Aloha fellow luau enthusiasts! I’ve been on a mission to find the most unforgettable luaus in Oahu and let me tell you, it’s been quite an adventure. My boyfriend and I have spent countless nights immersed in the magic of Polynesian culture, feasting on delicious food, and witnessing breathtaking performances that we’ll never forget. Trust me when I say that there’s no better way to experience the true spirit of Hawaii.
Picture this: You’re surrounded by stunning scenery, enjoying mouthwatering dishes with your loved ones while learning about traditional Hawaiian customs through hands-on activities such as spear throwing and coconut headband weaving. Whether it’s your first time attending a Hawaiian luau or you’re a seasoned pro like us, I assure you there’s always something new and exciting waiting for you in Oahu.
Through my years of exploring these incredible events, I’ve become somewhat of an expert in what makes a truly memorable luau experience. So sit back, relax (preferably with a fruity drink in hand), and prepare to embark on this journey with me as we uncover the best luaus Oahu has to offer.
Warning: After reading this article, you might just find yourself booking tickets for your next Hawaiian vacation – possibly even dragging your boyfriend along for yet another unforgettable night!
Now grab your lei and let’s dive into the vibrant world of luaus already!
Ali’i Luau at The Polynesian Cultural Center – Best Luau in Oahu for Families
Oahu’s pride and joy, the Polynesian Cultural Center luau on the North shore, hosts one of the most authentic luaus in Hawaii. Visitors can tour the Center’s six Polynesian villages to learn about their customs, followed by the terrific Ali’i luau featuring performances like hula and fire knife dancing shows and a delicious buffet dinner.
You’ll get leis on arrival, then walk around the villages from Tahiti, Tonga, Hawaii, Fiji, Samoa, and more, to see their traditional-style houses. Next, guests can participate in interactive workshops like learning the hula, taking ukulele lessons, and learning Samoan cooking.
In addition, you can upgrade your ticket to include a viewing of the show called ‘Ha: Breath of Life,’ which narrates tales passed down generations and flaming-knife dancers and fire walkers. Finally, enjoy a feast for the all-you-can-eat buffet with delicacies from around Hawaii.
My boyfriend and I love the Polynesian Cultural Center for its authentic portrayal of Hawaiian culture, and they host the best luau in Oahu for families. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- The pre-show activities include spear-throwing, learning fishing, and paddling an outrigger canoe.
- You can include transportation from your hotels in the luau ticket.
- This luau is a family-friendly event on which you can spend half a day.
Paradise Cove Luau
Head to the Paradise Cove beach in Ko Olina, which transforms nightly into an incredible luau venue. The Paradise Cove luau is one of the best in Oahu, as guests can customize their luau package to include everything of their choice, from leis and Mai Tais to seating, buffet menu, and hotel transportation.
The Cove’s incredible location gives beachfront views and looks onto downtown Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, and the Diamond Head from a distance. Before the main event begins, guests can enjoy pre-show activities like the Shower of Flowers, the Hukilau, and old Hawaiian net fishing techniques and watch the imu ceremony where a Kalua pig gets unearthed from an underground oven (imu.)
For dinner, feast on a delicious all-you-can-eat buffet featuring Hawaiian classics and favorite continental dishes. Finally, sit back at your tables and marvel at the Paradise Cove Extravaganza of music, dance, and incredible performances, which will become the highlight of your trip.
My boyfriend and I love the Paradise Cove luau and often bring friends and family here as it’s the best luau in Oahu. Here’s why you will too:
- Before the show, you can see arts, crafts, and games from the Hawaiian Village.
- A Royal Court procession passes at the luau that presents the former royals of Hawaii.
- You can spend a full day at Paradise Cove by combining snorkeling and surfing tours with the luau.
One of the most entertaining Oahu luaus is organized at the Wet ‘n’ Wild in Kapolei by Chief Sielu Avela, an award-winning comedian and fire-knife dance champion. The Chief’s luau takes you on a journey through Polynesia with immersive performances and fun activities like hula lessons, followed by a feast of favorite traditional Hawaiian food items.
