Mele Kalikimaka my fellow travel enthusiasts and welcome to my post where we will check out my 10 best things to do in Hawaii at Christmas. I have spent a Christmas in Hawaii myself and can tell you first hand that . this is a time when the islands come alive with festive cheer.
There are plenty of activities to keep you entertained such as tree lighting ceremonies, holiday markets and parades. These take place throughout the islands, each with its own unique traditions and local flair. Of course you can also do all of the other cool things that Hawaii has to offer as well.
Best Things to Do in Hawaii at Christmas
Hawaii offers a unique and unforgettable Christmas experience. With warm weather, beautiful scenery and plenty of festive activities, it’s no wonder that visitor arrivals to Hawaii during the holiday season continue to grow each year. Here are some of the best things to do in Hawaii during Christmas time:
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1. Honolulu Hale City Lights
Typically held from December 2nd through January 2nd at the city hall of Honolulu, the Honolulu Hale City Lights transforms the area into a dazzling winter wonderland, despite Hawaii’s tropical climate. The centerpiece of the celebration is a magnificently decorated giant Christmas tree surrounded by a myriad of bright lights and festive decorations that illuminate the city hall and its surroundings.
The event includes a variety of special activities and performances such as live music and hula shows, creating a lively and joyous atmosphere. It’s a family-friendly event, offering a delightful experience for both children and adults alike and reflects the unique cultural aspects of Hawaii by incorporating local traditions into the festivities.
An of course one of the highlights of the Honolulu Hale City Lights is its accessibility, as it is free to the public, making it an inclusive celebration for everyone.
2. Aloha Land’s Winter Wonderland
Aloha Land’s Winter Wonderland is a festive holiday event held annually at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii that typically runs from mid-November through January 1st. This event is renowned for transforming the stadium into a magical winter-themed wonderland with the highlight of the event being a spectacular light show featuring a 50-foot mega tree and a variety of dazzling light displays that create a festive atmosphere.
Visitors have the opportunity to take photos with Santa Claus, adding to the holiday cheer, especially for families with children and the event also offers a range of winter-themed activities such as tobogganing and a walking light tunnel, providing a taste of winter fun in the otherwise warm climate. Additionally, there’s a food court and picnic area where visitors can enjoy holiday treats and seasonal food.
The Winter Wonderland is designed to be family-friendly, offering a variety of entertainment and interactive experiences suitable for all ages. The event however does usually require an admission fee, with specific pricing for adults and children.
3. Chinatown Winter Walk
The Chinatown Winter Walk is a festive holiday event that takes place throughout December in the historic Chinatown district of Honolulu. This event is particularly special as it involves the collaboration of over 40 Chinatown merchants who decorate their storefronts turning the entire district into a holiday-themed wonderland.
Walking maps are typically available to guide visitors through the decorated streets, ensuring they don’t miss any of the beautifully adorned shops and attractions as well as offering the chance to explore the diverse range of shops, restaurants and galleries in Chinatown.
This event is free, making it accessible to everyone and a popular choice for families, tourists and locals alike making it a wonderful opportunity to experience the fusion of Honolulu’s rich cultural diversity with the universal joy of the holiday season, all set in one of the city’s most historic and vibrant neighborhoods.
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4. The North Shore Christmas Festival
The North Shore Christmas Festival is a delightful holiday event held annually on the North Shore of Oahu. This festival typically takes place in December and is hosted at the North Shore Stables, located at 67-221 Waialua Beach Road.
The event is known for its festive atmosphere and a variety of activities that cater to both adults and children, making it a family-friendly destination during the holiday season. Visitors can expect to experience a range of attractions, including holiday-themed displays and decorations that capture the spirit of Christmas. The festival often features a mix of entertainment, such as live music or performances, adding to the celebratory mood.
The event typically has an admission fee, which is reasonably priced, with different rates for adults, teenagers, and free entry for younger children. Parking is usually provided free of charge, adding to the convenience for families attending the event as well.
5. The Pearl Harbor Memorial Anniversary Parade
The Pearl Harbor Memorial Anniversary Parade is a significant and solemn event held annually in Hawaii to honor and remember the events of December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked, leading the United States into World War II.
This parade typically takes place from December 2nd to the 10th in Waikiki and is part of a series of commemorative events. The main parade however features a variety of elements, including military units, veterans’ groups, marching bands and local organizations, all coming together to pay respects to those who served and sacrificed at Pearl Harbor.
In addition to the parade, the commemoration includes a range of activities such as live Jazz & Blues band performances, outdoor movie nights on Waikiki Beach, reef laying ceremonies, an opening gala and a block party. These events provide a blend of solemn remembrance and celebratory honor, reflecting on the historical significance of Pearl Harbor while also celebrating the enduring spirit and resilience of those affected by the events of that day.
6. Kauai’s Festival of Lights
Kauai’s Festival of Lights is a cherished annual holiday event that takes place on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Held from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, this festival is centered around the Historic County Building in Lihue, which is transformed into a sparkling wonderland of lights and decorations.
The festival is renowned for its unique and creative displays, many of which are crafted from recycled and sustainable materials, showcasing not only the holiday spirit but also an emphasis on environmental consciousness.
A key feature of the Festival of Lights is the opportunity for visitors to take pictures with Santa Claus, making it a popular attraction for families and children and the decorations often include a blend of traditional Christmas themes and local Hawaiian motifs, reflecting the island’s diverse culture and heritage.
The Festival of Lights also serves as a tribute to the late Auntie Josie Chansky, a local folk artist who began the tradition of creating Christmas folk art from her home in Kapaa, which she opened to the public during the holiday season. Her legacy continues in the festival, preserving the homegrown charm and aloha spirit that she embodied.
