Of all the attractions available in Waikiki, one of the most popular is the free fireworks display each Friday evening.

We caught the fireworks from our boat this week, after an ocean sail from the Ala Wai marina at the Hilton Hawaiian Village (HHV) end of Waikiki to Diamond Head and back. We watched the sun set in the ocean on our return and got everything stowed in time to sit back for the aerial show. At the first colorful burst in the air, my grandson said, “You didn’t say we were going to see something so EXCITING!”

And it’s not only nine-year-olds who enjoy the show. We recently hosted the crew of a boat in the Transpac Yacht race. They were contemplating leaving the awards presentation early so they didn’t miss the fireworks! Fortunately, they were able to collect their two trophies before dark and didn’t have to make the decision. This was a group of adults (with a couple of kids in tow) who had sailed across the wide Pacific Ocean and spent several days at the tony Waikiki Edition hotel but they were excited to see the Friday night fireworks before leaving Oahu.

Although the fireworks are free, they’re not fully visible everywhere along the beach. They are exploded from HHV at the marina-end of Waikiki, so the Ilikai and Waikiki Edition have good views. I’ve also had a decent view of them from the far end of Waikiki on San Souci beach. But one time we tried to see them from the pocket of hotels just Diamond Head of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel and got nothing.

The show begins at 7:45, just after sundown most of the year. It lasts 5-7 minutes, which is usually time to get several good photos. The fireworks reflecting off the water of the ocean are really special, so try to watch at least a few without peering through the camera view finder. Many locals bring chairs and picknick meals that they set up in the parking lot to enjoy the week-end kick off. If you are on a Hawaii vacation, the hardest thing about catching the fireworks display might be remembering if today is Friday.


  1. LOL you are so lucky Paul. I love going down to Waikiki for the weekend. I always beg for the highest floor when I book my room so I can see the fireworks!!

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