Guests are greeted with leis and Mai Tais, then engaged in weaving headbands from coconut leaves, learning to make a fire from sticks, and getting temporary tattoos. However, the highlight of the luau is Chief Sielu himself, whose terrific personality and jokes make the event a lot of fun as he guides you through the activities.
In addition, the high-energy show includes Polynesian music and dancing, which immerses guests into the island’s celebratory culture. At dinner, enjoy a delicious Hawaiian luau buffet featuring Kalua pork, and pineapple glazed chicken, among many other items, and up to three signature beverages.
We’re fans of the Chief’s luau and consider it the best luau in Oahu. Here’s why you will too:
- You can upgrade your ticket to include hotel transportation and other great perks.
- The buffet menu has vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and allergy-sensitive options.
- The luau grounds have a stunning 50-foot backlit cascading waterfall that’s great for taking photos.
Toa Luau at Waimea Valley
Luaus are seldom just a sit-down event, but the Toa luau takes them to a whole new level where guests can explore the gorgeous Waimea valley on foot, walk through lush botanical gardens and stop by the rushing Waimea falls. However, there are also Polynesian dances, performances, music, and a delicious dinner buffet like a traditional luau, with some extra perks to make the experience even better.
You’ll begin by hiking to Waimea falls, where guests can swim in the freshwater pools with life jackets. Next, you’ll explore gorgeous botanical gardens where the same flowers in your lei grow. Afterward, watch the imu (rock oven) ceremony, followed by the Kava ceremony, a fun Fijian welcoming ritual.
Enjoy a dinner buffet with delicious Hawaiian fare and tropical cocktails as you sit down to watch the Polynesian performances. These will bring you to Hawaii, Tonga, New Zealand, Tahiti, and Samoa, plus a jaw-dropping fire-knife dance that’ll have you on the edge of your seat.
We loved trying this immersive luau which brought us so close to nature, and it’s the best luau in Oahu. Here’s why you shouldn’t miss it:
- Entrance to Waimea Valley is included in your luau ticket.
- You can also take part in various lawn games and cultural activities.
- The buffet includes fresh salads, Shoyu BBQ Chicken, and delicious homemade Haupia.
Ka Moana Luau
Head to Oahu’s East coast for one of the most exciting luaus on the island, that’s located inside the Sea Life Park Hawaii. The Ka Moana luau is a great event for families as it features entertaining pre-show activities, a delicious buffet dinner, dances and fire shows from around Polynesia, and, the best part, tickets to the Sea Life Park.
You’ll get greeted with fresh leis, then head to the lawns and partake in cultural activities like coconut tree-climbing, lighting a fire, making a lei, and weaving a headband from coconut tree leaves. Next, sit down for a delicious buffet dinner of Lomi Lomi salmon, Kalua pork, Huli Huli chicken, Hawaiian sweet rolls, and an assortment of sides and desserts.
Finally, watch for the main show with performances from Hawaii, showcasing the island cultures and traditions, and an immersive sword fire dance performance to wrap up the event.
We had a lot of fun at this luau and recommend bringing friends here as it’s one of the best luaus in Oahu. Here’s why you’ll love it too:
- You can learn to play the ukulele and get tattoos from locals in the pre-show activities.
- The Sea Life Park ticket allows you to swim with dolphins, sea lions, sharks, and other marine life.
- Their luau menu is vegetarian and vegan friendly.
Oahu’s luaus break away from tradition in the best way, like with the Rock-A-Hula luau at the Royal Hawaiian Center. This Hawaiian luau features a concert setup and broadway-like musical performances alongside the usual cultural dances. Guests can enjoy hula lessons, live music, and the Rock-A-Hula concert, including musical renditions of their favorite artists.
You’ll be welcomed with Mai Tais and pineapples, then ushered to the luau buffet with an almost unlimited variety of delicious island fare like beef, Lomi Lomi salmon, Huli Huli chicken, tofu poke, and much more. This isn’t just a luau, but an opportunity to dance to traditional Hawaiian music as you watch a terrific hula performance and learn a few steps along the way.