This event is free to the public, making it accessible to everyone and adding to its appeal as a family-friendly holiday destination.
7. The Waimea Christmas Parade
The Waimea Christmas Parade is a festive and beloved annual event that takes place in the town of Waimea on the island of Kauai. Scheduled typically for early December, this parade is a highlight of the holiday season for both locals and visitors and characterized by a unique blend of traditional Christmas elements and local Hawaiian culture, making it a distinctive and memorable experience.
One of the most notable features of the Waimea Christmas Parade is the inclusion of cowboys, or “paniolos,” on horseback, which reflects the town’s rich ranching history and adds a unique twist to the traditional Christmas parade format. The parade also includes a variety of floats, marching bands and community groups, all adorned with festive lights and decorations. These floats often showcase creative themes and are a testament to the community’s spirit and enthusiasm for the holiday season.
The streets of Waimea are lined with spectators who gather to enjoy the colorful procession and the lively atmosphere. The parade not only serves as a celebration of the holiday season but also as a community gathering, fostering a sense of togetherness and joy among participants and onlookers alike.
8. The Kailua-Kona Christmas Parade
The Kailua-Kona Christmas Parade is a festive and vibrant event that takes place annually in the heart of Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. Scheduled typically in December, this parade is a much-anticipated highlight of the holiday season for the local community and visitors alike and showcases a delightful mix of traditional Christmas themes and the unique cultural flair of Hawaii, creating a festive atmosphere that is both familiar and distinctly local.
The streets of Kailua-Kona come alive during the parade with a procession of colorful floats, marching bands and community groups, all decked out in festive lights and holiday decorations. These floats often feature imaginative themes and are a testament to the creativity and spirit of the local community. The parade also includes local businesses, schools, and various organizations, each contributing to the lively and joyous mood of the event.
A standout feature of the Kailua-Kona Christmas Parade is its inclusivity and representation of the diverse cultures that make up Hawaii’s Big Island. This diversity is reflected in the music, dance and costumes that are part of the parade, offering a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of the island.
9. The Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade
The Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade is a captivating and heartwarming event that takes place annually in the town of Waimea on the Big Island of Hawaii. This enchanting evening parade, typically held in early December, is a cherished tradition in the community marking the beginning of the holiday season with a sense of wonder and festivity.
As twilight descends, the streets of Waimea are illuminated by a procession of floats, each adorned with twinkling lights and holiday decorations. These floats are often creatively designed by local schools, businesses and community organizations showcasing the talent and spirit of the Waimea community. The parade features a variety of participants, including marching bands playing festive music, dancers in colorful costumes and local dignitaries, all contributing to the lively and joyous atmosphere.
A unique aspect of the Waimea Christmas Twilight Parade is its blend of traditional Christmas elements with the distinct cultural heritage of Hawaii. This fusion is evident in the music, dance and themes of the floats, offering a delightful experience that captures the essence of a Hawaiian Christmas. The parade route is usually lined with families and visitors, all gathered to enjoy the spectacle and share in the community’s holiday spirit.
10. The Festivus 5K Run and Half Mile Keiki Dash
And finally, for the more active amongst you, there is the The Festivus 5K Run and Half Mile Keiki Dash. This is an annual holiday-themed running event that takes place in Maui, Hawaii, typically in mid-December. This event is not just a race but a festive celebration that brings the community together in the spirit of the holiday season.
The 5K run is designed for participants of all ages and skill levels, making it a popular event for both serious runners and those looking for a fun, holiday activity and often features scenic views, adding to the enjoyment of the participants.
In addition to the 5K run, the event includes the Half Mile Keiki Dash, a shorter race specifically designed for children, or “keiki” in Hawaiian. This part of the event is particularly popular with families, as it encourages children to participate in the joy of running and the festive spirit of the event. The Keiki Dash is often a highlight, with children excitedly racing and enjoying the cheers from spectators.
The Festivus 5K Run and Half Mile Keiki Dash is more than just a race; it’s a community event that often includes post-race festivities, such as food, music and entertainment. Participants and spectators alike are encouraged to embrace the holiday spirit, with many runners wearing festive costumes or holiday-themed attire.
This event also serves a charitable purpose, as it is typically organized to support local causes, such as the Maui Food Bank. Participants are often encouraged to bring food donations, making the event a way to give back to the community during the holiday season.
If you’re planning a trip to Hawaii during Christmas, you’re in for a treat. The weather in Hawaii during December is warm and pleasant, with average temperatures ranging between 75°F (23.9°C) and 85°F (29.4°C). While it can be a bit rainy during this time of year, the rain is usually brief and scattered, so it won’t ruin your plans.
If you’re looking for a white Christmas, Hawaii may not be the best destination for you. Snow is a rare occurrence in Hawaii, and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll experience a white Christmas here. But don’t let that discourage you – there are plenty of other things to do in Hawaii during the holiday season.
The best time to visit Hawaii during Christmas is from mid-December to early January. This is when most of the holiday festivities take place, and the crowds are at their peak. If you’re looking to avoid the crowds, you may want to consider visiting Hawaii in late November or early December.
What are some of the best places to stay in Hawaii during Christmas?
Hawaii offers a wide range of accommodations for travelers during the Christmas season. Some of the best options include luxury resorts such as the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea and the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, consider staying at a vacation rental or bed and breakfast.
What are some of the best Christmas lights displays in Hawaii?
The Honolulu City Lights display is one of the most popular Christmas lights displays in Hawaii. Other notable displays include the Festival of Lights in Maui and the Kauai Festival of Lights.
There you have it, 10 best things to do in Hawaii at Christmas time. As usual, let me know of your experiences here or if there is anywhere you think I need to add.
Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.
Until next time.