1. Ali’i Luau
Luaus (spellcheck may not have caught this, but luau actually refers to taro, a plant whose tender young leaves are cooked with coconut and chicken in a popular traditional dish) originate from celebratory feasts known as ‘aha’aina. Aha’ainas were religious gatherings where Hawaiian men and women ate separately. Usually, only high-standing male guests could partake in the more exquisite dishes. Luaus are a popular way for visitors to not only try traditional Polynesian cuisine but also see the unique culture’s entertainment. Although these events today cannot compare in size to the royal feasts thrown in the 19th century, they remain impressive nonetheless. It was King Kamehameha II who ended years of tradition by allowing men and women to break bread together at the same table- an act that changed Hawaii forever.
The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) went above and beyond to provide an authentic luau experience by accurately recreating the elements of historical significance. The buffet was prepared using traditional recipes and techniques used back in Kamehameha II’s day, the entertainment featured dancing and decorations that are indicative of various Polynesian cultures, and guests even had the opportunity to explore six different ‘island villages.’ When you purchase a luau package from PCC, your ticket includes admission into these specially crafted areas which each celebrate the culture of a specific island nation. This intimate experience provides visitors with everything they need to enjoy entertaining activities while also expanding their knowledge about Polynesia’s rich history.
2. Te Moana Nui
The Sheraton Princess Kaiulani is more than just a great place to see a performance; it’s an experience. With interactive pre-show activities like floral crafts, Hawaiian stamping and tatau pasefika, nonpermanent Polynesian tattoos and intricate storytelling, you’ll be transported into the story. The “vast ocean” is what Te Moana Nui translates to, and before the show begins, guests can fill their plates with delicious prime rib and other traditional Pacific foods. The performance itself is an exciting hour-long journey through Hawaiian and South Pacific culture, told through music and dance.
3. ‘Aha’aina Luau
The Royal Hawaiian Resort pays homage to Hawai’i’s rich history with its ‘Aha’aina Luau, which is based on Helumoa, or “chicken scratch.” According to legend, this is the spot where a supernatural rooster flew to Waikiki and challenged Kakuhihewa, the ruler of the island. He then planted coconut trees in the place where the rooster scratched Earth. The resort now occupies this royal playground that Kakuihewa established all those years ago. Along with traditional music, dancing and storytelling, attendees will feast like Hawaiian royalty at ‘Aha’aina.’
4. Ka Moana Luau
The Ka Moana Luau is a classic Hawaiian luau that has all the features you would expect from such an event. An ocean- themed luau, it’s the only Oahu’s east-side luau. With your Ka Moana Luau ticket, you can start by choosing between fun activities like hula dancing, ukelele lessons, coconut headband weaving, lei crafting , poi and lomi-lomi (a side dish in Hawaiian cuisine) samplings. You also get access with a buffet dinner of Hawaiian favorites such as kalua port and grilled mahi mahi. It ends with a Polynesian performance with a finale of an exciting Sword of Fire dance. And if that wasn’t enough, tickets include free admission to Sea Life Park (redeemable within 7 days). You want hassle free transportation from Waikik? No worries, just add $18 and they got it covered.
5. Chief’s Luau
Chief Sielu Avea started from humble beginnings to become world-renowned for his fire dancing and comedian talents. A Samoan native, he moved to Hawaii and quickly gained recognition as a performer. After working at the Polynesian Cultural Center and the Honolulu Comedy Club located in Waikiki’s Ilikai Hotel, Chief decided it was time to create his own luau with the help of the club’s founder. While Chief Sielu guided you to a cultural immersion, it’s his extraordinary personality that is the spotlight of the show. At this event, you won’t just feel like you’re in the Polynesian islands—you’ll feel like you’re part of them. In addition to traditional island cuisine (for vegetarians, don’t worry as they serve special menus just for you), there will also be interactive activities and an imu ceremony (during which kalua pork is removed from a pit oven and brought to the kitchen to be shredded). Plus, nine different pick-up locations in Waikiki offer hassle-free motorcoach transportation directly to Wet’n’Wild Hawaii park in Kapolei.
