Free fun around Honolulu, from band concerts to a museum.

Share story

Airfare, hotels, guided tours and pricey luaus — a Hawaii vacation can add up, especially now that hotel room prices are back on the rise.

But walk past the expensive hotels in Waikiki, the tourist epicenter of Honolulu, and the greatest attraction of all awaits, for free: the beach.

With miles of coastline around Honolulu and all around the island of Oahu, there’s certain to be a sand, sea and surf spot to your liking. But if that’s not enough, there are plenty of other things to see and do without spending a dime. Among them:

Royal Hawaiian Band: This band, which counts three tuba players, a steel guitarist and a bassoonist among its 32 members, dates back to the days the monarchy ruled Hawaii. The band was founded in 1836 by King Kamehameha III, and now runs as its own municipal agency. It offers free concerts, including Fridays at noon at Iolani Palace near downtown Honolulu. See

This week, save 90% on digital access.

Royal Hawaiian Center: This mall in Waikiki has its own cultural programming, offering free music every night and free activities every day, from lei-making to hula and free performances twice weekly from dancers and musicians from the Polynesian Cultural Center. See

USS Arizona Memorial:

This much-visited site at Pearl Harbor is actually a grave, a resting place for the crew members who died in the Pearl Harbor attack of Dec. 7, 1941. Visitors can make advance reservations online (no charge), or limited walk-up tickets are available.

Hawaii State Art Museum:

The Hawaii State Art Museum is free and in historic downtown Honolulu. It’s open five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, and offers rotating exhibits focusing on Hawaiian art and culture.

Custom-curated news highlights, delivered weekday mornings.