How to Choose the Best Hawaiian Luau on Oahu

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If you are traveling to the Hawaiian islands for the first time and looking for things to do, you should put a luau on Oahu on top of your bucket list!

Hawaiian Luau Dancer

Hawaii is one of my favorite places to visit in the United States and one of the best experiences to have if you are visiting Oahu is to attend a luau!

You will immerse yourself in Hawaiian culture and have a multi-sensorial experience through: hands-on pre-luau activities, a buffet feast, and a show-stopping performance by Oahu’s best dancers and musicians.

A luau is a great family activity that is also kid-friendly. There are several Hawaiian luaus on Oahu, but each offer a slightly different experience. The list below details what you can expect from each luau to help make your decision on which to book for your vacation.

Most luaus offer a discount if you buy tickets at least 10 days before the event, so you can save a little money by planning ahead.

The Complete List of Hawaiian Luaus on Oahu

There are many Hawaiian luaus on Oahu to choose from, varying by location, price and atmosphere. Here is a breakdown of what you should expect from each of these Hawaiian luaus.

Luaus on the East Side of Oahu

Chief’s Luau at Wet n’ Wild

Chief’s luau is considered one of the best Hawaiian luaus on Oahu by Yelp and Tripadvisor.

The host of the luau is Chief Siely Avea, a world champion fire dancer and considered the funniest Polynesian Entertainer in the South Pacific.

If you buy a ticket to the luau, you will also get a discount to the Wet n’ Wild park that can be used on a separate day.

Pre-buffet activities include hula lessons, weaving, spear throwing, fire making and more.

There is a special needs menu available for vegetarians, gluten-free, dairy-free and peanut-free individuals.

  • Address: 400 Farrington Hwy, Kapolei, HI 96707
  • Phone: (877) 357-2480
  • Luau Check-in: 5:00 pm, closed Tuesday and Saturdays.
  • Luau activities start at 5:30pm and the Hawaiian luau lasts for 3 hrs.
  • Prices are in 3 tiers (as of Jan 2020): U$99/ U$135 / U$175.
  • Kids 0-4 years old are free. Military discount available.
  • Transportation is available from Waikiki (U$25 per person roundtrip).

Paradise Cove at Ko Olina

At Paradise Cove you will be able to learn about arts and crafts of Hawaii, try your hand at Hawaiian games and be part of an old fishing tradition (Hukilau).

  • Address: 92-1089 Ali’inui Dr, Kapolei, HI 96707
  • Phone: (808) 842-5911
  • Luau Check-in: 5:00 pm, 7 days a week
  • Luau activities start at 5:30pm and the Hawaiian luau lasts for 3.5 hrs.
  • Prices are in 3 tiers (as of Jan 2020): U$107/ U$143 / U$195.
  • Kids 0-3 years old are free.
  • Transportation is available from Waikiki (U$18 per person).

Ka Wa‘a at Aulani Disney

This luau is held on the west side of Oahu in Ko Olina.

It is held at the Aulani Disney resort and as such has the Disney magic touch!

Pre-show activities include kapa printing, flower arranging, taro pounding and more.

A children’s menu is available and includes mac and cheese, pasta and meatballs, fruit, chicken tenders with BBQ sauce.

  • Address: 92-1185 Ali’inui Dr, Kapolei, HI 96707
  • Phone: (844) 284-7644, reservations required
  • Luau Check-in: 5:00 pm (hrs change throughout the year) – Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
  • Luau activities start at 5:00 pm and the Hawaiian luau lasts for 3hrs.
  • Prices are in 2 tiers (as of Jan 2020): U$139/ U$179. Taxes are additional. Prices are increasing April 2020.
  • Kids 0-3 years old are free.
  • Self-parking will be validated for 5 hrs for non-guests of the resort. Transportation is available from Waikiki (U$18 per person).

Germaine’s Luau

Germaine’s luau is a backyard style luau without frills on the western side of Oahu.

The idea is you are attending a family party and the main event is the food and entertainment.

You can watch the roasted pig being taken off the Imu and watch the sunset with the picturesque lighthouse on the grounds.

