Fly direct to Honolulu (HNL) from Seattle (SEA), San Francisco (SFO), Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) or Los Angeles (LAX) on Northwest Airlines. nwa.com
Stay in the heart of Waikiki at the Outrigger Waikiki on the Beach, which boasts huge rooms and views of the entire curve of the bay. Rates from $205, outriggerwaikikihotel.com. Or try the Ala Moana Hotel and choose a balcony with ocean or mountain views. Rates from $129, alamoanahotelhonolulu.com. The Kahala Hotel & Resort offers lei-making classes, ukulele lessons, surf coaching, dolphin excursions and hula aerobics, rates from $395. kahalaresort.com
Eat at Sam Choy’s Breakfast, Lunch, Crab & Big Aloha Brewery. Papa’s beef stew omelet could keep you running all day, samchoy.com. Roy’s restaurant features Hawaiian Fusion cuisine at three Oahu locations. Go for the classic roasted macadamia nut crusted mahimahi with a lobster cognac butter sauce and melting hot chocolate soufflé, roysrestaurant.com. Alan Wong’s Restaurant, winner of the prestigious James Beard award, is the place to go for poki-pines, crispy wonton ahi poke balls on avocado with wasabi sauce or Kona coffee crusted Maui Cattle Company striploin, alanwongs.com. For a casual evening, Kona Brewing Company’s Koko Marina Pub features tasty beer-infused dishes and fresh, local ingredients. konabrewingco.com
Listen to ukuleles. The very best time to visit is in July for the Ukulele Festival at the Kapiolani Park Bandstand. A free two-hour concert by professionals, celebrities and even an ukulele orchestra of more than 800 students, roysakuma.net. The non-profit Ukulele Guild of Hawaii brings together players and builders each year in November, capping off with a concert of the next generation of Hawaii’s musicians, ukuleleguild.com. Duke’s Waikiki, the Moana Surfrider resort and Tikis Grill & Bar has nightly Hawaiian music, dukeswaikiki.com; moana-surfrider.com; tikisgrill.com. Or go to the House Without a Key, where the music starts nightly at 5:30 p.m, halekulani.com. To hear samples of ukulele music, check out these Hawaiian artists: Jake Shimabukuro, Brittni Paiva, Genoa Keawe and Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole.
Tour the KoAloha Ukulele Factory as part of your Red Line historic Honolulu trolley tour. See how the custom shop makes its instruments and end with a song, koaloha.com; waikikitrolley.com. Kamaka Hawaii Inc., home of the original pineapple ukulele, offers free tours Tuesday-Friday. kamakahawaii.com
Learn more at gohawaii.com/oahu.