The luau isn’t even the best part, so upgrade your ticket to include the Rock-A-Hula show inside the huge Royal Hawaiian Theater. With a seating capacity of 750 people, you’ll enjoy appearances from actors playing Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, plus dances, singing, and a terrific fire show.
My boyfriend and I can never get enough of the Rock-A-Hula luau and consider it the best luau in Oahu. Here’s why you will too:
- You can go backstage after the show to meet with the actors and take pictures.
- Upgrade to the Stageside VIP package for the best seats and a delicious luau dinner menu.
- This show is ideal for families with younger children who will enjoy the Rock-A-Hula.
Diamond Head Luau – Best Luau in Waikiki
Make way to the Waikiki Aquarium, where the Diamond Head luau takes place from a gorgeous oceanfront setting, just near the iconic Waikiki Beach. Guests receive tickets to the aquarium with the luau, which is a great way to see marine life up close, before heading to the main show, featuring incredible performances and a farm-to-table buffet of delicious Hawaiian fare.
You’ll be greeted with leis and granted access to a full bar on arrival, followed by getting seated and feasting on the buffet. The Diamond Head luau’s food focuses on farm-fresh, organic items like a smoked lychee-based dip, fern Caprese salad, and vegan curry stew with local tofu. As you enjoy the food, marvel at the gorgeous sunset over Waikiki beach, which lights up the shore.
Guests can also engage in cultural activities like making leis, getting temporary tattoos, ukulele lessons, hula dancing, and coconut palm weaving. The main show has incredible Polynesian music and dances, ending with a hair-raising fire knife show.
We always enjoy the Diamond Head luau for its mouthwatering food; you should check them out as they’re among the best luaus in Oahu.
- The luau is in a prime location in downtown Waikiki.
- The sunset views from the luau grounds make for a terrific photo op.
- The show features native Haka chants, traditional dances, and songs of Tahiti and Tonga.
Experience all the Aloha spirit at this backyard-style luau in Kapolei, which treats guests like family and has some of the best Samoan performances. Germaine’s luau has been operating since the 70s and still delivers the same quality luau experience from its opening, with interactive activities for adults and children and a great buffet dinner.
Guests get greeted with shell leis and head to the Hawaiian-American style buffet for dinner, with local favorites like fresh island catch and Pulehu chicken. You’ll also witness a royal procession passing by, plus the imu ceremony, which gives the event its authentic feel.
Watch the beautiful hula dances for the main show, and become mesmerized by the Samoan Fire-Knife dance known as the ‘Tooth of Death.’ There’s also a special Samoan slap dance which includes Samoan men slapping their chests and thighs, a sign of their courage and bravery through the ages.
This luau is great for acquainting yourself with Hawaiian culture, and we always have a fun time here as it’s the best luau in Oahu. Here’s why you’ll agree:
- The luau is great for families and large groups.
- You’ll get pictures taken on arrival and receive a complimentary souvenir photo book.
- You can book the luau’s performances for weddings, ceremonies, and other events off-site.
Nutridge Estate Luau – Best Luau in Oahu for Adults
The Pu’u Ualaka’a Wayside Park was Hawaii’s first macadamia nut farm and is home to the infamous 22-acre Nutridge Estate. Here you can experience an intimate luau, hosting some 40 people at once on a gorgeous Honolulu estate. The event focuses on giving each guest a personalized experience with the luau through incredible performances and a delicious buffet dinner.
You’ll be greeted with leis and Mai Tais on arrival and enjoy views of downtown Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, Waikiki, and Diamond Head from the estate lawns. For dinner, feast on traditional Hawaiian dishes like Lomi Lomi salmon and kalua pig roasted in an underground oven, classics like New York sirloin strip steak, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
The main show features entertaining performances like hula dances from an award-winning group, live Hawaiian music, and a fire show which lights up the whole stage.
My boyfriend and I had a fantastic time at the Nutridge Estate, and they undoubtedly host one of the best luaus in Oahu. Here’s why you have to try it:
- The Nutridge Estate has hosted guests like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley.