  • Address: 91-119 Olai Street, Kapolei, Hawaii 96707
  • Phone: (808) 949-6626 — 7:00 am – 5:30 pm
  • Luau Hours: 5:30pm – 8:30pm, Tuesday – Sunday
  • Luau starts at 6pm and lasts for 2.5 hrs.
  • Prices are in 3 tiers (as of Jan 2020): U$94/ U$127/ U$164 and tickets booked directly at least 10 days before the event, receive a 10% discount.
  • Kids 0-3 years old are free.
  • Transportation is available from Waikiki (U$20 per person) and reservations are required.

Luaus in Waikiki

Waikiki Starlight Luau at the Hilton Hawaiian Village

The Waikiki Starlight Luau takes place right on Waikiki beach on the rooftop of the convention center in the Hilton hotel.

The location of this luau is perfect for those staying on Waikiki beach and that don’t want to take a 30-45mins drive to a different location.

The Waikiki Starlight Luau appeals to foodies as “the best luau cuisine on the island”.

Entertainment includes a Conch Shell Blowing challenge, a group hula lesson, a fashion show and a fire knife dance.

  • Address: 2005 Kalia Road, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96815
  • Phone: (808) 949-4321
  • Luau Check-in: 5:00 pm, Sunday-Thursday
  • Luau activities start at 5:30pm and the Hawaiian luau lasts for 2.5 hrs.
  • Prices are in 3 tiers (as of Jan 2020): U$111/ U$141/ U$171.
  • Kids 0-3 years old are free.

Aha ‘Aina Luau at The Royal Hawaiian Hotel

The only Hawaiian luau on Oahu hosted oceanfront in Waikiki Beach at the Royal Hawaiian hotel, a historic institution in Waikiki.

This luau is the most expensive of the luaus on Oahu, but the location is amazing! It is a great option if you are not planning to rent a car, want to have a romantic date night without the kids, or just don’t want to have to drive to another location.

The menu is also broad offering a gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian menu.

  • Address: 2259 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
  • Phone: (808) 921-4600
  • Luau Check-in: 5:00 pm, Monday-Thursday
  • Luau activities start at 5:30pm and the Hawaiian luau lasts for 2.5 hrs.
  • Prices are in 2 tiers (as of Jan 2020): U$188/ U$209.
  • Kids under 5: U$21.

Luaus in Honolulu

Experience Nutridge Luau 

A homestyle luau hosted at Hawaii’s first macadamia nut plantation, this Hawaiian luau is the most rustic of Oahu.

You can see a fantastic sunset of Honolulu from the Estate prior to the feast.

Menu is farm to table and if you have special dietary needs, contact them to request it 48 hrs in advance.

  • Address: Pu’u Ualaka’a State Park, Nutridge St., Honolulu, HI 96822
  • Phone: (808) 531-5050
  • Luau Check-in: 4:00 pm, Monday – Friday.
  • Luau lasts for 4 hrs.
  • Only one ticket tier (as of Jan 2020): U$145.
  • Kids 0-3 years old are free.
  • Transportation is available from Waikiki (U$14 per person roundtrip).

Diamond Head Luau at the Waikiki Aquarium

A farm-to-table Hawaiian luau, the Diamond Head luau takes place in Honolulu and focuses on local ingredients and fun for the whole family.

Tickets includes entrance to the aquarium and guests of the luau have exclusive access to the marine life exhibits from 5:20-6pm.

  • Address: 2777 Kalakaua Ave, Honolulu, HI 96815
  • Phone: (808) 926-3800
  • Luau Check-in: 5:00 pm, Sunday-Monday-Thursday
  • Luau activities start at 5:30pm and the Hawaiian luau lasts for 2 hrs.
  • Prices are in 2 tiers (as of Jan 2020): U$159/ U$189.
  • Kids 0-3 years old are free.

Luaus on the North Shore Oahu

Ali’i Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center

A complete Polynesian experience in the north shore of Oahu. With your purchase of the luau ticket, you receive a 3-day pass to the park.

The Polynesia Cultural Center includes educational opportunities of different islands, games, additional entertainment and more.

The Ali’i luau also offers the most varied ticket tiers on Oahu. The the top tier ticket includes Prime Rib and private excursions of the island.

