12 ABSOLUTE BEST LUAU IN OAHU YOU’VE GOT TO SEE

Almost everyone who visits Oahu includes a luau in their itinerary. Maybe you want to witness Polynesia’s unique music and dance, or maybe you want to feast on classic Hawaiian food. Or perhaps you feel like it’s just what you’re supposed to do when you visit Hawaii.

Oahu has many luau options, each with their own charm and character. They’re spread out all over the island, from lively Waikiki to the quiet North Shore. They also range in price, from just over $100 to well over $200 for the lowest-tier ticket.  

Looking for the best luau in Oahu? We’ve got them! Check out these 12 luau options on Oahu, and soon you’ll be enjoying food, drink, and hula as the sun sets on another day in Paradise. 

12 ABSOLUTE BEST LUAU IN OAHU YOU'VE GOT TO SEE
Courtesy of The Royal Hawaiian

POLYNESIAN CULTURAL CENTER 

HIGHLIGHTS: Many package options; passes to the Island Villages included

THINGS TO NOTE: Not oceanside; no alcohol; over an hour away from Waikiki

Away from the kitsch and crowds of Waikiki, you’ll find the Polynesian Cultural Center Luau, a decidedly authentic experience near Oahu’s North Shore. Admission to their luau includes access to their theme park, which features cultural exhibits of several Polynesian islands. 

There are many options to choose from when booking your luau experience at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Some tickets include a full luau buffet, some have a separate standard buffet, and some feature no food at all. 

This gives visitors lots of options for the budget and timeline, but it can be confusing when trying to book. We recommend the Alii Luau Package – it will give you the complete food and entertainment experience without paying for the ultra-premium VIP options. 

One of the best things about the luau is that you move from the dining area to an outdoor theater to enjoy the “HA: Breath of Life,” so you aren’t sitting at the dinner table throughout the evening. Enjoy live music as you dine, then get seated for their beautiful show. 

It’s not oceanside, but the center’s private lagoon and lush tropical landscape set an incredible backdrop for the show. There’s no alcohol served, so it’s super family-friendly. 

All luau tickets include three-day passes to the Polynesian Cultural Center. So you can arrive early to explore the Island Villages, or return the following day to see even more displays and exhibits. 

TOA LUAU

HIGHLIGHTS: Small and intimate, includes access to Waimea Falls hike, has a 12:30 PM option

THINGS TO NOTE: Not oceanside, over an hour away from Waikiki

The Toa Luau at Waimea Falls offers a relaxed, friendly luau experience. A lot of that is thanks to its location, a lush garden setting on Oahu’s North Shore. But the staff also welcomes visitors like family through their cultural activities, cooking presentations, and dinner service. 

Tickets to the luau include access to Waimea Falls and the botanical gardens on the same day. So arrive early to take in the garden’s unique sights and enjoy the easy waterfall hike. 

Toa Luau offers both a 12:30 and 5 PM ticket. The 12:30 is perfect for groups with small kids, or anyone still adjusting to Hawaii’s time change. And then the 5 PM ticket is great for anyone wanting the classic dinner luau experience. 

There are three ticketing options, with the VIP package getting attendees closer to the stage for dinner and the show. One to three drink tickets are included in adult admission, and then more alcohol is available to purchase onsite. 

The stage setup is somewhat simple, but the entertainment is top-notch. If you want an intimate, homey luau experience without any fuss and cheesiness, this is the one for you. 

PARADISE COVE LUAU AT KO OLINA RESORT

HIGHLIGHTS: Beautiful beachside setting; lots of pre-dinner activities

THINGS TO NOTE: Very large; some visitors feel it’s too commercialized and impersonal

The award winning Paradise Cove Luau is probably the most popular luau on the island. It’s one of the largest and longest-running, and its sprawling oceanfront setting gives visitors the ultimate Hawaii experience. Some say it’s the best luau in Oahu.

Ko Olina is an upscale resort area about 45 minutes from Waikiki. It’s where the Disney Aulani and the Four Seasons are, but visitors travel here from all over the island to enjoy Paradise Cove’s tranquil setting and the area’s posh vibe. 

Before dinner, guests can enjoy shopping in the arts and craft market, playing Hawaiian games, and sipping cocktails on the beach. You can also participate in a hula lesson or the Hukilau ceremony, when the fish net is pulled in from the ocean’s edge. It’s a large luau, but the spacious setting keeps it from feeling crowded. And the staff keeps things pretty organized. 

