Answer: As the center for entertainment, arts and events in Hawaii, Oahu offers a variety of things to do for the active person, nature enthusiast, music lover, art and history buff, or the night owl--there is something for everyone. It is interesting to note though that gambling is illegal in Hawaii, so you won't find casinos here or even Bingo halls. However, you'll certainly never run out of things to do with plenty of sports, outdoor and adventure activities, natural wonders for sightseeing, music and live shows, Hawaiian luaus, festivals, competitions, dining, bars, dancing, shopping, museums, cruises, tours and more year-round.
On the website hawaiiactivities.com alone, there are 240 listings for things to do in Oahu. You can explore top sights and attractions in a variety of ways.
Nature / outdoors / sports
If you love the ocean, Oahu is probably the top spot for water activities and recreation in Hawaii because of the many options available. There are plenty of beaches to choose from to go swimming, strolling on the beach, sun tanning, have a picnic or simply enjoy the view.
If you want action and adventure, you can go surfing, kayaking or canoeing, kitesurfing, stand up paddling, windsurfing, snorkeling, wakeboarding, water skiing, fishing, sailing, parasailing, scuba diving, bodyboarding (or boogie boarding), bodysurfing, whale or dolphin watching, swimming with turtles, dolphins or rays, go in a personal underwater submersible, go shark cage diving, take a submarine tour, ride on an outrigger canoe, catarman, private jet boat or a thrill-ride jet boat, banana boat, bumper tube, jet ski, water jetpack or relax on a leisurely lunch or dinner cruise.
Oahu also attracts many visitors yearly for world-class surfing competitions during the winter months at the North Shore.
Here is a list of Beaches in Oahu for your easy reference:
Always take note of ocean, current and weather conditions for your safety.
On land, hiking is an obvious option to see and explore many of Oahu's spectacular scenery and natural wonders--you can hike mountains, hills, valleys waterfalls and rainforests. You can explore island's many beautiful trails here or here. Camping at various state parks is also an option.
If golf is your thing, there are plenty of public and private golf courses on the island with spectacular scenery. There are over 40 courses in Oahu, 29 of which accessible to visitors at the time of writing. Among other sports you can play are tennis, polo, basketball, bowling, billiards or pool, football, soccer, boxing, volleyball, baseball, badminton and more. As a spectator, you can even watch outrigger canoe racing competitions and sumo wrestling matches.
Family and Kid-friendly Activities
As a major tourist destination in Hawaii, Oahu offers many activities for the family. Gohawaii.about.com lists the top 15 activities for kids and families, which also typically appeals to the general visitor:
1. Hike Diamond Head
2. Dole Cannery Maze
3. Snorkel Hanauma Bay
4. Atlantis Submarine Tour
5. Paradise Cove Luau
6. Polynesian Cultural Center
7. Pearl Harbor / USS Arizona Memorial
8. Wild Side Specialty Tours
9. Kualoa Ranch and the Ka'a'awa Valley
10. Honolulu Zoo
11. Waikiki Aquarium
12. Sea Life Park
13. Wet'n'Wild Hawaii
14. Bishop Museum
15. North Shore
16. 100 Best things to do in Hawaii
Entertainment, Night Life, and Events
You can find all sorts of entertainment in Oahu, some of which you will never be able to experience anywhere else. Watch hula performances, listen to live regional music and witness multicultural festivals.
As a hot spot for live music in Hawaii, you'll have access to a variety of genres and performances--from acoustic street performances, to busy hotel bars playing Hawaiian music, to large arena concerts. Take your pick from a variety of genres (such as jazz, rock, dance music and acoustic to name a few) and venues such as:
Waikiki - many options with some of the best bars in Hawaii or the entire country
Downtown Chinatown - urban, stylish bars and DJs
Ala Moana Center - The Mai Tai Bar is popular
Neil S. Blaisdell Arena and Concert Hall - for large concerts and events.
There are other varieties of entertainment such as magic shows and comedy performances. And of course, the luau is quintessential Hawaiian, with plenty of options in Waikiki, Leeward Coast and North Shore.
The food scene in Hawaii is vibrant and diverse due to ethnic influences and easy access to fresh produce and unique ingredients. You can get Chinese, Vietnamese, and Italian food to name a few, and has some of the best Japanese cuisine outside of Japan. Oahu is also home to many award-winning chefs and restaurants. Some of the famous Hawaiian regional cuisine restaurants are Alan Wong's, Roy's and Chef Mavro.
The Star Adviser's Ilima Awards recognizes Oahu's top restaurants and gives a guide to some of the best places to eat on the island.
See this article in Serious Eats about unique foods that will make you wish you lived in Oahu.
If you're a shopaholic, GoHawaii.about.com lists some of the best places to shop in Oahu, listed alphabetically. There are a lot.
Arts, Culture, History
For the art, culture and history enthusiast, here is a convenient list of museums, centers, monuments and places of interest:
Honolulu Museum of Art (formerly known as Honolulu Academy of Arts)
Iolani Palace, King Kamehameha I statue
And the list goes on for things to do for fun and entertainment in Oahu.