Walking Tours on Oahu

Oʻahu isn’t meant to be experienced from the backseat of a tour vehicle.

This island is loaded with great walking tours for visitors who want a real taste of what Oʻahu is today and also hear about its storied past.

Foodie Walking Tours

When we say taste, we mean hoofing it over to one of the culinary tours offered in Chinatown, Ala Moana and the North shore. Soooo good!

Aloha Food Tours specializes in showcasing “local grindz” often shown on the food networks on TV, and this is a great way to experience the cultural melting pot that defines this island. Small groups head out daily for tastings at six or seven places that can vary for each visit. Where else can you try Smoked Bacon Pho, decadent cheesecake and award-winning pizza on a 2 ½-hour tour? Gotta be Chinatown. The Ala Moana morning tour has loco moco, ube pancakes (purple), Tarro latte and even Spam Musubi as part of the local food tour. These are tempt-the-tummy tours, and guides do a great job of discussing the history of the dishes and the area.
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Spooky Walking Tours

Sweating off those meals is easy, provided you love ghost tales. This island is rich in history and legend, and Oahu Ghost Tours offer an amazing way to learn about the legend of the Night Marchers and other things that go bump in the night. Longtime guide Uncle Joe makes it fun, spooky and informative, and the Honolulu City Haunts tour takes visitors to the former residence of Hawaiʻi’s monarchy to locations of famous murders while tales of supernatural events are recounted. There is also a new myths and legends tour that starts at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and ends by the Sheraton. The tour is similar to the New Orleans ghost walks and guaranteed to give you a new perspective on this island paradise.

By far, the most fun and spooky ghost tour is the Orbs of Honolulu. You do hop a tour bus to get out of Wakiki, but it brings guests to heavily wooded, dark areas in the most haunting locations. We call what happens next “chicken skin” moments, where the hair raises on the back of the neck and fingernails inadvertently dig into the arms of the one you’re with. It’s not recommended for kids 10 and younger, and it lasts 4.5 hours.

Scenic Walks, Hikes and Runs

There is a walking tour for just about everything on Oʻahu, but many can be done on your own at a cheaper cost. Manoa Falls and Diamond Head Crater, for example, are two popular hikes that can easily be reached by a quick Uber or Lyft ride. And the money saved can be used toward other activities and walking tours.

For those wanting more of a physical challenge, check out the Kokohead Sunrise Tour with Breakfast included. It’s 1,048 grueling steps to the top, but the payoff is an amazing view of Hawaii Kai, Hanauma Bay and the breathtaking coastline. On clear days you can see the island of Molokaʻi.
Want to go faster? There is a 90-minute running historical tour through downtown and a two-hour running tour culminating with drinks at world famous Dukes in Waikiki.

For Hawaiian history, check out the 90 minute Path to Hoʻokipa Historic Honolulu Walking Tour where visitors will discover the history of the ʻIolani Palace, the King Kamehameha Statue, Kawaiaha‘o Church, the Sacred Mound and learn about the history of the ho‘okupuceremony.

Walking Tours for Military Buffs

Nature tours are wildly popular, as are Pearl Harbor tours. Military buffs may also want to check out the World War II Red Light District tour that takes visitors on a 1.5 mile walk through Chinatown and explores the areas where military men let loose. Chinatown has some of the best restaurants on the island but remarkably and thankfully has kept its rich history intact.

Iolani Palace. Photograph by Joseph Philipson.

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