When a canoe enters the lagoon at Polynesian Cultural Center, its passengers transcend time, distance, and the need for a passport. The boat drifts to the shores of different exhibits, each of which represents a unique Polynesian region. At the Samoa section, for instance, visitors learn how to spark a fire and cook native cuisine. Nearby, the sounds of the haka—a lively war dance—ring through the Aotearoa area, while rhythmic drumming permeates the Fiji and Tonga exhibits. Those who stop by the miniature Tahiti can learn a traditional dance, and guests of the Hawaiian village observe skilled artists weaving leis.
For a cultural cap on an exploratory day, patrons can upgrade their general admission ticket and attend the nightly Ali'i Luau. A celebratory feast is laid out, including authentic Hawaiian cuisine and a whole pig roasted in an underground oven. Alternatively, guest can upgrade to even more evening entertainment, Ha: Breath of Life. During this show, more than 100 Polynesian performers dance, play music, and toss fire to tell an epic story. Dinner is not included with Ha: Breath of Life.
Breakers Restaurant & Bar exudes a laid-back vibe that carries through its dinner menu of casual surf 'n' turf dishes favored by a regular clientele of North Shore boardriders. Test your hunger's waters with the Breakers Cakers ($12.95), crab cakes plated with a zesty homemade tropical salsa and a creamy garlic mayo. The beer-battered fish ($16.95) cloaks a fresh catch in a crispy, suds-laced jump suit, and the Hawaiian burger ($11.95) sports a festive pattern of grilled pineapple, teriyaki sauce, and traditional fixings. With prowess over land and sea, the surf 'n' turf entree ($23.95) tackles barren bellies with coconut shrimp and an 8-ounce new york strip steak. Breakfast and lunch menus ably accommodate morning wave riders and morning DJs done surfing radio waves.
As an accomplished ballroom-dance instructor and television actor, Ed Nix derives joy from seeing his students land coveted roles. The Nix Performing Arts Center is meant to help them across each stepping stone, from introductory classes to audition prep. While highly skilled teachers pass on their expertise in dancing, acting, voice work, and modeling, pupils perfect their maneuvers atop the marley and sprung flooring of the 1,000-square-foot facility.
NixPAC welcomes guests of all experience levels, whether they are aiming to dazzle cruise-line talent scouts or are simply harnessing a sense of rhythm. Staff members strive to cultivate a familial bond with their groups; they readily dispense career advice on choosing a future dance school, where they then send care packages filled with extra feet.
The menu at Maili Sunset Bar & Grill specializes in the ocean's bounty. Combo meals bring together clams, shrimp, crayfish, and king-crab claws slathered in garlic butter. Sauces and shallots coat glistening oysters on the half shell and fresh chunks of fish poke. Other finger-friendly foods include chicken wings, egg rolls, Cajun fries, and Korean fried chicken. In addition to sating the masses, Maili serves as a venue for watching broadcast sports and live entertainment such as bands and hip-hop open-mic nights with prizes awarded in cash and rhyming dictionaries.
Voted one of the city's best bars by Honolulu magazine in 2009, Tsunami's woos patrons with chic, minimalist furnishings, a flavor-packed menu, and artistic plate presentation. Chef Aaron Fukuda molds minced ahi with sriracha aioli into a savory sculpture with his spicy ahi bowl ($8). Inventive versions of classic pub fare include the half-pound Tsunami burger ($8) and the kalua pig quesadilla served with scallion sour cream and hoisin barbecue sauce ($8). Friends or handcuffed strangers can go splitzies with teriyaki fries ($6) or poke balls, which are rice balls encrusted with ginger- and soy-braised pork ribs and accompanied by hoisin barbecue and pickled cabbage ($10 each). Complete the lounge experience with a beer ($4–$5), mixed drink ($6+), or sake shot ($6–$12) under the modern drop lighting of Tsunami's bar. Valet parking is available, and Tsunami's stays open until 2 a.m. to accommodate night owls and ambitious Californian sleep swimmers.
Scream Team creates new nightmares by bringing already existing ones to life, drawing upon horror staples such as demonic clowns and decaying zombies for their fully immersive haunted houses. In 2011, a rogue’s gallery of cinematic madmen—from Michael Myers to Freddy Krueger to Nick Nolte—brought hypothermia to the spines of patrons tiptoeing through Hollywood Horror, which ran alongside the blood-spattered carnival of Twisted Fun House. Their houses stay open through the end of October and then, like an office of candy-corn salesmen, vanish after Halloween.