- You can upgrade your ticket to include a tour of the estate and get premium seats.
- You can also book a private luau with them for a small gathering or event.
Top Luaus in Oahu
|Ali’i Luau||Polynesian Cultural Center||Polynesian villages tour, interactive workshops, buffet dinner, dance shows|
|Paradise Cove Luau||Ko Olina beach||Customizable packages, Hawaiian games/crafts|
|Chief’s Luau||Wet ‘n’ Wild Kapolei||Fun activities, traditional food buffet, high-energy music/dance performances|
|Toa Luau at Waimea Valley||Waimea Valley||Nature exploration with botanical gardens; dances/performances and fresh food buffet|
Winding Up The Best Luau in Oahu
Your trip to Oahu has to include a stop at a luau, as the island has tons of terrific ones which offer hours of island-style entertainment and mouth-watering meals. You can experience Hawaiian culture up close at luaus, which includes hula, Hawaiian music, cultural activities from Polynesia, and stories and legends of the islands. Of course, there are also tables laden with delicious food at each luau, so there’s no reason not to go!
Want to attend the best family-friendly luaus in Oahu? Head to Paradise Cove, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and the Toa Luau.
Looking for a luau with the best food? Try the Diamond Head luau and the Nutridge Estate luau.
Want to visit the luau with the best performances? Don’t miss Germaine’s luau and the Rock-A-Hula luau.
The best luaus in Oahu offer exciting fun for everyone!
What is the most authentic luau in Hawaii?
There are incredible luaus in all the Hawaiian islands, which feature many aspects of Polynesian cultures. However, you can find the most authentic luaus in Hawaii at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu at the Ali’i luau and at the Old Lahaina luau in Maui, which includes the same practices as the old luaus to date.
How do I choose a luau in Oahu?
You can choose luaus in Oahu based on preferences like cultural accuracy, the best food, family-friendly activities, and the best performances. So pick the ones which tick all your boxes, like the best luaus in Oahu mentioned in this article.
Which is the best luau in Oahu for families?
The luaus in Oahu have tons of entertainment for families, like the Paradise Cove luau, the Polynesian Cultural Center luau, and the Toa Luau.
Which is the best luau in Oahu for adults?
Those looking for some 21+ fun should head to the Nutridge Estate luau, which only hosts small groups at a time and Germaine’s luau for its incredible performances and fun location.
What can I expect from a traditional Hawaiian luau during my Hawaii trip?
During your Hawaii trip, you can expect a traditional Hawaiian luau to provide an immersive cultural experience that includes a fresh flower lei greeting upon arrival, interactive hula lessons, table service with delicious dinner entertainment featuring island fare like kalua pig and lomi lomi salmon. The event highlights performances by fire knife dancers and hula dancers showcasing the rich heritage of Polynesian islands.
How does the Royal Hawaiian Luau differ from other luaus on Oahu’s North Shore?
The Royal Hawaiian Luau at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is distinct from other luaus on Oahu’s North Shore due to its luxurious atmosphere and unique offerings. This exclusive event features upscale dinner packages along with lush botanical gardens surrounding the venue. Guests are treated to elegant table service while enjoying authentic hula dance displays and fire dancers in true paradise.
At events such as Queens Waikiki Luau or Paradise Cove’s extensive menu offering, guests can indulge in various fun-filled pre-show activities before their meal. A shell lei greeting welcomes visitors who then have access to engaging experiences like participating in ancient Hawaiian games, canoe rides through Ko Olina Resort waterways or even close encounters with diverse marine life at nearby tourist attractions like Sea Life Park.
Can you recommend any smaller scale luaus for those looking for an intimate setting on Oahu?
For those seeking a more intimate setting, consider Nutridge Luau located within Pu’u Ualaka’a Wayside Park overlooking downtown Honolulu. This very small luau accommodates around 40 people per session providing personalized attention throughout your visit; including hands-on experiences with Polynesian arts & crafts plus memorable dance-related performances in a serene and captivating environment.
Last Updated on May 25, 2023 by Brigitte