of Oahu. However, you don’t want to lose that magical feeling of the Holiday season. Does the Christmas spirit exist on this particular tropical island in the North Pacific? Absolutely, especially in Waikiki Beach. While you’ll instantly note the festive vibe from the moment you arrive, we have put together a list of the top five things to see and do when spending Christmas in this neck of Oahu. Let’s review!

5 Things To See and Do When Spending Your Christmas Vacation in Waikiki Beach

Self-Guided Tour of the Most Festive Holiday Hotels

Christmas in Waikiki

While not a designated event or singular destination, a self-guided tour of some of the most festive hotels in Waikiki is a great way to spend an evening during Christmas. It’s a cost-free experience! Notable and well-decorated properties include Moana Surfrider, The Royal Hawaiian, and The Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort. Each has an expansive layout that will allow you to flow from area to area, snapping photos of elaborate trees, lighting installations, and ornate decor until your heart’s content.

Royal Hawaiian Center at Waikiki Beach Walk

Christmas in Waikiki

Throughout December The Royal Hawaiian Center courtyard presents an ongoing spectacle of Holiday cheer. There is Christmas-themed live music, hula, photos with Santa, and craft fairs on weekdays and weekends. But even if you arrive outside of any scheduled events you’ll have plenty to enjoy. The giant Royal Hawaiian Christmas tree has made the courtyard the Rockefeller Center of the Hawaiian Islands. As such it has become a beacon for Holiday season revelers from all over the island, providing a quintessential Christmas backdrop for ohana photos and TikTok performances alike.

Go Surfing With Santa

Christmas in Waikiki
image: @outriggerwaikiki

You will need to be in town at the right time to make this one happen. Typically held around 10 AM on the second Saturday of each December, Santa Claus makes an appearance at Waikiki Beach. He and his merry band of helpers pose for a few photos before hopping into an outrigger canoe, at which point they paddle out amidst the crowd of surfers and catch a few waves to shore before returning to the beach for a few more pics. If you surf or stand-up paddle (SUP) we encourage you to head out and ride a wave along side St.Nick for a festive experience on the sea. If you miss Santa’s big paddle out, feel free to create your own fun by donning a pair of red shorts or a bikini bottom along with a crimson t-shirt and a classic Santa hat to catch a few waves. On Christmas Eve and Christmas day there will be many others out there doing the same. Don’t know how to surf? Take a lesson with the best surf school in Waikiki while you’re at it!

Head to Honolulu Hale

Christmas in Waikiki
image: @yahglobal

While not directly in Waikiki, there is no better place to get into the Christmas spirit when on Oahu than at the Honolulu Hale (aka Honolulu City Hall). Located just 10-minutes by car, 20-minutes by bike, 30-minutes by bus, or 1-hour by walking from Waikiki, a visit to the Honolulu Hale is worth the short trek. The grounds are covered in larger than life Holiday decor, and inside of the hale itself you’ll find rows upon rows of themed Christmas trees. If you are in town for the opening ceremony known as Honolulu City Lights you’re in for a treat, but even if you miss the special day you’ll enjoy visions of sugar plums all the same by visiting the property any time through December.

Christmas in Waikiki
image: @yahglobal

Seek and Sip Special Christmas Cocktails

Christmas in Waikiki

Forget peppermint mochas and egg nog lattes. You want your Christmas drinks to come with a little more kick. Well, if you’re spending the Holidays in Waikiki you’re in luck. Every December visitors are delighted to find a number of bars offering tropical cocktails with a North Pole twist. The largest annual highlight, comes from a pop-up known as The Christmas Bar, which sets up shop at a new location every year. Follow The Christmas Bar Hawaii on Instagram to keep track of their whereabouts. Otherwise, some of the more creative hotel/resort bars present their own Christmas cocktail menus through the season. For instance, the Prince Waikiki recently launched their Sippin’ Santa Holidaze event which runs through the entire month of December. For proud imbibers, there’s nary a better way to enjoy the season in Waikiki.

If you have any questions about the above feel free to leave a comment below.


  1. when do you start and end Christmas decor at downtown Honolulu and Waikiki and is there holiday events at waikiki?

    • Aloha Ja! It’s already beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Waikiki as far as hotel and store decor are concerned. But Dec 1 and onward are ideal. The Honolulu City Lights Tree Lighting Ceremony is on Dec 3rd this year (2022).

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