  • Address: 55-370 Kamehameha Hwy, Laie, HI 96762
  • Phone: 1 (800) 367-7060
  • Park is open 12pm-9pm, Monday-Saturday
  • There are two luau times (4pm and 6pm) depending on your ticket level, so it is best to check your tickets for directions.
  • Evening show seating starts at 7pm.
  • Prices are in 6 tiers (as of Jan 2020): U$95 / U$123 / U$148 / U$158 /U$198 /U$223 / U$243.
  • Get a 15% off discount here.
  • Kids 0-3 years old are free.

Toa Luau at Waimea Valley

Toa Luau is most interactive Hawaiian luau on Oahu. There is a lot to do in this smaller, more intimate luau.

A demonstration is held on how the whole pig is prepared for roasting and also a kava ceremony.

All three tier tickets receive a flower lei.

This luau takes place in Waimea Valley and tickets cover entrance to the park and waterfall (.75 miles each way).

If you want to see a luau super cheap and don’t mind sitting through a sales presentation, they offer a U$19 deal on their website.

This deal is also available at the Groupon site, but it is U$20 cheaper to buy directly through the luau’s website.

  • Address: 59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712 
  • Phone: (877) 778-8505
  • Luau Check-in: 4:45 pm, Mondays and Wednesdays.
  • Luau activities start at 5:00pm and the Hawaiian luau lasts for 3.5 hrs.
  • Prices are in 3 tiers (as of Jan 2020): U$98/ U$132 / U$165.
  • Kids 0-4 years old are free.
  • Transportation is available from Waikiki (U$30 per person roundtrip) and from North Shore (U$20 per person roundtrip).

Luaus on the West Side of Oahu

Ka Moana Luau at Sea Life Park

The Ka Moana Luau is held at the oceanfront location of the Sea Life Park on the West side of Oahu.

Tickets include the buffet, entertainment and pre-party activities like lei making, hula lessons, weaving, etc.

Tickets also includes free entrance to the Sea Life Park, which can be redeemed the day of the luau or within 7 days of the luau.

If you are already planning to go to Sea Life Park, then this luau is a great bargain.

Ticket discounts are available through GoOahu cards as well, but you must call the park to reserve.

  • Address: 41-202 Kalanianaole Hwy, Waimanalo, HI
  • Phone: (808)926-3800
  • Luau Check-in: 5:00pm, M/T/W/F/Su
  • Luau grounds open at 5:15pm and lasts for 2.5 hrs.
  • Prices are in 3 tiers (as of Jan 2020): U$99/ U$124/ U$159.
  • Kids 0-3 years old are free.
  • Transportation is available from Waikiki (U$18 per person).

What is the best luau on Oahu?

When choosing a Hawaiian luau, you should take into consideration your personal preferences, budget, transportation and dietary needs. Listed above is more detailed information into each luau.

Toa Lua, Experience Nutridge, and Chief’s Luau are considered the best Hawaiian luaus on Oahu on Yelp and Tripadvisor and would be great for a laid back family/ kid friendly luau.

Whatever you choose, I am sure you will have a great time, it’s Hawaii after all!

Everything You Want to Know About A Hawaiian Luau

Below you will find information on the most asked questions about Hawaiian luaus.

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What is a Hawaiian luau and what is the purpose of it?

A luau is a traditional Hawaiian party in which people gather to celebrate with a feast, music and dance entertainment.

It is based on old customs held throughout Polynesia for big events to mark milestones, celebrate the royal family or mark a great achievement.

Today, Hawaiians continue to celebrate big milestones with a luau. First birthdays, weddings or graduations.

The old term used for these celebrations used to be ‘aha’aina with means gathering.

Luau is the name of young taro leaves in which a lot of the food in these parties are wrapped in and cooked, hence today this Hawaiian style of party is called a luau.

How much does a Hawaiian luau on Oahu cost?

Prices vary by location, seating choice, and time of the year you choose to visit Hawaii.

You can expect to pay around U$90-U$200 per adult on normal (non-priority) tickets.

There are usually three tiers of seating available at a luau and the closer you are seating to the stage, the more you will pay.

