Events in Oahu 2023: A guide to some of the best events this year

Aerial view of Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii

Welcome to Oahu, where the sun is always shining and the atmosphere is buzzing with excitement. There's always something to do on this fun-filled island, from endless festivals and art shows to some of the most prestigious surfing tournaments in the world. We've picked out 12 of the best events in Oahu that we're certain you'll love. So let's dive right in!

Events in Oahu by month


Our choice of events in Oahu for January is the Dahui Backdoor Shootout. This time of year the waves tend to be extra large on the North Shore, making for an exhilarating event showcasing top professional surfers taking on the legendary waves of the Banzai Pipeline.

With intense barrel rides and awe-inspiring maneuvers, this annual competition epitomizes the thrill of big-wave surfing. Spectators flock to witness the fearless athletes in action, making it an unforgettable experience in the heart of Oahu's surfing culture. If you're looking for the best vantage points to catch the action, be sure to check out our article on where to watch the surfing in oahu for recommendations and insider tips.


For February, we've gone with yet another surfing contest: the annual Buffalo Bills Big Board Surfing Contest at Makaha Beach.

This annual event, founded by legendary waterman and lifeguard Richard “Buffalo” Keaulana, showcases traditional and modern styles of wave riding with a division for almost every kind of surfboard out there. This is one of the most entertaining surfing events of the year, with a lot of fun surfing-related activities that just about anyone can take part in.

Row of surfboards in Oahu, Hawaii


March brings forth the Honolulu Festival, a spectacular three-day celebration of the diverse Pacific Rim cultures. Witness a captivating fusion of music, dance, art, and culinary delights as the coastal city of Honolulu comes alive. The grand parade, stage performances, and cultural exhibitions showcase the harmonious coexistence of Hawaiian, Japanese, and other Pacific cultures and ethnicities.

Visit their website for more details


We simply had to pick the Sunset on The Beach event. This is basically a beach cinema experience on Queen's Beach, Waikiki. Imagine watching Magnum P.I. or Hawaii Five 'O on a massive 50-foot screen while you make yourself comfortable on the soft, sandy shore. Pure bliss! Speaking of sunsets on beuatiful beaches, here are some of the best beaches to watch the sunset in Oahu.

There are also plenty of festivities before the movie begins. As golden hour approaches, enjoy live music performances and indulge in a delectable array of local cuisine from food vendors; before settling down for the cinema experience of a lifetime!


Celebrate the spirit of aloha and the legacy of the Waikiki beach boys at the Annual May Day Waikiki. This event is a tribute to the old-school Waikiki beach boys, who were the pioneers of surfing, canoeing, and hospitality in Hawaii. Enjoy live music, free canoe rides, games, and a lei contest at the iconic Kuhio Beach Park. This is a lively event full of fun activities on one of Oahu's most gorgeous beaches that you really wouldn't want to miss!


June brings with it the 151st Annual King Kamehameha Day Celebration. This is an important statewide holiday honoring the revered Hawaiian king, Kamehameha the Great. Experience colorful parades, cultural exhibitions, and traditional ceremonies paying homage to the island's royal heritage. The floral parade adorned with magnificent floats and hula dancers is a sight to behold!

Visit their website for more details


Besides the 4th of July events across Oahu, there are plenty of activities scheduled for July as summer is in full swing.

One such event is the 52nd Annual Ukulele Festival when Oahu resonates with the enchanting melodies produced by the iconic Hawaiian instrument. Held at Kapiolani Park, this joyful event brings together a multitude of musicians. It's a day filled with lively performances, ukulele workshops, lessons, giveaways, and plenty of delicious food will be on offer. Not to mention the incredible sense of community as the sweet sounds of the ukulele fill the air!


The Duke's Annual Ocean Fest is the perfect event for us beach lovers and is one of the best events in Oahu. A celebration of ocean and beach activities, this highly anticipated event pays tribute to the legendary Duke Kahanamoku, a renowned Hawaiian waterman and surfing pioneer who had a profound love for the ocean, just like us here at Exquisite Coasts. There's an endless array of fun activities and contests you can take part in, including surfing, volleyball Matches and stand-up paddleboard racing.

Learn more on the official website


The 52nd Annual Waikiki Roughwater Swim is a thrilling and prestigious event that draws swimmers from all walks of life to conquer the challenging waters of Waikiki. Held annually, this open-water swim race showcases the endurance and skill of participants as they navigate the rough ocean currents and waves along the iconic Waikiki coastline.

From elite athletes striving for victory to passionate amateurs seeking personal achievement, the Waikiki Roughwater Swim offers a true test of strength and determination. You can prepare for the 2.3-mile swim by attending the free swimming clinics offered throughout July and August.

Apply to take part here


As October rolls in, so do the big waves along Oahu's North Shore. The Hic Pro Sunset Beach is an exhilarating surfing competition held at Oahu's iconic Sunset Beach. Top professional surfers gather to showcase their skills and ride the massive waves, creating a thrilling spectacle for spectators.

Surfing along Oahu's North Shore, Hawaii

Held over two weeks between the end of October and the start of November, the competition will take place on the 3 largest surf days. The event is also a gateway to the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the ultimate prize for any surfer, adding to the electrifying atmosphere throughout the tournament.


After the Hic Pro Sunset Beach in October, it's now time for the almighty Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the king of Oahu's surfing competitions. When it comes to surfing events in Oahu, there's nothing grander than the big 'ol Triple Crown of Surfing.

Known for its massive waves and challenging conditions, the Vans Triple Crown attracts the world's best surfers as they battle it out for the top spots at Sunset Beach on the North Shore. And these aren't any top spots. The winner is crowned the best surfer in the world!

The event showcases incredible displays of skill, courage and determination. Surfing enthusiasts and spectators flock to witness these incredible athletes take on the legendary breaks and witness history in the making, so if you're in Oahu in November you cannot miss this one!


As the year draws to an end, there are still plenty of surfing events happening across the island. But we've decided to include the Honolulu City Lights events this month.

The month-long celebration features a magnificent Christmas tree lighting ceremony, enchanting light displays, and festive decorations throughout the city. Enjoy live entertainment, a holiday parade, and fun-filled activities for the whole family, making it the perfect way to embrace the holiday spirit in Oahu.

Visit their website for more details

That brings our list of events in Oahu to an end. The event calendar for Hawaii's most popular island is brimming with diverse and vibrant celebrations throughout the year. No matter when you plan on visiting, there's always something exciting happening in Oahu. So get ready to embark on an eventful journey through the island of Oahu, where every month is a celebration of the island's vibrant spirit.

Frequently asked questions

What kind of events take place in Oahu?

Oahu hosts a wide range of events, including cultural festivals, surfing competitions, hula performances, food and wine festivals, marathons, and more.

What is Oahu most known for?

Oahu is most known for its stunning beaches, vibrant city life in Honolulu, historical sites like Pearl Harbor, iconic surf spots on the North Shore, and rich Hawaiian culture.

What is unique about Oahu?

Oahu offers a unique blend of urban excitement and natural beauty. It's the only Hawaiian island with a major city (Honolulu), boasting diverse landscapes, cultural attractions, and world-class surf breaks. Not to mention the stunning beaches and coastline!

What are the best times to visit Oahu?

The best times to visit Oahu are during the spring (April and May) and fall (September and October) when the weather is pleasant, and the crowds are relatively smaller. Although, if you're a surfer or just enjoy watching surfing, the best time to visit is during the winter from November through to January.

Are there any free events in Oahu?

Yes, Oahu offers several free events throughout the year, including festivals, concerts, beach activities and cultural showcases.

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