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Top 4 Spots for Culture Lovers on Oahu

From luaus to surf workshops, there are so many ways to explore Oahu's culture.

A woman plays music by the sea on Oahu
Hi, I'm Jen!

Jen is a Tahoe-based writer who loves traveling, food, and adventures. She has written about food and drink for the likes of Mashed, Tasting Table, and Getaway Reno/Tahoe. Jen spent 20 years living in China and Hong Kong, and has traveled to more than 75 countries. When she’s not out exploring the world or the great outdoors, you can find her curled up with a good book.

Oahu may be best known for its sunshine and beaches, but the island also has plenty of cultural offerings. Whether you’re a passionate food lover or more into art and museums, here’s how to soak up some of Oahu’s culture.

1. Attend a luau

A performance takes place at a luau on the beach.Photo Credit: Deborah Kolb / Shutterstock

To truly experience Hawaiian culture, attend a luau, a traditional feast that combines dishes such as Kalua pork and poi (taro root paste) with fire-knife dancing and hula. Luaus can be found all over the island, including at the Polynesian Cultural Center, which is also home to cultural exhibits and interactive activities.

2. Check out the museums

Inside the Bishop Museum.Photo Credit: Phillip B. Espinasse / Shutterstock

Oahu is home to a number of interesting museums and galleries. Must-visits include the Bishop Museum, noted for its colossal collection of artefacts, photos, and documents about Hawaii; Iolani Palace, the former residence of the last two monarchs of the Hawaiian Kingdom; and the Honolulu Museum of Art, with more than 30,000 works of art.

3. Learn to surf

The famous bronze statue of Duke Kahanamoku.Photo Credit: Christian Mueller / Shutterstock

Surfing was said to have originated on Oahu. Today, it’s still plays a big part in local culture and is a way of life for many residents. Learn to surf on beginner waves at Waikiki and then learn more about surfing history and Duke Kahanamoku, the father of modern surfing, at Duke’s Waikiki. Alternatively, stay dry and watch the pros tackle huge waves on the North Shore.

4. Go on a food tour

A woman enjoys a typical Hawaiian snack.Photo Credit: Maridav / Shutterstock

Oahu’s cuisine is a rich and diverse blend of flavors, with influences from Polynesia, the Philippines, Portugal, China, and Japan. Take a food tasting tour to sample the range of flavors and learn more about the island’s culinary history. Or, sample local fruits such as pineapple and mango at their source on a plantation tour.

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