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Oahu Renaissance

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Like a dormant volcano awakening, Hawaiians have been reclaiming their ancient traditions and language since the 1960s. Now Oahu is rising too, giving visitors all the more reason to venture beyond the resorts and chic comforts of Waikiīki. Savor the past with kālua-pig, outrigger canoe rides, and the Surfjack Hotel, which salutes the surf scene of the tiki bar era. Then explore the island's vibrant contemporary culture from cutting-edge Chinatown restaurants to the murals helping to revitalize Honolulu's once-industrial Kakaako district.
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2335 Kalakaua Ave #116, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Duke Halapu Kahanamoku remains one of the most iconic figures from Hawaiian history. He is credited with spreading the sport of surfing and represented Hawaii as a five-time Olympic athlete who even took home the gold medal in swimming. Duke's...
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92-1001 Olani St, Kapolei, HI 96707, USA
Inspired by ancient Polynesian navigators, this program invites guests at the Four Seasons Resort Oahu at Ko Olina to delve deep into Hawaiian culture. Experiences draw on the wisdom of local watermen, kupuna (elders), artisans, designers and...
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680 Ala Moana Blvd #105, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA

There are no frills at this airy and family-friendly diner, which serves up traditional, yet cheap and cheerful, Hawaiian food. Chicken wings, laulau pork wrapped in taro leaves, shredded kalua pork and beef stew jump off a menu that has barely...

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327 Lana Ln, Honolulu, HI 96813, USA
Hundreds of local and international artists have gathered each Valentine's Day week since 2011 to make music, murals, and live installations in Honolulu's Kakaako district. They also host block parties and panel discussions. Centered on the Lana...
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2005 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA

Kamaka has been making top-end ukuleles since its first one-man shop opened in 1916. Now these third-generation Hawaiian luthiers hone and hand-build instruments sold throughout the archipelago. They often deploy koa, a wood famous for its...

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92-1185 Ali'inui Dr, Kapolei, HI 96707, USA
Most locals agree the Mouse House puts on Oahu's best traditional feast for visitors. Perhaps that's unsurprising, given the care Disney put into this $800-million high-rise version of a fishing village. Eschewing its usual cartoon-tastic,...
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50 Sand Island Access Rd, Honolulu, HI 96819, USA
Honolulu's last great tiki bar is tucked behind a row of warehouses, six miles northwest of Waikiki. Set on the edge of Keehi Lagoon, it shelters under plumeria and coconut trees—and will be familiar to fans of Hawaii Five-0. La Mariana...
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2365 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
These days, any spa worth its sea salt offers Lomi Lomi massage, but knowledge of the technique was once restricted to five Hawaiian lineages. Westin Moana Surfrider therapists train with these families, keeping the tradition strong. 2365 Kalakaua...
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Honolulu, HI 96819, USA
This nonprofit perpetuates the art, science, and spirit of traditional Pacific Ocean exploration. It has two wa‘a (voyaging canoes): the modern Hikianalia, which has erased its carbon footprint, and the Hokulea, which proved Polynesians...
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1170 Auahi St, Honolulu, HI 96814, USA
Eighteen merchants band together here in Kakaako's Ward Village mall, offering everything from a scoop of Froot Loop Vodka ice cream (Lucy's Lab Creamery) to locally made board shorts (Salvage Public). One of the best places to find unique...
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412 Lewers St, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Hawaii’s freewheeling ‘60s surfer vibe lives on at the Surfjack, a new boutique hotel in Waikiki. Guests get to revel in that spirit and heritage, thanks to historical touches like mid-century-inspired, handcrafted coffee tables and...
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2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815, USA
Paddleboarding is an easy water sport to learn in Hawaii. After you get on your board, all you have to do is sit and paddle around the bay. For the slightly more adventurous soul, you can stand and paddle parallel to the shoreline, maybe even ride...