6. Paradise Cove Luau
Searching for a serene and tropical getaway in paradise? Paradise Cove may be exactly what you’re looking for. Combined with its luau, the hotel pickup, delicious food, and an undeniable sense of community, this paradise has everything you need to relax and enjoy yourself. You can choose to combine surfing and snorkeling packages with your Paradise Cove tickets. You’ll be greeted with a stunning sunset view and a traditional Hawaiian mai tais and shell leis, and if you’re in the mood, you can participate with games and crafts such as a “shower of flowers”, hukilau (an old net fishing technique) and more. Providing an extensive menu including Kalua pork, fresh seafood, and a visual feast of hula dancers and fire twirlers, Paradise Cove is sure to tantalize your taste buds. From the lei you wear to pre-dinner activities and post-dinner souvenirs, this ensures an unforgettable experience. For an additional fee of $16, they provide round-trip transportation from some Waikiki hotels.
7. Hale Koa Hotel Luau
The Hale Koa Hotel in Waikiki -a home for military members and their families is also well-known for its full-service luau, which features family-style appetizers and plated entrees, followed by family-style desserts. Guests are welcomed with Hawaiian hospitality as they take their seats, making this a truly enjoyable experience for all. Skip the buffet line and head straight to the show in the hotel’s luxurious luau garden! Though you don’t have to be in the military to attend, this event will mean more to you if you are. This is because it includes a touching tribute for those who serve our country. If you have a military connection, they can sponsor you to attend but sometimes unsold tickets become available to civilians, so there’s no reason not to enjoy this one-of-a-kind experience.
8. Germaine’s Luau
If you’re looking for an authentic Hawaiian luau experience, Germaine’s Lau is the perfect place for you. Since 1976, we have been providing locals and visitors alike with a memorable day filled with food, Polynesian entertainment, and more. Your trip begins with a bus ride from Waikiki where the hosts will keep you entertained throughout the half hour journey. Once you arrive onsite, the festivities begin with the sound of a conch shell followed by a royal procession and uncovering of the imu. You can then enjoy a delicious Hawaiian-American buffet before sitting back to watch an exciting Polynesian show featuring hula from Hawaii as well as dances from Tahiti, Samoa Fiji, New Zealand and so much more! Your ticket price already covers the cost of your round-trip transportation so all you have to do is enjoy yourself and get a lifetime experience.
9. Experience Nutridge Luau
If you’re looking for an escape from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki in Pu’u Ualaka’a State Park , look no further than Nutridge Estate. This 22-acre property, which was gained its name by serving Hawaii’s first macadamia nut plantation, is now home to an intimate evening luau that can accommodate up to 48 guests. Over the years, this perfect spot has played host to some of Hollywood’s most luminous stars, including Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley (who spent quite a bit of time here while filming Blue Hawaii).If you want to avoid the more touristy luaus in town, come to Nutridge Estate. They’ll make you feel like part of the family with their intimate setting and ohana spirit. If you want an even more personal event, they can arrange a private luau just for you and your group. Transportation from Waikiki costs an additional $14 round-trip.
10. Diamond Head Luau
Diamond Head Luau is a perfect blend of food, entertainment and culture. As every luau admission ticket grants access to Waikiki Aquarium (from 5:20-6:00 PM), you can stop there for a bit before the luau starts, the atmosphere is guaranteed to be memorable. Come also to enjoy their farm-to-table buffet, which features mouthwatering dishes like lychee wood-smoked local marlin dip and Hawaiian fern caprese salad and vegan vegetable curry stew with local tofu .As the team believes in Malama ‘ka ‘Aina (care for the land), so you can be sure that all of their ingredients are from sustainable sources.