The cost of attending Paradise Cove Luau runs on the lower end of average. However, you can upgrade to a higher package for a more premium and pricier experience. 

HALE KOA LUAU AT THE HALE KOA HOTEL

HIGHLIGHTS: A convenient Oahu location; lots of humor; budget-friendly

THINGS TO NOTE: You must be a member of the military or sponsored by a member to attend; may feel a little cheesy; not an oceanside setting

The Hale Koa Luau is a pretty standard dinner-and-a-show luau show experience, but sometimes that’s all you need. The Hale Koa resort is a military-only hotel in Honolulu, and any luau attendees must be active or retired military members or sponsored by a member. 

The price is a bit lower than other Oahu luau experiences — some of that is reflected in the setting and food. Of course, it’s hard to find a bad outdoor location on Oahu, and the grounds here are spacious and well-maintained. There is plenty of delicious Hawaiian food, just nothing overly creative. 

The show is engaging and fun, with the MC bringing humor to the presentation. And before settling in, you can enjoy activities and displays around the grounds. 

So for any military members wanting a more affordable yet enjoyable luau option in Honolulu, the Hale Koa luau is a great option. 

AHA’AINA LUAU AT THE ROYAL HAWAIIAN

HIGHLIGHTS: Located right in Waikiki with a view of Diamond Head

THINGS TO NOTE: A pricier luau

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel is a Waikiki landmark. The pink building stands tall against turquoise water. It feels like a reprieve from the neighborhood’s gray high rises and bustling sidewalks. The Aha’aina luau invites you into that atmosphere, allowing visitors to experience Hawaiian culture with a unique feast and show with Waikiki and Diamond head as its backdrop. 

The distinct Waikiki experience comes at a premium price – Aha’aina costs more than most other Oahu luau tickets. But it’s a classy experience, the entertainment is excellent, and you can probably walk here from your Waikiki accommodations. 

Arrive early to get a drink at the hotel’s Mai Tai Bar and to avoid a line to enter the luau grounds. The Aha’aina Luau is especially good for couples and any relaxed Waikiki vacationers. 

CHIEF’S LUAU

HIGHLIGHTS: The charming and humorous host/MC; spacious and welcoming

THINGS TO NOTE: Not an oceanside setting

You may not expect a world-class luau on the grounds of a small, inland water park, but Chief’s Luau receives glowing reviews from guests of all ages. The luau is designed and hosted by Chief Sielu, a World Champion fire-knife dancer and comedian who has been an iconic figure in Oahu for decades. 

As the host of the luau, Chief Sielu brings family-friendly humor that’s not too cheesy, a tricky balance to achieve at shows like these. He also shares wisdom and insight into Polynesian cultures and ties the performances together with reverence and charm. 

Dinner is included in all ticketing options, and packages include either two or three drink tickets with your admission, depending on which you choose. More drinks are available to purchase as well. 

Chief’s Luau is located at Wet ‘n’ Wild Water Park in Kapolei, about 40 minutes from Waikiki. 

EXPERIENCE NUTRIDGE 

HIGHLIGHTS: A small, intimate experience with great food; a nice hillside view overlooking Honolulu

THINGS TO NOTE: Not by the ocean; simple compared to the more commercial luau options

Experience Nutridge is unique in both its size and nature. The authentic luau has a backyard feel, as though the staff has welcomed you to their home. And the farm-to-table dinner is delicious. 

Located in Honolulu, the hillside setting has an incredible sunset view. And since the luau welcomes no more than about 70 guests, you’ll be able to enjoy a more intimate experience. Interact with the entertainers, avoid long lines, and truly enjoy the quiet setting at Nutridge Estate. 

There’s only one ticketing option at Experience Nutridge, so there’s no classism between different tiers. Plus, with such a small group, everyone has the best seat in the house. A couple of drink coupons are included, with more alcohol available to purchase. 

If you’re a first-time Oahu visitor, you may be drawn to a stylized, commercial luau. But if you’ve done a flashier luau and want something different, book your ticket with Experience Nutridge. 

DIAMOND HEAD LUAU

HIGHLIGHTS: Located right in Waikiki with ocean views; includes admission to the onsite aquarium

THINGS TO NOTE: The VIP seating may not be worth the additional cost 

The Diamond Head Luau is a delightful Waikiki Experience. Located oceanside at the Waikiki Aquarium, the luau features a farm-to-table menu and great entertainment. It also seats a smaller crowd than many of the more popular Oahu luau experiences. 

