Everyone wants to experience hula while in the islands, and there are plenty of free shows in Waikiki. The hula show at the Kuhio Beach mound is one of the most popular, generally starting around 6 pm. Seating is on the ground, so you might want to bring a towel or cushion. During high season, the show is daily, the rest of the year it varies; call 808 843 8002 for info, or check listings in Oahu Gold or This Week.
The ever-entertaining Derek Daniels Production dancers (Gillian G. Gaar)
All the major shopping centers in Waikiki offer free shows. The International Marketplace has live entertainment nightly, including the fun and campy “Voyage Through Polynesia” by the Derek Daniels Productions dancers; the same troupe also puts on a free show at the Waikiki Town Center. The Marketplace itself, built on land once owned by Queen Emma Kaleleonalani, wife of King Kamehameha IV, is also fun to stroll through, packed with souvenir shops and an inexpensive food court.
The higher-end Royal Hawaiian Center has hula shows in the Royal Grove most evenings, and on Saturday mornings dancers from the Polynesian Cultural Center appear (the seats are actually made of stone, so you may want to take a cushion). Free hula lessons are also offered on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Check the events listings online, or pick up a schedule at the Center. The Center also has an inexpensive food court.
Aloha Friday at the Hyatt (Gillian G. Gaar)
The Waikiki Shopping Plaza offers free Polynesian entertainment during week, as well as very popular free hula lessons daily at 10 am and noon. Waikiki Beach Walk on Lewers street also features free entertainment during the week.
Aloha Fridays are the Hawaiian equivalent of “Casual Fridays.” Waikiki’s Hyatt Regency Hotel has a great Aloha Friday experience which begins in the late afternoon, featuring dancers (including fire dancers), drumming, music, and plenty of audience participation. You can learn to hula, make yourself a lei, and taste freshly made poi — which tastes much better when it’s fresh.
For more info: Oahu Visitors Bureau website Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau website