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Visiting Oahu without taking in a luau is unthinkable. This greatest of Hawaiian parties combines music, dancing, beverages, alcoholic or otherwise, and a host of dishes to tempt your palate, and in some cases, your curiosity. These are some of the best luaus the island has to offer.
Royal Hawaiian Hotel Luau
A Waikiki tradition since 1926, the luau on the beach in front of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel every Monday night offers this local party with an upscale twist. Just sitting in front of the famed Pink Palace adds elegance. Officially known as Aha Aina, a Royal Celebration, this luau combines table service and first rate entertainment with dining under the stars. Guests of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel receive discounted rates.
Polynesian Cultural Center – North Shore
The Polynesian Cultural Center presents the different cultures of the South Pacific in theme park fashion. Villages recreating life in Tahiti, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Aotearoa and Hawaii educate and entertain visitors at the same time. The Ali’i Luau, held each evening except Sunday, is considered one of Oahu’s most authentic celebrations. Hawaiian and Pacific Island foods are served, along with Western style dishes for the less adventurous. Music and dancing are part of the package. One thing that is missing is any form of alcohol. The Polynesian Cultural Center is owned and operated by the Mormon Church, making this an alcohol-free zone. Spend the day at the center or just take in the luau.
Paradise Cove Luau – West Oahu
Paradise Cove Luau, on Oahu’s less populated west shore, is an authentic Hawaiian party at the beach. Help haul in the hukilau fishing net, visit the recreated village to learn crafts or “talk story” and watch the ceremony as the kalua pig is lifted from the imu, or underground oven. Try a little poi, purple taro paste, or haupia pudding, made from coconut milk. Fish, chicken and salads using both local and western recipes are offered. Be careful, you just may be tempted to go on stage and learn the hula in front of all those people. Mai tais and other beverages are served. Bus transportation to and from Waikiki lets you leave the driving to others.