Closer seating is not the only advantage to a premium ticket. The top tier tickets also offer first pick of food, includes more alcoholic drinks, and an upgrade on leis, souvenirs and premium food items like Prime Rib.

Some even include tours of the island (see Polynesia Cultural Center above).

These tickets are sold through the luau operators’ websites.

To save money on a luau, I recommend checking out these deals. Transportation is often included for the price you’d pay for a bare minimum ticket otherwise.

Some Hawaiian luaus also combine tickets or discounts to parks (Aquarium, Polynesian Cultural Center, Wet n’ Wild, Sea Life, Waimea Valley).

Some luaus are considered more upscale and you should expect to pay more if the luau is held in a 5-star resort on Waikiki beach.

Hawaiian luaus on Oahu usually last from 2.5 hrs to 4 hrs.

What do you wear to a Hawaiian luau on Oahu?

The dress code for a Hawaiian luau is smart casual. Men usually wear shorts or light khakis with t-shirts or short sleeve button downs and comfortable shoes. It is also appropriate to wear Hawaiian print shirts.

Women opt for floral dresses with bright colors or shorts, a top and sandals.

The important thing to note is that you will be most likely walking through grass or sand, so comfortable shoes are a must.

Here are some examples on how to dress for a Hawaiian luau:

Women’s Luau Outfits

Men’s Luau Outfits

Luau Girls Dresses

Luau Outfit for Boys

What do you do at a Hawaiian luau?

There are six main components of most Hawaiian luaus held on Oahu.

  1. Guest are greeted upon arrival and are gifted a lei- made of flower or shell.
  2. Drinks are served and you have the chance to take pictures with the performers.
  3. Depending on where you are participating on a luau in Oahu, the venue could offer games and lessons before the luau feast. These activities could be lessons on weaving, hula dancing, fighting or ukulele playing. In places like the Polynesian Cultural Center, you can watch additional performances in addition to the luau entertainment earlier in the day.
  4. The pig is removed from the imu (underground oven) and guests are able to watch how it is uncovered.
  5. Buffet feast.
  6. Entertainment show.

What food is served at a luau on Oahu?

In Hawaiian luaus on Oahu, local cuisine is served and include the following:

  • Kalua Pig: pork cooked in an underground oven and shredded.
  • Huli huli chicken: Hawaiian BBQ chicken.
  • Poke: raw fish, seasoned with soy sauce, green onions, kukui nut and seaweed.
  • Poi: taro plant root paste
  • Lomi Lomi Salmon: raw salmon mixed with tomatoes, onions and herbs.
  • Laulau: meat wrapped in leaves and steamed.
  • Fresh Catch Fish
  • Mac Salad
  • Sweet Potato
  • Fresh fruit: you need to try the pineapple in Hawaii!
  • Desserts: haupia (coconut pudding), guava cake, banana bread, brownies…

One way that luaus differentiate themselves from one another is on menu items, drink vouchers and souvenirs that are included in each ticket tier. Here are some examples:

  • Some luau menus incorporate Asian-American dishes like chicken teriyaki, BBQ ribs, and noodles.
  • Premium ticket holders have first dibs at the buffet table or access to table service, and/or premium food items like Prime Rib and crab.
  • A few luaus on Oahu also offer vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free and peanut free menus as well as children’s menus.
  • Most Hawaiian luaus on Oahu include free non-alcoholic beverages like water and ice tea/coffee. Alcoholic drinks tickets are included in the ticket price and basic tickets usually get 1 drink and each tier above gets more. This varies by luau operator.
  • Most VIP tickets include a fresh flower lei and a photo souvenir.

Looking for a place to stay on Oahu, Hawaii?

If you are looking for a place to stay, most hotels are located on Waikiki. For deals on the best hotels, use the search box below.

For a more boutique experience, I really like this hotel and this hotel.

And if you prefer a self-catering accommodation, click here to get U$30 off.

More Resources to Help You Plan Your Visit to Oahu

Transportation Deals

If you need a transfer from the airport, click here.

For deals on tours, click here.

If you are traveling to Oahu, you might also like these posts:

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