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11 Sep 2023
Things to Do
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Embassy Suites Waikiki

Cultural Connection: Ways to Experience Authentic Hawaiian Culture in Waikiki


Waikiki is more than beautiful beaches and turquoise waves. It is a vibrant gathering place with rich history and traditions rooted in native Hawaiian culture. Waikiki, meaning "spouting waters," was once a playground for Hawaiian royalty, as well as the birthplace of modern surfing thanks in part to legendary Hawaiian waterman Duke Kahanamoku. 


In fact, right here at Embassy Suites by Hilton Waikiki Beach Walk, you can admire a feather cape and crescent-shaped helmet of Hawaiian High Chief Kahekili proudly on display in the lobby. These intricate replicas were created by renowned Hawaiian featherwork artist Rick San Nicolas based on the painting "Aha‘ula O Kamehameha Kunuiakea" by Brook Kapukuniahi Parker, an artist and Hawaiian historian.


We invite you to dive deeper into the native culture here to discover a unique sense of place and take home a newfound appreciation for the Hawaiian Islands. We rounded up our favorite spots nearby where you can witness authentic Hawaiian culture and explore the aloha spirit in a hands-on way. 


                                                                                                                  Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority / Tor Johnson

Aloha Festivals
Celebrate Hawaiian culture with festivities happening throughout the month of September. This year's theme is Piliʻaina, meaning to have kinship with the land, which will be honored during a Ho‘olaule‘a block party on September 23 and floral parade on September 30, both on Kalakaua Avenue in the heart of Waikiki. 



Bishop Museum
Immerse yourself in Hawaiʻi's rich culture and heritage, learn about Polynesian wayfinding, hear about Hawaiian gods and legends, and gaze up at a life-size model of a sperm whale in the Hawaiian Hall



                                                                                           Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority / Tor Johnson

‘Iolani Palace
Explore the home of Hawai‘i's last reigning monarchs and the palace that was once the royal residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. This spectacular architectural icon takes you back to another time and place. 



Ka Lei Hula Class 
Learn by doing at a free hula class at Waikiki Beach Walk's Plaza Stage every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. The Ka Lei Hula Class teaches the basics of hula and features a fun playlist of Hawaiian songs.



                                                                                                              Photo: Waikiki Beach Walk 

Ku Haʻaheo
Admire traditional Hawaiian storytelling music and dance right in front of the hotel at Waikiki Beach Walk. Ku Haʻaheo, a free concert, features live Hawaiian music and hula every Tuesday from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 



The Royal Room
Curated by the Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame, the museum-quality interactive exhibits focus on the musical heritage of Hawai‘i as well as the art of Hawaiian feather lei making and its significance to Hawaiian royalty. Join a feather work class offered on Wednesdays! 



Header Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority / Tor Johnson

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