From bright blue skies to beautiful ocean waves and majestic green mountains, Honolulu has little competition when it comes to serene getaways. Whether you’re a local or a visitor in the beautiful capital of Hawaii, it can be difficult to separate the tourist traps from the quality venues. Culture Trip has compiled a list of the best places to go in Honolulu for amazing live music, from distinctive Hawaiian local talent to popular national and international bands.
Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu
Situated in the heart of Waikiki, the Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu is conveniently located within walking distance of many major resorts, a variety shops, the Hawaii Convention Center, and the iconic Waikiki beach. Visitors fall in love with the ever changing music memorabilia collection that often features items from music legends such as Elvis, The Beatles, and Jimi Hendrix, as well as local favorites like Jake Shimabukuro and Jack Johnson. As they follow the sweeping artistic guitar wave up to the open air second floor area, they are treated to veranda seating, a striking ocean-blue wave bar, and an extensive made-from-scratch menu that caters to the entire family with fresh seafood, a variety of crisp refreshing salads, tasty char-broiled burgers, and delicious desserts. Thirst-quenching specialty drinks and thick frosty shakes complete the meal that is made much more memorable with the amazing live rock music often playing on the stage off to the side. Though it is a chain, many consider Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu to be the best location to go to, thanks to its exceptional food, service, decor, and local talent.
Hard Rock Cafe Honolulu, 280 Beachwalk, Waikiki, HI, USA, +1 808 955 7383
House Without A Key
Immortalized in a 1925 Charlie Chan novel, House Without A Key is the internationally acclaimed Halekulani Hotel’s popular indoor/outdoor gathering spot for informal breakfast, lunch, cocktails, appetizers, and entertainment with a fresh option for evening dining in Waikiki. Considered one of the best restaurants in Waikiki, House Without A Key is known for its signature mai tai, a classic that can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Visitors can drink in memorable sunsets at the romantic restaurant while listening to distinctive live Hawaiian music paired with the graceful dancing of five former Miss Hawaii winners, Kanoe Miller, Debbie Nakanelua, Lauren Matsumoto, Skyler Kamaka, and Radasha Ho’ohuli. Visitors must arrive early if they want to get a seat close to the stage on the terrace, but everyone can enjoy the cool breeze and gorgeous views of the ocean and Diamond Head, while listening to the gentle waves slapping against the sea wall along with live bands playing Hawaiian music of older times.
House Without A Key, 2199 Kalia Rd, Honolulu, HI, USA, +1 808 923 2311
A local bar in the heart of Honolulu, Imua Lounge was established in 2009 by the Kamehameha Schools graduate class of 1981 to keep the alumni strong and create another home for local people. Their mission is to satisfy their customers in every way, with good cocktails, good food, and good service. The bartenders are known for being friendly, fun, and for pouring strong drinks, and everyone raves about the amazing food, including the fried rice, the pulehu steak, and the famous pork chops cooked with shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, and a cream sauce. They offer entertainment from Tuesday to Sunday, with great live bands playing Hawaiian music that encourage everyone to get up and dance, as well as fun karaoke competitions. The decor is dark, with with blue, green, and neons scattered throughout, in addition to Kamehameha items adorning the bar, and the environment is very casual and divey. Though it is mostly frequented by locals and Kamehameha alumni, both staff and regulars are extremely welcoming to all who enter.
Imua Lounge, 815 Keeaumoku St, Honolulu, HI, USA, +1 808 951 6555
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.