Not a path along the water, the Waikiki Beach Walk is a row of shops, hotels and restaurants. But there is a reason to visit even if you don’t want to spend money.

If you are not staying in one of the five Hawaii hotels that line this section of Lewers Street, you may have to look for the Beach Walk area. It does not reach Waikiki beach, but dead-ends into Kalia Road at the Outrigger Reef on the Beach, next to the Halekulani Hotel.

There are sixteen dining establishments in the Beach Walk, from coffee shops to fine dining. We often find ourselves at the Yard House for its excellent selection of beers and Roy’s Waikiki is a favorite for an upscale evening out. The Shore Bird Restaurant & Beach Bar opens directly to the beach with an imposing view of Diamond Head that makes a perfect backdrop for photos to send back home. Giovanni Pastrami is great for sandwiches and watching the big game – my college alumni association meets there. I haven’t made it to Ruth’s Chris Steak House yet, although I loved their menu on the mainland, and I have yet to visit The Ocean House Restaurant or Taormina Sicilian Cuisine (or three more area restaurants). Coconut Willy’s is listed under “night life” and looks fun.

But the reason I return most often to the Beach Walk is to take in the free cultural events. I happened upon a wonderful hula performance one evening by accident – the stage area is next to the street between the rows of restaurants and shops.

After that, I noticed there are many free cultural events each week that are open to the public. Depending on the day, you can learn how to make lei, pronounce Hawaiian words, hula, play the ukulele or play Hawaiian hula implements on your Hawaii Vacation. Those are the regularly scheduled Mana Hawaii Complimentary Cultural Programs. In addition, there are musical performances each Tuesday afternoon that include hula from groups of men, women and children. This series is called the Ku Haaheo, or To Cherish with Pride performances.

This month, the 2nd Annual Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival is taking the stage on Sunday evenings. It kicked off July 3 with Stars of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar and continues for the next four weeks. The performances are from 5-6 pm each Sunday. Imagine a free steel guitar performance as the palm trees sway in the gentle trade winds. Now, THAT’s a Hawaii vacation souvenir you’ll never lose.


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