Your passes to the luau include access to the aquarium before the show starts. So once you arrive, you can enjoy the interactive cultural exhibits or check out some of the marine life inside. 

Overall, Diamond Head Luau seems to be a popular middle-ground option. Its pricing is on the slightly higher end of average, its group size is somewhat smaller than other options, and its convenience to Waikiki makes up for any shortcomings. 

KA WA’A LUAU AT DISNEY’S AULANI RESORT

HIGHLIGHTS: Open Bar; an appearance by Mickey

THINGS TO NOTE: Features very minimal Disney Characters; no ocean view

Disney knows how to put on a show, so their Ka Wa’a Luau at the Aulani Resort is a truly engaging spectacle. The lesson you’ll receive from online reviews is to go in with the right mindset. If you are expecting a super kid-centered show or something based around Disney films, you may be disappointed. 

The luau leans into cultural authenticity. And though Mickey does make a brief appearance, you won’t get a markedly Disney experience here. There is also no Imu ceremony, and though the resort is oceanfront, you won’t catch any beachside sunset views. The luau is tucked away in a quiet garden to the side of the hotel. 

But you will get a polished performance and a chance to access parts of the luxe Aulani Resort, where customer service tends to be top-notch. Plus, unlimited alcohol is included in each adult ticket, something you won’t see at any other Oahu luau. 

The price point here is a little on the high end, and you can choose between two ticket tiers. The Ka Wa’a Luau at the Aulani Resort is located near Kapolei in the Ko Olina Resort area. 

GERMAINE’S LUAU

HIGHLIGHTS: Beach setting right by the water

THINGS TO NOTE: Many reviewers report that it feels a bit kitschy and old school

By Barber’s Point in Kapolei, you’ll find Germaine’s Luau, a charming, old-school experience right by the water. This luau has been operating since the 1970s, and it has a retro vibe that you’ll either find endearing or cheesy. There’s a lot of audience participation, the basic luau fare, and picnic table seating. 

But it’s also an incredible oceanside setting. You can enjoy the luau with your toes in the sand, take dreamy selfies by the water, and sip your cocktail as the sun sets. The stage is tucked away from the setting sun to keep the glare out of your eyes, and the audience size allows everyone to have a good view and experience. 

It may feel like a budget experience, but it’s actually a little pricier than some of its competitors, like Paradise Cove Luau, Polynesian Cultural Center, or Toa Luau at Waimea falls. 

But if you like the old-school vibe, a quiet atmosphere, and a toes-in-the-sand experience, Germaine’s Luau might be just the spot for you. 

KA MOANA LUAU

HIGHLIGHTS: Oceanfront setting; includes admission to Sea Life Park

THINGS TO NOTE: It can feel overly crowded

If both Sea Life Park and a Luau are on your Oahu itinerary, the Ka Moana Luau could be just the activity for you. Tickets to the Ka Moana include general admission to the park, which adds a lot of value to this mid-grade luau. 

The luau is oceanfront, and its Waimanalo location is just a half hour from Waikiki. Reviewers tend to agree that it’s best to spring for the Celebrity package option to get a better view of the show and a more streamlined food line. Otherwise, the luau can feel crowded and disorganized. 

But it’s nice to spend time in such a scenic setting, enjoy some Hawaiian food and Polynesian entertainment, and return later to experience Sea Life Park. 

LIBERTY LUAU AT PEARL HARBOR

HIGHLIGHTS: Entertainment features both a USO-style Variety Show and a classic hula & fire knife dancing performance; includes a tour of the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum

THINGS TO NOTE: It is a pricier option; completely indoors

Liberty Luau is a patriotic and mid-century take on the classic Hawaii luau, so it’s sure to be a unique experience for anyone. If you’re drawn to the culture, music, and dancing of the 1940s, and want to feel immersed in Pearl Harbor’s history, then this could be the luau for you. 

The luau is indoors. It’s set inside a World War II airplane hangar, and your ticket includes an exclusive tour of the Pearl Harbor Aviation Museum that shares its home. The entertainment is primarily based around the island’s military history, complete with a USO-inspired variety show. But you’ll also see hula and fire knife dancing and enjoy delicious island food. 

Liberty Luau is a pricier option, but you get a lot for the cost: a tour of the aviation museum, round-trip transportation from Waikiki, and comfortable indoor seating. 

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