From Our Editors
Oahu's southeast hand cradles a bevy of lush parks and sun-soaked beaches, cushioned in a quiet pocket just outside Waikiki shopping, dining, and nightlife. The Diamond Head crater towers over landscapes in every direction, gazing down upon Sans Souci, Diamond Head, and Waikiki shorelines like a grandfather mystified by tiny progeny. Hips revolve around sun rays in hula performances across Waikiki beach, and surfing sensations and spar-stabilized outrigger canoes splash through salty currents. Alternately, trekking an hour or longer across the island to the eye-piercing cerulean beaches of the north shore sequesters sandy toes in near solitude, except during November and December, when wave whisperers take over for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Within the verdant Kapi'olani Park, agile limbs dash across soccer, softball, and tennis courts, and in the park's enclosed Honolulu Zoo, creatures from hippos to kinkajous reenact contentious congressional sessions.Bereft human mannequins and grumbling bellies both find solace at local shopping hubs, from haute couture designers and fine dining at the outdoor Ala Moana Center to gift vendors, steel-drum performances, and street fare at the banyan-shaded International Market Place. After-hours hotspots light up Kuhio Avenue in Waikiki, and a short drive to Chinatown in downtown Honolulu unmasks lofted and underground dance bashes. Oahu's monarchic past and proud surfing history come to light through the spun-marzipan columns of the royal 'Iolani Palace, the educational markers along the Waikiki Historic Trail, and the remains of ancient heiau temples dotting the landscape.